David Tennant Weighs In On Doctor Who Shocker In Jodie Whittaker's Final Episode

Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Doctor Who’s “The Power of The Doctor” are ahead!

Another Doctor Who era is finished, with Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor regenerating at the end of “The Power of The Doctor” into the Fourteenth Doctor. However, rather than seeing Whittaker turn into Ncuti Gatwa, who was announced to be playing the new Doctor earlier this year, the Fourteenth Doctor instead shares the same face as one of their past selves. That’s right, folks, David Tennant is back on Doctor Who, and the actor has weighed in on the shocking ending of this latest special.

From 2005 to 2010, David Tennant starred in Doctor Who as the Tenth Doctor, and he reprised the role in 2013 for “The Day of The Doctor,” a.k.a. the franchise’s 50th anniversary special. While we’ve known since May that Tennant will appear in Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary celebration next year, it was never stated that he’d be back as the Tenth Doctor. Now we know why, because as many fans speculated, Tennant is instead playing the Fourteenth Doctor. Here’s what the actor had to say to BBC News about returning to Doctor Who after so long away:

You move on from it with a whole mixture of emotions. And one of those is sadness and regret. So to be able to revisit that and to get another another shot, it was a total joy from start to finish. Doctor Who runs through my life, as if through a stick of rock really. It's a show that I loved as a small child, I grew up obsessed with it. I went to get [fourth Doctor] Tom Baker's autograph in Glasgow, John Menzies. I thought it was something that I would certainly never be as involved in again... It's like being given the loveliest present. And I'm very, very excited. I'm thrilled and I hope people will enjoy the stories we've got to tell.

Excluding David Tennant’s participation in “The Day of The Doctor,” he hadn’t been seen on Doctor Who since “The End of Time” Part 2 on January 1, 2010, which ended with the Tenth Doctor regenerating into Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. While the years since have seen Tennant star in popular shows like Jessica Jones, Good Omens, Broadchurch and DuckTales, as the actor mentioned, Doctor Who has remained a cornerstone of his life. So the opportunity to return to the series, and in such a unique fashion, was quite welcome for him.

Although the Thirteenth Doctor-Fourteenth Doctor regeneration marks the first time in Doctor Who history that the title character has reverted back to one of their old faces, some precedence had already been established for it. In “The Day of The Doctor,” Tom Baker, who starred as the Fourth Doctor from 1974 to 1981, appeared as the mysterious Curator and informed the Eleventh Doctor that in the “years to come,” he might find himself “revisiting” a few of “the old favorites.” We’ve now reached the first instance of this happening, and David Tennant said the following about his twisty return to Doctor Who:

It didn't really feel like a risk. It felt in a way that the pressure was off. But also I knew that Russell T Davies was in charge. And I love working with him and I love receiving a script with his name on the front. So that just felt like it was a bit of a no-brainer.

In case it wasn’t already clear, David Tennant isn’t cameoing as the Fourteenth Doctor new year. It’s been confirmed that Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will consist of three special episodes airing in November 2023, and that will lead into Ncuti Gatwa taking over as the Fifteenth Doctor (which likely won’t be until early 2024). Plot details for the 60th anniversary are being kept close to the vest, but it will involve The Doctor reuniting with Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble, Yasmin Finney debuting as a character named Rose, and Neil Patrick Harris playing, as returning showrunner Russell T. Davies put it, “the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced.”

There’s a little over a year to go until the next chapter in the long-running Doctor Who saga unfolds on BBC America, but while we wait for updates on what else the 60th anniversary holds in store, acquaint yourself with the rest of this year’s programming with our 2022 TV schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.