Why Doctor Who's 60th Anniversary Is Believed To Be Adding Another Classic Character

K9 in Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC America )

Doctor Who is currently filming its 60th anniversary and, as fans continue to speculate how David Tennant’s Doctor is involved and who Neil Patrick Harris is playing (we have some ideas), there are new rumors making the rounds. And they suggest that the special is adding another classic character. There’s some new evidence that may add credibility to the rumor, which claims that fans will see K9 once again. 

This assertion regarding an alleged appearance by K9 stems a recent report from Radio Times. The outlet cited a previous interview it did with Doctor Who: Redacted creator Juno Dawson, during which the creator revealed there were characters for her audio series she wasn’t able to use, presumably because there were plans for them in the television series. Dawson cited Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble as one example of a character they couldn’t use: 

Initially, Donna was supposed to be in episode seven. But we were told ‘absolutely not’, for obvious reasons now.

Juno Dawson later revealed that they were also barred from using K9. Doctor Who: Redacted ultimately swapped the robotic dog for a new character called Floater, but the question remains as to why it wasn’t allowed to use the former. Is it possible that we’re going to see the character in the 60th anniversary? 

One reason some might believe the poocch could show up for Doctor Who’s 60th is that the dog has appeared alongside David Tennant’s Doctor before. The two both sprang up in the 2006 episode “School Reunion,” which happened under Russell T. Davies' tenure as showrunner. Perhaps the two are in for some sort of reunion, and the pup could play some major part in the upcoming special. 

It’s certainly a possibility we’ll see K9 in the 60th anniversary special, though it’s worth mentioning that there are other things to consider. For example, Jodie Whittaker’s final episode as The Doctor (arriving in the fall) will also feature two classic-era stars, Tegan and Ace. The canine (get it?) could easily squeeze in alongside those two with little awkwardness. 

There are a lot of theoretical reasons regarding why Redacted couldn’t use the character. It’s worth noting The BBC doesn’t fully own the rights to K9 and that the heirs of creators Bob Baker and Dave Martin both own it as well. This could make using the robot for things outside of the show, like audio dramas, a little more complicated, and a company might just balk at the option rather than jump through any hoops necessary to make it happen. It’s not the most fun possibility to certainly, but certainly one worth mentioning. 

Regardless of whether or not K9 is involved, Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary should be a fun time. What little we know of the special, which is expected sometime in 2023, already has fans excited for it. Hopefully, it lives up to the hype and provides a reasonable explanation for why fans having been seeing so much of David Tennant and not new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa amid filming as of late. 

Doctor Who is currently on hiatus, but HBO Max subscribers can stream the series to their heart’s delight right now. It’s what I’m hoping to do because we still have a long way to go before a new episode graces our screens.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.