Doctor Who: RTD on "Star Beast," "Not Erasing" Jodie Whittaker & More
Doctor Who Showrunner Russell T. Davies had some interesting clues/teases to drop about the 60th-anniversary episode "The Star Beast."
After some big casting news yesterday, we have more clues to share regarding what's in store for the BBC, Disney+, and Showrunner Russell T. Davies's (RTD) upcoming three-episode Doctor Who 60th-anniversary special event. With David Tennant (but as the Fourteenth Doctor?), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), our Fifteenth Doctor Ncuti Gatwa, and more set to hit our screens this November, RTD shared some personal insights into what he's seen so far in Doctor Who Magazine #595. In the latest edition of "Letter from the Showrunner," RTD shared how it's the first week of August and that he's finally getting a chance to screen the completed anniversary episode, "The Star Beast" ("God, I'm tired of reading articles that say FX these days are cheap and fast. They're expensive and endless!"). And even though this will be "ooh, the 50th time" he's screened it, RTD noted that this time he got "to sit and watch it as a fan." From there, RTD began dropping thoughts/clues/teases about what we can expect – beginning with the opening. Here's how you ahold of RTD's full post – but here are some highlights:
Expect things to kick off with a look at London and some Murray Gold music, with RTD addressing the rumblings that he might retcon what Jodie Whittaker & Chris Chibnall did during their run with the following line: "Oh my God, the Tardis, the Jodie exterior, she has NOT been erased (and yet by not erasing her, are we erasing the argument that she's been erased and therefore this is an act of erasure, IS IT?)."
From there, RTD notes that "the music changed, I thought it was going to be THIS but now it's turned into THAT, I had no warning!!" That leads to a conversation about the wind in the scene if it's blowing through Tennant's hair – which then leads into nostalgia over Tennant's hair in the 50th anniversary celebration.
It looks like there will be a musical signal to Donna's return: "WAIT WAIT THE MUSIC JUST WENT… UP, aaaah, is that Donna's Theme? Is it? Are these the exact same chords that played at 43:17 in Turn Left? I THINK SO/I doubt myself/I KNOW NOTHING."
After bullet points involving the soundtrack being released, the novelization being released as soon as possible, and an appreciation for the Doctor's coat ("Oh oh oh, the Doctor's coat, I like it/I don't like it, will there be an interview about this coat"), RTD reveals Tate's appearance. From there, the topic turns to how "certain lines have been cut" from what may have been seen/heard in previous previews (before playfully taking on the role of conspiracy theorist).
"I WONDER IF JODIE AND PETER AND MATT AND CHRIS ARE WATCHING??" An interesting line that led to RTD speculating if there could be more behind Camden ("WHY? Is it a pun, will the villain turn out to be Camilla from 'State of Decay' who is hiding in her… den, d'you see, Cam-den, GET IT?") – wonders if the track on the soundtrack will be titled, "A Camden Greeting?"
Near the end, RTD makes the interesting point, "BUT WAIT, if Donna remembers the Doctor she will die (sends text)." Adding that he thought he remembered Donna remembering him in "The End of Time?", the "receives text" answer to that was that "she remembered aliens but not the Doctor.
And with an, "Oh my GOD, but wait, LOOK… Phew," RTD informed us that he was only 30 seconds into the special: "Good luck."
Joining Tennant & Tate for the anniversary episodes are Neil Patrick Harris in a big bad role (The Toymaker/The Celestial Toymaker?) and Yasmin Finney as Rose – the daughter of Donna Noble and Shaun Temple (Karl Collins), with Jacqueline King returning as Sylvia Noble. In addition, Ruth Madeley is set to appear as Shirley Anne Bingham, and Bernard Cribbins is set to posthumously appear, reprising his role as Wilfred Mott. Fans of the comics can expect to see Beep the Meep (voiced by Miriam Margolyes) and the Wrarth Warriors play a major part, and – as if all of that wasn't enough – Ncuti Gatwa is expected to debut as the Fifteenth Doctor. With all three episodes written by Davies, we learned the episode titles during this weekend's Eurovision 2023 broadcast: Special One: "The Star Beast" (directed by Rachel Talalay), Special Two: "Wild Blue Yonder" (directed by Tom Kingsley), and Special Three': "The Giggle" (directed by Chanya Button).