10 Crucial Episodes To Revisit Before Tennant’s Return


  • Revisiting past Doctor Who stories provides valuable insight into character growth and evolution, deepening the appreciation for the return of beloved characters in the 60th anniversary specials.
  • Episodes like “The Celestial Toymaker,” “Spearhead From Space,” and “The Christmas Invasion” are essential for understanding the background and significance of the Toymaker, UNIT, and the Tenth Doctor.
  • “Turn Left,” “Journey’s End,” and “The End of Time” are emotionally charged episodes that are crucial for understanding the bond between Donna Noble and the Tenth Doctor and their subsequent heartbreaking separations.

As the anticipation around Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary builds, these ten stories act as a crucial refresher, setting the stage for some of the show’s most beloved characters returning. With Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), the Doctor (David Tennant), and the Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris) all making comebacks in 2023, revisiting their past adventures is essential for a complete viewing experience. These narratives offer invaluable insight into character traits, alliances, and the intricate web of the Whoniverse ahead of Doctor Who‘s first 60th anniversary special episode, “The Star Beast.”

Exploring past Doctor Who stories not only rekindles the nostalgia associated with Donna, the Tenth Doctor, and the Toymaker but also provides context for their growth and evolution. Viewers can rediscover the chemistry between Donna and the Tenth Doctor, and witness what made them one of the most iconic Doctor-companion duos. Additionally, understanding the Toymaker’s enigmatic past and motivations adds crucial background to the upcoming storyline, allowing viewers to familiarize themselves with his powers and abilities. As Doctor Who prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, this retrospective journey promises a trip down memory lane and a profound appreciation for the return of some of the Whoniverse’s most fascinating figures.

Related: Doctor Who Season 14 Cast Guide: Every New & Returning Character

10 Doctor Who Season 3, Episode 7 – “The Celestial Toymaker”

The only previous live-action appearance of the Toymaker in Doctor Who

The Toy Maker and The First Doctor in Doctor Who

Released in April 1966, “The Celestial Toymaker” starred the First Doctor (William Hartnell) and his companions Dodo and Steven. The story unfolded over the course of four captivating episodes: “The Celestial Toyroom,” “The Hall Of Dolls,” “The Dancing Floor,” and “The Final Test.” This memorable serial introduced viewers to Doctor Who‘s maniacal Toymaker, the immortal entity at the heart of the upcoming anniversary specials. Although the Doctor appeared to defeat the omnipotent being at his own game, the Toymaker hinted toward making his return – one he would ultimately wait over 50 years for.

At the time of writing, “The Final Test” is the only episode of “The Celestial Toymaker” found in the BBC archives. The other three remain missing.

9 Doctor Who Season 7, Episode 1 – “Spearhead From Space”

The Doctor formally joins UNIT

The Brigadier raises a quizical eyebrow in the Doctor's laboratory

UNIT will play a considerable role in Doctor Who‘s future, both in the upcoming 60th anniversary specials, and Doctor Who season 14 starring Ncuti Gatwa. While 1970’s “Spearhead from Space” was not UNIT’s first appearance in Doctor Who – that came two years prior in “The Invasion” – the episode did mark the moment Jon Pertwee’s Doctor officially joined UNIT as a scientific advisor. As such, “Spearhead from Space” is perhaps the best introduction for those seeking a crash-course in UNIT and its role in Doctor Who. Additionally, UNIT’s current leader, Kate Stewart, is the daughter of the original commander, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

8 Doctor Who 2005 Christmas Special – “The Christmas Invasion”

First full episode starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor

The Doctor Who Christmas special from 2005 is the perfect gateway to the 60th anniversary specials, since it marked the Tenth Doctor’s official debut in the series. A must-watch for David Tennant fans, the sixty-minute special provides invaluable insight into the Tenth Doctor’s character, style, and abilities. “The Christmas Invasion” not only introduced the witty, clever, and dark persona that defines the Tenth Doctor, but it also included a critical moment that sets up a major storyline for the Doctor and Donna: the severing of the Tenth Doctor’s hand.

7 Doctor Who 2006 Christmas Special – “The Runaway Bride”

Donna’s first appearance in Doctor Who

Tenth Doctor and Donna sitting on building roof in Doctor Who

Just as “The Christmas Invasion” is crucial for understanding David Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor, the following year’s festive episode, “The Runaway Bride,” is vital for understanding Donna Noble. Catherine Tate had previously been known for her comedy work on British TV, and while her humor certainly shone through in this Christmas jaunt, Donna also demonstrated ample amounts of heart, emotion, and depth. These qualities ultimately resulted in Tate returning as a full-time Doctor Who companion. For a full picture of Donna’s return in 2023, revisiting her debut in “The Runaway Bride” is a must.

6 Doctor Who Season 4, Episode 1 – “Partners In Crime”

Doctor & Donna reunited

Donna Noble smiles through a glass window

The Doctor Who season 4 premiere was one of the most important chapters in Donna-Doctor history, marking the official introduction of Donna as a full-time companion. “Partners in Crime” saw The Doctor and Donna work together to thwart the evil Matron’s plan of forcing clueless participants into a sinister weight-loss program. The humorous dynamic between the Doctor and Donna was on full display here, and will give audiences a taste of the infectious onscreen chemistry between David Tennant and Catherine Tate they can expect to see in Doctor Who‘s anniversary specials.

5 Doctor Who Season 4, Episode 8 – “Silence In The Library”

The beginning of the end for Donna Noble

“Silence in the Library” was one of the last adventures that the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble shared together. Taking the Tenth Doctor and Donna to a library devoid of human life, and forcing them to uncover the horrifying truths of its secrets, this Doctor Who season 4 offering was a tearjerker, famously foreshadowing Donna’s eventual exit from Doctor Who. Not only did this Doctor Who story feature several profound moments in Ten and Donna’s history, it also introduced audiences to the integral character of River Song (Alex Kingston).

4 Doctor Who Season 4, Episode 11 – “Turn Left”

Donna meets Rose (the first one)

Catherine Tate as Donna and Billie Piper as Rose in Doctor Who

Doctor Who season 4’s “Turn Left” was a groundbreaking entry in the Whoniverse. One of modern Doctor Who‘s rare Doctor-lite episodes, “Turn Left” focused more heavily upon Donna, and marked the first major reappearance of Rose Tyler following her exit. “Turn Left” launched Donna Noble into a parallel world that showed just how much of an impact she had on The Doctor’s life, revealing to audiences what would happen if Donna never met the Tenth Doctor. This story is important for understanding the true depth of the bond between Donna and the Doctor ahead of Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary.

3 Doctor Who Season 4, Episodes 12 & 13 – “The Stolen Earth” & “Journey’s End”

Donna’s memories are wiped

Donna Noble with glowing eyes in Doctor Who

This Doctor Who story contains one of the most poignant and emotional moments in Ten and Donna’s history, and will be directly referenced in the upcoming anniversary specials. “Journey’s End” featured the debut of Doctor Donna, in which Donna absorbed the power of the Time Lords. The introduction of Doctor Donna acted as a catalyst to one of the most heartbreaking moments in the Whoniverse, when the Tenth Doctor wiped Donna’s memory in order to save her life. From that point forward, Donna has had no recollection of who The Doctor is or their time together. This crucial moment will be revisited heavily in Doctor Who‘s upcoming specials.

2 Doctor Who 2010 Specials – “The End Of Time, Part Two”

The Tenth Doctor reluctantly says goodbye

The Tenth Doctor begins regeneration

“The End of Time, Part Two” was an emotionally charged, action-packed special that marked the last time David Tennant appeared as the Tenth Doctor. In the heartbreaking climax, the Tenth Doctor spent time giving formal goodbyes to his most beloved companions, including a newlywed Donna. The Doctor also left Donna the small wedding gift of a lottery ticket. Revisiting this story would serve as a great reminder of where the Tenth Doctor left off, and also of Donna’s status ahead of both characters returning in the 60th anniversary specials.

1 Doctor Who 2022 Specials: “The Power Of The Doctor”

The Fourteenth Doctor’s debut appearance

“The Power of the Doctor” is the perfect segue into the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials, since its events immediately precede them. Witness the heartbreaking events leading up to the debut of the Fourteenth Doctor, as the Thirteenth Doctor was forced into regeneration to confront a formidable alliance of CyberMasters, Daleks, and the Master. As the third and final Doctor Who special of 2022, “The Power of the Doctor” remains a groundbreaking moment in the Whoniverse. It not only signaled the coming of the Fourteenth Doctor and reunited viewers with beloved characters like Kate Stewart, but it was also the first time the Doctor regenerated into a previous form onscreen.

  • Doctor Who Poster

    Doctor Who

    Release Date:

    Jenna Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi

    Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi


    As the last of the alien species known as the Time Lords, the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a time machine thats bigger on the inside than the outside, seeking out adventures in the ancient past and unimagined future while also serving as the protector of Earth and mankind. With a human companion by his side, the Doctor meets extraordinary – and sometimes deadly – characters and creatures from across the universe.

    Doctor Who

    Story By:
    Sydney Newman C. E. Webber Donald Wilson

    Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse, Neil Cross, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall


#Crucial #Episodes #Revisit #Tennants #Return

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *