Is David Tennant returning to ‘Doctor Who?’


A new Doctor Who rumor has been spreading like wildfire through the Whovian fandom recently, offering a surprise answer to the riddle of who could replace Jodie Whittaker after she vacates the TARDIS later this year. The rumor hints that former Time Lord David Tennant is set to return to the sci-fi series, at least on a short-term basis, in order to win back viewers who might have drifted away during Whittaker’s controversial tenure.

Having starred in the show from 2005-2010, Tennant is widely acknowledged to be the most beloved incarnation of the Doctor in the modern series, so obviously a lot of folks out there are hoping the rumor is on to something. Then again, there are also some criticizing the move as a step backwards. But is there really any truth to the rumor? Where did it actually start? And would Tennant’s comeback even make any sense?

The rumor appears to have sprung from a Doctor Who Facebook page claiming that insider info tells them Tennant has been cast for three specials to air in 2023, the show’s 60th anniversary year. Allegedly, Tennant wouldn’t be portraying the Tenth Doctor, but the Fourteenth, meaning Whittaker would regenerate back into Tennant’s appearance. His story arc would then stretch across these three episodes before a new full-time lead is found.

David Tennant Doctor Who

At first glance, this might just sound like fan fiction, but it’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Russell T. Davies is taking over the reins of the series once again in 2023, and he’s the man who cast Tennant in the first place. Plus, bringing back a popular Doctor for Who‘s 60th birthday would be a huge event. Likewise, the BBC itself is playing coy about the rumor. Good Morning Britain (via Plymouth Herald) quizzed the series’ head of press about it, and they “wouldn’t be drawn.”

It would also be perfectly acceptable within Whoniverse lore. 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor” saw Tom Baker cameo as a future Doctor who just looked like his fourth self. In fact, he confirmed that he had revisited former faces before this, too, teasing “but just the old favorites.” So it would make a certain amount of sense to expand on this concept 10 years later for the 60th.

All of this said, the rumor might just be the fan fiction it sounds like, after all. With work on Davies’ second era having already begun, more concrete news should follow soon. In the meantime, Jodie Whittaker stars in her penultimate Doctor Who special, featuring the return of a classic monster, sometime this spring.