How can the Doctor and Donna be reunited?

Want to know how David Tennant and Catherine Tate are back as the Doctor and Donna?

As Doctor Who once again enters an exciting new era with some familiar faces, fans are left with endless questions...

We all thought we knew what was coming. Ncuti Gatwa had been announced as the new Doctor. Jodie Whittaker’s final story was upon us. It all seemed so simple - Jodie would regenerate into Ncuti.

Then, this happened…

In the words, of the Tenth - and Fourteenth - Doctor… What? What? WHAT?

What is happening next in Doctor Who?

David Tennant and Catherine Tate are back as the Doctor and Donna Noble! Although, when we left Donna, she could never be able to see the Doctor again. To understand these improbably timey-wimey events, we should probably start at the beginning. Donna’s time with the Doctor has always been defined by the unexpected - case in point, how they met!

How did the Doctor and Donna meet?

Many things can go wrong on a wedding day, but it’s fair to say ‘being teleported across the universe into a time machine’ probably hadn’t troubled Donna as a possibility. 

To be fair, having a bride appear out of thin air was the last thing the Doctor expected as well. As well as your wedding being used to resurrect an ancient spider-like race of warriors under the Thames.

Once they both saved the day, and despite the Doctor’s offer, Donna refused to travel with him. She came to regret her decision, as she then kept trying to locate the Doctor without success. Fortunately, her dedication paid off. As they both were simultaneously investigating Adipose Industries, they were reunited! Just in time to save the human race yet again.

This time, Donna took up the Doctor’s offer and joined him travelling across the universe. They met Agatha Christie, survived the eruption of Pompeii, fought the Vashta Nerada and so much more. 

Why did Donna stop travelling with the Doctor?

Their travels came to an end with a desperate fight against the Daleks and their mad creator, Davros. Davros planned to wipe out all of reality with the appropriately named Reality Bomb. In the midst of all this, the Tenth Doctor was involved in another mind-blowing regeneration moment. 

However, Donna didn’t then go on to save with the word with the Eleventh Doctor; as the Doctor poured the energy into a spare hand, which he’d lost fighting the Sycorax to save the Earth on Christmas Day (as you do). From this spare hand, the Meta-Crisis Doctor was born. However, someone else was born from that hand as well. Enter "the DoctorDonna"... 

Why can’t Donna remember the Doctor?

On the plus side, Donna obtaining all of the Doctor’s knowledge allowed her to save the entire universe. On the downside, keeping hold of that knowledge was going to kill her. In one of the cruellest moments in the history of Doctor Who, the Doctor had to wipe Donna’s memories containing every trace of him. All their adventures, everything she’d learnt was wiped out in an instant. 

When the Doctor returned to Earth to confront the Master, he was reunited with Wilfred Mott, Donna’s grandfather. Even though Wilf begged the Doctor to see Donna, the Doctor knew the risks and had to refuse. 

That didn’t mean he couldn’t leave his friend a final going away present. Well, we all thought it was going to be final…

What happened to Donna after the Doctor?

There we are then. While she would never be able to remember (and more pressingly be reunited with) the Doctor, Donna was left happily married to Shaun Temple. On top of that, a sizeable lottery win was right around the corner for her! And a Doctor-less future awaited... 

But then, look at what the future holds in 2023 with the 60th Anniversary Specials...

So that all neatly brings us back to the question of…

How is any of this possible?!

Early theories of an alternative universe version of the Doctor, a possible return of the Meta-Crisis Doctor, or simply being a guest appearance of the Tenth Doctor were all proven incorrect by that game-changing regeneration. Admittedly, this is Doctor Who, so they could still somehow be true, in a way...

The idea of this being a version of Donna from before her memory wipe has been floated. That would explain how she could safely meet the Doctor; as it also would if this was a Donna from a parallel universe. Neither of these theories neatly explains what’s happened to the Doctor; but they’d plausibly explain what’s going on with Donna. Let’s file them under ‘possibles’ and return to the Doctor.

David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor

‘Who’ is the Fourteenth Doctor?

Could this strange regeneration be something to do with the Meta-Crisis incident forming a bond between the Tenth Doctor and Donna? While this covers why they’ve been drawn back together, it seems strange that the Doctor has regenerated multiple times since they were last together, without reverting to the Tenth Doctor’s appearance and persona. Neat idea, but probably not. 

Another possibility that has been raised is that the Master’s meddling in The Power of the Doctor has affected the Doctor’s regenerations. We’ve just seen the Doctor confronted with previous versions of themselves, perhaps they’ve been drawn back to another former incarnation. That might even solve how the Doctor’s clothes were changed as well. One to file under ‘Distinctly Possible.’

Who knows…

At this point, all we can do is speculate. For definitive answers, we’ll have to be patient and wait. 

For a year…

Someone bring us a TARDIS! 

Doctor Who will return with the 60th Anniversary Specials in 2023.

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