The Doctor and Donna Noble Have Arrived on Disney+
Season One of Doctor Who is officially on Disney+!
No, I didn’t suddenly forget all the previous seasons of Doctor Who. And no, I didn’t travel in a TARDIS from 1963 to today.
Disney+ has started airing Doctor Who specials in anticipation of the arrival of the new Doctor.
As part of this transition, two familiar faces have returned to the beloved British series.
So, we need an answer to a lingering question. “What game is the universe playing with the Doctor and Donna?”
About Doctor Who on Disney+
In this instance, “international” means everywhere that isn’t England or Ireland.
Disney hasn’t confirmed whether it will air old episodes of the series yet.
Who fans (aka Whovians) know that November 2023 is a big month for Doctor Who, which is celebrating 60 years.
The BBC has lined up any number of events to commemorate the occasion.
One of the most impressive reveals is, for the first time ever, the addition of (almost) EVERY episode of Doctor Who available on a streaming app.
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) October 10, 2023
For the longest time, nobody even believed that was possible due to the fact that some doddering idiots at the BBC taped over old episodes.
So, we’re still missing nearly 100 episodes that are possibly (and perhaps fittingly) lost in time.
Still, Doctor Who officials have done a remarkable job in restoring old episodes of a series that once seemed doomed.
The BBC canceled the program in 1989 before starting over with “season one” in 2005.
That’s the Christopher Eccleston version of the series that elevated Billie Piper to stardom.
Piper’s Rose Tyler actually outlived Eccleston’s Doctor, as the 28 Days Later actor left after the first season.
His absence leads us to…
The Return of David Tennant
In season two of Doctor Who, David Tennant arrived and instantly became the most charismatic and handsome Doctor to date.
Ultimately, Piper would leave Doctor Who after Tennant’s first season, soon to be replaced by my favorite Companion, Freema Agyeman, and, later, Donna Noble.
British comedian Catherine Tate joined Doctor Who for its fourth season, and her casting triggered headlines because she was already quite famous in the UK.
Historically, the BBC has eschewed celebrities for starring roles on the series, instead making its own. This practice has served Doctor Who well during the 2000s.
In fact, Disney fans have the series to thank for Karen Gillan, whom we know as Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and Avengers: Endgame.
Still, the more significant story of the moment circles back to Tate and Tennant.
The actress took a different approach to her Companion relationship with The Doctor.
At times, she was quite judgmental and disapproving. After a while, she grew into an appreciative fangirl.
Ultimately, Donna Noble became The Doctor, a merged being nicknamed The DoctorDonna.
The whole thing was very sci-fi and impossibly British, and I’ll level with you. At the risk of alienating Whovians, I hated it.
Season four was my least favorite of the 21st-century revival. However, I am in the vast minority here.
British audiences treasured Tate’s take on the character and have begged for Noble’s return for 15 years and counting.
They’re apparently about to get their wish.
Doctor Who on Disney+
As part of the Disney+ deal, the BBC has agreed to reset the timeline a bit.
Doctor Who will start over again with a “season one” for the second time in 18 years.
Yes, that’s a bit weird, but the tactic is also understandable.
If Disney+ fans turned on Doctor Who and saw the start of season 14, they’d think two things.
The first is, “Where are the first 13 seasons of episodes?” Disney+ may or may not gain the rights to those. The outcome is far from certain.
A reasonable second thought is, “I’m not going to jump into a show that’s 13 seasons old. I’d miss too much!”
Instead, the BBC has brought back its most lauded Doctor Who storyteller, Russell T. Davis, to create a series of connecting specials.
You can think of these as extended episodes or mini-movies, and they’ve been a staple of the Doctor Who playbook for a while.
On November 25th, the BBC debuted the first of three of these new stories.
Tennant and Tate will return as their characters, although Whovians will be quick to point out that The Doctor will be slightly different this time.
That’s because the three specials will set the stage for the arrival of the next actor to take on the iconic role of The Doctor.
New Doctor, Old Stories
Ncuti Gatwa, an accomplished Shakespearean actor who played Eric on Netflix’s Sex Education, will take over as The Doctor, replacing Jodie Whitaker.
So, the three Doctor Who specials soon to air on Disney+ will fill in the gap that leads from recognizable past Doctors and Companions to the 15th Doctor.
Technically, November 23rd marks the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who.
The BBC will air specials from November 25th through December 9th to explain the story of the 14th Doctor, who was also the tenth Doctor.
Whitaker, the first woman to play The Doctor, was technically the 13th Doctor. So, Tennant somehow precedes AND succeeds her.
This show’s logic will drive you mad if you take it too seriously, but you shouldn’t.
Doctor Who works best as a lighthearted comedic sci-fi show that will sometimes make you think.
Disney+ is lucky to get it, and you’ll understand why once you watch David Tennant and Catherine Tate in these three specials.
Also, you’ll spot a Disney favorite in the poster. Neil Patrick Harris portrays one of the villains this time.
What game is the universe playing with the Doctor and Donna? ❤️❤️➕🔷#DoctorWho returns on 25th November on @BBCOne and @BBCiPlayer in the UK, and @DisneyPlus in the rest of the world. pic.twitter.com/jK9EmyRS3n
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) November 6, 2023
I have to think Disney will acquire the rights to stream the 21st-century Doctor Who episodes at some point, and I highly recommend them.
Until then, try the first streaming special, which is now available on Disney+, and learn what game the universe is playing with The Doctor and Donna Noble!
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