‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary Brings Back Tennant’s TARDIS

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 14th, 2014 at 11:31 am,

David Tennant Doctor Who Return Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Brings Back Tennants TARDIS

Production on the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special is well-underway but, as is typically the case in the wibbly wobbly timey wimey world of The Doctor, each set photo, official announcement, and casting confirmation, seems to create more questions than answers. Showrunner Steven Moffat has been extremely tight-lipped about the anniversary storyline – only stating “It’s all about the next 50 years, not about the last 50 years. If you start thinking it’s all about nostalgia, then you’re finished. It’s about moving forward.

However, just because the plot of the episode is still (mostly) a mystery, doesn’t mean that fans are entirely in the dark, in addition to a role for classic Who villains, the Zygons, we also know that Rose (Billie Piper) and the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) are set to return. Prior set photos gave us a peak at the fan-favorite actors on set but today, we’re getting our first look at 10 and 11 (Matt Smith) together in costume – along with a glimpse at Tennant’s TARDIS.

There was little doubt that Tennant and Smith would come face-to-face in the episode: expectations for the 50th Anniversary Special are understandably high and a multi-Doctor episode that fails to put the two actors on screen at the same time would be a letdown for most viewers. After all, watching fan-favorite Doctors directly interacting with one another and riffing-on each other’s quirks is a major highlight in prior Time Lord mash-up episodes.

The photo of Tennant and Smith was taken by a fan (and posted on the Doctor Who 24/7 Facebook page).



doctor who matt smith david tennant Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Brings Back Tennants TARDIS


Prior photos of Smith and Tennant together were taken before filming began – and neither were in costume. Meaning that this is our first look at the pair together on set. Fans remain divided on whether or not Tennant is playing an earlier version of the Doctor (prior to regenerating as the 11th) or the half-human half-Time Lord clone – who was stranded with Rose in the parallel universe. That said, the TARDIS featured in this set photo (and other shots that have been floating around) does look like Tennant’s old Police Box – as opposed to the slightly tweaked exterior the show currently uses. After Tennant left the series, Moffat charged the production team with creating a new prop TARDIS – adding a St. John’s Ambulance badge and slight alterations to the windows, among other changes.

Check out a fan-made image of the two TARDIS’ below (Smith’s on the left, Tennant’s on the right) or click – HERE – for a less subtle toy comparison:

Doctor Who TARDIS Comparison 10th 11th 570x320 Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Brings Back Tennants TARDIS

If Tennant’s TARDIS is being used for filming, it’s a near-certainty that the 50th Anniversary Special will see the actor as the 10th Doctor – not the half-human clone. For years, fans assumed that a major reason BBC introduced the Doctor clone was to provide an easy “get out jail free” card if they wanted to bring Tennant back for future cameos. As a result, it seemed like a reasonable assumption that Moffat, given his looking forward not backward comment, would attempt to tie the Anniversary episode into a parallel universe storyline.

That said, Moffat has to be aware that certain fans would be letdown by a multi-Doctor episode that only features 1.5 Doctors – instead of allowing Tennant to truly embrace his version of the Time Lord. Not to mention, given the amount of elements at play in the episode, two Doctors, two companions, U.N.I.T. as well as a the challenge of reintroducing a classic Who foe, trying to weave-in a Universe jumping storyline could have made for an overwhelming (and convoluted) television experience – especially in 3D.

Recent rumors also suggest that the production may have filmed at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff – where the Tennant TARDIS set is on display. There could be some other explanation for the return of an old TARDIS design but it’s looking increasingly likely that when Matt Smith encounters David Tennant in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, he’ll be face to face with number 10.

In the meantime, check out our Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List!

Doctor Who airs Saturday @8pm on BBC America. The 50th Anniversary Special is set to air in late 2013.

Source: Doctor Who 24/7. TARDIS image courtesy of Steve Ricks.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Doctor Who as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. YES!!! I was really fine with either version of 10. but i would rather have the full blood timelord 10 than the clone. I wonder if we will be get a short teaser for the 50th at the end of the season finale? that would be great.

  2. I’ll be fine with whatever, but I was kind of hoping to get a glimpse of Rose just living life with the half-Doctor and everything that comes with it, like kids! Wouldn’t that just freak the Doctor out!

    • It is possible if this is the real 10 that 11 may make an off handed comment about his clone only to quickly backtrack when he realizes that 10 has not yet been cloned.

      Another possibility, though it would not be a favorite among fans, is that the deleted scene for the episode where the 10 clone gets left on the beach is assumed as cannon and the tardis he grew (search for that deleted scene to see what i am talking about) is what him and Rose use in the 50th.

      Personally I think this plot line would be stretching to far and prefer the first option where some how 11 ends up meeting his past self not the clone and maybe makes a nod to the clone without actually going there.

  3. Now let’s find some excuse why Matt Smith’s Doctor dies and regenerates back into David Tennant :)

    I know I know Impossible. But allow my suspesion of disbelief damnit.

    • For the last time, I just wish you people would get the heck over it… Even though I take it that comment was said mostly as a jest.

      • Why the last time? Tennant was great and there’s a huge group who would love to have him back. Bow Tie Boy is like The Cartoon Channel version of The Doctor. I like FezPants, but Tennant was better

        • Yes he was great, but people just have to accept that it’s all part and parcel of Doctor Who that you’re gonna have your own favourite Doctor, but that they all have to move on eventually. I like Tennant myself, but his fanboys have to come to terms with the fact – the show is successful without him and fantasising about the production team wrangling some weird plot twist to bring him back permanently is ridiculous.

          • I like the original run of the show, but the revival just sucks :(

            • By original you mean the pre-2005 classic series I assume? I wouldn’t know though, haven’t seen it.

          • And I don’t think David Tennant would love to make another season of Doctor Who. He said so himself he doesn’t want to come to a point where fans will strangle him out of the tardis. And he’s been doing great outside Doctor Who brand.

        • Hahahahahaha.

          The shoe is on the other foot now. A lot of us who grew up with the classic Doctor feel exactly the same way about ALL of the new ones, sad, shallow caricatures of the originals… Lump it. :P

          Although in all fairness to Matt, he’s definitely the best of a bad bunch.

  4. Guess this finally confirms that hes playing the the 10th doctor and not the clone, since the clone had no tardis with him when 10 dropped him off with rose in the parallel universe.

    • well in the special features of the box set Donna gives the meta-doctor some tardis coral to grow his own TARDIS, though i doubt it would look the same as 10′s TARDIS so im assuming this means 10 is back! :)

      • Watch the beginning of the deleted scene again. Russell T. Davies says:

        “I like to imagine this still happening though, so, one day we’ll come back and put this one back in.”

        With that said, 10.5 said that it takes “thousands of years” in order to grow a tardis. But then Donna went on a big rambling and ended with saying, “You accelerate the growth power by 59.” So, if that means that the growth is multiplied by 59, and let’s say it takes 1000 years to grow a tardis, then it would take almost 17 years to grow a tardis. That would make Rose and 10.5 MUCH older. I’m not very good at math though… so perhaps Donna is talking about exponents and not multiplication?

        So let’s say that 10.5 can grow a tardis in a few years. Why wouldn’t the new tardis have a chameleon circuit and then 10.5 can simply travel to 1965, have the tardis copy a police box, and then he’s got his old tardis look? If I was 10.5, I would totally do that. It would be weird to have something other than a police box!

        I totally hope it’s 10.5. I would be let down if they didn’t have him. Actually, it would be even wilder if they had 10, 10.5, Rose from the alternate universe, and Rose from before Doomsday. Although that would be weird if they had Rose from before Doomsday. It would be better to have 10 and 10.5. But I would be completely satisfied with 10.5. :) Haha it would be funny if Rose and 10.5 had kids. I wonder if that would make the kids 3 quarters human and 1 quarter Time Lord? What then?

    • He could if the included that deleted scene, Russell t Davis even said that he would like to se that back in. And I know he doesn’t write anymore but I think that is what Moffat meant when he said that it is looking to the future not past. For me that says that it will be the clone.

  5. Keep in mind – there’s a deleted scene from Journey’s End in which 10 gives 10.5 a piece of TARDIS Coral – enabling himself and Rose to grow themselves their own TARDIS in the parallel universe. There’s no saying, despite the scene being deleted, whether they’ll decide to tie this in instead – leading back to it being 10.5 and Rose, not 10 and Rose.

  6. All I have to say is wow, I can’t wait to see Tennant and Smith xx

  7. Challenge: can Screenrant get through a Doctor Who post without the words ‘wibbly wobbly timey wimey’ ?

    • Ha! Fair enough, challenge accepted. It’s just such a great way of describing how abstract the storyline can be – but we do use it a lot.

  8. I believe that photo makes it perfectly clear which 10 he is.

    Go back and take a look.

    Did you see it?

    He’s wearing 10′s iconic BROWN suit, not 10.5′s similar blue suit. There’s no way (in my mind) that 10.5 would be wearing that suit.

    I would have been perfectly happy with 10.5 but 10 is fan-TAS-tic! (To borrow 9′s catchphrase; God you’ll be missed Eccleston)

    Then again, there could be more here…

    What if Tennant is playing 10 AND 10.5???

    • My thoughts exactly!

      Seeing as how Billie Piper will be back, I think David will be doing both parts. I don’t think Moffat will hold back.

  9. Billie Piper has not been seen filming alongside David Tennant, Matt Smith and co, so I think DT will be playing both the tenth doctor and the half-human doctor.

  10. What the hell? Dr. Who goes back decades! Mr. Moffat, if you’re not making an all 11 doctor episode,…you need to be terminated as show runner.

    • Do you really think he can control that? The first three Doctors have already passed away.

  11. I think David Tenant in the new Doctor Who Continum was the best Actor
    to play the Doctor and I hope hes back playing the Doctor on a regular basis.
    My preference I could never get used to Matt Smith as the Doctor he was
    just to young. I also liked Bille Piper as the Companion and I hope they bring her back on a regular basis as well both David Tenant and Bille Piper were phenominal Actors playing these parts and I hope that they are returned to the Series on aregular basis going forward.
    I am also looking forward to seeing all of the Old Doctors working together with their different Mannerisms.
    From the Old Series my favorite Doctors were Patrick Troughton and Jon
    Finally, I hope they start showing the Old Series on the BBC Network right away from the beginning to the present and they should find more of the Lost Doctor Who Episodes especially the Web of Fear with Patrick Troughton.

    Thank you,

    Mike S.

  12. By the series of the half Doctor, Tennant gelled his hair up. In series two, he didnt. All scenes filmed for the 50th have his hair down not up. It’s pre-doomsday, explaining Rose’s involvement.

  13. I feel like it would make more sense to have David be 10.2. They wouldn’t have to go back and watch their old performances to act just like them. Billie had to go and do that for her reappearance once (didn’t nail it perfectly; but who cares) it would just be awkward if they had to pretend they hadn’t been away for so long. The fans want to know what life has been like for them since journey’s end.

  14. Tom Baker was IMO a better fit for the role than any of his successors in the old days – and yet I knew people who assured me that the originals had been better. I feel the same way about David Tennant, though Christopher Eccleston did a great job helping reinvent the show, and could have solidified the new role as his own had he not left for Hollywood.

  15. I’m really hoping the story revolves around the 10 clone. I’ve been so curious as to how he and Rose have been getting along and it makes a lot of sense to me, personally, to write the story around that. He’s still just as much of a Doctor to me as the real 10 was and writing a story around him would be so much easier, anyway. They wouldn’t have to worry about spoilers or paradoxes or any of that other mumbo jumbo.

  16. It could just as easily be the half human half doctor Tennant, even though he has a TARDIS. There was a deleted scene from Journey’s End where the actual Tenth Doctor gives the half human Doctor a piece of the TARDIS to allow him to grow his own TARDIS. THis could easily be that TARDIS and that could be the half human doctor. Would also explain how Rose is in it. If this was back in time when the Tenth Doctor was still around, then why wouldn’t we have seen it before and why wouldn’t the Tenth Doctor have known about it. It could be either one and there are explanations for both, but the Doctor knows that he can’t cross back over his won timeline so I think that is more likely and entirely possible that is the the half-human half-time lord Doctor, with Rose, sometime after they got trapped in the parallel world.

  17. For those who are interested or those who haven’t seen this before here’s a fan made trailer

  18. From the DVD Talk Scene in Blink to The Pandorica Opens it seems like Steven Moffat is into his timey-wimey type time travel. With that in mind, it seems more likely he’d have David Tennant playing his Time Lord self, not a half-human character.

  19. i was just curious how they go from david tennant(the best description and portrayel of how the doctor should be) to matt ( no offence your really good but) when it leaves us hanging cause they have changed doctors before when they die another takes his place. now for the 50th episode david comes back i still dont know what episode it is i dont have cable. are we having a time warp to the future back from the past and back to the future again,,,,, or something cause they went from season 4 or 5 from david tennant to matt and no transistion no death just left me in the dark…. am i missing something.

    • @Joseph: There were 5 “specials” for season 5. The Easter(Planet of the Dead) and Christmas(The Next Doctor) specials, plus the Waters of Mars and “The End of Time” which was a 2-parter and had the regeneration scene.

  20. Hello is anyone still here?