Rachel Talalay, director of this year's Doctor Who Christmas special "Twice Upon A Time", has suggested that scenes from First Doctor adventure "The Tenth Planet" may be re-imagined or recreated in the forthcoming episode. "Twice Upon Time" will not only act as Peter Capaldi's farewell to the T.A.R.D.I.S. but showrunner Steven Moffat will also be stepping down, with the duo set to be replaced next season by Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall respectively.
In the closing moments of the Doctor Who season ten finale, the Twelfth Doctor was steadfastly refusing to regenerate and stumbled onto an icy planet where he came face to face with his original incarnation (played here by David Bradley). Since then, new actors have been cast as First Doctor assistants Ben and Polly in the form of Jared Garfield and Lily Travers. The theme, setting and assistants all seem to point towards the Christmas special taking place at the same time as the First Doctor's final 1966 jaunt, "The Tenth Planet" but the connection to that episode may go deeper than fans first thought.
Speaking to the This Week In Time Travel podcast, Talalay claimed that she had become very familiar with "The Tenth Planet" in preparation for directing the Christmas special, stating:
“I feel like I’m an expert in the Tenth Planet! I think I’ve watched Tenth Planet more than anybody. Sections of it I’ve watched over and over again for reasons that will become clearer over Christmas and also different reconstructions and the animated reconstructions. So yeah, I’ve watched sections of it a lot.”
Naturally, many details of "Twice Upon A Time" are shrouded in secrecy and Talalay's comments can be interpreted in several ways. Firstly, it's possible that the director is simply swatting up on the classic episode as research into the characters and setting in order to deliver authentic new versions of the First Doctor and his assistants.
However, by stressing that she has watched some sections more than others, Talalay does seem to be implying a deeper significance and it's worth remembering that parts of "The Tenth Planet" are sadly missing from the BBC archives. As such, could Moffat and Talalay have conspired to recreate certain scenes from that classic episode? Alternatively, will "Twice Upon A Time" run concurrently to "The Tenth Planet" with the two narratives intertwining throughout?
If either scenario proves to be true, the move could be a divisive one for Doctor Who. Longtime fans who are familiar with William Hartnell's First Doctor will no doubt be overjoyed at the inclusion of this classic Cybermen tale and the opportunity to fill-in lost footage but many modern fans are unfamiliar with the franchise's older material and could feel alienated by its inclusion. As ever, only time will tell.
Doctor Who "Twice Upon A Time" airs Christmas Day on BBC.
Source: This Week In Time Travel