'Doctor Who' 50th Anniversary Brings Back Tennant's TARDIS

David Tennant Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Return

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).




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:

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.

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