10 crucial episodes to rewatch before Tennant returns


  • Revisiting past Doctor Who stories provides valuable insight into character growth and evolution, deepening the appreciation of the return of beloved characters in the 60th anniversary specials.

  • Episodes like “The Celestial Toymaker”, “Spearhead From Space” and “The Christmas Invasion” are essential to understanding the history and significance of the Toymaker, UNIT and the Tenth Doctor.

  • “Turn Left”, “Journey’s End” and “The End of Time” are emotionally charged episodes that are crucial to understanding the bond between Donna Noble and the Tenth Doctor and their subsequent heartbreaking separations.



Like the anticipation around Doctor WhoOn the 60th anniversary of , these ten stories serve as a crucial reminder, paving the way for the return of some of the series’ most beloved characters. With Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), the Doctor (David Tennant) and the Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris) all returning in 2023, revisiting their past adventures is essential for a complete viewing experience. These stories provide invaluable insight into the character traits, alliances, and complex web of the Whoniverse before Doctor Whothe first 60th anniversary special episode of, “The Star Beast”.

Explore the past Doctor Who the stories not only rekindle the nostalgia associated with Donna, the Tenth Doctor and the Toymaker, but also provide context for their growth and evolution. Viewers can rediscover the chemistry between Donna and the Tenth Doctor and witness what made them one of the most iconic Doctor-companion duos. Additionally, understanding the Toymaker’s enigmatic past and motivations adds crucial context to the upcoming storyline, allowing viewers to become familiar with his powers and abilities. As Doctor Who prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, this retrospective journey promises a trip down memory lane and a deep appreciation for the return of some of the Whoniverse’s most fascinating figures.

Related: Doctor Who Season 14 Cast Guide: Every New and Returning Character

ten Doctor Who Season 3, Episode 7 – “The Heavenly Toymaker”

The Toymaker’s only live-action appearance in Doctor Who

The Toymaker and First Doctor from Doctor Who

Released in April 1966, “The Celestial Toymaker” starred the First Doctor (William Hartnell) and his companions Dodo and Steven. The story unfolded over the course of four captivating episodes: “The Heavenly Toy Room,” “The Doll Room,” “The Dance Floor,” and “The Final Test.” This memorable series introduced viewers Doctor Who‘s maniacal toymaker, the immortal entity at the heart of the upcoming anniversary specials. Although the Doctor appeared to defeat the all-powerful being at his own game, the Toymaker hinted that he would make a return – a return he would ultimately wait more than 50 years for.

At the time of writing, “The Final Test” is the only episode of “The Celestial Toymaker” found in the BBC archives. The other three remain missing.

9 Doctor Who Season 7, Episode 1 – “The Space Spearhead”

The Doctor officially joins UNIT

The brigadier raises a questioning eyebrow in the doctor's laboratory

UNIT will play a considerable role in Doctor Whothe future of, both in the upcoming 60th anniversary specials and Doctor Who season 14 with Ncuti Gatwa. Although 1970’s “Spearhead from Space” was not UNI’s first appearance in Doctor Who – which occurred two years prior in “The Invasion” – the episode marked the moment Jon Pertwee’s Doctor officially joined UNIT as a scientific advisor. As such, “Spearhead from Space” is perhaps the best introduction for those looking for a crash course in UNIT and its role in Doctor Who. Additionally, the current leader of UNIT, Kate Stewart, is the daughter of the original commander, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

8 Doctor Who Christmas Special 2005 – “The Christmas Invasion”

First full episode with David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor

THE Doctor Who The 2005 Christmas special is the perfect gateway to the 60th anniversary specials, as it marked the official debut of the Tenth Doctor in the series. A must-see for fans of David Tennant, the sixty-minute special provides invaluable insight into the character, style and abilities of the Tenth Doctor. “The Christmas Invasion” not only introduced the witty, intelligent, dark character that defines the Tenth Doctor, but it also included a critical moment that sets up a major storyline for the Doctor and Donna: the cutting of the Tenth’s hand doctor.

7 Doctor Who Christmas Special 2006 – “The Runaway Bride”

Donna’s first appearance in Doctor Who

Tenth Doctor and Donna sitting on the roof of a building in Doctor Who

Just as “The Christmas Invasion” is crucial to understanding David Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor, the following year’s festive episode, “The Runaway Bride”, is essential to understanding Donna Noble. Catherine Tate was previously known for her comedic work on British television, and while her humor certainly shines through during this Christmas escapade, Donna also showed a lot of heart, emotion, and depth. These qualities ultimately led Tate to return as a full-time professor. Doctor Who companion. To get the full picture of Donna’s return in 2023, it’s essential to revisit her debut in “The Runaway Bride.”

6 Doctor Who Season 4, Episode 1 – “Partners in Crime”

Doctor and Donna reunited

Donna Noble smiles through glass

THE Doctor Who The season 4 premiere was one of the most important chapters in Donna-Doctor’s story, marking Donna’s official introduction as a full-time companion. “Partners in Crime” saw the Doctor and Donna work together to thwart the evil Matron’s plan to force clueless participants into a sinister weight loss program. The humorous dynamic between the Doctor and Donna was on full display here and will give audiences a taste of the infectious on-screen chemistry between David Tennant and Catherine Tate that they can expect to see in Doctor Whobirthday specials.

5 Doctor Who Season 4, Episode 8 – “Silence in the Library”

The beginning of the end for Donna Noble

“Silence in the Library” was one of the final adventures of the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble shared together. Taking the Tenth Doctor and Donna to a library devoid of human life and forcing them to uncover the horrific truths of its secrets, this Doctor Who Season 4’s offering was a tearjerker, famously foreshadowing Donna’s eventual exit from Doctor Who. Not only that Doctor Who The story features several deep moments in Ten and Donna’s history, it also introduced audiences to the full character of River Song (Alex Kingston).

4 Doctor Who Season 4, Episode 11 – “Turn Left”

Donna meets Rose (the first)

Catherine Tate as Donna and Billie Piper as Rose in Doctor Who

Doctor Who “Turn Left” from season 4 was a groundbreaking entry into the Whoniverse. One of the modern Doctor WhoThe rare Doctor-lite episodes, “Turn Left” focused more on Donna, and marked Rose Tyler’s first major reappearance following her release. “Turn Left” launched Donna Noble into a parallel world that showed how much of an impact she had on the Doctor’s life, revealing to the audience what would happen if Donna never met the Tenth Doctor. This story is important to understanding the true depth of the bond between Donna and the Doctor before Doctor WhoIt’s the 60th anniversary.

3 Doctor Who Season 4, Episodes 12 and 13 – “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End”

Donna’s memories are erased

Donna Noble with bright eyes in Doctor Who

This Doctor Who The story contains one of the most poignant and emotional moments in Ten and Donna’s history, and will be directly referenced in upcoming anniversary specials. “The end of the journey” featured the debut of Doctor Donna, in which Donna absorbed the power of the Time Lords. The introduction of Doctor Donna served as the catalyst for one of the Whoniverse’s most heartbreaking moments, when the Tenth Doctor erased Donna’s memory in order to save her life. From that moment, Donna has no memory of who the Doctor is or their time together.. This crucial moment will have largely come back in Doctor Whoupcoming promotions.

2 Doctor Who 2010 Specials – “The End of Days, Part Two”

The Tenth Doctor reluctantly says goodbye

The Tenth Doctor begins regeneration

“The End of Times, Part Two” was an emotional, action-packed special that left its mark the last time David Tennant appeared as the Tenth Doctor. In the heartbreaking climax, the Tenth Doctor spent time saying his official farewell to his most beloved companions, including a new bride, Donna. The Doctor also left Donna the small wedding gift of a lottery ticket. Returning to this story would serve as a good reminder of where the Tenth Doctor left off, as well as Donna’s status before both characters returned in the 60th anniversary specials.

1 Doctor Who Specials 2022: “The Power of the Doctor”

First appearance of the Fourteenth Doctor

“The Power of the Doctor” is the perfect segue into the Doctor Who 60th anniversary special offers, since its events immediately precede them. Witness the harrowing events leading up to the Fourteenth Doctor’s debut, as the Thirteenth Doctor was forced to regenerate to face a formidable alliance of CyberMasters, Daleks and the Master. As third and last Doctor Who special from 2022, “The Power of the Doctor” remains a groundbreaking moment in the Whoniverse. Not only did it signal the arrival of the Fourteenth Doctor and reunite viewers with beloved characters like Kate Stewart, but it was also the first time the Doctor regenerated into a previous form on screen.

  • Doctor Who Poster

    Doctor Who

    Release date:

    Jenna Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi

    Adventure, Mystery, Science fiction


    As the last of the alien species known as Time Lords, the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a time machine larger on the inside than on the outside, seeking adventures in an ancient past and an unimaginable future while also serving as the protector of Earth and humanity. Accompanied by a human companion, the Doctor encounters extraordinary – and sometimes deadly – ​​characters and creatures from the four corners of the universe.

    Doctor Who

    Story by:
    Sydney Newman CE Webber Donald Wilson

    Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse, Neil Cross, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall


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