Doctor Who Anniversary: What is Russell T Davies Hiding About “Wild Blue Yonder”?

The biggest mystery of Doctor Who’s three 60th anniversary specials is its second episode. But showrunner RTD has just revealed some titillating new details…

David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Doctor Who episode Wild Blue Yonder
Photo: BBC

WARNING: contains minor SPOILERS for Doctor Who episode “Wild Blue Yonder”

We’ve been speculating about the 60th anniversary Doctor Who specials for well over a year now, with one detail after another being drip-fed to fans via announcements and trailers, and episode one “The Star Beast” having recently had a starry premiere screening, but with mere weeks to go we still know next to nothing about the second episode, “Wild Blue Yonder”.

This was a deliberate choice by showrunner Russell T Davies. Speaking in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Davies revealed his dream that the second special would air with no previews whatsoever:

“This is the secret one,” Davies explained, “I wanted to take one of the Specials and say ‘Let’s protect this one. Let’s try to reveal nothing about it’”.

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While the magazine’s preview feature for “Wild Blue Yonder” keeps the cards firmly close to its chest, it does reveal some intriguing snippets of new information:

The Doctor and Donna Will be in the Middle of “Hostile Action”

DWM confirms that “only one major clip” from the episode aired in the most recent trailer: a ten-second sequence where Donna famously talks about kicking something’s arse.

Now the magazine has revealed the dialogue The Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna (Catherine Tate) share in the direct lead-up to this exchange, which confirms the TARDIS abandons them in the middle of a dangerous Hostile Action situation:

DOCTOR: There’s one hope. A mechanism on board the TARDIS called the HADS. Hostile Action Displacement System. If the TARDIS is in danger, it goes away.

DONNA: Goes where?

DOCTOR: Anywhere. And it only comes back when the danger is gone. I turned it off, years ago. I mean, I’d never land anywhere. Once spent three years in orbit. I thought, oh, turn off the HADS. But if the TARDIS is rebuilding itself, maybe it clicked back on.

The scene continues until Donna’s arse-kicking line (which already seems to have become a fan-favourite even before the episode has aired).

“Wild Blue Yonder” is About How the Doctor and Donna React in “Extreme Circumstances”

RTD teased:

“The main thing to say about this episode is I knew I had David and Catherine. Two of my favourite actors… this was a chance to focus on them; to see where The Doctor and Donna have been, what they think, what they’re like in extreme circumstances, how they react to each other now. And it’s glorious.” 

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Davies also revealed that this episode was a favourite of the show’s directors (including one of series 15’s – Peter Hoar), and that much of it is shot on physical sets “of a size I’ve not seen before.” And – in textbook Who style – there’ll be lots of long corridors. And running. 

It Will Expand on Some Key Chris Chibnall Canon

In an earlier edition of Doctor Who Magazine, Davies teased five words that appear in this special – Southampton, vegetable, bean, starlight and Flux – and another tidbit of info he reveals in the latest magazine is:

“The history of The Flux and The Timeless Child is dealt with very slightly in this episode.”

That’s something that should be of interest to fans wondering how Davies would deal with continuity from Chibnall’s lore-exploding addition to the Doctor’s story.

Look out for Three Names

Davies revealed three new words in the “Wild Blue Yonder” script, and they all appear to be names:

“Once you unravel Fenslaw, Collis, Brate then the whole thing clicks into place.”

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Maybe one of them is the name of the weird little robot which appeared in the episode’s official poster?

But What About Those Three Redacted Episode Stars?

In the magazine’s episode preview, the “Starring” section lists “David Tennant, Catherine Tate, [REDACTED], [REDACTED], [REDACTED]”

That’s three pretty sizeable redactions given they’re supposed to be starring in “Wild Blue Yonder” alongside The Doctor and Donna. And given the episode was almost entirely shot in studio, it would be easier to keep some exciting cast secrets…

Speculation is rife. Could it be three of the former “New Who” Doctors: Christopher Eccleston, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi or Jodie Whittaker? Or maybe three past companions – maybe we’ll finally get Freema Agyeman back? Would it be overkill to expect Billie Piper to return as Rose again?! 

Or, as many Who fans are hoping, could we be getting the return of Alex Kingston as River Song? After all, we first met her in a Doctor/Donna episode “The Silence In The Library”, and while she seemed to recognise him, he had no recollection of her. Maybe that’s because she actually met Fourteen…

Luckily, we’ve only got a couple of weeks of torturous speculation to wait before all is revealed on December 2nd.

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The latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine is out now. Doctor Who returns for the first of its 60th anniversary specials on Saturday 25th November on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK and Disney+ worldwide