Does a Classic-Era Doctor Who Costume Reveal Mrs Flood’s True Identity?

Could this be a clue? Finale SPOILERS.

Anita Dobson and Angela Wynter as Mrs Flood and Cherry Sunday in Doctor Who
Photo: James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

Warning: contains spoilers for Doctor Who “Empire of Death”.

Along with ‘why was Ruby’s gymslip mum wearing a hooded cloak in 2004 Manchester?’ and ‘did the Doctor skip Skaro and Telos on his death-to-death planet-restoring tour?’ another mystery was left unanswered by Doctor Who’s series 14 finale: the true identity of Mrs Flood.

Fans (and outlets) have swapped theories ever since Anita Dobson’s character first appeared in 2023 Christmas special “The Church on Ruby Road” and stared down the camera lens to ask, “Never seen a TARDIS before?” Then, right at the end of “Empire of Death”, the Sundays’ neighbour Mrs Flood returns for another fourth-wall-breaking cliffhanger.

On the Notting Hill rooftop above the Sundays’ flat after Ruby and the Doctor have said goodbye, Mrs F appears Mary Poppins-style, carrying a brolly. Using the clipped RP accent she first unveiled in “The Legend of Ruby Sunday”, she looks into the camera and gives the closing narration:

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“And that’s how the story of the church on Ruby Road comes to an end, with a very happy ending for little Ruby Sunday. But life goes on, doesn’t it? Ruthlessly. What happens, you might wonder? Oh, what happens to that mysterious traveller in time and space known as the Doctor? I’m sorry to say his story ends in absolute terror. [Smiles] Night-night.”

Cue credits.

It’s a creepy moment that boosts the character’s mystery. Is she evil? Good? Neutral? A god of the Pantheon of Discord (so, evil again)? We won’t know for sure until Doctor Who returns. What we can argue about in the meantime, are the potential clues in her costume. This is the first time that Mrs Flood has worn anything other than casual old lady gear, and her look is quite the statement. And specifically, that statement appears to be: “Hi, I’m Romana”.


Romana, or Romanadvoratrelundar, was a Gallifreyan Time Lord who travelled with the Fourth Doctor in TV seasons 16 to 18. She was played in her first incarnation by Mary Tamm, and in her second by Lalla Ward (and voiced in her third by Juliet Landau in the Big Finish audio dramas). In her first appearance in 1978 episode “The Ribos Operation”, she wore this distinctive (and regularly reproduced as cosplay) long, hooded, white fur cloak over a simple long white dress. Look familiar?

It’s not exactly the same, but there is serious overlap between Romana’s Ribos gear and Mrs Flood’s rooftop ‘fit. So much so that any Doctor Who fan might be expected to make the connection. All the better to fool us with? Perhaps.

Romana II chose to leave the Doctor and become the Time Lord of enslaved people the Tharil, whom she planned to help free at the end of 1981 TV serial “Warrior’s Gate”. In spinoff media, her story has continued, but that was her final TV appearance. If Romana survived the “great big cellular explosion” that was the genocide of the Time Lords (as described by Fifteen in “The Devil’s Chord”) then it’s as possible ‘Mrs Flood’ is her regeneration as anything else. Flood did say that she’s always “hiding away”, in the very same episode that Fifteen told Ruby that Time Lords change their faces to “hide [them]selves away.”

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There are other Romana-ish details to Mrs Flood’s new look. She’s also carrying a frilly white parasol similar to this one carried by Mary Tamm’s Romana I wearing her “The Pirate Planet” costume on the cover of Nicholas Briggs’ 2013 Big Finish adventure “The Sands of Life”. Look closely at that parasol too – is it totally mad to think there’s a hint of the Key of Time core in that squared off clear handle? Probably, yes.

And considering that Romana went off with a version of robot K-9 in tow, there’s the question of where Mrs Flood has been kennelling him to think about with this theory.

If Not Romana, Then Who?

Anita Dobson as Mrs. Flood in Doctor Who Christmas Special: The Church on Ruby Road

A proud, young, high-achiever fresh from the Academy, Romana started out in conflict with the Doctor, but they gradually became a pair (in more ways than one – actors Tom Baker and Lalla Ward were briefly married in the early 1980s). They didn’t part on bad terms, but the opposite. Romana made a clear choice, the Doctor respected it, and later told young companion Adric that not only would Romana be alright on her own, but that she would be “superb”.

So, would the Fourth Doctor’s former sparring partner really smile as Mrs Flood does at the idea of the Doctor’s story ending “in absolute terror”? And would Romana call Cherry Sunday “you tiny little woman”? Mrs Flood is clearly a traveller, as we can see from her old-fashioned suitcase covered in travel stickers and luggage tags (Penzance and the Canadian flag both feature). She may also be married, if that large gold ring on the ring finger of her left hand is anything to go by. But her manner, and her addresses to camera, feel more fitting for a deity than a former companion.

Consider her imperious words to Cherry Sunday earlier in “Empire of Death”: “Tell your maker I will come to storm down his gates of gold and seize his kingdom in my true name”. That sounds less Romana-ish, and much more like something a god of the Pantheon might say.

Doctor Who series 14 is available to stream on BBC iPlayer and Disney+.

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