Doctor Who’s Series 14 Finale Originally Had a Lot More Susan Twist(s) at the End

“The Legend of Ruby Sunday” script had three extra characters.

Susan Triad on stage in a beige suit in Doctor Who episode "The Legend of Ruby Sunday"
Photo: James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

Warning: contains spoilers for Doctor Who “The Legend of Ruby Sunday”.

Praise be for Doctor Who Magazine, the latest issue of which is out now. Without a subscription to it, Doctor Who fans wouldn’t be able to consult our spreadsheets, scratch our chins and raise a hand to say ‘Hang on, Mr Davies, 18 months ago, didn’t you say…?’.

In Russell T Davies’ letter from the showrunner in November 2022’s Doctor Who Magazine 584, he gave the traditional tease of episodes ahead:

“I sit here with ten scripts in front of me (four Specials and six episodes of the New Series, so far, with Episode Seven blinking away on the screen, first line: INT. COFFEE BAR, USA – DAY, 1947, and to continue an old tradition, I can tell you that Special One contains these three words: westerly, pelican, dreams).”

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That last part came to pass in first 60th anniversary special “The Star Beast” when the Doctor recited those three words to bring Donna Noble’s memories of her time in the TARDIS back. The other part though? Anyone who’s seen episode seven “The Legend of Ruby Sunday”, the first half of series 14’s two-part finale, will know that it didn’t feature a 1940s American coffee bar. So what happened to that opening?

According to a new interview with actor Susan Twist in DWM 605, it was part of a scrapped pre-titles sequence for the episode that would have featured three extra cameos from Twist.

Going by the working title of “Chrysalis” in reference to Kate Lethbridge-Stewart’s (correct, as it turned out) theory that Twist’s tech giant Susan Triad might be an unwitting container from which evil would emerge, the episode in its first draft opened not at UNIT Tower but in the USA.

“Susan would have played a nanny in Pennsylvania in 1946, pushing a pram through a park past Albert Einstein and singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson,” explains DWM. “Next scene, the woman is the one who waits: a blue-skinned waitress – 100% Sloogma – serving the Doctor and Ruby in an alien diner.”

After some Sloogma-dialect chat, the Doctor and Ruby encounter the woman again, this time as a human astronaut addressing a colony of giant ants on an alien world and bringing them greetings from “the Earth Imperium of the Emperor Horatio.”

What ended up on screen was a scene of the Doctor at UNIT HQ recapping the woman’s various appearances in the series so far, plus glimpses of a couple of off-screen adventures (“Planet Sloog, she is a Slooma, Planet Varsitay she is a griffin, the Five-Fold Configuration she’s a Bleet…”).

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The woman was revealed to be tech giant Susan Triad, an unwitting lackey of Sutekh the god of death, who had used her as a trap to lure the Doctor to receive his gift of death.

Additionally, stand down, ‘She’s the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan’ theorists, because in DWM 605, writer Benjamin Cook confirms that she’s definitely not and that was all just a smokescreen designed to keep us guessing.

Doctor Who series 14 concludes with “Empire of Death” on Friday June 21/Saturday June 22 on BBC iPlayer, BBC One and Disney+.