Doctor Who: when are David Tennant and Catherine Tate returning for 60th anniversary - and who is new Dr Who?

David Tennant and Catherine Tate starred as Doctor Who fan favourites the 10th Doctor and Donna Noble

May has been a great time to be a Doctor Whofan - earlier in the month it was announced that Sex Educationstar Ncuti Gatwa would be stepping into the role of the 14th Doctor, taking over from Jodie Whittaker.

Now, showrunner Russell T Davies has dropped another bomb regarding the future of fan favourite Doctor Who characters, the 10th Doctor, played by David Tennant (Around the World in 80 Days, Good Omens), and his opinionated companion Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate (Hard Cell, The Nan Movie).

This is everything you need to know.

When are David Tennant and Catherine Tate returning?

It has been officially announced that Tennant and Tate will both be returning to the BBC show by showrunner Russell T Davies.

Davies ran Doctor Who from its revival in 2005 until 2010, working with Christopher Eccleston (Close to Me, Where Hands Touch) and Tennant as the Doctor. He left the show in 2010 after the end of season four.

The current showrunner is Chris Chibnall, who took over from Steven Moffat in 2018.

Davies will return as showrunner, taking over from Chibnall, for the 14th season of Doctor Who, 12 years after he first stepped down.

Davies posted the news on his Instagram account, much to the surprise and delight of fans.

Alongside a picture of Tennant and Tate, He wrote: “THEY’RE BACK! The Doctor and Donna! But… how?! He wiped her memory! If she remembers, she’ll die! But, but… is it a flashback? A dream sequence? A lie? A parallel universe?! Alt Doctor? The Land of Fiction?! You’ll find out in 2023 as Doctor Who hits its 60th - diamond! - anniversary!”

The 60th anniversary for the show is in 2023, however a more specific date has not yet been revealed.

In an announcement for the BBC, Davies added: “They’re back! And it looks impossible - first, we announce a new Doctor, and then an old Doctor, alongside the wonderful Donna, what on earth is happening?

“Maybe this is a missing story. Or a parallel world. Or a dream, or a trick, or a flashback.

“The only thing I can confirm is that it’s going to be spectacular, as two of our greatest stars reunite for the battle of a lifetime.”

How did David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s Doctor Who storylines end?

Fans of the show will remember that the 10th Doctor shared his last episode with Donna Noble in two-parter The End of Time in 2010.

The Doctor was forced to wipe Donna’s memories of their time together after gaining all of his knowledge - something that her brain cannot handle and that threatened to kill her.

We last see Donna marrying fiance Shaun Temple (played by Karl Collins). The Doctor anonymously delivers to Donna a winning lottery ticket, something which will solve all of her financial issues.

The Doctor was forced to wipe Donna’s memories of their adventures together to save her life (Photo: BBC)

The Doctor, whose regeneration has been triggered after sacrificing himself for Wilfried Mott, Donna’s grandfather, visits his previous companions, notably Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper (I Hate Suzie, Collateral).

Once in the TARDIS, the 10th Doctor then regenerates into his next incarnation - the 11th Doctor. Tennant’s final words as the 10th Doctor are: “I don’t want to go.”

We saw Tennant briefly reprise his role as the 10th Doctor in the 2013 episode The Day of the Doctor for the programme’s 50th anniversary, appearing alongside the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith (House of the Dragon, Morbius).

Who is the new Doctor?

At the beginning of May, the newest actor to step into the role of the iconic Doctor was announced as Sex Educationstar Ncuti Gatwa.

Talking about the news, Gatwa said: “There aren’t quite the words to describe how I’m feeling. A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared.

“This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same.

“Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor’s metaphorical playground.

Scottish-Rwandan actor Ncuti Gatwa poses after arriving to attend the World Premiere of Netflix’s “Sex Education - Season 2” in London on January 8, 2020 (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

“The entire team have been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so as much as it’s daunting, I’m aware I’m joining a really supportive family.

“Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart but I am giving it all to this show.”

Outside of  Netflix’s highly popular Sex Education, the 29-year-old Rwandan-Scottish actor doesn’t have a huge amount of on screen credits to his name - he starred in a few episodes of the 2015 mini series Stonemouth, as Timidius in Horrible Histories: The Movie and in the 2021 film The Last Letter from Your Lover.

Instead, Gatwa has much more experience on stage. After graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2013, Gatwa secured a spot with the Dundee Repertory Theatre acting graduation scheme.

He has appeared in a number of theatrical productions, including Victoria, The BFG, And Then There Were None, Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare in Love, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Rivals.