Doctor Who’s Anniversary Anthology Is Returning for a Mystery New Episode


Last year, one of the best aspects of celebrating Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary—aside from the pretty great specials themselves—was Tales of the TARDIS, the special anthology-format retelling of classic Doctor Who episodes with newly recorded interstitials from classic Doctors and companions. Now, the series is coming back: with a twist and a pretty big clue as to what to expect from Doctor Who’s current season.

The BBC has confirmed (via the Radio Times) that Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson will appear as the 15th Doctor and Ruby Sunday in a special Tales of the TARDIS episode set to broadcast in the UK on both BBC Four and the iPlayer streaming service on Thursday, June 20—the day before the final episode of the current season of Doctor Who, titled “The Empire of Death,” will air. No further details about the broadcast have been announced beyond Gatwa and Gibson’s appearance in newly created material.

However, there is a lot to speculate about thanks to the announcement. So far, Tales of the TARDIS has been used to broadcast cut-down versions of classic Doctor Who serials, winnowing multi-episode stories into a more digestible omnibus format through the interstitial material. And considering this time the interstitials will feature the 15th Doctor and Ruby rather than a classic Doctor and companion, why else would this new Tales episode exist if their story in the current season of Doctor Who didn’t have links to a classic storyline from years past?

There’s been a persistent rumor running up to this season that the classic Who villain Sutekh—the dog-like member of the alien race known as the Osirans that, in Doctor Who, would inspire the gods of Ancient Egyptian mythology—would return as a major antagonist. Sutekh has only previously appeared in one Doctor Who story, the 1975 4th Doctor and Sarah-Jane Smith story “Pyramids of Mars,” but has been fleshed out several times since in audio dramas by Big Finish. If Sutekh was indeed somehow going to play a role in the final episode, a Tales of the TARDIS dedicated to “Pyramids of Mars” that essentially acts as the Doctor filling in Ruby on his history with the insidious Osiran would make sense, especially to give audiences who’ve jumped aboard with the new era of the show some extra background info, too.

But that could apply to any classic villain or character that could appear in the new season—after all, in “The Devil’s Chord” the Doctor already mentioned his past life living in London as the First Doctor, with his granddaughter Susan, to Ruby. Does that mean a long-rumored Carole Ann Ford return is on the cards? Not necessarily.

Whatever it all means, we won’t have long to find out: Tales of the TARDIS returns on June 20.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.



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