Wild Blue Yonder


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Wild Blue Yonder



First Transmitted

2 December 2023

Final Ratings







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Regular Cast

David Tennant (The Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble)

Guest Cast

Susan Twist (Mrs Merridew), Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott), Nathaniel Curtis (Isaac Newton), Daniel Tuite (The Doctor Acting Double), Ophir Raray (The Doctor Beast Double), Tommaso Di Vincenzo (The Doctor Contortionist Double), Helen Cripps (Donna Acting Double)


Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Tom Kingsley
Produced by Vicki Delow


The TARDIS, out of control, abandons The Doctor and Donna on a faraway, mysterious spaceship, with deadly secrets in every corner.


The Fourteenth Doctor and Donna crash the TARDIS in an apple tree in 1666 right as Isaac Newton was reaching his famous epiphany. They ask him what year it is, and from his answer figure out his identity. Donna is delighted in spite of the fact that that TARDIS is going haywire. She insists on making a joke about the gravity of the situation she and the Doctor find themselves in as they depart. Newton, still thinking about his epiphany, reflects on these last few words, trying to recall them. For his new discovery he has a name – “mavity”.

The TARDIS then lands in an unknown spaceship, heavily damaged. The Doctor places his sonic screwdriver into the latch in order to prime the TARDIS to regenerate, to heal itself from the damage it’s sustained. They take a look around the ship before hearing the TARDIS dematerialising as a result of the Hostile Action Displacement System. At first the two of them despair, but The Doctor explains to Donna that if they resolve whatever hostile action they’ve encountered there’s a good chance the TARDIS will return to them. The two set off into the ship with renewed determination, marching down a long corridor. As they walk, the environment shifts around them and a loudspeaker blares “fenslaw”. Neither of the two knows what this means – the TARDIS translates but has left, and the Doctor doesn’t speak this language.

The two come across a small hovercraft and a slow moving robot, marching down the hallway. The pair find their way to a cockpit and try to decipher what they can from the ship’s computer. There are no life signs on board, and the airlock had been opened once three years ago. The Doctor realises that the ship is one that had fallen through a wormhole and ended up on the edge of the universe, 100 trillion light years from everything else – not even starlight has yet propagated long enough to reach them.

The intercom blares “coliss” and the ship shifts again. The two wander into a room filled with drawers of baseplate repetition filaments. The Doctor asks Donna to move all the ones in a lower drawer to to a higher one – the ship is on idle and needs to be powered back up. The Doctor finds another room with a spindle and works on adjusting it. As Donna moves the plates it grows colder, which she murmurs about. The Doctor acknowledges the change in temperature to her. As the two talk The Doctor occasionally mumbles about his arms being too long.

The Doctor is still back in the room with the spindle and is still working on adjusting it as it grows cold and Donna enters. He’s surprised at how fast Donna was. The two chat, and Donna mentions that her arms are too long. The Doctor turns to look at her and sees her arm to be stretched beyond all proportion, realizing that this isn’t Donna.

Both The Doctor and Donna from the two rooms run back to each other, with their doppelgängers slowly following behind. They claim to have come from nothing, to be Not-Things. They chase The Doctor and Donna, who use the hovercraft to try and outpace them, but the Not-Things grow and twist in size, keeping pace, before eventually tangling together and blocking each other and the whole of the corridor, slowly beginning to untangle.

They climb upwards to a vent but as the intercom blares “brate” and the environment shifts they become separated. The two walk around separately, trying to find the other, and two pairs of Doctors and Donnas unite. The four try to convince their partners that they’re real, through conversation or other means. But each of the Not-Things make mistakes as they’re about to convince the others. The Doctor and Donna flee again, the intercom blaring “gilvane”.

The four find themselves together in a room, and the Doctor and Donna figure out which of them is real by knowing enough about how the other acts. As the Not-Things begin to advance, The Doctor lays down a line of salt, insisting that they can’t cross it without counting every grain. At first the two are dismissive, saying it’s a superstition. But The Doctor insists, it’s a superstition, and it’s real, both at once. The Donna Not-Thing bends down and begins to count as they interrogate The Doctor Not-Thing, who they notice is slowly acclimatising. The Not-Thing explains that they have heard the “noisy, boiling universe”, and wish to venture there to play the games those in the universe do, that have given shape to the Not-Things. The Donna Not-Thing blows away the salt, and the duo advances as the intercom blares “stond”.

The Doctor and Donna run back to the cockpit and lock themselves in, the Not-Things standing outside, slowly copying them more and more as the pair stresses and thinks. In order to combat this they try to think as little as possible, but find themselves unable to do so – the ship just has so many questions. They manage to find the captain of the ship circling the ship having killed themselves, and the Not-Things don’t know why – they need to know why.

The intercom blares “ratico” as The Doctor explains that the captain killed themselves to stop the Not-Things from fully copying them, from knowing what she did to stop the duo from reaching the rest of the universe, slowly, so slowly that the duo could never know what it was. The ship is slowly reconfiguring into a bomb, the words being a countdown. “Vandeen.” All four run after the robot, the trigger walking slowly towards the final button, The Doctor speeding up the countdown to prevent the Not-Things from stopping the self-destruct. “Blinss.” The four scrap as they run towards the robot, the Donna Not-Thing trying to keep the pair away as The Doctor Not-Thing races towards the robot to stop it. “Sensill” As The Doctor Not-Thing gives up on trying to copy The Doctor and becomes quadrupedal in order to out speed the pair, The Doctor realises that as the hostile action is resolved, the TARDIS should know, and the TARDIS begins to rematerialize. “One.” He tries to determine which Donna is real, and pulls in the one that answers his questions to his satisfaction.

As he leaves, the other Donna cries, insisting that he got the wrong one, that she’s real. “Tacsladia.” The robot pushes the button and the explosion begins, rushing to meet her. On the TARDIS, The Doctor turns to face the Donna on board, having scanned her – her arms are ever so slightly too long. He ejects her and Donna rushes in, the pair hugging as the TARDIS dematerialises, flying away from the exploding ship. As they travel back to London, reflecting on their adventure, The Doctor ponders as to whether it was a good idea to use the salt, a superstition on the edge of the universe, where the walls are thin.

The Doctor and Donna land the TARDIS, back near the alley from which they took off in London — a day or two off, according to The Doctor. As they exit they find Wilfred Mott who is overjoyed to see The Doctor, who in turn hugs him in delight. Wild says that he’s never lost faith, The Doctor would come back to save them. As they look around, small explosions and riots break out, and a plane crashlands not far away. Wilf is emphatic, the entire world is coming to an end and the Doctor needs to save them.


The Doctor once spent three years in orbit because the HADS prevented him from landing anywhere.
Isaac Newton misheard Donna make a joke about gravity, instead naming it “Mavity”.
According to a draft version of the script released by Russell T Davies, The Doctor and Donna have traveled past the Condensate Reefs and beyond the Realm of the Boltzmann Brains, beyond matter, light and life.
Donna was born in Southampton.
Being The DoctorDonna gave Donna concurrent access to the everything The Doctor knows; so she is aware of the adventures of the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Doctors. As Donna herself noted though, she cannot see these memories clearly and likened it to ‘looking into a furnace’.
The Cloister Bell can be heard tolling within the TARDIS.
The universe has shrunk to 37.5% of its original size. Thanks to the Flux destroying half of the 75% that was left in 1981; The Master accidentally caused an Entropy wave by cutting off CVEs that vented it into E-Space.
This episode was dedicated to the memory of Bernard Cribbins, who passed away over a year before transmission.
Unlike the other two 2023 specials, The Star Beast and The Giggle, the marketing of Wild Blue Yonder was kept incredibly vague and revealed very little about the plot. The BBC wished to maintain the surprises of the story and Russell T Davies wanted one of the specials to be a complete mystery.[2] According to director Tom Kingsley, the secrecy had naught to do with “any surprise returning actors or villains”, but because “we thought you might find it fun to watch it without knowing what’s going to happen next”.[3]
This story’s debut was mentioned alongside the other 2023 specials in the non-fiction feature Back in Business published in Doctor Who The Official Annual 2024 on 7 September 2023.
The preview of this episode released in DWM 597 revealed a teaser of the plot and a snippet of dialogue between The Doctor and Donna.[2]
It also revealed a cast list consisting of Tennant, Tate, and three other names that had all been replaced with a “[REDACTED]”. These were later revealed to be Nathaniel Curtis, Susan Twist, and Bernard Cribbins.
No cast details accompanied the programme listing in Radio Times, which had the synopsis “In the second of Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary special episodes, the TARDIS takes the Time Lord and Donna to the furthest edge of adventure. To escape, they must face the most desperate fight of their lives. Starring David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Susan Twist.” (original published text)
The title of the episode was named after the song “Wild Blue Yonder”.[2] The song in question is both referenced and played by the TARDIS in the special itself.
David Tennant called this special “unlike any Doctor Who episode ever”, referring to the specials as a whole as “Russell [T Davies] off the leash”.[4]
This was the second story to stream exclusively on Disney+ outside of the United Kingdom.
First given in an advertisement on the BBC, the robot featured in promotional materials was named “Jimbo”.[5] This name was later given in the story by Donna and the Doctor to the robot.
In Doctor Who Magazine Issue 597, Davies teased five words that would play a part in the special: Southampton, vegetable, bean, starlight, and Flux. He also revealed that the history of both the Flux and the Timeless Child would be “dealt with very slightly in this episode.”[6]
This is the first episode following showrunner Chris Chibnall’s departure to reference the Flux and the fact that The Doctor wasn’t born on Gallifrey
This is the seventh story in which the actor playing The Doctor also plays the main antagonist, following The Massacre, The Enemy of the World, Meglos, Arc of Infinity, The Eleventh Hour, and Nightmare in Silver.


After finding a vehicle, the Fourteenth Doctor mimics the Thunderbirds character Parker, saying “Your car, milady”, with Donna responding “Thank you, Parker!”.
Donna mentions the Venom films when talking to The Doctor about mass.


The Doctor and Donna would land on a corrupted TARDIS and be menaced by evil versions of the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors. (This was proven false)


The Doctor’s TARDIS regenerates itself from severe damage as it did in The Eleventh Hour, The Woman Who Fell to Earth and The Ghost Monument. Unlike on previous occasions, The Doctor triggered it rather than it automatically happening and it did not result in the TARDIS’ appearance changing.
The Doctor and Donna are stranded due to the HADS activating as it had done before in Cold War, The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar
The Doctor recalls Donna spilling coffee on the TARDIS console in The Star Beast.
The Doctor licks a substance to determine its properties, a trait that was present in their tenth incarnation seen in The Christmas Invasion, The Idiot’s Lantern and Planet of the Dead. This carried onwards into their eleventh incarnation such as in The Eleventh Hour and Day of the Moon as well as their thirteenth incarnation, like in It Takes You Away.
On learning that he and Donna have arrived in 1666, The Doctor advices Isaac Newton to avoid London. This is due to the Great Fire of London which he inadvertently caused in The Visitation
When posing as Donna, one of the not-things mentions that The Doctor was not born on Gallifrey which they learned in The Timeless Children. In the same conversation, The Doctor states that the Flux “destroyed half of the universe because of me”, referring to the events of The Vanquishers.
The Master previously accidentally destroyed 25% of the universe (which included the Traken Union) with Entropy by closing off the Charged Vacuum Emboitements to E-Space in Logopolis.
Donna quips that The Doctor knows a million languages, which The Doctor corrects as over 57 billion; the Ninth Doctor previously remarked he knew 5 billion languages without the need for the TARDIS’ translation circuits in The Parting of the Ways. Furthermore, The Doctor remarks he doesn’t know the language used at the edge of the universe, recalling how his tenth incarnation did not know the language depicted by the Beast in The Impossible Planet. The need for the TARDIS to help translate alien languages has been established several times, notably in The End of the World, The Christmas Invasion and The Fires of Pompeii.
Upon seeing one another, Donna and her not-thing counterpart remark that they like the other’s appearance. Amy Pond had a similar interaction when meeting her future self in Time.
The Doctor once more loses his sonic screwdriver and TARDIS, forcing him to rely entirely on his intellect, as the Ninth Doctor and Twelfth Doctor experienced in Father’s Day and Oxygen respectively.


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