Features Time Crash

Published on April 28th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

POLL: Bring back the Classics?

As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, we’re looking back at some of the pivotal tales of all of time and space, taking on one Doctor each month, running up to November – and An Unearthly Child

Concluding this month’s examination of 1983’s Mawdryn Undead, we ask you if you’d like to see some returning characters. You can read Introducing: Mawdryn Undead here.

Mawdryn Undead sits nicely in Season 20, neatly reintroducing the Brigadier (who last appeared in 1975’s Terror of the Zygons) and the Black Guardian, who last swore to get back at the troublesome Time Lord in The Armageddon Factor (1979).

Two Zygons from 1975's Terror of the Zygons

Screened in 1983, the entire season was mooted to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary by bringing classic characters back. This was to varying effect, from Omega returning in Arc of Infinity (a less-than-appreciated tale, let’s say) to the Mara’s triumphant return in Snakedance.

We also saw the White Guardian (in Enlightenment) and the Master (in The King’s Demons) rear their heads again. But the returning threat was side-lined a bit during the ‘Black Guardian Trilogy’ – Mawdryn Undead; Terminus; Enlightenment – which might’ve left fans feeling cheated… if it weren’t for the quality of those tales.

30 years later and Doctor Who has a bigger fanbase than ever; the upcoming 50th anniversary special is perhaps the most eagerly-anticipated episode ever. Is it about time we had another season completely celebrating the Doctor’s long and varied past by bringing back characters…?


In fact, if we look at Series 7, it boasts the return of the Daleks, the Silurians, UNIT, the Weeping Angels, the Great Intelligence (twice!), the Ice Warriors, the Sontarans, and the Cybermen. Furthermore, we’ve had further glimpses at the past: name-checking Metebelis III; the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan; and the HADS; as well as alluding to Amy Pond, the Meddling Monk and the various times he’s donned hats – particularly a fez.

We’ve even seen the Eye of Harmony!

The Eye of Harmony

And naturally, the 50th anniversary special will see the return of the Tenth Doctor, Rose Tyler and the Zygons… at the very least.

This series is steeped in history – but would you like to see a 13-episode run with a returning character/element each episode?

Just think: we could have returning monsters, sure – but we could also have returning companions. Or perhaps something even more radical? (Suggestions welcome.)


Monsters from all eras of the show: from the Wirrn to the Silence; the Haemovores to the Sensorites. Companions to so many Doctors: K9 to Martha Jones; Turlough to Jo Grant. How about returning friends and/or acquaintances? Would you like to see Canton Everett Delaware III again? How about Jago and Litefoot? Or even recent additions to the Whoniverse, Professor Palmer and Emma Grayling? This would be great, right?

Or would it all feel shoe-horned in? Would it exclude casual fans? Would the series feel like its originality has been squeezed out?

It’s over to you…



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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

10 Responses to POLL: Bring back the Classics?

  1. avatar HC says:

    A return of a companion would be great – but not just for an episode… Why not bring Jamie back for a year or two? Jo Grant?

    But yeah, it’s always wonderful to see old friends, isnt it?

  2. avatar sw says:

    I agree it would be great to see Jamie back and I believe Fraser Heinz has said he would be up for coming back. I’d even like to see Yates and Benton back and how about Nessie seeing as the Zygons are back. But not Captain Jack, glad to see the back of him in Doctor who and let’s face it he’s still got Torchwood.

  3. avatar Bradondo says:

    I’d love to see a story where the Doctor visits Scotland to find an older, wiser Jamie as the head of his clan–quite a leap for a former clan piper! The intervening years were historically terrible for the great clans, so it would be fascinating to see a harder and somewhat dispirited Jamie holding his people together as best he can when the Doctor arrives. I think quite a lot could be done with this regarding how Jamie’s supressed memories of his time with the Doctor–eventually revealed to him in the course of the episode–gave him the strength and resourcefulness to lead his clan. It could be called “Return of the Highlander” and feature one of the villains from the original Jamie era.

    • avatar Carl says:

      Bring back the Mara!!!!! If they could round out the Stolen Earth/ End of Time / exploding TARDIS arc with the Black Guardian being behind it all, that would make me happy too.

    • avatar Calli Arcale says:

      That would be unbelievably awesome!

  4. avatar orcrest says:

    The problem with being too self reverential is that you can dilute the story. Yes, Doctor Who has a rich and varies history, but do we need to see old companions galore? James Bond’s 50th anniversary didn’t include all of the old ‘Bond Girls’ in fact it had just the right mix of nods to the past and a cracking story to take the franchise forward. A good model too follow I think.

  5. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Revisiting old companions would be nice. We could get yet another Mara story if the Doctor were to encounter an older Tegan on Earth.

    As for classic monsters, I’ve always wanted to see how the new series, with CGI and bigger budgets, could do justice to one-off TV monsters that had potential but weren’t well realized, like the Wirrn or Tractators.

  6. avatar Geoff says:

    I think it sounds great to have all the old classics back and whenever I have read an announcement about a returning foe my inner fan always squeals in delight and I’m counting down the days until the episode appears, then when it’s on I usually enjoy it….however, when I look back over the last 7 or 8 years of Doctor Who I find the stories I have enjoyed most each series were the ones featuring new enemies, or no distinct enemies, or barely even the Doctor sometimes. So I’m veering towards saying I’d like a few nods to the past but generally keep moving forwards. Just the odd clip like in the Eleventh Hour and the Next Doctor will do me. And frankly I like Matt Smith so
    much I could watch him reading a bus timetable and enjoy it.

  7. avatar David F says:

    The one thing I’d love to see return is the middle-eight of the theme tune. It triggers my childhood nostalgia in a way the main part of the theme tune doesn’t, and somehow, its presence always makes the Who saga feel more epic. I know the trend these days is for shorter title sequences, but with so much music throughout the show, I’m sure Murray Gold could find a way to get it in there somewhere. An anniversary without it would be plain wrong.

    • avatar Bradondo says:

      Yes! I’m planning a fairly ambitious fan film and I’m going to record my own arrangement of the theme–definitely going to to have that middle eight in the closing credits mix. I’m also looking to record a minor key solo piano arrangement in a Chopinesque vein. It seems to work in my head, anyway… :P

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