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).
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!
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…