Doctor Who: Tennant Regenerated into His New Costume to Avoid Drag Connotations, Says RTD

The newly Disneyfied Doctor Who is only a year away from release, with three “hour-long spectacular” 60th-Anniversary specials coming in November of 2023. These episodes will likely answer some of the prevailing questions left from “The Power of the Doctor,” such as why The Doctor regenerated into David Tennant. However, some of these questions have been preemptively answered in recent interviews with returning showrunner Russell T. Davies. The divisive Chibnall and Whittaker era came to an end with “The Power of the Doctor,” the final moments of the episode seeing Whitaker regenerate into Tenant, her clothes burning away into a new costume for the 14th Doctor. Many viewers have questioned the change in costume, as it has never been done before. While the in-universe reason for reason has not been revealed, RTD has explained his meta motivations. In a recent interview with Doctor Who Magazine, RTD said:

I was very certain that I didn’t want David to appear in Jodie’s costume. I think the notion of men dressing in ‘women’s clothes,’ the notion of drag, is very delicate. I’m a huge fan of that culture and the dignity of that, it’s truly a valuable thing. But it has to be done with immense thought and respect. With respect to Jodie and her Doctor, I think it can look like mockery when a straight man wears her clothes. To put a great big six-foot Scotsman into them looks like we’re taking the mickey.”

If RTD did not have the identity he does, these comments would likely be grounds for cancellation. It’s a humorous explanation, if nothing else, and one which fans surmised immediately after the episode’s airing.

Doctor Who David Tennant

Again with Doctor Who Magazine, RTD also revealed how he came to return to the series. Most fans assumed that the BBC went to RTD out of desperation following the depleting viewership with each subsequent Chibnall episode. RTD had repeatedly said over the years that he would never return to the series. However, with this sudden change of mind, the prevailing speculation concurred that begging was the only explanation. RTD has come out to refute this, saying that it was his idea and that he approached the BBC himself. After an online watch-along for “The Runaway Bride,” Catherine Tate’s first episode in the series, Tate and RTD began texting about the possibility of returning. According to RTD, Tate said, “Let’s do it! The Doctor and Donna — The Lost Adventures.” It appears that the original idea was for a miniseries, filling in the gaps in Donna’s story. However, when RTD approached the BBC with interest in doing this miniseries, the discussion soon turned to his overall return as showrunner.

Many longtime fans of Doctor Who have little hope of the series returning to its former glory, even with RTD back. With recent comments from RTD, the current state of Hollywood and the BBC, and Disney’s newly announced influence, there seems to be little chance for a return to quality. Nonetheless, these are interesting revelations that bear discussion. Only time will tell if a resurrection and regeneration of this once juggernaut franchise is possible.

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