Every Tenth Doctor Easter Egg in Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary

The following contains spoilers for the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials, now streaming on Disney+ and BBC iPlayer.


The Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials took fans on a trip down memory lane as David Tennant returned as the Doctor, alongside Catherine Tate as companion Donna Noble. The duo first appeared alongside each other in the 2006 Christmas special, “The Runaway Bride,” before Donna became a full-time companion throughout Season 4 of Doctor Who in 2008. Tennant’s return came as a stark departure from previous stories in which past Doctors have come back, though. Rather than appearing as the Tenth Doctor again, Tennant came back as the Fourteenth Doctor, a brand new incarnation with his old face inexplicably returning.


While the Fourteenth Doctor was different from the Tenth Doctor, there were plenty of nods to Tennant’s previous tenure on Doctor Who. This new incarnation kept many of the Tenth Doctor’s mannerisms and personality traits, essentially reviving the Tenth Doctor while imbuing him with the benefit of all his experiences throughout his eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth lives. Along with the return of the Tenth Doctor’s last companion, Donna Noble, this allowed the 60th Anniversary specials to revisit some key moments from the Tenth Doctor’s life and continue a few traditions that ran throughout Tennant’s first go around as the Time Lord.


10 Donna Noble Misses the Aliens

The 10th Doctor watching Donna Noble's reaction in Doctor Who

Season #

Episode #

Episode Title

Director

Writer

Air Date

2

Christmas Special

“The Runaway Bride”

Euros Lyn

Russell T Davies

Dec. 25, 2006

A tradition that began with Donna Noble’s very first appearance on Doctor Who was her tendency to miss every major alien invasion of Earth that featured on the sci-fi show. In “The Runaway Bride,” the Tenth Doctor was surprised to learn Donna had missed the previous Christmas’ invasion by the Sycorax due to a hangover and had been scuba diving in Spain while the Daleks and Cybermen did battle in “Doomsday.”

The first of Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary specials, “The Star Beast,” reintroduced Donna following her memory wipe at the end of her adventures with the Doctor. Reverted to her old clueless ways, Donna busies herself stacking boxes for her daughter while a spaceship falls through the sky over their heads. This prompts Donna’s daughter, Rose, to ask her mother how she always manages to miss everything.

9 Rose Tyler… Or Noble

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When Doctor Who returned to television in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, the series also introduced Billie Piper as the Doctor’s new companion, Rose Tyler. Rose stayed beyond the Ninth Doctor’s tenure, watching him regenerate into the Tenth Doctor. Despite some initial distrust, Rose soon grew close to the new Doctor, while he started to develop romantic feelings for her as well.

The Tenth Doctor wasn’t quite human enough to ever confess his true feelings to Rose. Ultimately, she ended up stuck in a parallel universe, sharing her life with a half-human duplicate of the Tenth Doctor. The Fourteenth Doctor was more than a little surprised to learn Donna now had a daughter named Rose. It soon transpired that Rose Noble, who is transgender, had chosen the name Rose as she had inherited the Doctor’s memories from her mother.

8 “Outer-Space Dunce”

Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, opposite David Tennant's Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who.

Season #

Episode #

Episode Title

Director

Writer

Air Date

4

4

“The Sontaran Stratagem”

Douglas Mackinnon

Helen Raynor

April 26, 2008

Donna’s friendship with the Doctor blossomed out of their irreverent banter with one another. Unlike other companions, Donna was never truly overwhelmed by her travels in the TARDIS. She kept a strong sense of herself and kept the Doctor grounded, often puncturing his wide-eyed wonder at his adventures with her own blunt, down-to-earth brand of humor.

“The Sontaran Stratagem” saw Donna tell the Doctor she was leaving, prompting an emotional speech from the Doctor about how much Donna meant to him, until he realized she only meant that she was popping home for a visit before coming back. Donna promptly put the Doctor in his place, calling him a “great, big, outer-space dunce.” The moment was mirrored by the first special, “The Star Beast.” The Doctor offered his deepest condolences after Donna told him her grandfather was no longer with them — only for her to call him an idiot when she told him Wilf was just in sheltered accommodation.

7 Slapped by a Companion’s Mother

David Tennant's Tenth Doctor rubs his face after being slapped by Martha Jones' mother on Doctor Who.

Season #

Episode #

Episode Title

Director

Writer

Air Date

1

4

“Aliens of London”

Keith Boak

Russell T Davies

April 16, 2005

3

6

“The Lazarus Experiment”

Richard Clark

Stephen Greenhorn

May 5, 2007

During showrunner Russell T Davies’ first era of Doctor Who, the Doctor picked up on a pattern of his companions’ mothers slapping him when they met. This first occurred in Season 1’s “Aliens of London,” when Rose Tyler’s mother, Jackie, slapped the Ninth Doctor, whom she believed had abducted her daughter. When Martha Jones’ mother, Francine, slapped the Tenth Doctor in “The Lazarus Experiment,” he commented “Always the mothers, every time.”

“The Star Beast” called back to this tradition with Sylvia Noble, Donna’s mother. Up until then, she was the only mother of one of the Tenth Doctor’s companions who hadn’t slapped him. However, when the Doctor showed up at the Nobles’ home, knowing Donna’s life would be endangered if she remembered him, Sylvia slapped the Fourteenth Doctor. In response, he muttered to himself “Here we go again.”

6 “Binary, Binary, Binary”

Donna Noble pleads with the Tenth Doctor not to wipe her memory in Doctor Who Journey's End

Season #

Episode #

Episode Title

Director

Writer

Air Date

4

13

“Journey’s End”

Graeme Harper

Russell T Davies

July 5, 2008

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At the end of “The Star Beast,” realizing that the only way of stopping the Meep’s ship from destroying London is with Donna’s help, the Doctor is forced to restore her memory and endanger her life. The Doctor provokes Donna’s erased memories into returning with a series of trigger words, which she eventually starts reciting with him. The last one is “binary,” which she repeats several times.

This echoes the moment her mind started to fracture in “Journey’s End,” after absorbing the Doctor’s Time Lord consciousness. The first sign that Donna’s mind was suffering came when she tried to advise the Doctor on how to fix the TARDIS’ chameleon circuit, but got stuck repeating the word “binary.” In “The Star Beast,” Rose also repeats the word, but as “non-binary,” reflecting her coming to terms with her own identity.

5 Donna Remembers the Daleks

Three Daleks against a red background

Season #

Episode #

Episode Title

Director

Writer

Air Date

4

13

“Journey’s End”

Graeme Harper

Russell T Davies

July 5, 2008

In the third of Doctor Who‘s 60th Anniversary specials, “The Giggle,” the Doctor and Donna find themselves exploring the realm of the Toymaker. Trapped in a twisting maze of endless corridors, seemingly without beginning or end, Donna tries to comprehend the Toymaker’s senselessness by comparing him to other villains she faced. She tells the Doctor she could understand the rationality of beings such as the Ood, the Adipose, and even Davros and the Daleks.

Specifically, Donna makes reference to the fact the Daleks “built a great big bomb.” The bomb Donna is referring to is the Reality Bomb — a weapon made up of 27 planets, designed to cancel out the electrical energy that binds all atoms together. As Davros told the Doctor, the Reality Bomb would have wiped out every single universe, bringing about the end of reality itself.

4 Donna Noble, Fastest Typist in London

Catherine Tate as Donna Noble on the Doctor Who 60th anniversary special, The Star Beast.

Season #

Episode #

Episode Title

Director

Writer

Air Date

2

Christmas Special

“The Runaway Bride”

Euros Lyn

Russell T Davies

Dec. 25, 2006

4

12

“The Stolen Earth”

Graeme Harper

Russell T Davies

June 28, 2008

4

13

“Journey’s End”

Graeme Harper

Russell T Davies

July 5, 2008

When the Doctor first met Donna in “The Runaway Bride,” she was doing temp work as a secretary. This was referenced again when she returned to Doctor Who on Season 4. “The Stolen Earth” saw Donna put herself down as “just a temp,” referencing her “100 words per minute” typing speed. The following episode, “Journey’s End,” saw her triumphantly refer to herself as the “best temp in Chiswick — 100 words per minute.”

In “The Giggle,” the Doctor gets Donna set up on UNIT’s computer network, so that she can help them locate the Toymaker as he travels to the 21st century. He tells UNIT there is “no-one in London faster on a keyboard.”

3 The Master

The Master dies in the Doctor's arms in Doctor Who

Season #

Episode #

Episode Title

Director

Writer

Air Date

3

13

“Last of the Time Lords”

Colin Teague

Russell T Davies

June 30, 2007

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Season 3 of Doctor Who brought back the Master for the first time in the series’ modern revival. This villainous Time Lord, played by Derek Jacobi in “Utopia” and then John Simm throughout the season finale, took control of the entire Earth for a year. When his work was undone by the Doctor and Martha Jones, time was reversed and the Master was shot by his wife, Lucy Saxon.

The Doctor burned the Master’s body on a funeral pyre, but a ring survived and was seen being picked up by a mysterious hand with red fingernails. In “The Giggle,” the Toymaker reveals he trapped the Master in his gold tooth. When the Toymaker is defeated, this tooth falls to the floor and is once again picked up by a hand with red nails, to the sound of the laughter of the Master’s many incarnations.

2 “Allons-y!”

Tenth Doctor Voyage Of The Damned

While the Fourteenth Doctor was older, wiser and burdened with more pain than the Tenth Doctor, these two incarnations still had more than just a face in common with each other. The Fourteenth Doctor picked up several of the Tenth Doctor’s quirks and mannerisms and chief among them was his oft repeated catchphrase of “allons-y!”

Among other instances, the Fourteenth Doctor most notably uttered “allons-y” when he started to regenerate. Though the Doctor’s surprise bigeneration took events down an unexpected path, the Doctor had clearly intended this to be his final word in his fourteenth incarnation.

1 “Love the Mole”

The Tenth Doctor consoles an offscreen Rose in Born Again, a Doctor Who Children In Need minisode.

Season #

Episode #

Episode Title

Director

Writer

Air Date

1

Children in Need Special

“Born Again”

Euros Lyn

Russell T Davies

Nov. 18, 2005

The Fourteenth Doctor’s final nod to the Tenth Doctor was an obscure one, as it referenced a moment that didn’t occur in a regular episode of Doctor Who. Instead, the reference was to a moment seen in the 2005 Children in Need mini episode, “Born Again,” which showcased the Tenth Doctor’s very first moments of life.

In “Born Again,” the Doctor examines his new body. Among other observations, he notices he now has a mole between his shoulder blades and tells himself to “love the mole.” At the end of “The Giggle,” the Fourteenth Doctor is seen settling down with Donna’s family. When Sylvia says that Wilf is out shooting moles, the Doctor assures the family that he gave the moles a forcefield, saying “I love the moles.”

Doctor Who returns to Disney+ and BBC iPlayer this Christmas, in “The Church on Ruby Road.”

Doctor Who 2005 Poster

Doctor Who

The adventures in time and space of the alien adventurer known as the Doctor and his companions from planet Earth.

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