Now, we know most of these characters probably won’t be coming back in the series due to arrive in 2024 (rebooted to “Season 1”, rather than “Season 14”), but it is fun to speculate. Plus, Ncuti Gatwa just might be with us for 3+ years, so there is plenty of space and time for some of these brilliant characters to return, even if just for one episode.
There will be some spoilers for the 60th Anniversary episodes, so if you haven’t watched them already, what are you doing online? Go watch them!
(This soft reboot, for those who don’t know, is starting the season numbering from “1” again, rather than continuing to season 14, so I will be using this new numbering system when talking about future seasons of the show).
#10 – Davros
We have already seen a new version of Davros in the 2023 Children in Need clip. Skipping past his new look, it would be very exciting to see this classic villain meet the 15th Doctor at some point.
David Tennant and Peter Capaldi’s Doctors have had epic clashes with Davros in recent years, but maybe it is finally time to go back to a time just after Genesis of the Daleks (an absolutely classic story from Doctor Who, with the wonderful Tom Baker in the role as the Doctor).
Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor facing off against this classic foe could make for a darker episode in this soft rebooted era. We probably won’t be seeing much of him in Gatwa’s first season, but perhaps in seasons 2 or 3?
#9 – The Master/Missy
At the end of The Giggle, we saw the tooth with the Master’s consciousness in it picked up by a well-manicured hand. This screams classic Russell T Davies, and definitely teases the return of this classic villain at some point.
While the Master probably won’t be coming back in season 1 of Gatwa’s era, and we have seen a lot of this villain in recent years, it is right for the show to move away from this character for a while. However, if the Master/Missy was to return in season 3, for example, this would be very exciting!
The last two versions of the Master have seen the character take some more diverse forms than previous regenerations. This has made for new and interesting character development (especially in the case of Missy). It would be fun to see this trend continue, but perhaps what better than returning to the classic look, the middle-aged man with a goatee, for Gatwa’s fresh and youthful personality to face up against?
#8 – Clara Oswald
In Face the Raven, Clara Oswald died, and then a couple of episodes later, in Hell Bent, the Doctor removes her from danger at the last second and uses some Time Lord magic to keep her “alive”. She will be forever in that state, no heartbeat, on the edge of life and death.
She gets her own TARDIS at the end of Hell Bent, and runs off to her next adventure in time and space with Me, another immortal. Fans have been wondering what became of these two travellers ever since.
I think it would be a lot of fun for the 15th Doctor to run into Clara and Me on one of his adventures. Perhaps they have got themselves into a scrape that they can’t get out of, with the Doctor crashing in and getting trapped alongside them.
Having three timeless minds together in a room would be a lot of fun, as we have seen in previous episodes with the Doctor either talking to another version of themselves, the Master, Me, and Jack Harkness (there are of course many other instances from Classic Who).
#7 – Graham O’Brien
Graham O’Brien set up a companion support group in The Power of the Doctor and if anything is ripe for a one-off episode of Doctor Who, it is that! Perhaps an alien presence is using the support group to gather information to use against the Doctor, or one or more of the companions start seeing strange things which lead them to attempting to contact the Doctor (like Wilfred Mott did in The End of Time – Part 1).
Graham is one of the 13th Doctor’s best written companions, as the Chibnall era was not known for its fleshed out characters. This is a personal pick, but I think that as the best written companion of that era, and as he organises the companion support group, it is only right that he be the one who returns if we see a story of this type in the future.
#6 – Captain Jack Harkness
We have already seen the return of Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who recently, in Revolution of the Daleks. This was one of Chibnall’s better episodes, but it would be fantastic for Russell T Davies to bring his original character back once again in Gatwa’s era.
I think this new, cheeky, fun Doctor would have a lot of fun in scenes alongside Jack Harkness. Harkness has also had a lot of tragic events happen to and around him while the Doctor never came back to help (see seasons 2, 3, and 4 of Torchwood). This could make for an interesting clash of strong personalities.
We also never get to see how Harkness becomes the Face of Boe, a fate for the character teased at the end of Last of the Timelords. While the mystery certainly makes for an enthralling secret, I would jump at the chance to see how that happens.
#5 – Ace
Ace came back for a one-off adventure in The Power of the Doctor, but we need to see her come back again in Gatwa’s era! I also would not say no to a spin-off…
Both Chris Chibnall and Russell T. Davies have not shied away from bringing back Classic Who companions, which has been wonderful, but it is time to focus on one or two and bring them back for a more solid run, either in the TARDIS or briefly in the TARDIS to then have a spin-off.
This is what we got with the incredible return of Sarah-Jane Smith in School Reunion. Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah-Jane) then went on to lead the spin-off show, The Sarah-Jane Adventures, to great success, before she sadly passed away.
Let’s get another classic Doctor Who companion back and leading their own show – and who better than Ace and her baseball bat?
#4 – Bill Potts
Bill Potts is one of my favourite companions of all time, right up there at the top above nearly everyone else. Her one season with Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor was a fantastic soft reboot of the show, introducing new viewers to the quirky professor who travels through time and space in a little blue box.
Her ending in the show is bittersweet, but mostly it is tragic. Not since the Classic era of Doctor Who have we had such terrifying portrayals of the Cybermen as we got in World Enough and Time / The Doctor Falls. Bill’s gruesome transformation was horrifying for many reasons, but we see her go off travelling the stars with the girl of her dreams in Twice Upon a Time.
It would certainly be difficult to bring the character back after all that, but perhaps a one-off episode with the 15th Doctor running into Bill by accident, during a time when she has been travelling with the 12th Doctor but he’s away doing something.
For an era of Doctor Who that seems to be looking to celebrate queer and other diverse voices, having Bill Potts running about with Gatwa’s Doctor is an exciting prospect, even if it will probably never happen. We can keep dreaming though, right?
#3 – The Fugitive Doctor
The Chibnall era made a lot of mistakes, but Jo Martin’s Fugitive Doctor was not one of them. Was the timeline explained in a satisfactory way? No. Will it ever make sense? Probably not.
But, what we can take from it is that Martin’s Doctor exists in the universe and we need to make the most of her wonderful talent! From the little we have seen from the Fugitive Doctor, we know that she is a badass in a blue box and will take no prisoners. She’s got a chip on her shoulder and she has a lot of growing up to do.
Putting her with, or even pitting her against, Gatwa’s older, more experienced Doctor would make for a fantastic episode or two. Can you imagine them facing down the Mondasian Cybermen, shoulder to shoulder, or perhaps facing off against one another as the Fugitive Doctor seeks to free themselves from the Division using questionable means?
I can, and it is something I would love to see in this new era of Doctor Who.
#2 – Petronella Osgood
With the 60th Anniversary episodes, I was really hoping we would see the ultimate fangirl, Petronella Osgood and her legendary scarf still working for U.N.I.T. I think David Tennant’s Doctor would have bounced off her geeky energy all day!
Ruth Madeley’s Shirley Bingham took over as Scientific Officer of U.N.I.T instead, which more than made up for Osgood’s departure, however this does not completely rule out Osgood’s return. Her character embodied so much of the positive fandom of this show that it would be such a shame not to see her on screen at least once more.
With Osgood’s past experiences working for U.N.I.T and alongside the Doctor, she might be needed for some essential information on an alien threat to Earth, and Bingham might call her in for assistance. They would be an unstoppable force that I would love to see on screen, which is why her character is number two on this list of 10 Characters Who Should Come Back in Ncuti Gatwa’s Era of Doctor Who.
#1 – Martha Jones
And number one on this list of 10 Characters Who Should Come Back in Ncuti Gatwa’s Era of Doctor Who, is of course, Martha Jones. When she returned in the story The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky, I was so excited, because her run as a main companion to the 10th Doctor had been slightly disappointing.
She was always a great character, but Davies wrote her in such a way that she was constantly fawning over the Doctor when she would have been far better as “just a mate”, something Davies realised would benefit the show when he brought Donna Noble back as a main companion in series 4.
Martha has worked for U.N.I.T, worked alongside Torchwood, and is maybe one of the Doctor’s greatest regrets, as Davros points out in The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End: she became a soldier, and it was his fault.
Having Martha come back in one or more of the 15th Doctor’s episodes could also set up a new spin-off, which is a very exciting idea. I would love to see her come back and start up a new Torchwood hub, hopefully with more success than Harkness had… Alternatively, she might work as a freelance investigator into strange occurrences; anything is possible!
That is my list of 10 Characters Who Should Come Back in Ncuti Gatwa’s Era of Doctor Who. Who would you want to bring back the most for this new era? Let me know in the comments!