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Russell T Davies bids farewell to late Bernard Cribbins after Doctor Who cameo

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has said ‘goodnight and goodbye’ to the late Bernard Cribbins after the star featured in one last episode for the show’s 60th anniversary (Ian West/PA)
Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has said ‘goodnight and goodbye’ to the late Bernard Cribbins after the star featured in one last episode for the show’s 60th anniversary (Ian West/PA) Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has said ‘goodnight and goodbye’ to the late Bernard Cribbins after the star featured in one last episode for the show’s 60th anniversary (Ian West/PA)

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has said “goodnight and goodbye” to the late Bernard Cribbins after the star featured in one last episode for the sci-fi show’s 60th anniversary.

In the second instalment of the trio of specials, Cribbins made a cameo appearance as Wilfred Mott, grandfather of the Doctor’s companion Donna Noble, a role he played between 2007 and 2010.

The moving scene saw the veteran actor, who died in July 2022 aged 93, reunite with David Tennant’s Time Lord and Catherine Tate’s Donna.

Davies revealed they had written more scenes for Cribbins to feature in but he died before they had chance to film them.

Writing on Instagram, alongside a photo of Cribbins, Tennant and Tate from the scene, Davies said: “Farewell, old soldier. That’s goodnight and goodbye to our beloved Bernard.

“Wilf is mentioned in dispatches next week, all safe and sound, don’t worry, but that’s the only scene Bernard was able to film.

“We had a wonderful time! We’d never lost touch, in all these years, so I phoned him up and asked him to come back. He sniffed and said ‘Let me see the script’.

“We had a wonderful readthrough with 120 people at which he was adored by one and all.

“A lovely dinner in Cardiff where he regaled us with tales galore, twinkling as ever.”

Davies said more details about the filming in Camden, north London, can be seen in the extra programme Unleashed and in the Doctor Who magazine.

He added: “We had a little more written, but it wasn’t to be; at 93 years old, the old soldier had given us his best, and stepped away.

“Night, Bernard, and thank you. I love you.”

The episode, titled Wild Blue Yonder, sees the Tardis take the Doctor and Donna to the furthest edge of the universe before they land back in London.

As they leave the blue telephone box, Donna rushes to embrace Wilfred, who is sitting outside in a wheelchair.

Wilfred is further shocked when the Doctor hugs him and says: “Wilfred Mott – now I feel better. Now nothing is wrong, nothing in the whole wide world! How are you old soldier?”

However, all is not well as Wilfred says he has told their family to “bunker down” while he keeps watch.

The Doctor and Donna’s confusion is answered by an explosion and fighting breaks out around them.

Wilfred says: “It’s everybody, it’s everything. They’re all going mad. You’ve got to do something, Doctor. The whole word’s coming to an end.”

– The final episode in the 60th anniversary trio, titled The Giggle, will air on December 9 on BBC One.