Bernard Cribbins

M is for Wilfred Mott

Wilfred “Wilf” Mott is just a wonderful character, played with so much warmth by the late, great Bernard Cribbins. He is kind, caring, funny, and has a strong sense of duty and clearly loves his daughter Sylvia and granddaughter Donna a lot.

The familial dynamics between the three of them are all very true to life as they sometimes get frustrated with each other but they still love on another. I love how Wilf listens to Donna and encourages her to follow her dreams and the Doctor, wanting the best for her while still being there to welcome her home with a huge hug. Compared to some other family members of companions, Wilf is very encouraging of Donna traveling with the Doctor, even if it can be dangerous. His little speech to Donna is just wonderful, “And you go with him, that wonderful Doctor. You go and see the stars… Then, bring a bit of them back for your old Gramps.” Wilf is probably the best TV grandfather I’ve ever seen, and is the kind of character I’d love to be real and to have in my life.

I love Wilf’s can-do attitude and how he’s almost relentlessly positive at times. He recruits his fellow pensioners to go search for the Doctor, he convinces some aliens to help him rescue the Doctor, and he is incredibly selfless, willing to die for a stranger. Wilf is the kind of supporting character I was always happy to see, no matter for how short a time so the fact he became an official companion at the end of David Tennant’s tenue as the Doctor was brilliant. I’m looking forward to seeing him again in the 60th anniversary specials but I’m sure it will be a bittersweet feeling.

In my post for “The End of Time” I mentioned the scenes between Wilf and the Doctor and how they all made me cry so I have to share the one where not only does the Doctor say he’d be proud if Wilf was his dad, but Wilf also begs the Doctor to not die. It gets me every time.

E is for The End of Time

“The End of Time” two-part story was the end of an era. It was the end of David Tennant’s run as the Tenth Doctor and was the end of Russell T Davies’ time as the showrunner. It is perhaps an overly sentimental story but I don’t care, I absolutely loved it.

It has the return of the Master (played by John Simm), it has Wilfred Mott getting to fill the companion role, the potential return of Gallifrey, and it’s also fun, action-packed and has a twist that blew my teenage-mind when I first saw it.

It’s the different character dynamics I love so much in these episodes. The Doctor and the Master have such an interesting almost love/hate relationship and Tennant and Simm have great chemistry too. The Doctor and the Master understand one another in a way that humans cannot, they have so much history and even the Master still cares about the Doctor in his own twisted way. One of my favourite moments is the Doctor and the Master saving each other, especially the little smirk the Master has after he realises what the Doctor plans to do.

Then there’s Wilf and the Doctor. On rewatch, every single conversation between the Doctor and Wilf made me cry – especially when they’re both on the spaceship. The Doctor saying he’d be proud to have Wilf as his dad and Wilf begging him not to die. They care about each other so much and they’re connected by their love of Donna and their desire to protect her. Bernard Cribbins is just fantastic in these episodes, and whenever her appeared in Doctor Who to be honest. He makes Wilf so warm and kind, and is exactly the kind of man you’d love to be your own grandfather.

The reason I say “The End of Time” is perhaps sentimental is how the Doctor gets to have a farewell tour of all his companions, but as I said, I don’t care because I absolutely love that they gave the Doctor that moment. The Tenth Doctor made himself a family, in part thanks to the groundwork laid by his previous regeneration, and he had all these people that he cared about and who cared about him. He saves Luke Smith, Sarah Jane’s son, from a being hit by a car, he saves Mickey Smith and Martha Jones from a Sontaran, he gets Donna a winning lottery ticket from money given to him by her dead dad, and he gets to see Rose Tyler, the woman this Doctor loves, before she’d even met him. The Doctor/Rose shipper in me loves the fact that she’s the last face that regeneration saw.

I think the Tenth Doctor had earnt that farewell tour of his family. As I said, it was an end of an era and it was a really nice way to wrap everything up so when a new Doctor and a new showrunner took over it could be pretty much a clean slate. The RTD era is still my favourite, perhaps for nostalgia reasons and because that was my introduction to Doctor Who so for better or for worst everything next will be compared to it.