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Tonight's the Night special (TV story)

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Tonight's the Night special was a special mini-episode broadcast on the BBC talent series hosted by John Barrowman of the same name. The special aired in the spring of 2009.

In a competition connected with the series, a contest winner was given a chance to play a villain in a specially written Doctor Who scene featuring Jack Harkness and a surprise guest which was broadcast during the 23rd May 2009 episode of Tonight's the Night.

The mini-episode itself carries no on-screen title, however Russell T. Davies referred to it by the title Tonight's the Night in his June 2009 column in DWM 410.


Captain Jack Harkness enters the Doctor's TARDIS and notices a blue individual that comes across as quite suspicious.


Jack Harkness enters the Doctor's TARDIS and discovers a blue-headed alien who claims to be a regenerated Doctor. The alien gives the game away when Jack notices that he's armed, something the real Doctor would never be. The alien identifies himself as Sao Til, a literal arms dealer who trades in limbs. Jack draws his gun and the two enter into a standoff before...

David Tennant comes in through the TARDIS doors and asks John what he's doing. John introduces Tim Ingham of Stoke-on-Trent, who is pretending to be Sao Til. David then exits the set via the 'fourth wall', pausing briefly before he leaves to chide John for being in "my TARDIS". After a moment of giddiness at having seen David Tennant, John and Tim then carry on from where they left off, resuming their characters and pretending to shoot at each other as they run around the TARDIS set.



Featured in the behind-the-scenes featurette that accompanied the story.


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Story notes[]

  • The skit has no opening or closing credits.
  • Running just over 3 minutes in length, this was, for a time, the shortest televised Doctor Who-related production ever. Since its broadcast, though, several shorter minisodes have been produced for online and DVD/Blu-ray distribution. The shortest DWU story broadcast on television remains the television story From Raxacoricofallapatorius with Love.
  • As Tennant does not appear as the Doctor in this skit, it is the first Doctor Who story since Mission to the Unknown in which the character does not appear. It is also the first time a televised story has featured the TARDIS, but no Doctor. Given the acknowledged non-DWU nature of this skit, Mission to the Unknown remains as the only television story to not feature the Doctor (when viewed as a stand-alone story independent of The Daleks' Master Plan.)
  • There was no Doctor Who Confidential for the episode, but there was a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the skit followed its broadcast (on Tonight's The Night).
  • Although it was broadcast after Planet of the Dead (the first High Definition Doctor Who episode), the skit was the first time the TARDIS interior was shown in High Definition.
  • At the time this was written, Davies believed it would be the final Doctor Who story he would ever write (as he relates in DWM 410 and The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter); ultimately, this ended up not being the case as it was announced in April 2010 that he would be writing an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures featuring an appearance by the Eleventh Doctor; that episode was Death of the Doctor.
  • This sketch marks the second time that a fan of Doctor Who has been given the honour of being on the show as an in-character figure. The first was as a Jim'll Fix It segment called A Fix with Sontarans, starring Colin Baker in-character as the Sixth Doctor.
  • Davies also said in DWM that he was originally going to have this story as "canon" with the Doctor in it, but changed his mind.
  • The complete script for the skit is reproduced in the reference book Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter.
  • As he was playing himself, not the Doctor, David Tennant spoke in his natural Scottish accent; he previously used his natural accent in the television story Tooth and Claw.

Myths and rumours[]

  • When first announced, it was thought the skit would be a potentially serious mini-episode along the lines of Music of the Spheres and Time Crash, but this turned out not to be the case. According to Davies in his column Doctor Who Magazine #410, he did initially intend to write such a mini-episode, but on realising this would be the last Doctor Who story he'd likely ever write, he couldn't bring himself to create something "canonical" in this context.

Home video releases[]

  • No DVD release of this skit has to date occurred. Although reference to the skit is made in David Tennant's Video Diaries, a special feature in the 2009 Specials DVD/Blu-Ray box set, the skit itself is omitted. There has likewise been no announcement of a home video release of the Tonight's the Night series. Unless this happens, the skit will join the interactive mini-episode Attack of the Graske and the TARDISodes as Tennant-era productions to not see home video release.

External links[]

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