Wilfred Mott was the husband of Eileen Mott, the father of Sylvia Noble and the maternal grandfather of Donna Noble. He was also a one-time travelling companion of the Tenth Doctor, and the final companion with whom the Doctor travelled in that incarnation. Unlike many of the people of Earth, Wilfred was willing to believe aliens would come in peace one day, and that humanity would eventually travel out to the stars and mingle with them. A witness to several alien invasions of Earth in 2009, he was instrumental in stopping the Time Lords' return from within the time-lock which had sealed them in the Last Great Time War. In that effort, he trapped himself in a chamber about to be flooded with lethal radiation. His rescue was the proximate cause of the Tenth Doctor's regeneration into his eleventh incarnation.
Biography[edit | edit source]
20th century[edit | edit source]
In 1948, Wilf was a private in the 6th Airborne Division of the British Army, stationed in the British Mandate of Palestine at its end. According to a mysterious Time Lady, Wilf had served in the military without once taking a life, a fact Wilf defended, feeling proud not to have killed anyone. (TV: The End of Time)
21st century[edit | edit source]
In the 2006 elections, after the death of the British Prime Minister at the hands of the Slitheen, (TV: Aliens of London) Wilfred claimed to have voted for Harriet Jones; his daughter disputed this. (TV: The Stolen Earth)
On Christmas Eve 2007, Wilfred was laid up with Spanish flu, unable to attend his granddaughter's wedding. (TV: The Runaway Bride, The Sontaran Stratagem) He manned his newspaper stand in London on Christmas Eve 2008, where he met the Tenth Doctor for the first time. Earth was aware of alien life and the threat they posed. Given the Sycorax (TV: The Christmas Invasion) and the Racnoss, (TV: The Runaway Bride) Londoners believed aliens might attack on Christmas (again). Wilf told the Doctor and Astrid he was the only person in London apart from Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace; everyone else had fled to the countryside. He was furious when the Titanic hurtled over London, yelling for the aliens not to dare ruin the one Christmas in the last two years to not have an invasion. (TV: Voyage of the Damned)
An amateur astronomer, he pitched a tent behind his daughter's house in Chiswick and spent most of his nights on top a hill with a telescope looking for aliens among the stars. In 2009, Donna waved to him from the Doctor's TARDIS while flying away. Seeing the Doctor again through his telescope, Wilf felt happy for his granddaughter for being able to travel the universe, yelling and cheering as the TARDIS took off. (TV: Partners in Crime)
Donna visited her mother and him after she had returned to Earth. She told Wilf, but not her mother about the Doctor, for fear she would react badly. She told him about ATMOS and what they were doing. When the Doctor turned up with a UNIT soldier, Wilfred realised the Doctor was the same man he had met at Christmas. He opened the family car to investigate an ATMOS device and was trapped inside when it was triggered. He began to suffocate (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem) but was freed by his daughter Sylvia Noble. The next day he told Donna he would keep her secret and not tell her mother. (TV: The Poison Sky)
Wilfred featured on the home improvement, reality TV series Haunted Makeovers alongside Sylvia, the Doctor and Donna. The Doctor and Donna were investigating the haunting of Morley mansion. (AUDIO: No Place)
When the Earth was moved into the Medusa Cascade, he and Sylvia tried to fight the Daleks. Wilf fired a paintball at a Dalek's eyestalk, hoping to blind it, but it dissolved the paint. As it was about to exterminate him, Rose Tyler teleported to the scene and killed the Dalek. Sylvia and Wilf took her to their home. A message came from a Sub-Wave Network. They couldn't respond, as Sylvia thought webcams were "naughty" and didn't let her father have one. He watched as Martha Jones and her mother, Torchwood Three and Sarah Jane Smith spoke with Harriet Jones. (TV: The Stolen Earth) After the Earth was returned to its proper place, they celebrated. When the Doctor brought Donna back to them without any memory of her adventures with him, Wilf was distraught at the thought of her returning to her previous life. He promised to look up at the sky every night and remember the Doctor on Donna's behalf. (TV: Journey's End)
The end of time[edit | edit source]
As Christmas 2009 approached, Wilf, along with everyone else on Earth, began having nightmares involving the laughing face of the Master. Seeking refuge in a church, he was approached by a mysterious woman, who told him the church had been a convent in the 1300s, had been attacked by a demon from the sky and saved by a "sainted physician"; then she vanished. The next day, Wilf organised a "Silver Cloak" of old age pensioners. He quickly found the Doctor and in a café learned of his prophesied death. On Christmas morning, Wilf was watching the Queen's speech when it was interrupted by the mysterious woman, whom only he could see. She told Wilf he would have to take up arms, that the Doctor could still be saved and that Wilf must not tell the Doctor anything of what she had said. Wilf took his old service revolver, met the Doctor outside the Noble house and joined him in tracking down the Master.
They arrived too late to stop the Master turning every human on Earth into a duplicate of himself, but Wilf was protected from the effect behind a radiation shield. He escaped with the Doctor to a spaceship. During this time, Wilf and the Doctor felt they would both be proud to have been related to each other. After another encounter with the woman, he gave the Doctor his gun and urged him to kill the Master. The Doctor initially refused, but on learning the Time Lords were behind everything, he took the gun.
In the fight that followed, Earth shot missiles at the ship. Wilf manned one of the guns and had the aliens land so he could join the Doctor. He freed someone trapped in the radiation booth, but as a result was himself trapped. After he witnessed the Doctor and the Master defeat Rassilon and the Time Lords, Wilf then knocked on the booth door to be let out, fulfilling the prophecy, "He will knock four times."
Due to the nuclear bolt still being active, the radiation would flood the booth and kill him, but not harm anyone else. To save him, the Doctor would have to sacrifice himself. Wilf was willing to die instead because he had "had his time", but the Doctor saved him and absorbed a fatal dose of radiation, which caused him to start to regenerate. He took Wilf home and promised to see him one more time before he changed.
At Donna's second wedding, Wilf met the Doctor again, just like he had promised. The Doctor gave Wilf and Sylvia a winning lottery ticket he had purchased with money borrowed from Geoff Noble before leaving. Wilf and Sylvia gave Donna the ticket and Wilf tearfully saluted the Doctor as he took off. (TV: The End of Time)
Later life[edit | edit source]
At some point, Wilf was taken to the Black Archive by UNIT to have his record as a companion of the Doctor taken. His memories of the visit were subsequently erased and he was sent on his way. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
Alternative timeline[edit | edit source]
In an alternative timeline created by a continuity bomb, the Doctor allowed Wilfred to die in the radiation chamber instead of saving him from death, viewing himself as the more useful of the two to the universe. This led to the Doctor becoming a tyrant that ruled the cosmos with an iron fist until his death. (COMIC: Four Doctors)
Parallel world[edit | edit source]
On Christmas Day 2008 in a parallel world, Wilfred was in the English countryside on holiday with his daughter and granddaughter, courtesy of Donna's winning raffle ticket. He and his family were spared the nuclear destruction of London caused by the Titanic crashing into Buckingham Palace, but the lingering radiation forced their evacuation to Leeds, where they had to share a house with other families. Wilfred adjusted to this life, joining in the shanty singing in the kitchen. He was upset when all non-English residents were forcibly deported to "labour camps", noting this had happened before in his life.
Wilfred set up his telescope behind the house at Leeds; it was there that he and Donna first noticed the darkness spreading over the night sky, eating up the stars. It was this sight that finally convinced Donna to find Rose Tyler and go with her. (TV: Turn Left)
Personality[edit | edit source]
Wilfred had a positive attitude. Even in a crisis, he turned to good war-time spirit. He was a strong patriot, loyal to Queen Elizabeth and his beloved England. He also had a good relationship with his granddaughter Donna Noble and encouraged her companionship with the Doctor, even keeping it a secret from his daughter, Sylvia, for a time. (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem)
Wilfred also proved a loyal companion to the Doctor, from searching him out when prompted to by the mysterious woman, to giving the Doctor his gun and prompting him to kill the Master, as well as serving as a gunner when the ship they were on was under attack. He convinced the Vinvocci to take him back to help the Doctor. He also showed a willingness for self-sacrifice by saving someone trapped in a radiation booth and being willing to die there so the Doctor could live, saying he was an old man who had had his time. (TV: The End of Time)
When the Doctor brought Donna back with her memories erased, Wilfred was devastated as he felt she had grown into a better person after her travels with the Doctor and even tried to get him to talk to her, remarking that he needed her when the Doctor admitted he had done wrong whilst travelling alone. However, he didn't share his daughter's hard feelings against him for wiping her memories, and promised to look up at the sky every night on Donna's behalf. (TV: Journey's End, The End of Time)
He developed a paternal relationship with the Doctor, trying to comfort him when he began to cry during their conversation and wanted him to be happy and to have someone to make him laugh. He was also willing to give up his life to let the Doctor live. This relationship was picked up by others, with the Master sarcastically referring to Wilfred as the Doctor's father. (TV: The End of Time)
Skills[edit | edit source]
A trained soldier, Wilfred survived the Second World War without killing anyone. Being proud of his service, he wore a Parachute Regiment pin on his signature red hat. He still kept his service revolver as a memento, which he later gave to the Doctor to use against the Master. He also proved to be a proficient gunner when he shot down some of the missiles that the Master had fired at the Vinvocci's spaceship. (TV: The End of Time) He momentarily blinded a Dalek with a well-placed paintball shot to its small eye stalk, although the Dalek recovered its vision almost instantly. (TV: The Stolen Earth)
Unlike so many others who had spent years searching, Wilfred and the small gang of pensioners whom he commanded found the Doctor within only a few hours of his arrival, much to the Doctor's bewilderment. (TV: The End of Time)
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
- When Voyage of the Damned was filmed, Wilfred was intended neither as a recurring character nor as Donna's grandfather. He was meant solely to be a newsstand worker named Stan. The character was made Sylvia Noble's father after the death of Howard Attfield, who was originally to have reprised his Runaway Bride role. Several scenes with Geoffrey Noble had already been filmed before Attfield's death, and these were rewritten and reshot to incorporate Wilfred as Donna's grandfather. Russell T Davies changed the character's name from Stan to Wilfred as he didn't feel Stan was a suitable name for a recurring character.
- Wilfred Mott and Donna Noble were the first companions introduced to be related to each other. Wilfred was introduced in Voyage of the Damned, while Donna was introduced in Doomsday, predating the introduction of River Song in Silence in the Library and River's parents Amy Pond and Rory Williams in The Eleventh Hour.
- David Tennant would later name his son (born in May 2013) Wilfred.
- Before playing Wilfred, Bernard Cribbins played companion Tom Campbell in the movie Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D..
- In 2020, Robert Shearman stated that he had always believed Wilfred to be the Doctor's Whifferdill companion Frobisher, partly because he considered Cribbins a good fit for the character, and partly because he thought that having a shapeshifting penguin grandfather made a great deal of sense for Donna Noble as a character.
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Footnotes[edit | edit source]