Plot hole or plot twist? Doctor Who's regeneration has a clothes controversy

Doctor Who
(Image credit: BBC)

Jodie Whittaker said farewell to Doctor Who and the TARDIS in her final special The Power of the Doctor. The person replacing her, though, wasn’t quite who we expected. 

David Tennant, not new Doctor Who actor Ncuti Gatwa, appeared as the Fourteenth Doctor – and a minor detail from that scene might have revealed an upcoming twist for next November’s 60th Anniversary specials.

As many eagle-eyed Whovians pointed out on social media, David Tennant’s Doctor didn’t keep his predecessor’s clothes after regenerating. Up until now, that’s been a series tradition – and has led to some pretty awkward fits for new Time Lords as they get adjusted to their bodies. We’re looking at you, Ten.

"Since when do the clothes regenerate?" one asked on Twitter, echoing those who thought it was either an oversight or a logistic move to avoid the question of the larger David Tennant squeezing into Jodie Whittaker’s outfit.

The truth might be more interesting. One prevalent theory doing the rounds is that Neil Patrick Harris’ villain, seen in the trailer for the 60th Anniversary specials, is up to no good.

"It’s got to be an illusion by the Toymaker because why would new clothes just appear on him," said one. Another added, "The Tennant regeneration isn’t entirely as it appears."

A viewer also set out their theory. They remarked, "The clothes changing was no accident or mistake. The Toymaker absolutely had something to do with forcing the regeneration toward Tennant instead of Ncuti to throw the Doctor off."

Seeing how Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor is seemingly trapped somewhere, there’s every chance David Tennant’s return is a trick or a stopgap brought about by Neil Patrick Harris’ villain. The How I Met Your Mother actor had previously described his character as "the greatest enemy the Doctor has ever faced." Messing with regenerations would certainly put him up there.

Doctor Who will return for three specials in November 2023. For more on what else is coming your way, here’s our guide to new TV shows.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.