In David Tennant's second Doctor Who Christmas special, with Billie Piper having departed the show, he was joined by comedian and actress Catherine Tate. Catherine played the fiery redhead Donna Noble, who appeared in the TARDIS wearing her bridal gown in the closing moments of the Series 2 finale Doomsday.
Doctor Who - The Runaway Bride
Bride-to-be Donna mysteriously vanishes as she prepares to marry her boyfriend Lance in a glittering ceremony on Christmas Eve. She suddenly appears, to her complete astonishment, in the TARDIS with the Doctor. As the TARDIS races to get to the church on time, the Doctor and Donna are closely watched by the sinister figure of The Empress of Racnoss from her throne in her spaceship. It soon becomes clear that Donna is the key to an ancient alien plan to destroy the Earth.
The Runaway Bride was written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Euros Lyn. The episode aired on BBC One at 7pm on 25th December 2006.
The production company printed specially designed fake money for the cash machine scene as the Doctor causes a distraction to escape the Robot Santas. The £10 notes featured a picture of David Tennant and the £20 notes an image of series producer Phil Collinson. The props have since become collector's items.
The Runaway Bride was the first episode of Doctor Who to be filmed at the Upper Boat Studios on the outskirts of Pontypridd rather than in Newport as previously. Scenes were also filmed in Cardiff, which doubled as London; locations included St. Mary Street, the Millennium Stadium and the Cardiff Link Road. The crew also visited London for the scenes on top of the office block following the TARDIS-taxi chase and at the Thames Barrier.
The episode’s foe was the huge, spider-like Empress of Racnoss. She was played by Sarah Parish, who had previously worked with David Tennant in both Blackpool and Recovery. Sarah was almost unrecognisable inside a huge mechanical costume and beneath prosthetics.
The episode also features music by Murray Gold, including the original song Love Don't Roam, which was performed by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy.
At the end of the adventure, viewers saw Donna Noble declining the Doctor's invitation to travel with him. However, Catherine Tate returned as Donna to join David Tennant as a full-time companion in the fourth series.