This article contains spoilers for Doctor Who: The Legend of Ruby Sunday


Doctor Who wrong-footed fans who were expecting the return of a classic character in The Legend of Ruby Sunday – but also delivered a surprising reveal regarding the Doctor's family.

Ever since a reference to the Doctor's granddaughter Susan – played by Carole Ann Ford on the show from 1963-64 – was included in this year's The Devil's Chord, fans have been hoping that the character might reappear on-screen.

Having arrived in 1963, the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) told companion Ruby (Millie Gibson) that he used in live in Shoreditch during this time period – which is, of course, where viewers first met the Doctor (then played by William Hartnell) in Doctor Who's very first episode.

"In the past, right now, I live in a place called Totter’s Lane," the Doctor explained. "1963, I parked the TARDIS in a junkyard and I lived there with my granddaughter Susan."

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Fans have even speculated that the mysterious character played by Susan Twist, who has appeared across time and space in various different guises, could be the Doctor's granddaughter.

Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor, Bonnie Langford as Mel and Susan Twist as Susan Triad in Doctor Who. The Doctor is shaking Susan's hand.
Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor, Bonnie Langford as Mel and Susan Twist as Susan Triad in Doctor Who James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

In The Legend of Ruby Sunday, the Doctor himself even begins to suspect this might be the case – with Twist's latest alter-ego, tech entrepreneur Susan Triad, sharing a first name with his grandchild.

Eventually, however, Susan Triad is revealed to be something else entirely – a harbinger of Sutekh, with the god-like being mocking his Time Lord nemesis for believing he was about to be reunited with his estranged granddaughter.

"Did you think I was family, Doctor?" he taunts. "I bring Sutekh’s gift of death for you and for all your tiny, vile, incessant universe."

It's unclear if the real Susan might still be out there somewhere – in The Devil's Chord, the Doctor admitted to Ruby that he has no idea where Susan is, and suggested that the genocide that wiped out the Time Lords might have killed her.

The Doctor also explained to Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) this week why he's never gone looking for Susan: "You’ve seen my life. I bring disaster, Kate, disaster. What if I go back and ruin her?"

Speaking exclusively to back in May, original Susan actress Carole Ann Ford refused to rule out returning to Doctor Who.

"As we know, with Doctor Who, absolutely anything and everything is possible," she said. "The mind boggles with all the many ways Susan could come back, where and when. But I think she would love reuniting with her grandfather in his new form. Isn't Ncuti [Gatwa] amazing!"

Black-and-white image of Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman and William Hartnell as The Doctor for Doctor Who.
Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman and William Hartnell as the Doctor in Doctor Who BBC/Radio Times

And while Susan herself didn't appear, we did discover a secret that radically changes how fans have perceived her relationship with the Doctor.

Though it's always been assumed that Susan's existence must mean that the Doctor also had at least one child – Susan's father or mother – The Legend of Ruby Sunday seems to suggest this is not the case. Instead, Susan's parent – and the Doctor's offspring – is yet to be born, something previously hinted at in The Devil's Chord but confirmed here.

"If you’ve got a granddaughter, that means you’ve got kids," suggests Kate Stewart. "Well, not quite – not yet," the Doctor replies. "You can have a granddaughter before a daughter?" she asks baffled. His answer? "Life of a Time Lord."

Will that life ever include Susan again? Only time will tell...

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Doctor Who continues on Saturday 22nd June on BBC iPlayer and BBC One. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.


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