Russell T Davies returning to the beloved sci-fi was overwhelmingly exciting for a huge amount of reasons but one of the biggest for me is that he knows just how to write a truly weird episode of Doctor Who - and when I say weird, I mean really quite unhinged.
The second 60th anniversary special, which saw David Tennant's Fourteenth Doctor and Catherine Tate's Donna Noble return, was mysterious from the off, with Davies not wanting to spoil anything about it, even swerving questions in interviews and Q&As when conversations turned towards it - and clearly for good reasons.
It had the luxury of being out there because The Star Beast did all the groundwork. The introductions and re-introductions have been dealt with, the meta-crisis is basically solved, we've had not one but two aliens of the week, and the Doctor and Donna are back in the TARDIS on their way to who knows where? Cue a huge, and completely bizarre, adventure.
More like this
Making a pit stop in 1666 to slightly interrupt Sir Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity (oh hi Nathaniel Curtis), the pair end up on a spaceship at the edge of the universe, facing a very slow countdown to self-destruction. Along the way, they meet terrifying deadly doubles of themselves with just a spot of body horror for good measure.
From the off, Wild Blue Yonder is a bit unsettling and really gets into its stride in what could have been a filler scene with the Doctor splitting off from Donna to fiddle about with some spaceship parts. With the episode beautifully cutting between the two rooms, neither the Doctor nor Donna are alone, instead joined by very creepy doubles who have their memories, mentioning Gallifrey, and Donna's grandfather Wilf.
Tennant and Tate's performances have always been brilliant but they reach new heights as their characters are forced to confront gigantic replicas of themselves with sprawling arms and gaping jaws, complete with horrifying smiles. It's certainly not a completely unique concept, with comparisons surely set to be drawn with at least Jordan Peele's Us. But it's executed brilliantly.
It's the perfect question to present to the characters and one that can only be presented with these specials as the Doctor and Donna reunite - can they tell each other apart from an imposter? It's also beautifully simple. After the busyness of The Star Beast, and what looks set to be utter wonderful chaos in The Giggle, we needed a full episode of the Doctor and Donna together. Little did we know we'd get double for our money, plus a beautiful moment with the late Bernard Cribbins at the end.
Doctor Who is no stranger to being completely weird. Many of the most iconic, and most widely loved stories are - including Midnight, Blink, and The God Complex. Some of the weird ones are more divisive (looking at you, Love and Monsters) but Doctor Who wouldn't be Doctor Who without them. As well as the Time Lords and the companions, the Master and the monsters, weirdness is in the very fabric of Doctor Who.
Amid the Disney deal which is bringing Doctor Who into a new era, it's one of the things the show can't and won't let go of and one of the things that makes it so different to everything else on TV. Seeing Davies so seamlessly bring us a new truly mad episode - one that will have non-Whovians wandering into the room and gawping in complete confusion - is just what we needed.
I'm still waiting for perfection from Davies' 60th anniversary specials but Wild Blue Yonder is nearly there. It brings back what I loved about Doctor Who from Davies' first era, with added budget and the scale that affords, giving us a properly bizarre and mysterious adventure.
Long live Doctor Who being absolutely unhinged.
Doctor Who's third anniversary special The Giggle airs at 6:30pm on Saturday 9th December on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Classic episodes are available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.