The latest episode of Doctor Who, Wild Blue Yonder, featured the last appearance of Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott — indeed, it was Cribbins’ last performance in an extensive career.
The episode, the second of a trilogy of episodes celebrating 60 years of Doctor Who, was dedicated to the actor, who appeared regularly as Donna Noble’s “gramps”, Wilf, between 2008 and 2009, with his last adventure signalling the end of the Tenth Doctor on New Year’s Day 2010 in The End of Time.
Cribbins was born in 1928, passed away in 2022, and is much missed.
Showrunner, Russell T Davies, wrote:
“It’s one of the great joys of my life that at the end of Bernard’s career, at the end of his life, he came back to us to shoot what actually turned out to be his final scene. We didn’t know that at the time, but he loved coming back. He had kind of retired, but he loved Doctor Who.
“We wanted to do more, ‘cause we love him. He wasn’t well enough to do more, but that one scene he completed fills me with absolute joy. In those few seconds, there’s everything he brings to the screen. He’s joyous, he’s worried, he’s scared, he’s full of love, he hugs Donna, he hugs the Doctor – it’s pure Bernard.
“I am so glad we got to shoot that, because it’s one of the great joys of my entire life that I got to work with that man and I got to know him and I got to be his friend.
“I love him. He’s absolutely beautiful and here is at the end, back in Doctor Who.”
Tenth and Fourteenth Doctor actor, David Tennant, told behind-the-scenes show, Doctor Who Unleashed:
“It means so much to me personally and I think to the show as a whole really that he was there. That character meant so much to so many people.”
We miss you, Bernard. But how lucky are we to have him, such a shining light, in our dear old Doctor Who?