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Doctor Who specials: who is Nerys? Donna’s old friend explained

In the new episode of Doctor Who, 'The Star Beast', we get a handful of references to a face from Donna's past. But who actually is Nerys?

Doctor Who: Who is Nerys?

Who is Nerys in Doctor Who? The first of three Doctor Who specials has arrived, and as the celebration of 60 years of the series it’s brought back David Tennant and Catherine Tate for a short collection of new adventures.

This also means some references to the past, and unless you’ve been rewatching Tennant’s era of Doctor Who in anticipation, there might have been a few instances of head-scratching thanks to The Doctor. One that might have particularly puzzled you is the mention of Nerys. Need a refresher? We’re here to help by unpacking the history of one of the best sci-fi series ever.

Who is Nerys in Doctor Who?

Nerys was a minor character in Doctor Who who was seen during the 10th Doctor’s adventures with Donna Noble. In ‘The Star Beast’, The Doctor mentions that he knew Nerys as an explanation for how he knows Donna, as he’s still trying to avoid triggering her memories of their adventures.

As is hinted at in ‘The Star Beast’, Nerys and Donna shared a love-hate relationship as friends who antagonized one another, with Nerys believing that Donna always craved attention and Donna believing that Nerys was out to undermine her. She was present at both of Donna’s weddings, though Donna suspected Nerys wanted to move in on her spouses: hence Donna’s description of Nerys being a ‘viper in the nest’.

In the end, this wasn’t anything more than an Easter egg for devoted fans. But, it also added a nice connection to the stories from the past, reminding us that Donna is very much still the Doctor Who companion that we all know and love.

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For more on Doctor Who, read our The Star Beast review and check out our list of the best TV series ever. You can also learn more about the upcoming Doctor Who season 14 release date or see our complete explainer on the TARDIS.