So it turns out (and yes we know we’re hideously late on this–but, you know, life) the Bernard Cribbins cameo at the end of Wild Blue Yonder was his last credit in a career which spanned an almost unbelievable 8 decades. We had initially planned on discussing Cribbins career around this time last year as part of a year-end wrap for 2022, but again, you know, life.
Although he played a ‘companion’ of sorts to Peter Cushing in the second of the 60’s Dalek theatricals, his re-acquaintance with Doctor Who beginning with Voyage of the Damned seemed almost accidental in nature. That one-off became something more when RTD pivoted to Cribbins after the untimely passing of Howard Attfield (the actor who played Donna Noble’s dad in The Runaway Bride) it was decided to bring back the newspaper seller in Series Four and reveal his true identity – the grandfather of Donna Noble, Wilfred Mott.
Although Cribbins certainly colored Mott with youthful energy, it was the ‘old soldier’ quality which led him to be the ‘companion’ to the Tennant Doctor (1st edition we must now acknowledge) for The End of Time Pt I and Pt II, including an amazing memorable café scene between the two in Pt I.
We know that, all things considered, Cribbins was the least important part of Wild Blue Yonder, a real cracker of a story. He delivered the prophecy to be resolved in The Giggle, and it was clearly intended that he take part in the Tennant finale, just as he had before, but his health was such that we only got one last scene with Wilfred Mott.