Doctor Who's Nerys Joke In 2023 60th Anniversary Special Explained

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
David Tennant as Doctor Who in 2023 special

The latest episode of Disney+'s Doctor Who, "The Star Beast," namedropped a mysterious character called Nerys for several jokes, but who is she?

Doctor Who's new 60th anniversary specials have not only brought back David Tennant's Doctor and Catherine Tate's Donna Noble but also several characters related to her, including her mother Sylvia and husband Shaun Temple, along with debuting her daughter Rose Noble played by Yasmin Finney.

Who is Nerys in Doctor Who's The Star Beast?

Many Doctor Who viewers have been left confused by the mentions of an unseen character called Nerys in "The Star Beast." So, who is this mystery woman?

Nerys is a character who has only appeared in minor ways twice before, but she has a long history with Donna Noble dating back to their first day of school, since which they have maintained something of a love-hate friendship.

Nerys was recurringly referenced during Tate's earlier Doctor Who episodes, making appearances at both Donna's failed wedding in 2006's "The Runaway Bride" and her successful one in 2009's "The End of Time" - she was played by Krystal Archer.

Doctor Who, Nerys
Doctor Who

Donna once even told a rather strange story in "The Doctor's Daughter" of how Nerys managed to impregnate herself with twins using a turkey baster.

When Donna was first teleported in the TARDIS in "The Runaway Bride" leading to her surprise meeting with the Doctor, she assumed it was a prank from Nerys, suggesting they had something for a prank-heavy friendship.

Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Doctor Who Special 1, "The Star Beast."

Doctor Who hasn't revealed too many details about Nerys, but "The Star Beast" revealed one fresh detail about her as Donna's husband Shaun confirmed she had been in some kind of accident which he believed to be her fault.

Doctor Who, Nerys, The Star Beast
Doctor Who

Funnily enough, Nerys only came up in conversation as, after getting into Shaun's taxi, the Doctor pretended to be a friend of hers so he would share information about Donna's life in the years since their last meeting.

DOCTOR: "Oh, I know that friend of yours. Nerys."

SHAUN: "Oh, Nerys! How is she?"

DOCTOR: "She's fine."

SHAUN: "After the accident."

DOCTOR: "She's not fine."

SHAUN: "Well it was her fault."

DOCTOR: "She's been fined." 

Doctor Who Special 1, "The Star Beast," is streaming now on Disney+ along with BBC iPlayer in the UK & Ireland.

- In This Article: Doctor Who (Series 14)
Release Date
May 10, 2024
Ncuti Gatwa
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.