The Doctor's Acquaintances
 
Wilfred Mott
Voyage of the Damned, Partners in Crime, The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, Turn Left, The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, The End of Time
Bernard Cribbins
Wilfred Mott
(2007 - 2010)
Bernard Cribbins

Bernard Cribbins was born in December 1928 in Oldham, Lancashire. He become a major star on the London stage by his mid-20s, but it was another ten years before he became a national star by his success in film comedies and with a string of hit records in 1962.

His television appearances include: The Avengers (1966-1968), Fawlty Towers (1975), Space: 1999 (1976), Worzel Gummidge (1981), Jackanory (1966-1991) and Coronation Street (2003). Film appearances include: Carry on Jack (1963), Carry on Spying (1964), Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.(1966 as Tom Campbell), The Railway Children (1970), the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Frenzy (1972) and Carry on Columbus (1992). He also achieved success doing voiceovers for cartoons - namely The Wombles (1973-1975) - and television commercials.

His first appearance in Doctor Who on television was in the 2007 Christmas Special. He then became a semi-regular, as Donna Noble's grandfather Wilfred Mott, in the 2008 story "Partners in Crime". In January 2007 he also had a guest role in the Big Finish Productions Eighth Doctor audio story "Horror of Glam Rock".

Since leaving Doctor Who he has starred in the children's series Old Jack's Boat (2013) which also stars Freema Agyeman who played companion Martha Jones.

He was awarded the OBE in 2011 for his services to drama.

Bernard Cribbins's role as Wilfred Mott makes him unique, as he is the only actor to appear in both a Doctor Who Dalek film and the television series.

 

Although Wilfred Mott originally appeared in a brief role as the owner of a newspaper stand that the Tenth Doctor visited while he was showing temporary companion Astrid Peth around London ("Voyage of the Damned"), he was quickly established as a more long-term acquaintance when it was revealed that he was the grandfather of The Doctor’s newest companion Donna Noble, who had briefly encountered The Doctor on her wedding day - which had been sabotaged by the interference of the alien Racnoss - but turned down the offer to travel with him at the time ("The Runaway Bride"). While talking with Wilf, Donna expressed her regret at missing her initial chance to travel with The Doctor, Wilf assuring her that she was too stubborn not to find The Doctor eventually. Having helped The Doctor resolve the Adipose crisis, Donna began her travels with him, even requesting that The Doctor take a brief detour to the fields where Wilf was stargazing so that Donna could wave to him from the TARDIS, Wilf waving proudly back at her ("Partners in Crime").

Voyage of the Damned
Voyage of the Damned
Having only briefly glimpsed The Doctor on this occasion, Wilf got the chance to meet the Time Lord when Donna took advantage of a trip to modern Earth to visit her family, The Doctor and Wilf quickly recognising each other from their past meeting. While Sylvia - Donna’s mother and Wilf’s daughter - was initially confused at The Doctor’s presence, Wilf was quickly willing to accept Donna’s assurances that the Time Lord was a good person, asking only that The Doctor protect his granddaughter during their travels. The Doctor subsequently reaffirmed Wilf’s faith in him by helping to save Wilf when the ATMOS navigation system - secretly designed by the Sontarans to spread a toxic gas - nearly killed him when he was in his car, The Doctor, Donna, and former companion Martha going on to defeat the Sontaran fleet ("The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky").

Although he turned down the offer to take a trip with The Doctor when Donna was travelling with him, clarifying that he preferred to picture the universe through his telescope rather than see the true ruthlessness of it, Wilf nevertheless enjoyed the chance to spend time with The Doctor, recognising that the Time Lord was a good man and a good friend to his granddaughter. During a confrontation with The Master after he conquered the world, Wilf informed The Master after he mockingly referred to Wilf as The Doctor’s ‘father’ that he would be proud to have a son like The Doctor, The Doctor later reciprocating this affection by saying that he would be proud if Wilf was his father despite the fact that he was centuries Wilf’s senior.

Partners in Crime
Partners in Crime
Despite their friendship, The Doctor and Wilf’s relationship could be difficult at times. During The Doctor’s next meeting with Wilf, when he took Donna home for the first anniversary of her father’s death, he was pleased to learn that Wilf had discovered a new star, Donna in turn being amused to learn that Wilf had a new ‘girlfriend’ in the form of Netty Goodheart, an Alzheimer’s sufferer ("Beautiful Chaos"). When The Doctor learned that The Mandragora Helix ("The Masque of Mandragora") was launching a new attack on Earth, The Doctor was able to use the computer systems designed by the Helix’s minions to spread its influence to transmit a new signal that disrupted its control over its agents and destroyed the terminal it used to communicate with Earth. However, he subsequently tricked the Helix into using Netty as a temporary host - The Doctor was too strong for it to control in this condition and it believed that Wilf had a heart condition -, Wilf believing that The Doctor was trying to use the psychic paper to lie to him when The Doctor showed Wilf a note Netty had written earlier to assure Wilf that she had volunteered for this role. Due to Netty’s Alzheimers, the Helix expended so much of its energy repairing Hetty’s damaged synapses to allow it to think that it soon lost the ability to control her, the Helix retreating back into space, no further danger to humanity as its mental energy was already collapsing due to exposure to Netty’s damaged mind, although the ‘patch job’ it carried out on Netty’s mind was only temporary.

The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky
During Wilf and The Doctor’s next meeting, however, Wilf found himself part of Earth’s defence when the Daleks and Davros returned to launch their greatest attack yet, stealing Earth and twenty-six other targets to create the ‘reality bomb’ to destroy all creation. Although Wilf’s attempt to help by shooting a Dalek eyestalk with a paintball gun failed, he was still able to help when he provided Rose Tyler ("Army of Ghosts/Doomsday") with a means of getting back in touch with The Doctor in time for her to provide him with vital information about the current crisis. However, even after Earth was restored, Wilf and Sylvia were saddened to learn that The Doctor had been forced to erase Donna’s memories of him after she accidentally received a copy of The Doctor’s knowledge, The Doctor being left with no other choice but to wipe her mind before the information overload killed her, and unable to restore her memories without starting the neural collapse all over again. Although he clearly regretted the loss of the person that Donna had become during her time with The Doctor, Wilf respected The Doctor’s advice about allowing Donna to remain without her memories, assuring The Doctor in turn that he would continue to look up at the stars and remember what his granddaughter had done even if she couldn’t ("The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky").

When Wilf returned to The Doctor’s life, he was attempting to determine the reason for a series of strange nightmares that he and everyone on Earth were experiencing about a man laughing. Inspired by an encounter with a mysterious woman who told him that The Doctor would be needed soon, Wilf rallied various friends into a ‘Silver Cloak’ that could search London to find The Doctor, subsequently finding him in a quarry as The Doctor pursued the resurrected Master. Talking with Wilf, The Doctor revealed that he had recently learned of a prophecy that time would end and that his death was imminent, noting that something bad was coming even if he didn’t know what yet. Reluctant to go into action alone after his recent violation of the Laws of Time when he tried to save Adelaide Brooke from her death by changing a fixed point in time ("The Waters of Mars"), recognising that he needed someone else with him to stop him going too far, The Doctor made contact with Wilf after he witnessed The Master being abducted by a mysterious group of soldiers, a book that Donna had brought Wilf for Christmas due to the subconscious prodding of the remaining Time Lord essence in her mind providing The Doctor and Wilf with the identity of their enemy in the form of Joshua Naismith, a millionaire who wanted The Master to reprogram an alien healing device to make his daughter immortal.

The End of Time
The End of Time
Tracking The Master to Naismith’s mansion, The Doctor and Wilf were just in time to witness The Master using the device to transmit a signal that allowed him to turn every human being on Earth into a duplicate of himself, Wilf only being spared that fate when The Doctor was able to place him inside a specially-designed chamber that could contain and block all forms of radiation, used to help manage the device’s power source. Aided by alien scientists who had been attempting to re-acquire the healing device, The Doctor and Wilf escaped to a ship in orbit, Wilf experiencing another strange encounter with the mysterious woman in white, who told him that The Doctor would have to take up arms in his final battle. With this in mind, Wilf offered The Doctor his old service revolver to use against The Master, but The Doctor initially refused the offer until he learned that The Master was about to amplify the telepathic drumbeat in the heads of his duplicates to bring Gallifrey back into the universe, forcing The Doctor to return to Earth and confront his old friend as the Time Lords began to return, using Wilf’s revolver to destroy the equipment maintaining the link and send Gallifrey and The Master back into the Time War. However, The Doctor’s hope at the discovery that The Master and Gallifrey had vanished and he was still in his tenth incarnation ended when it was discovered that Wilf was trapped in a chamber that controlled the gate after he had helped a technician escape, faced with the possibility of receiving a lethal surge of radiation the moment another control was triggered unless someone used the other chamber to activate the system and take the radiation dose themselves. Although Wilf offered to remain in the chamber, The Doctor nevertheless chose to free Wilf by sacrificing himself, his cells being poisoned by the radiation even if he was able to delay the process so that only his minor cuts and scrapes were healed at first. After taking Wilf home and visiting his old companions one last time in his current body, The Doctor dropped in on Donna’s wedding in the last few moments of his tenth life, giving Wilf and Sylvia his wedding present to Donna in the form of a lottery ticket that he had purchased using money he had acquired from the now-deceased Geoffrey Noble in the past. Although The Doctor declined to answer Wilf’s questions about the identity of the mysterious woman he had witnessed, the two men still exchanged a last solemn salute before the TARDIS dematerialised, Wilf tearfully aware that this was the last time he would see The Doctor.

Memorable Moment
The End of Time
The End of Time
Although Wilf’s courage in standing up to Daleks and The Master is commendable, his most memorable moment was unquestionably his willingness to sacrifice himself so that the Tenth Doctor could live. Although clearly scared at the thought of his death, Wilf was nevertheless willing to accept his demise to spare The Doctor from the regeneration that he feared, arguing that he was an old man who had had his time, The Doctor, despite being obviously angry and bitter at his life being cut short like this, assured Wilf that it was his honour to save him as he stepped into the secondary chamber, allowing the radiation to flood into his section while Wilf escaped unharmed.


Television Stories
Format Story Doctor Fellow Companions Season Episodes
Television Voyage of the Damned The 10th Doctor Astrid Peth Season 30 (New Series 4) 1
Television Partners in Crime The 10th Doctor Rose Tyler and Donna Noble Season 30 (New Series 4) 1
Television The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky The 10th Doctor Rose Tyler, Donna Noble and Martha Jones Season 30 (New Series 4) 2
Television Turn Left The 10th Doctor Rose Tyler and Donna Noble Season 30 (New Series 4) 1
Television The Stolen Earth/Journey's End The 10th Doctor Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness, Mickey Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, K9, Donna Noble and Martha Jones Season 30 (New Series 4) 2
Television The End of Time The 10th Doctor Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness, Mickey Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, Donna Noble and Martha Jones Season 31 (New Series 4 Specials) 1
Total Stories:   6 Total Episodes:   8
 
Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
 
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