It has been nine years since Russell T Davies put a cap on the last full season of his time at the helm of ‘Doctor Who’. The episode was a star-studded extravaganza, revisiting nearly every significant recurring character from Davies’ run as it began to draw to a close. Of course, these reunions came in the face of a Dalek invasion of Earth (no, not that one) so it was hardly the happiest of get-togethers.
As you might expect under such circumstances, not every character made it out alive (to say nothing of then-companion Donna Noble’s heartbreaking exit from the TARDIS). The short straw, in this case, was drawn by Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister). For those who might need a refresher, the character, memorably played by Penelope Wilton, sacrificed herself in order to allow the other Earth-based companions to contact the Doctor. When the signal she used to do this was traced back to her, Jones was summarily executed by a squad of Daleks.
Or was she?
While Davies has had no involvement with the ‘Doctor Who’ production since he bid farewell to the program in 2009, he has been no stranger to ‘Who’ fandom. His latest project has been providing illustrations for the new book ‘Now We Are Six Hundred’. Written by James Goss, the book is a collection of ‘Doctor Who’ themed poetry, and as such Davies’ illustrations heavily feature a variety of Doctors, companions, and – of course – the show’s myriad memorable monsters. One of the poems featured in the book is about Harriet Jones, and Davies evidently found himself inspired to revisit the character’s ending. As such, his illustration for the relevant poem depicts Jones escaping from the Daleks. On the subject of rewriting the Jones’ fate, Davies offered the following comment to the ‘Radio Times‘:
“It had to be done, and there was a poem about Harriet Jones. Phil Collinson, who was the producer on ‘Doctor Who’ when we killed Harriet Jones, has nagged me about that ever since. So the first thing I did was send that to him, emailed it to him. “Alright! There’s your happy ending!” But of course, you’ll have to buy the book to find out what that is. I couldn’t possibly give that away.”
Now just because Harriet’s fate is revealed 9 years later, would it now be considered canon? According to Davies it does!
“Absolutely. “She’s my character, that’s my episode, I say that’s true.”
So there you have it. While fans can (and no doubt will) debate the canonicity of the material until the TARDIS grows legs, that may all be beside the point. Besides, Jones’ apparent fate took place off camera. So who knows what really happened?