With the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who less than six months away, the production seems ready to pull out all the stops. Not only will David Tennant and Catherine Tate come back for a trio of specials—not to mention a host of cool guest stars—but another legacy companion will return to the series. The BBC today announced Bonnie Langford, who portrayed the Sixth and Seventh Doctor’s companion Melanie Bush in the 1980s, will come back to act alongside Ncuti Gatwa in the next full series.

Bonnie Langford stands in front of a futuristic looking building in a press release photo tied to her return to Doctor Who.

Langford was a big stage actor prior to her casting in Doctor Who and continued to be so afterward. Mel was an interesting companion. Her first onscreen episode, as part of the season-long “Trial of a Time Lord” arc was not actually her first canonical story. That one never ended up on screen. After six episodes with the Sixth Doctor, she continued on as the Seventh Doctor’s first companion but left at the end of season 24. Her departure gave way to Ace, one of the most beloved companions of all time.

Langford reprised her role of Mel over the years in various Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays. She also appeared briefly on screen in “The Power of the Doctor,” the Thirteenth Doctor’s final story. That special also saw Ace, Tegan, Ian Chesterton, Jo Grant, and more companions return.


The actress said of her Doctor Who return as Mel:

I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing Melanie Bush back. To be part of the exceptional cast, crew and production team led by the force of nature that is Russell T Davies is a career highlight. I’m so privileged and proud to have been a member of the Doctor Who family since the classic era and to be included in the new generation is phenomenal.

Showrunner Russell T Davies added the following:

Open those TARDIS doors wide, because Bonnie’s back! What an honour, delight and hoot to welcome back the character of Melanie, after too long away. And this isn’t just a cameo, Bonnie is right in the thick of the action, battling monsters and chaos and cliffhangers, right at the Doctor’s side, just like the old days.

The Doctor Who 60th-anniversary celebration will begin in November. It airs exclusively on Disney+ outside of the UK and Ireland and on the BBC in those territories.

Kyle Anderson is the Senior Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Instagram and Letterboxd.