“The Church on Ruby Road” gave us a really cute Christmas special starring the Fifteenth Doctor and Ruby Sunday. We met Ruby’s delightful family, including her loving adoptive mum Carla and her witty gran Cherry. Her neighborhood is also delightful, including her neighbor Mrs. Flood, played by Anita Dobson. The special teases an ongoing mystery about Ruby’s biological family but something strange is also going on with Mrs. Flood, too. She breaks the fourth wall at the end of the Christmas special as well as the season finale and it makes us all wonder what’s going on with her.

We may discover something wild about her in season two (more on that later) but we probably won’t get an explanation for why she’s breaking the fourth wall. As RadioTimes reports, Russell T Davies spoke with SFX and said that Mrs. Flood breaking the fourth wall does have a reason but he may decide to keep it under wraps. “That hasn’t been explained, and it might never be, frankly,” said Davies. “It’s very interesting, within the Doctor Who offices, we know exactly why that happens and yet I’m showing no sign of putting that on screen.” He said an early draft of “The Star Beast” explained why, but he doesn’t feel the need to explain it at this point. Well, that sure is something…

Who is Mrs. Flood in Doctor Who? Let’s dig into how she appears throughout season one.

Mrs. Flood on Doctor Who stands in front of her flat in Christmas special
James Pardon/BBC Studios

Near the beginning of the Christmas episode, Ruby Sunday comes home with two handfuls of groceries. We watch her neighbor Mrs. Flood argue with Abdul, another neighbor, about a large object that she’s sure he put on the sidewalk. That object is none other than the TARDIS. Abdul insists he knows nothing about this blue box. Ruby comes up and Mrs. Flood, who calls her Rubes, complains to her as Ruby looks at the box with lots of curiosity. She asks Mrs. Flood what it is and her neighbor says it is a police box. She admits she hasn’t seen one on the streets of London in around 50 years… and doesn’t want to see one now. 

Later in the episode, Mrs. Flood is walking home when she witnesses the TARDIS dematerializing. Of course, she’s in shock and drops her shopping bags. After the Doctor returns from saving baby Ruby in the past, he parks the TARDIS on the other side of the street. Mrs. Flood is rather chipper and waves hello to him. When he comes back out, they have a short conversation, including Mrs. Flood asking who he is. Predictably, the Fifteenth Doctor just says he’s passing through and she tells him to take care. At the end, Ruby comes out to inquire about the Doctor and Mrs. Flood points her to the TARDIS. Strangely, she calls her Ruby and wishes her good luck. Mrs. Flood is even nice to Abdul, who is shocked to see the TARDIS disappear. She then turns directly to the camera and says “Never seen a TARDIS before?”

Further along in the season, we see Mrs. Flood in “73 Yards.” Ruby returns home after the Doctor’s disappearance and devises a plan with her mom to figure out who the mysterious lady is and why she’s following Ruby around. Mrs. Flood comes out of the house, asking Ruby if she’s “having a good time” and questioning why she’s standing in the street talking to her mom on the phone. She says “nothing to do with me” and then scurries away. Again, she doesn’t seem to be perturbed by anything weird going on around her.

Her last appearances in the final two episodes are even stranger. Mrs. Flood volunteers to look after Ruby’s grandmum while Carla goes with her to UNIT to figure out more about Ruby’s birth mom. While there, she’s quirky until everyone leaves. Then, she goes dark, saying that she will not be getting Ruby’s grandmum a cup of tea. She tells Mrs. Sunday that she’d be very careful because there’s a storm coming in. She breaks the fourth wall again and says “he waits no more,” which we now know is Sutekh.

As they disintegrate, Mrs. Flood says that she has been hiding away and had “plans.” What kind of plans?!

Does Mrs. Flood Have a Connection to Clara Oswald or Others Like the Rani in Doctor Who?

When Fifteen saves everyone, she calls him a “clever boy,” which is a phrase that fans recognize from back when Clara Oswald was his companion. She called him a clever boy and that’s interesting considering Mrs. Flood’s wardrobe with sweaters and collared shirts looks a lot like what Clara would wear. Quite a few fans are picking up on this.

What Is Going on with Mrs. Flood in Doctor Who?

In the very final scene of the finale, she turns into a narrator of sorts, saying Ruby was having a happy ending but the Doctor’s end would be full of absolute terror. She’s wearing a white fur jacket with a hood and gives us a menacing “night night” before the episode ends. This outfit looks a lot like what Romana, a Fourth Doctor companion who was a Time Lady, wore before. Mrs. Flood hints that she’s been hiding herself away. Is she the Rani (an anagram of “rain,” which can cause a flood)? She’s been hinting at hiding herself away and the Rani, a renegade Time Lady and nemesis of the Doctor, hasn’t been seen in a long time.

BBC/Bad Wolf Studios/Disney+

So, what’s up with this lady? Is Mrs. Flood is a villain? Maybe. She could be yet another god that this Doctor must face. And that would make Ruby’s story all the more interesting considering a great threat lived next door to her. Who knows what Russell T Davies has in store.

Will Mrs. Flood Return to Doctor Who?

Either way, it seems we will get more Mrs. Flood in the future. Dobson recently told Radio Times that answers about Mrs. Flood would come in Doctor Who season two. “In fact, this particular series, season 2, which we’re [filming] at the moment, you do actually find out quite a lot about her,” she said. “That’ll be interesting, to see what people think.”

Let’s see what next season brings us.

Originally published December 25, 2023.