When Big Finish Productions did audio stories before 2005 they had a female doctor, played by Arabella Weir. Weir appears with Bill Bailey in The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. Does anyone know if that is the writers using her on purpose in a little Easter egg way, or whether they just used her because they needed an actress?
It’s possible, but seems unlikely.
If she was chosen for that reason, the BBC have kept very quiet about it. Although fans often point to Weir’s role in Big Finish, I’ve been unable to find a mention of it by anybody associated with the television show. (Let alone a suggestion that she was chosen for that reason.)
It seems much more likely she was chosen because she’s a fairly well-known comedic actress in the UK. In the press release announcing her casting, no mention is made of her role as the Doctor:
A stellar guest cast including Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), join Matt Smith in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills.
Like the other three guest stars, she’s much better known for her comedy than her role in a radio play made nearly eight years prior.
If they knew, it might have made the casting director chuckle – but I think it unlikely it was any significant factor in her role.