Fans share Doctor Who satellite image and speculate about what it means

Everything is on Google Earth it seems, even the car park and back lot of Bad Wolf Studios in Cardiff. And that’s exactly what one Doctor Who fan happened to stumble upon while browsing the satellite images of Cardiff on the online service.

*Beware potential Doctor Who spoilers ahead*

But instead of just finding cars and trucks lined up on the image, the tweeter, Random Doctor Who Tweets, stumbled upon something that looks like some serious military hardware branded with the UNIT logo and an ‘H’ for a helipad.

UNIT, the Unified Intelligence Taskforce, has played a part in Doctor Who since the 1968 serial The Invasion, where the military force charged with battling alien life forces on Earth was led by Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, portrayed by Nicholas Courtney. In more recent times, the UNIT force has been led by his daughter, Kate Stewart, played by Jemma Redgrave.

But what does the image, which appears to have been taken by satellites during the summer according to Google Earth (where you can still see the image), mean? Fans have a number of theories as to what it might be…

“I bet this is going to be the top of a huge Avengers-style skyscraper which they’ll CGI in later…” said one correspondent on the Twitter thread.

Others have speculated that the image could be a version of the Valiant, a flying aircraft carrier used by UNIT during the 21st Century. And although it is thought that Valiant was destroyed, others believe it could be a new version of the same craft, or perhaps there’s a high concept explanation and things weren’t as simple as we first thought.

Some fans have also suggested that the large UNIT structure might be part of a new spin-off based around UNIT. There has been a lot of rumour since the Disney deal with the BBC that Doctor Who may once again explore new spin-off ideas, and although recent reports have suggested this could be around Daleks and Cybermen, it’s fair to think UNIT could also be a decent subject matter.

The most likely explanation is that the set is used in some way as part of the 60th-anniversary episodes, of which we know there are three hour-long specials to come from the pen of Russell T Davies in November 2023. The shows, which will star David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, will see the Doctor and Donna Noble (played by the returning Catherine Tate) battle against Neil Patrick Harris’s character in what looks like an epic journey to the reincarnation to Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth.

Ncuti Gatwa will begin his first full episode in the TARDIS around the festive period of 2013 opposite Millie Gibson who will play his companion Ruby Sunday. The episode will be followed in 2024 by season 14 of Doctor Who.