Before crooning with the world’s most recognizable faces in the carpool lane, James Corden was battling the universe’s biggest stars in Doctor Who. In 2010’s “The Lodger,” Corden played Craig, the Doctor’s (Matt Smith) temporary roommate who helps the Time Lord investigate alien abductions a little too close to home. Corden returned the following season in “Closing Time,” where he faced off against Cybermen in a shopping mall.
Celebrated for her work in An Education (2009), Shame (2011), and Suffragette (2015), Mulligan scored a Who guest spot early in her career back in 2007. She played Sally Sparrow in “Blink,” an instant classic that introduced the Weeping Angels and notably featured the Doctor (David Tennant) in a reduced role.
Andrew Garfield fought plenty of foes on the big screen in The Amazing Spider-Man films (2012-2014), but none could compare to the evil of the Daleks in 1930s New York. Complete with a not-too-shabby Southern accent, Garfield played Frank in a 2007 two-parter, where he teamed up with the Doctor (David Tennant) and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) in a desperate fight against the universe’s angriest pepper pots.
One of Britain’s greatest talents reunited with Love Actually (2003) scribe Richard Curtis for a cameo in the Curtis-penned “Vincent and the Doctor” in 2010. As a bowtie-clad museum curator, Nighy delivered a brief but brilliant performance in a heartbreaking episode centering on artist Vincent Van Gogh (Tony Curran).
While Ian McKellen did not technically appear in Doctor Who, he lent his signature baritone voice to the 2012 Christmas special, “The Snowmen.” The Lord of the Rings star voiced the Great Intelligence, a disembodied alien entity that hijacks the snow in Victorian London.
Simon Pegg began his foray into sci-fi back in 2005, playing the corrupt Editor in “The Long Game,” a dystopian tale about an alien-controlled news agency. The Shaun of the Dead (2004) star would go on to dip his toes in other sci-fi staples, playing Scotty in the newest Star Trek films (2009-present) and Unkar Plutt in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
Famed comedian John Cleese, known at the time for his work with his Monty Python troupe, made a cameo appearance in “City of Death,” a 1979 story from the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) era. Cleese and comedy pal Eleanor Bron (left) played gallery patrons at the Louvre, hilariously commenting on the artistic merit of the TARDIS.
Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue guest starred as Astrid Peth, a server aboard an intergalactic replica of the Titanic, in the 2007 Christmas special, “Voyage of the Damned.” Minogue’s Peth warmed the dual hearts of the smitten Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), only for tragedy to inevitably befall the star-crossed pair – they might’ve had smoother sailing if the ship was named after The Love Boat instead.
Okonedo scored an Oscar nomination for her performance in Hotel Rwanda (2004), but Whovians best know her as the “bloody Queen, mate.” In 2010’s “The Beast Below,” Okonedo unraveled a royal conspiracy as Liz X, Britain’s reigning queen aboard the Starship U.K in the far future.
The former James Bond star donned Gallifreyan robes as Lord President Rassilon, a founding father of the Doctor’s home world, in David Tennant’s final episodes as the Tenth Doctor. Dalton brought gravitas as the hellbent leader in the two-part epic “The End of Time,” eager to reignite the fateful Time War.
Before scooping up an Emmy nomination for her breathtaking work alongside Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager, Broadchurch star Olivia Colman made a brief appearance in 2010’s “The Eleventh Hour.” In Matt Smith’s debut adventure as the Eleventh Doctor, Colman played a coma patient whose form is taken by the shape-shifting Prisoner Zero.
By Dumbledore, it’s true! Harry Potter fans remember him as the wizened headmaster of Hogwarts, but Gambon also guest starred as a Scrooge-like character in the show’s 2010 take on A Christmas Carol. As in the classic Dickens tale, Gambon’s Kazran Sardick found his humanity just in time for the holidays, making it one of the show’s most heartwarming Christmas specials to date.
Fans may know Jones for his roles in The Hunger Games, Captain America, and Harry Potter films, but the renaissance man also stopped by an episode of the BBC America series in 2010. Jones played the sinister Dream Lord with a disturbing connection to the Doctor (Matt Smith) in “Amy Choice.”
Audiences fell in love with Wilton during her time as Isobel Crawley, the tea-drinking bestie of Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess, on PBS Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey. But back in 2005, Dame Penelope Wilton lent her award-winning talents to several episodes of Doctor Who, playing the stalwart and charming Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North and future Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Anthony Head is no stranger to the science fiction and fantasy world, inhabiting major roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Merlin. In “School Reunion,” he played an evil, winged alien disguising himself as the headmaster of a school fostering child geniuses. The 2006 episode is best remembered by Whovians for also featuring the return of classic companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen).
Another Downton alum escaped the estate for adventures in time and space: Lord Grantham himself. Hugh Bonneville set aside his dinner jacket for pirate garb, guest starring as Captain Henry Avery, a naval officer-turned-pirate. In 2011’s “The Curse of the Black Spot,” Avery’s ship is being terrorized by a Siren-like alien (Lily Cole).
Warwick Davis has enchanted audiences for decades, from his work in Willow (1988) and the Star Wars saga to swish-and-flicking his way through the wizarding world of Harry Potter. In 2013, Davis played the good-hearted Porridge in “Nightmare in Silver,” the second Who script from acclaimed author Neil Gaiman. Porridge, hiding a monumental secret, helped the Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) battle a new breed of Cybermen.
Perhaps best known for her roles in Peaky Blinders, Penny Dreadful, and as Narcissa Malfoy in the final Harry Potter films, McCrory brought her signature bravado to Doctor Who in 2010. In “The Vampires of Venice,” McCrory was queen of the vampires – well, space fish – Rosanna Calvierri, whose decadent style was only matched by her wicked schemes.
It’s true: the former Today show and The View co-host played herself in a one-line cameo for the show’s sixth season finale, “The Wedding of River Song.” Because it’s Doctor Who, her line involved Winston Churchill astride a woolly mammoth. Vieira filmed her 2011 appearance during a set visit for a Today show segment about the show’s popularity in the U.S.