Doctor Who Season 14: Who is Susan Twist? All appearances and theories explained

Jessica Cullen
Susan Twist as an audience member in Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road

Ncuti Gatwa’s new iteration of the Time Lord might be the star of the show in the latest season of Doctor Who, but one recurring figure named Susan Twist caught everyone’s attention.

Eagle-eyed viewers of Doctor Who Season 14 noticed the frequent appearances of Susan Twist early on. The actress can be found over a handful of consecutive Doctor Who episodes, leading fans to believe that she was set to serve a larger purpose.

So, was she a fellow time traveler? Or perhaps a major Doctor Who villain in the making?

Here’s everything you need to know about Susan Twist, including every single one of her appearances and what happened to her.

Who is Susan Twist?

Susan Twist is an actress who appeared in almost every episode of Doctor Who Season 14, from ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ onwards.

Since then, she’s popped up in every Doctor Who episode that’s aired, excluding ‘The Giggle’.

Twist has been acting since 1980, with her first credit being in the TV series The Squad. In the years since, she’s appeared in multiple other shows including The Bill, The Royal, Doctors, Coronation Street and more.

It’s not unusual for Doctor Who to recycle actors as the years have gone by, but having the same actress crop up in several consecutive episodes in different roles is a move that didn’t go unnoticed among viewers.

Every Susan Twist appearance in Doctor Who

Susan Twist first appeared in the Doctor Who episode ‘Wild Blue Yonder’, and ended up playing a big role in the two-part finale, starting with ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’. Here’s a full breakdown of every Susan Twist appearance:

‘Wild Blue Yonder’ — Mrs Merridew

In ‘Wild Blue Yonder’, Twist plays Mrs Merridew, a maid who worked at Woolsthorpe Manor in 1666. She’s introduced when sweeping the steps of the manor house and is greeted by Isaac Newton. He’s in the process of contemplating “the mysteries of God’s universe”, and she tells him not to return until he has a good idea.

‘The Church on Ruby Road’ — Audience member

Susan Twist as an audience member in Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road

In the 2023 Christmas Special, Twist appears again as an unnamed audience member in the bar where Ruby Sunday is playing piano for a band. When goblins cause a technical issue, she yells: “Can you do Gaudete?” (Translated, this is ‘Rejoice Ye’ in Latin, a 16th century Christmas carol.)

This is the first hint that Twist is intended to be a recurring character, as the script for this episode describes her as: “a woman we’ve seen as Mrs Merridew in Special 2, a woman we’ll see a lot more of”.

‘Space Babies’ — Comms Officer Gina

Susan Twist as Gina in Doctor Who: Space Babies

Twists’ third appearance comes over a video message. When the Doctor and Ruby land on a space station in ‘Space Babies’, they find out that it’s actually a baby farm which the government abandoned for budgetary reasons.

They find a video wherein three ex-employees criticize the decision before they sign off for one last time and leave the ship, including Twist as Comms Officer Gina.

‘The Devil’s Chord’ — Tea Lady

Susan Twist as the Tea Lady in Doctor Who 'The Devil's Chord'

‘The Devil’s Chord’ sees Twist step back in time to 1965, where the Doctor and Ruby are battling the colorful, music-stealing Maestro. In her scene, Twist plays a character known only as Tea Lady, who charges the doctor half a grand for two cups of tea. (Clearly, Maestro has altered the economy as well as the world’s music.)

After the Doctor and Ruby express shock at the extortionate prices, Tea Lady says: “That’s me, Margaret Lockwood, the wicked lady. Now there was a woman – statuesque.”

At the end of the episode, the Doctor kickstarts a grand musical number by saying: “There’s always a twist at the end,” which also happens to be the lyrics to the song. Coincidence? Not in Doctor Who, it won’t be. This is just another clue that Susan Twist could have a much more significant purpose in this season, and will likely be revealed in the final episodes. Either way, they’re letting fans know that Twist’s regularity isn’t just a fluke.

‘Boom’ — Ambulance

Susan Twist as the Ambulance in Doctor Who: Boom

In ‘Boom’, Susan Twist isn’t so much a person as an algorithm. She’s the human-appearing interface of the Villengard ambulance units. In the war-torn battlefield of Kastarion 3, the ambulances roll around, looking for conflict and seeking causalities. However, their overly-pragmatic algorithm means they’re willing to kill any patients they deem too far gone.

The Doctor later reveals that there is no war, and that Villengard has instigated it all in order to maintain a profit as the Anglican soldiers fight smoke and shadows. Susan Twist appears on the screens of the ambulance units, with her voice also being the voice of the system itself. Later, she appears as a full body hologram.

By this point, her recurring appearance still hasn’t been acknowledged by the Doctor or Ruby.

’73 Yards’ — Hiker

Susan Twist as a Hiker in 73 Yards

This episode marks a major milestone in Season 14, as Twist is finally acknowledged by Ruby. It all takes place on a Welsh cliffside, after Ruby is left to wander to a nearby town after the Doctor disappears. While she’s being stalked by a strange figure (who always remains 73 yards away), she stumbles across Susan Twist’s Hiker.

She asks her about the nearby town, but quickly acknowledges Twist’s familiarity by asking if she’s met her before. But a moment later, she talks herself down from this, with the conversion quickly moving on. It’s a very brief exchange, but a highly important one.

It all means that Twist’s appearances aren’t just being noticed by us, the viewers, but by Ruby and potentially the Doctor, too.

‘Dot and Bubble’ — Penny Pepper-Bean

Susan Twist as Penny Pepper-Bean in Doctor Who Dot and Bubble

‘Dot and Bubble’ actually has both Ruby and the Doctor acknowledge their recognition of Susan Twist. As they help Lindy, a vapid rich child, escape the monster-laden city of Finetime, she talks to them over the digital platform known as dot and bubble.

While talking to the pair, Lindy plays a message from her mother, Penny Pepper-Bean. We then see Susan Twist appear on the screen, dressed like a wealthy woman. In the screen, we can see her details, including the fact that she’s 62 years old.

Ruby points out that they’ve seen her before, and the Doctor agrees, specifically remembering that she was the face of the ambulance on Kastarion 3. But Ruby also says that she’s seen her somewhere else before. But before they can discuss any further, Lindy brings them back to the situation.

There’s no doubt that Susan Twists’ presence in the season is starting to grow at this point, and with both halves of the duo now clocking onto her, it’s likely building up to some sort of understanding.

‘Rogue’ — Portrait

Susan Twist as the portrait in Doctor Who: Rogue

This is Susan Twist’s most subtle appearance to date, since ‘Rogue’ sees her only as a portrait. Ruby finds the picture during the ball in 1813, where the Duchess explains that it is a painting of her late mother-in-law. Ruby looks at it for a moment, but before she can comment on Twist, the Duchess quickly scurries away to chase after two other guests.

Twist gets no dialogue in this episode, since she exists only in painting form. However, if you stuck around for the ‘Next Time’ preview, you would have seen that Episode 8, ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’, was set to reveal all about Susan Twist.

This blows the red herring theories out of the water, since it’s clear that yes, Twist has been here this whole time for a reason. Which leads us to…

‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’ and ‘Empire of Death’ — Susan Triad

Susan Triad reveal explained

In Episode 7, ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’, it was revealed that Susan Twist was also playing Susan Triad, a tech genius who was actually an invention of Sutekh.

Sutekh is the big bad of Season 14, so Susan’s frequent appearances were actually building up to his reveal. In ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday‘ it’s addressed that Susan could actually be Susan Foreman, the Doctor’s granddaughter. This was one of the biggest theories of Season 14, along with the idea that she could be The One Who Waits.

However, that’s no longer a possibility, as when the Doctor meets Susan Triad, she has no recollection of him. She does, however, remember all the roles she’s previously played (including all of those above), only she sees them as dreams.

Doctor Who: Susan Twist as Susan Triad

Susan Triad is seen prepping for a live speech, which will be televised to the United Nations. However, when she’s live, a voice seemingly takes over and her teleprompter gets possessed. She then goes into a trance, speaking nonsense and remembering all her trips through different universes.

When she collapses, she reemerges as a ghastly-looking figure with a white face and monstrous eyes. It’s then that the Doctor realizes her name, previously thought to be an anagram for “TARDIS technology”, was actually an anagram for “Sutekh”. She then kills one of Susan Triad’s media assistants, and ends the episode by going after the Doctor.

Susan continues to be under the power of Sutekh throughout the season finale, ‘Empire of Death’. During the episode, it’s also revealed that Sutekh, riding aboard the TARDIS throughout space and time, dropped various versions of Susan throughout the universe, primed for action for when he’d give the command to distribute his killer space dust.

However, once the Doctor defeats the deity, all those under his spell return to normal, including Susan Triad. At the end of the episode, the Doctor and Ruby fly away, and Susan can be seen alongside the rest of UNIT waving them off.

Good to know she gets a happy ending!

Russell T Davies’ comments on Susan Twist

Showrunner Russell T Davies tried to tell fans that nothing was going on with Susan Twist, and that her inclusion was simply the result of an Equity problem.

He spoke about the matter on the ‘Boom’ commentary track, saying that there’s no grand reason as to why the actress keeps showing up.

“Strange. We ran out of actors actually, genuinely, there was a shortage at Equity,” he said, referring to the UK’s trade union for the performing arts and entertainment industry. “So we keep using Susan Twist for a lot of things, just because we like her. And that’s the simple reason why,” he said.

“There’s nothing behind it. No mystery, no nothing. She’s just there. I said, ‘Come on, Sue, come on, have a laugh.’ Yes, she keeps cropping up, faithful viewer. Yes, we’ve noticed. Yes, you’ve noticed.”

Obviously, this was a way to keep fans at bay from guessing the big twist. But fans didn’t believe Davies when he said this. This is Doctor Who, and with Davies (who loves to sow the seeds of a big reveal) at the helm, connections were everywhere.

For more Who, check out our guide to Doctor Who Season 15. Or check out our breakdown of every Doctor Who Season 14 episode ranked, and take a look at all the Doctor Who Christmas specials ranked.