Doctor Who: Who (Or What) Is Mrs. Flood?


Ever since Doctor Who introduced Mrs. Flood (Anita Dobson) into the show’s impressive collection of side characters, fans have been rushing to learn more about her. They first meet her as an unassuming neighbor of the Sunday family in “The Church on Ruby Road.” She’s causing a fuss with someone she holds responsible for the strange police box that’s taken up residence in front of her apartment. However, this is where things start getting strange — even for the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa).

Twice in that holiday special, Mrs. Flood speaks knowingly about the TARDIS and the person flying it. Many viewers might have forgotten this detail until her whimsically strange behavior gets a little more sinister in season 14, episode 8, “Empire of Death.” In fact, no one pays much attention to her at all. It’s like she exists in a pocket of the story in which she knows more than others realize. Let’s talk about why.

What’s the Deal With Mrs. Flood?

Doctor Who fans have come up with a few interesting theories as to what makes Mrs. Flood so special. Some believe she’s good, since her appearances haven’t hurt anyone (so far) and she’s usually delighted when the TARDIS shows up. For example, she playfully describes the Doctor as a “busy man” with a “box of tricks” in “The Church on Ruby Road.” Others, however, fear her true malicious intent thanks to season 14, episode 7, “The Legend of Ruby Sunday.”

One moment, she’s chattering away to Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) and her mum, Carla (Michelle Greenidge). The next, she’s making ominously vague comments to Ruby’s grandmother, Cherry (Angela Wynter), about the coming of an evil god — right before getting dusted along with everyone else. She’s powerful enough to know of the incoming evil, but not powerful enough to protect herself from it. That explains everything and nothing at all. Luckily, dedicated fans have put themselves on the case.

Mrs. Flood as the Guardian

One of the most prevailing theories is that Mrs. Flood is a modern take on a classic Doctor Who character. The beloved sci-fi series introduced the Guardians of Time back when the show was still filmed in black and white. They’re basically overseers of the space-time continuum, and can sometimes be a problem for the time-traveling Doctor. Other times, though, they simply exist to make sure all those fun time-hopping hijinks don’t put the rest of the universe at risk.

One example is when the White Guardian (Cyril Luckham) showed up in season 16, episode 1, “The Ribos Operation” for his series debut, where he met the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker). He exists outside of reality as fans know it, and his knowledge spans space and time. More importantly, he’s known for sporting an all-white suit. Similarly, Mrs. Flood seems to exist outside of reality, knows more than she lets on, and rocks a stunning white outfit in season 14, episode 8, “Empire of Death.” It’s no wonder that so many fans have leaned toward this theory in the days following the tearjerker of a Doctor Who season finale.

The Doctor’s Real Granddaughter


Another popular theory about Mrs. Flood redirects the misdirect that took the fandom by storm. Initially, “The Legend Of Ruby Sunday” heavily implied that Susan Triad (Susan Twist) was the Doctor’s long-lost granddaughter. She appears in every Doctor Who episode in season 14, and always as a force of good (her stint as a robot ambulance notwithstanding). When the Doctor finally meets her face-to-face in season 14, episode 7, “The Legend of Ruby Sunday,” however, there’s none of the promised recognition.

Instead, she dances her way into exposing her true identity as Sutekh, the big bad of the season. While this stunned fans, the reveal didn’t get them off the scent of the Doctor’s granddaughter returning to the franchise. Their hopes just transferred to Mrs. Flood, who seems to know just a little bit too much about the adventures of the Doctor.

The Return of the Rani

Finally, the return of the Rani could bring as much controversy as intrigue. These gender-swapped Time Lords have found a permanent place among unpopular opinions throughout the Doctor Who fandom. Yet, this hasn’t stopped the growing theory that Mrs. Flood is one of them. How else could she have ended the season 14 finale with her own narration? Plus, there’s the (as yet) minor hint that rain is both a rearrangement of the letters in Rani (keeping with the anagram theme), and something that can cause a flood.

It would also explain how she knew Sutekh’s storm was coming, and why she only appears periodically throughout the season. The Rani aren’t exactly known for their patience, consistency, or compassion. If anything, they’ve gained a negative reputation for being more of a problem than an ally. So if Mrs. Flood is indeed a Rani, then her ability to cause mayhem just went all the way up. That bodes excellently for viewers, but terribly for the ever-suffering Doctor. And Mrs. Flood herself states that the Doctor’s story is doomed to end in tragedy.

Whatever Mrs. Flood has going on, it’s got Doctor Who fans feeling the enthusiasm and excitement for the following seasons. Maybe she’s a villain, maybe she’s a hero, or maybe she’s some funky third option that no one has considered yet. Theories will continue flowing in until the next season arrives, and beyond if the writing team goes the slow-burn route of her reveal.

Meanwhile, Dodson isn’t worried about which direction her character moves in next. She could be one of Doctor Who’s Gods of Chaos for all she knows. She’s even gone so far as to express delight at not knowing, explaining that having “been in the dark for so long” the ongoing mystery has just become “part of the fun.” Her last Doctor Who role had her voicing Eileen Klint in The Eighth Doctor Adventures audio story Blood of the Daleks. This new one has made her a major player in ways fans can only speculate about.