Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary Special

Posted on Nov 25, 2013


The Day of the Doctor

Picture courtesy of

Yes I know, this review is a bit late but here it is nonetheless.

Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary Special has been eagerly awaited and much-anticipated so it was with great excitement that many across the world (around 80 countries watched, making it into the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest ever television simulcast) sat down in cinema’s and homes to see what would befall our favourite time traveller.

Having watched the short 7 minute prequel The Night of the Doctor about six or seven times, I was ready for anything and knew that it would be good, even with the annoying Rose Tyler character. I had nothing to worry about with her though. She wasn’t what she seemed. I actually think Billie Piper who plays her has had some acting lessons again for she seemed much improved; probably because she was acting alongside the legend that is John Hurt no doubt.

From the classic opening title sequence which used the original from fifty years ago, to the reintroduction of Gallifrey; the Doctor was about to face his ultimate challenge. Himself.

The Eleventh Doctor remembers his past in which he was a apart of during the Time War after receiving a message in the present from Queen Elizabeth I (played by Joanna Page), in the form of a letter and a 3D painting kept safe by U.N.I.T and the ultimate Gallifreyan weapon, the interface; which has a conscience that questions those that intend to use it.

It was during the Night of the Doctor that we see how he regenerates from Paul McGann’s brilliant but short-lived eighth incarnation to John Hurt’s new ‘unknown’ Timelord. In this guise he is known as the War Doctor. It is his Doctor that sets the chain of timey wimey stuff off and a meeting with two of his future incarnations.

Are you still with me? Good.

The War (Ninth) Doctor played by John Hurt

The War (Ninth) Doctor played by John Hurt
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Cut to Elizabethan England where Tennant’s Doctor is wooing good Queen Bess with a picnic until a Zygon; a race of Octopus-like sponge creatures, tries to attack them both. After they both run away, a wormhole in time opens and in comes Matt Smith’s Doctor and the two meet in a wooded area. Not long after they are joined by Hurt’s version and what follows is mad comedy genius. All three actors are having a ball you can tell. They also bring a sadness to their parts and you can tell that even though they are all different, they are one and the same character.

The Time War and the inner struggle that the Doctor’s deal with is the real story. It is this that the 2005 reboot has carried until now and it is this storyline that may be finally at an end, leaving open the very real possibility of the return of Gallifrey to the series on a permanent basis. It’s long overdue.

We are then led on a journey as Hurt’s Doctor is joined by the Interface in the guise of Rose Tyler whom only he can see and hear. She is his conscious and guide throughout the episode but never there too much to be annoying. Her part has echoes of the Doctor’s Wife Idris previously played brilliantly by Suranne Jones. Still, she pulls it off anyway.

Whilst Matt Smith and David Tennant were fantastic as ever playing our bonkers Timelord, it was John Hurt who stole the show throughout; acting like a father figure to them with many funny moments. I would have loved to have been on set when they were together.

The finale sees the Doctor’s choosing between killing all on Gallifrey to save the universe, killing the Dalek’s in the process and end the war; or choose another path that will ‘destroy’ the Daleks but save his own people. Thanks to Clara, the Doctor’s best assistant yet, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman; the Doctor’s make a choice that will no doubt affect the future of the show and the next incarnation of Peter Capaldi’s Timelord.

Old and weary, the 9th Doctor steps into his Tardis and starts to regenerate. Now this is the thing. You never see him regenerate into Eccleston’s tenth incarnation, leaving the possibility of others in-between which is how John Hurts came into being after McGann’s eighth wasn’t shown who he regenerated into. The possibilities are now endless for at the brilliant end of Day of the Doctor, as the three Timelords say their goodbyes, a very familiar face comes into a room with Matt Smith’s bonkers twelfth version. He is old and white-haired. They look on a Gallifrey painting, talking about what is now to be done after saving the Doctor’s home planet from destruction from himself and the Daleks. The mission is now to find a way to bring back Gallifrey from where it was saved, frozen in time and this Smith’s Doctor agrees, is what he will do. With that, the elderly man, the curator, walks away and Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor leaves the room.

Seeing Baker’s Doctor back as an older version was brilliant and blew me away. He was my Doctor when I was a kid and it was fantastic seeing him back in the role on our screens; albeit and older and wiser version. I like to think he had his Tardis around the corner somewhere and it would have been brilliant if the Tardis sound was heard as he disappeared. He said old faces could be revisited and they must not be forgotten. This paves the way I reckon for older actors who have played the Timelord to come back as they are now in some way without it being silly. If it could be done in Terminator: Salvation; then it can be done in the greatest Sci-fi show ever made.

The fiftieth was full of surprises as it should be and the line-up at the end of all twelve was brilliant. Three Tardis’s, all the Doctors, Gallifrey and more besides. What more could you want? Capaldi’s thirteenth turned up briefly with all the other incarnations to do battle and try to save Gallifrey. It was perfect.

I hope the Christmas special is just as good and the next regeneration blows us all away. Long may it live on. The show is endless and loved by old and young alike. Well done to all involved.

The Twelve Doctors

The Twelve Doctors
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Order of Doctors (TV dates only)

1) William Hartnell – 1963-1966
2) Patrick Troughton – 1966-1969
3) John Pertwee – 1970-1974
4) Tom Baker – 1974-1981
5) Peter Davison – 1981-1984
6) Colin Baker – 1984-1986
7) Sylvester McCoy – 1987-1989 then 1996
8) Paul McGann – 1996 then 2013
9) John Hurt – 2013
10) Christopher Eccleston – 2005
11) David Tennant – 2005 -2010
12) Matt Smith – 2010-2013
13) Peter Capaldi – 2013-

*Just to add that there was a special comedy sketch written and directed by Peter Davison who was joined by Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy and briefly by Paul McGann. You MUST watch it. It is very funny and has many guest appearances from people in the Whoniverse and others linked to it in some way, even tenuously. View it here