Doctor Who 50th anniversary: The Day of the Doctor

Neela Debnath

5012643 low res doctor who 200x300 Doctor Who 50th anniversary: The Day of the DoctorSpoiler alert: Do not read this if you have not seen Doctor Who – The Day of the Doctor

Let’s get one thing straight before we go any further, John Hurt is not the name of the Doctor. I’m referring to all those people who tweeted that John Hurt was the Doctor’s name at the end of The Name of the Doctor. Phew, now we’ve got that out of the way we can carry on.

The day of the Doctor has finally arrived, with plenty of Who references it was a whirlwind ride. But did it live up to the hype?

The Day of the Doctor was certainly a thrill-seeking ride with sweeping shots of London much like in The Bells of Saint John. If fans were calling for a Doctor Who film then this is it. The Day of the Doctor celebrates not only all that is Doctor Who but all that is British. The show is quintessentially British and everything is celebrated. It is all richly interwoven.

Saying this, the episode was more for the fans than the casual viewer. While it is certainly a lavish production with a raft of special effects, it is somewhat alienating (if you’ll pardon the phrase) for someone who has not seen the show before. The location captions are tries to provide clarity but it is not enough.

But putting the casual viewers to one side, this hit the spot for fans. It satisfies the needs of the fans and feeds their hunger, as well as consolidating some of the show’s mythology. When the show was brought back in 2005 it was said that the Doctor was the last of the Time Lords and this episode addresses all of that and the 16 year gap when the show was off the air which was great.

I loved the references from the original Sixties intro to the fourth Doctor’s scarf. Tom Baker comes back right at the end and it is a delicious little addition and well played on Steven Moffat’s part. While the inclusion of all the incarnations – including Peter Capaldi’s Doctor-in-waiting – saving Gallifrey was magical. It was one of my favourite reveals and ties 50 years of Doctor Who past and present together.

Watching the tenth and the eleventh Doctor on screen was rather marvellous and what we’ve all been waiting for. They poke fun at one another and it is great to watch. Tennant is straight off the mark and it’s like nothing has changed, it is wonderful to see him return. They bounce off each other and have a strong dynamic, diverging at some points in their performance and at other times playing it the same.

But it is John Hurt who steals the show. He channels William Hartnell’s Doctor who is a grumpy, irritable old man. He is so watchable and not at all what we thought he was going to be. There is so much sympathy for him. There is also some great chemistry between Hurt’s incarnation and Billie Piper’s ethereal interface character.

We were given a slightly eccentric performance from Piper. She is a woman grown and not at all like Rose Tyler, Piper plays it like Suranne Jones’ version of the Tardis in The Doctor’s Wife. She is oddball and off-the-wall in her performance. She gives a mature turn that redeems those who did not like Rose Tyler.

Overall it is 75 minutes of crazy, fantastical Doctor Who and a fitting tribute for fans.

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  • molesey_,mole


    All good fun, but so full of plot holes that this was really “one for the kids” rather than one for the “fans”.

    E.G. Why are ALL the Daleks and ALL the Time Lords in the universe all concentrated around one planet ? . . . Why does it take the Doctors 3 (or 13) of him and his Tardis) to do this rather than the Billions of Time Lords and Tardises on the Planet ? . . . . . What was the need for the Zygons sub-plot other than to pad the episode out ? . . . . . etc……..


  • ukcia

    Not enough Daleks. Pah!

  • Peter Naus

    This ep showed just how good this show can be. OK, there were plot-holes you could drive a truck through – but occasionally they drove their own semi-trailer through! The prison door gag was just perfect.

    I grew up with the Doctor, and my all-time favourite was Tom Baker (jelly baby, anyone?), so to hear and see old Tom doing what he always did best – be enigmatic – brought tears to my eyes. I’d had a few red wines by then, though, so it could just be me getting maudlin in my dotage…

    As a guy, it’s always been a total pleasure to watch the Lovely Young Things too. Kira, annyone? But I love the way brains and strong characters are blending with the stunningly talented female actors. They’re on a winner there. Mind you, I felt my age, as the Brigadier’s daughter was the character(s) I couldn’t take my eyes off. She can stop my countdown any old time.

    And Billie Piper acted her damn brains out! What a script for her!

    I’m SO glad John Hurt made it into the Doctors’ pantheon. I couldn’t think of a more fitting character role for him. And vice-versa. He’s One Of Them, now and forever.


  • JCorneliuss

    It missed one essential thing that is synonymous with Doctor Who – excitement and fear. Doctor Who used to be synonymous with hiding behind the couch in terror. When the main characters are all laughing their way through the plot and not taking anything seriously it’s very hard as a viewer to get sucked in. Were some good things in this episode but a big, big shame about the RTD levels of silliness (people from UNIT alll very tongue in cheek, all that Elizabeth I nonsense – wasn’t very funny when it was mentioned in passing in one of Tennant’s episodes, even les funny to see it played out in full).

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