Happy 50th to The Doctor: My Thoughts on Day Of The Doctor

For the longest time, I tried to avoid Doctor Who despite hearing nothing but good things about it. It wasn't because of some sort of ignorant refusal to watch the show. I really just didn't want to have something else on my plate. But then my wife started watching it and she got hooked. After a while, I started watching a few episodes here and there and before I knew it, I was looking forward to Saturday nights and revisiting the Chris Eccleston episodes. While I wouldn't consider myself a "Whovian" I do think of myself as a fan. With that in mind, I was very much anticipating the 50th Anniversary special, "Day of the Doctor" to see how the showrunner, Stephen Moffat, would celebrate the occasion

The true face of a Whovian.
Watching the pre-show for the anniversary episode almost ruined the entire mood for me, mostly because it was so awkward and hard to watch. It was hosted by a woman named Veronica Belmont. No, I have no idea who she is or why I should care about her opinion of Doctor Who. They should have gotten someone like Chris Hardwick to host this thing; he at least has a personality. Or better yet, Alan Kistler; he literally wrote the book on Doctor Who. But whatever. Thankfully, it was only 20 minutes long and I managed to get through it unscathed.

It's hard to write about an episode of Doctor Who mostly because of how much actually happens. "Day of the Doctor" is no exception to this. I'm not even going to try to remain vague about my thoughts because to do so would make me sound like a rambling madman. So if you go forward, be careful. In the words of River Song... Spoilers.

Firstly, let me say that I loved the chemistry between David Tennant and Matt Smith. A lot of Who fans were turned off by Smith's portrayal when he was first introduced, seeing him as too over-the-top in the role but I've always enjoyed Eleven. I like the energy and humor he brings to the show but seeing him on screen with David Tennant was just amazing. The two men play off each other well, with both of them being so completely in touch with the character of the Doctor. Granted, both of them have defined the Doctor in their own way, giving him unique personalities in their times in the role. And even though, for the most part, Ten and Eleven are so completely different, they share a lot of the same characteristics. And this really shows during this episode.

"Day of the Doctor" brings John Hurt's Doctor to the forefront. Introduced to audiences at the end of the Season Seven finale, there have been questions surrounding where Hurt's Doctor fits into the timeline. In that episode, Eleven tells Clara that he's the face of a broken promise. While dramatic, it didn't really shine any light on who he is. But "Day of the Doctor" changed all that.

Hurt played the role amazingly, so very much different from the jovial, light-hearted Doctors of Tennant and Smith. He is run down, tired, ready to do the unthinkable for a moments peace. In essence, given where he fits into the time-line, Hurt's portrayal was spot on.

The way they attacked the plot was...inventive, to say the least. Moffat took a defining moment in the life of the Doctor and basically negated it, without changing a thing. Given the change, the Doctor would still develop the way he was meant to, becoming the man that has appeared throughout the show these last 50 years. You would expect not absolutely nothing different, even though the history of the Doctor is completely different. It was clever and ridiculously entertaining.

But what does change is the numbering. Knowing that Hurt was the face of the Doctor before the death of Gallifrey would mean that everyone ascends. William Hartnell would technically be the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton the third, with Matt Smith being number Twelve."Day of the Doctor" also recognizes this, making a reference to thirteen total Doctors, which would include Matt Smith's replacement, Peter Capaldi, who will make his debut in next month's Christmas special. So is the change in numbering going to be agreed upon? Given the voracious nature of Doctor Who fans, I doubt it will be accepted lightly.

Really, the only thing that bother me about the episode was the use of Billie Piper. Rose Tyler is arguably the best Doctor's companion of the series so to hear that Piper would be included in the anniversary special was great news. But, technically, Rose Tyler didn't appear in the episode; Piper plays an interpretation of Rose that tries to convince the Doctor of a major mistake he will make. The episode is essentially an interpretation of A Christmas Carol with Piper acting as the Ghost of Christmas Future. It was by no means a detriment to the episode, but I was hoping for the real Rose.

It was also great to see Tom Baker again.

I tend to get worried when an event receives as much hype as "Day of the Doctor" has. Not because it's not warranted but usually it doesn't live up to the hype.I have to say, though, that "Day of the Doctor" was pretty amazing. It was a great special in the middle of a fantastic show and a wonderful way to let a new actor shine in the role of the Doctor. I would love to see more of the Doctor in his days on Gallifrey, days before the penance he pays after destroying his entire race. Luckily, fans will be able to relive the episode over and over as it's already been announced to be released on Blu-Ray on December 10, just in time for Christmas. I know my wife has already put it on her list to Santa.


  1. Not sure where you got the War Doctor being #1 (instead of 9) - Especially since we see 8 regenerate into him in the Night of the Doctor...

    I was also very glad that it was not Rose that Billie P was playing, The whole Rose/10 thing was resolved and a bit played out if you ask me. To revisit it would would have just been overkill.

    1. Because I didn't see Night of the Doctor. I assumed that the death of Gallifrey was the inciting incident of the series that sends the Doctor out into the universe on his solitary journey to other worlds which, in my mind, started before William Hartnell. I didn't know that the actual Time War occurred between the 8th and 9th Doctors.

  2. also, over the closing credits, they put Hurt in between McGann and Eccelston.


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