50th Anniversary Special – THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR

I’ve spoken in detail about this episode before (https://talkingtardis.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/why-the-day-of-the-doctor-is-the-perfect-episode/), but that was more of a defense of the episode. This is going to be why I love it so much. Right from the original opening credits from The Unearthly Child, Steven Moffat achieved a balance between classic and modern Doctor Who perfectly, in his finest hour as show runner. Although you could say there should’ve been a classic Doctor throughout the story, John Hurt was like a bridge between the old and new eras as he filled in the gap in the Doctor’s timeline during the show’s hiatus. And the cameo from Tom Baker at the end was magical, and should’ve more than pleased older fans looking for “their” Doctor. Seeing the Time War on screen was fantastic. We’ve heard it mentioned, mostly just in passing, but to see the total devastation caused was brilliant. We knew the Doctor had done something he regretted since the show came back in 2005 and by the time the episode aired you could’ve quite easily worked out that he’d wiped out the Time Lords and the Daleks. Actually seeing innocent young children on Gallifrey did make you think what a tough decision it must’ve been. It’s quite easy to decide you want to eliminate the perpetrators in such a destructive war, but when that includes billions of innocents, it makes the decision so much harder, and I’m glad we got to see that on screen. Throughout the episode, Matt Smith is narratively the oldest Doctor, but he does marvellously to make you actually believe that he is, despite his much younger persona and appearance compared to David Tennant and John Hurt. Tennant’s return was fantastic and I don’t think it could’ve been written or acted any better. Of course he wasn’t going to waltz straight back in and take centre stage, but he had a prominent role to play in convincing the War Doctor he had a future. Some of the dialogue between the tenth and eleventh Doctor was hilarious and just a pleasure to watch. Although the Daleks did appear in this episode, I’m glad they weren’t the main enemies. The Zygons returned and their emergence from under the covers where the statues should’ve been was chilling. Although their story wasn’t resolved in this episode, they still played an important part in the storyline, and of course series nine wonderfully wrapped up their attempts to live on Earth. The scene in the hut where the eleventh Doctor stopped and decided he wasn’t going to destroy Gallifrey this time was a stand out scene. There’s a lot of debate about how each previous incarnation knew how to save Gallifrey. To me, it seems as though the Doctor created a psychic link with previous (and a future) incarnations of himself. The message seemed to be received in chronological order as the War Doctor appeared to receive it first and then the tenth Doctor excitedly squealed; “Oh I’m getting that too” as if he had just received some sort of instructions. As the tenth Doctor explains he won’t remember trying to save Gallifrey at the end, it could explain why no incarnation remembers. Tom Baker’s revelation to the eleventh Doctor that the paining is in fact called “Gallifrey falls no more” was a fitting conclusion that set up the next fifty years of the show perfectly. The Doctor now had to go and find his home and a whole new range of possible storylines were opened after the Time War arc effectively ended after a terrific and mysterious eight year run. I can’t fault this story. Coal Hill, the “reverse the polarity” scene and of course Tom Baker’s comeback paid tribute to the classic era, while the tenth and eleventh Doctor carried the flag for the modern era. This is easily Steven Moffat’s best script for the show, and he along with everyone else involved deserves great credit for providing fans with such a treat. 10/10


Matt Smith bowed out as the eleventh Doctor in another impressive Steven Moffat script. As Clara was in and out of the story, the Doctor was joined by the Handles, a Cyberman head who had some quirky humour that lightened up the episode. As I’ve just watched all of Matt Smith’s era in under two weeks, it is hard to express the satisfaction when you see everything in that time come together. The return of the crack in the wall, which the Doctor guarded on Trenzalore, as the Silence began their attempts to bring the Doctor’s silence/death so that he couldn’t answer the oldest question in the universe was genius from Moffat. Every individual, solitary story arc he’d attempted were all connected and although it may have been confusing to follow over four years, I loved it. Out of all of the monsters that tried to kill the Doctor on Trenzalore, the Weeping Angels assault when the Doctor and Clara first arrived was by far the most gripping. The Weeping Angels in snow was just perfect and I wish that sequence went on for longer, or that concept was developed into a full episode. Tasha Lem’s characters annoyed me. She was unbelievably flirtatious and it ruined the strong willed and powerful image she could’ve had. The conclusion to this episode was epic. I’m not sure how the Time Lords managed to move the crack from the wall to the sky, maybe just because they’re Time Lords? Anyway, giving the seemingly resigned Doctor a new set of regenerations was a valid resolution to the story. I’m glad there was an explanation as to why the Doctor had run out. Sometimes Moffat leaves a lot of questions unanswered but this one was important and I’m glad he addressed that the War and Metacrisis incarnations were still regenerations. The eleventh Doctor’s final speech was very fitting, I preferred his last words to the tenth Doctor’s. The actual regeneration itself was shockingly sharp and quick and we were flung into Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. His first scene was written and produced in a much better and more eerie way than the eleventh Doctor’s first moments in The End of Time. Overall, despite Tasha Lem and some scenes that did drag on a little bit, this is a deserving and exciting goodbye for the terrific eleventh Doctor. 8/10