Wed, 27 November 2013
reprinted from wiki
"The Night of the Doctor" is a mini-episode of the British science fiction televisionprogramme Doctor Who. It was made available on BBC iPlayer and YouTube on 14 November 2013, as part of the BBC One lead-up to the show's 50th anniversary special. Written by Steven Moffat, it starred Paul McGann as the Doctor.
The episode, set during the Time War, shows the previously unseen last moments of the Eighth Doctor (McGann), and his artificially controlled regeneration into the War Doctor (John Hurt). It is notable for featuring McGann's second onscreen appearance as the Doctor, following his debut in the TV movie seventeen years earlier in 1996. It is also, in the series chronology, the first appearance of the War Doctor
During the Time War, the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) attempts to rescue a pilot, Cass, whose spacecraft is crashing into the planet Karn. When Cass realises that the Doctor is a Time Lord, she refuses his aid, ignoring his claims that he has never taken part in the devastating Time War. The Doctor refuses to abandon Cass. Both are killed when the ship crashes.
On the planet, the Doctor is taken in by the Sisterhood of Karn, who revive him temporarily; Cass, however, is beyond their help. The Sisterhood offer the Doctor a selection of potions which, if consumed before he expires, will regenerate him into a form of his choice. They convince the Doctor that he must take action and end the Time War. The Doctor asks for a potion that will turn him into "a warrior". He utters his last words ('Physician, heal thyself') and, after drinking it, regenerates into the War Doctor(John Hurt, appearing via digitally manipulated archive footage from his younger days), who takes Cass's belt and declares, "Doctor no more."
The idea for "The Night of the Doctor" came following the creation of the previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor played by John Hurt in "The Name of the Doctor". Steven Moffat decided that he wanted to see how this Doctor came into being, with the best story idea being a direct regeneration from the Eighth Doctor, which would have the added benefit of showing the end of the Eighth Doctor, which Moffat had always wanted to see. Having contacted Paul McGann, who indicated his willingness to participate, Moffat then constructed the mini-episode to serve as an additional surprise for the fans, as well as serving as an introductory piece to "The Day of the Doctor". The mini-episode was produced as part of the production schedule of "The Day of the Doctor", with filming taking place on the final two days of the shoot, the 4 and 5 May 2013; rather than a return to the costume from the TV movie, or using the new image that Big Finish had introduced, Moffat decided on a variation of the TV movie outfit designed by Howard Burden, which referenced that image, in retaining the long green coat and grey waistcoat, but making it appear more of an "adventurer's" rather than "gentleman's" outfit.
Broadcast and reception
The broadcast of the episode came as a surprise to viewers, as it was announced via Twitter less than an hour before its release. The appearance of Paul McGann was similarly unexpected. The mini-episode was intended to be released during the actual week of the anniversary, but was brought forward owing to the fact that its existence, as well as the surprise presence of McGann as the Eighth Doctor, were about to be leaked.
"The Night of the Doctor" received over 2.5 million views within the week of its release. McGann's reprise performance was met with acclaim; fans of the episode campaigned for the BBC to grant the Eighth Doctor his own spin-off series, with one petition on Change.orgaccumulating over 15,000 signatures.