Thu, 28 November 2013
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"The Day of the Doctor" is the 799th episode of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who, and marks the programme's fiftieth anniversary. It is written by Steven Moffat, an executive producer alongside Faith Penhale. It has been described by series producer Marcus Wilson as a "love letter to the fans" and by the controller of BBC One, Danny Cohen, as an "event drama". It was shown on BBC Oneon 23 November 2013, in both 2D and 3D. The special was broadcast simultaneously in 94 countries, and was shown concurrently in 3D in some cinemas. It achieved the Guinness World Record for the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama.
The episode shows the last day of the Time War, in which a previously unrevealed incarnation of the Doctor faces his choice to kill both Daleks and his own race of Time Lords in an act of mass destruction, paralleling this with a present-day choice by paramilitary organisation UNIT to destroy London rather than allow an alien invasion. It reveals how, contrary to previous plotline understanding, the Doctor followed a companion'splea to change his mind at the last instant of the Time War, and hid the war-racked planet Gallifrey in time, rather than destroy it, but due to the distortions of time incurred, had retained no memory of his changed decision.
The episode starred Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Jenna Coleman as his companion, Clara Oswald. Previous lead actors David Tennant and Billie Piper returned for the episode, Tennant reprising his role as the Tenth Doctor, while Piper portrayed a sentient doomsday weapon called the Moment, projecting an image based on her character Rose Tyler, invisible and inaudible to everyone but the War Doctor, played byJohn Hurt, introduced for the first time in the previous series finale as an unknown past incarnation of the Doctor. Other appearances included a very brief view of the upcomingTwelfth Doctor, expected to succeed Matt Smith in December 2013's Christmas Special, and a significant cameo appearance by Fourth Doctor actor Tom Baker, now in his late 70s and the earliest surviving actor to have played the title role. Rounding out the guest cast, Joanna Page starred as Queen Elizabeth I, while Jemma Redgrave returned to portray the in-series daughter of 1970s central figure Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.The special also featured the return of the Daleks, and the Zygons, shape-shifting aliens who had previously only appeared in the 1975 serial Terror of the Zygons.
Two mini-episodes written by Steven Moffat, "The Night of the Doctor" and "The Last Day", were released shortly prior to "The Day of the Doctor". They depict events occurring during the Time War between the Doctor's own race of Time Lords and his nemesis, the Daleks.
In "The Night of the Doctor", Paul McGann reprised his role as the Eighth Doctor from the1996 television film and subsequent Big Finish audio plays. He is a conscientious objectorto the ongoing Time War and intends to rescue a crew member from a crashing spaceship via the TARDIS. Realising that he is a Time Lord, she refuses to comply, preferring to die rather than go with him. She and the Doctor die as the ship crashes on Karn. The Doctor is resurrected temporarily by the Sisterhood of Karn. They persuade the Doctor to take action to end the Time War, offering him a selection of potions to control his regeneration. He chooses a potion designed to initiate his regeneration into a hitherto unknown incarnation of the Doctor as a "warrior" (described in credits as the "War Doctor" and played by John Hurt).
"The Last Day" is filmed from the first-person perspective of a Gallifreyan soldier who has had a camera implanted in his head. The soldiers scan for Daleks at Arcadia, Gallifrey's second city and believed due to its impregnable defences to be the safest place on the Time Lords' home planet. During training exercises, a blurred object in the sky is identified surprisingly as the first of a fleet of successfully invading Daleks, which kill the soldiers. The "Fall of Arcadia" becomes the central battle of the Time War around which "The Day of the Doctor" is centred.
At Coal Hill School, teacher Clara Oswald receives a message from the Eleventh Doctor and returns to the TARDIS, which is unexpectedly airlifted to Trafalgar Square. Kate Stewart of the paramilitary organisation UNIT shows the Doctor preserved instructions from previous wife Elizabeth I of England, along with the Under-Gallery, a secret vault of forbidden art housed at the National Gallery. The vault includes several works of Time Lord art: moments of time preserved in stasis that take the form of "3-D pictures". One such work, called either No More or Gallifrey Falls, shows the fall of Arcadia on the last day of the Time War, an event believed to have obliterated both the Time Lords and the Daleks from the universe. The glass of several of these pictures has been broken from within and figures in the paintings have disappeared. It transpires that the shape-shifting Zygons, preserved in stasis in the pictures, are invading, taking the forms of UNIT members. To defeat them, Kate plans to detonate a nuclear warhead in London from within UNIT's "TARDIS-proof" Black Archive of Time Lord and other alien artefacts. The detonation would will wipe out London but save the rest of humanity.
In the midst of the Time War, the War Doctor—a hitherto-unknown "hidden" incarnation of the Doctor—watches Gallifrey falling to the Dalek invasion. He decides to trigger an ancient weapon of mass destruction called "the Moment", a "galaxy eater" which will destroy both races completely. The Moment, however, is sentient and possesses a conscience. Its interface manifests with the form of his future assistant Rose Tyler to challenge whether mass killing is his best option and to show him the future personal consequences of his actions.
The Moment opens fissures in space and time between these two points in the timeline and Elizabethan England, depositing the Eleventh Doctor and the War Doctor near the Tenth Doctor and a young Elizabeth I under threat from Zygons, who are using the time period to secret themselves into the stasis of the Time Lord paintings as to invade in the contemporary future. All three Doctors are captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London, where the Moment encourages the War Doctor to form an escape plan involving calculations which would take "centuries", but which, being begun on the War Doctor's sonic screwdriver, are therefore now completed on the Eleventh's screwdriver, four hundred years in its future. The Eleventh Doctor, meanwhile, inscribes in stone the code necessary to activate a vortex manipulator stored in UNIT's Black Archive. Found by his allies in the present day, it allows Clara to both escape the Zygons and free the Doctors, by travelling into the past. Using the same technique to "travel" to the present via the Time Lord paintings as the Zygons, they gain entry to the Black Archives despite its TARDIS-proof defences. They use the Black Archives' mind-wiping facilities to erase the memories of the humans and Zygons present, causing them to forget who is human and who is Zygon in human form, and forcing them to cancel the detonation and discuss peace.
The War Doctor, now convinced that detonating the Moment will allow his future selves to save many more lives, is returned to his time by the Moment. His other two present incarnations appear with the intention of detonating the device alongside him so as to share his burden. Clara, reminding them that he chose the name "Doctor", implores that he seek a different solution. The three Doctors finally think of an alternative solution, to put the planet Gallifrey in stasis in a moment of time, leaving the Daleks surrounding the planet to be obliterated by their own firepower; to the rest of the universe it would still appear that both sides wiped each other out. The three work with the consent of the desperate Time Lords and summon all of the Doctor's other past incarnations – as well as the next to come – to successfully execute this plan.
The three Doctors and Clara return to the Gallery, unsure whether it is possible to return Gallifrey from stasis. The War Doctor is content to think that he failed in doing the right thing, rather than succeeding in doing the wrong thing. He realises that neither he nor the Tenth Doctor will remember what happened, and will continue shouldering the guilt for centuries. After departing, the aged War Doctor finds himself beginning to regenerate within his TARDIS. The Tenth Doctor also leaves, having persuaded his successor to tell him about his impending death on the planet Trenzalore.
The Eleventh Doctor, now alone in the Gallery, is joined by its mysterious curator, who appears to resemble an aged version of theFourth Doctor. The Curator enigmatically suggests that he might be a future incarnation of the Doctor, as well as commenting that the painting's actual name is neither No More nor Gallifrey Falls, but Gallifrey Falls No More. The Doctor surmises that his plan to save Gallifrey was successful. In closing, the Doctor describes a recurring dream, in which he and his eleven previous incarnations are looking together upon Gallifrey. The Doctor vows to find and restore Gallifrey.
As the show's 50th anniversary special, the episode contains multiple references to previous episodes. It opens with the title sequence and theme arrangement used at the series' debut in 1963. Echoing the opening of the very first story, An Unearthly Child, a policeman is shown walking past the sign for I.M. Foreman, the scrap merchant in whose yard the TARDIS was located, and its first few seconds are in monochrome (as had been the case in The Two Doctors, the last time more than one Doctor had featured in an official story).Coal Hill School, where the Doctor's granddaughter Susan Foreman went when they were on Earth in 1963, also featured in both the original story and the 1988 serial Remembrance of the Daleks. According to the school sign, the chairman of the school governors is now Ian Chesterton, formerly one of the First Doctor's original three companions and a science teacher at the school, and the headmaster is W. Coburn, a reference to Waris Hussein and Anthony Coburn, who respectively directed and wrote An Unearthly Child. Clara rides out of Coal Hill School on the Eleventh Doctor's anti-gravity motorcycle from "The Bells of Saint John" at 5:16, the time An Unearthly Child originally aired on BBC1 television (the first broadcast began 1 minute 20 seconds after its scheduled time of 5:15 GMT on 23 November 1963.). The same date and time were also reflected in the activation code of the vortex manipulator, 1716231163 (signifying 17:16 23/11/1963).
When the TARDIS is picked up by UNIT, the call sign used by the helicopter to refer to UNIT is 'Greyhound leader', reflecting that ofBrigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, whose daughter Kate is now portrayed as having his role as commander of UNIT. Lethbridge-Stewart was a central character in the Third Doctor's era and also several of his successors', originally appearing in theSecond Doctor serial The Web of Fear and making his last appearance in Doctor Who in Seventh Doctor serial Battlefield, which is also referenced. An image of the Brigadier is seen alongside images of various companions of the Doctor. Kate's assistant, Osgood, is also a name from that era (UNIT technician Osgood from The Dæmons) and her scarf is very similar to that worn by the Fourth Doctor; the Eleventh Doctor remarks that it is a "nice scarf". Osgood also uses it to trip up her Zygon duplicate who was standing on it, a nod to the Fourth Doctor's actions against a thug in his first story Robot. Kate Stewart twice mentions her subordinate, Malcolm, presumably the same UNIT scientist named Malcolm played by Lee Evans in "Planet of the Dead". The UNIT datingcontroversy, regarding whether the Third Doctor era stories took place in the 1970s or 1980s, is referenced in dialogue by Kate Stewart, when she mentions that events occurred in "the '70s or '80s depending on the dating protocol used".
The Tenth Doctor's era is also heavily referenced, elaborating on his marriage to Queen Elizabeth I originally mentioned in his final story, The End of Time and first referred to in "The Shakespeare Code". It is implied that he deserted her shortly after the wedding as part of his (fruitless) attempt to flee his impending death, hence her fury at him when she finds him at the Globe Theatre;at that time he had no idea why she was so angry, since the events of "The Shakespeare Code" occur much earlier than those of "The Day of the Doctor". The Tenth Doctor's speech to a rabbit whom he believes to be a Zygon is partially taken from the Christmas special, "Voyage of the Damned". The Tenth Doctor mentioned the Fall of Arcadia in "Doomsday". When he leaves after learning of Trenzalore, the Tenth Doctor remarks, "I don't want to go...", his incarnation's final words from The End of Time; the Eleventh Doctor tells Clara that "he always says that" after his TARDIS leaves. The Eleventh Doctor's fixation with fezzes – a linking item in this story – begins in "The Big Bang" and reappears in "A Christmas Carol", "The Impossible Astronaut", and "The Bells of Saint John". The Moment device was originally mentioned in The End of Time, but had not been explored in depth. Here, it takes the form of "Bad Wolf", a seemingly omnipotent being and personalisation of the Time Vortex itself, which manifested in Rose Tyler when she absorbed the Time Vortex in the series one finale, "The Parting of the Ways".
Other references come heavily from the previous multi-Doctor anniversary stories, The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors. The Eleventh Doctor's dismissal of the Tenth Doctor and War Doctor as "the sandshoes and grandad" to mock their respective trainers and age echo the First Doctor's description of his two successors in The Three Doctors as "a dandy and a clown". Likewise, a Time Lord says, "I didn't know when I was well-off! All twelve of them!" which recalls the Brigadier's line from The Three Doctors: "Three of them, eh? I didn't know when I was well off." More of the Brigadier's dialogue from the latter serial is referenced when Kate asks for an incident report code-named "Cromer"; in the earlier story, upon being transported to another universe, the Brigadier initially believes himself to be near the coastal Norfolk town. A line from the First Doctor, this time from The Five Doctors, is also referenced near the end as the Tenth Doctor tells the Eleventh, "It's good to know my future is in safe hands" (which the First told the Fifth in the earlier story, appended by "after all").
In trying to compensate for the presence of three Doctors who utilise different console rooms, the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS console briefly changes to the War Doctor's console room, seen again later in the episode, before settling on the Eleventh's; according to the script, the fact that all three are together has knocked their time streams out of sync and the TARDIS is reacting to that. The Tenth Doctor comments upon the Eleventh Doctor's TARDIS console, "Oh you've redecorated! I don't like it", a line originally used by the Second Doctor speaking to the Third in The Three Doctors and later reused by the Second and Eleventh Doctors respectively inThe Five Doctors and "Closing Time".
There were plenty of other script references to both the recent and classic history of the programme. When the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors aim their sonic screwdrivers at troops in 1560, the War Doctor asks if they plan to "...assemble a cabinet at them?", a line used by River Song when the Eleventh Doctor points his screwdriver at The Silence in a fight scene of "Day of the Moon". The white roundels in the wall of the War Doctor's TARDIS were featured in the classic series' original TARDIS console rooms from 1963 to 1989 before being removed for the more elaborate TARDIS console used by the Seventh and Eighth Doctors in the TV movie. Seeing the white roundels, both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor are pleased, but are uncertain as to what they are for. The final scene in the Gallery, containing Tom Baker's cameo appearance as the curator, breaks the fourth wall somewhat, as he enigmatically talks to the watching audience and Eleventh Doctor in a short monologue upon the Doctor's past and future activities, ultimately (in the context of the episode) deterring questions about his apparent knowledge with the comment, '"Who" Knows?'.
On 30 March 2013, a distribution error occurred, and many subscribers toDoctor Who Magazine received the issue five days before the official release date. The issue of the magazine included the official announcement thatDavid Tennant and Billie Piper, who previously played the Tenth Doctor andRose Tyler in Doctor Who respectively, were lined up to appear in the special, along with actor John Hurt. Moffat did not want to bring Rose the character back because he felt her story was wrapped up and did not feel comfortable adding to Davies' arc. However, he liked the concept of bringing back her Bad Wolf persona and felt that Piper needed to be in the special as she symbolised the rebirth of Doctor Who.
John Hurt did not actually audition for the part, but had been asked by the production team and "said yes with remarkable speed".His costume was meant to signify that he was "rougher, tougher", and had been around for a while; the audience had missed a lot. Hurt's request to keep his beard adds to this effect, and makes him the first bearded Doctor.
Christopher Eccleston discussed plans for the anniversary episode with Moffat, but eventually declined to return as the Ninth Doctor.Sylvester McCoy, who played the Seventh Doctor, claimed that none of the surviving actors who portrayed the Doctor prior to Eccleston were contacted regarding the special. Colin Baker confirmed this while being interviewed on Australian television alongside McCoy and Paul McGann. However, McGann went on to say that he could still be in the 50th but at the last moment. Radio Timesreported rumours that a Doctor from the classic era would feature in the special, citing unknown sources. Freema Agyeman andJohn Barrowman, who played Tenth Doctor companions Martha Jones and Jack Harkness, respectively, both stated they would not be in the 50th, but may return to the show at some point. Barrowman stated that he would have liked to be in it, but speculated that the producers wanted to try some different things.
Steven Moffat previously stated, "Most things that have been said about the 50th are not true... Normally I am responsible for the disinformation and the rubbish rumors—I usually put them out myself, but I haven't needed to for this one." On the importance of the episode, Moffat has stated that it will "change the narrative" of Doctor Who.
"The Night of the Doctor", an additional 7-minute special, was released on 14 November 2013, and featured the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann)'s regeneration into the War Doctor (John Hurt). Another 4 minute special, entitled "The Last Day", was released on 20 November 2013 and saw the start of the Fall of Arcadia.
On 4 November 2013, the BBC released the official synopsis: "The Doctors embark on their greatest adventure in this 50th anniversary special. In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London’s National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. All of reality is at stake as the Doctor’s own dangerous past comes back to haunt him."
"The Day of the Doctor" was written by Steven Moffat, current head writer of Doctor Who, and produced by Faith Penhale in 3D, with Nick Hurran directing. Moffat began writing the script for "The Day of the Doctor" in late 2012, announcing that, as a security precaution, he had not produced any copies, instead keeping it on his computer "under lock and key" until it was needed. Moffat had often thought about featuring a "mayfly Doctor" who appears for a single episode, asking, "Would it be weird in the run of the series to have the 45th Doctor turn up and be played by Johnny Depp or someone? Would that be a cool thing to do?" He also indicated that the "classic Doctor" he would most like to feature in a new story was William Hartnell's First Doctor, stating, "You'd want him to come and say 'What in the name of God have I turned into?' That's the confrontation that you most want to see, to celebrate 50 years. Going round and round in circles on it I just thought, 'What about a Doctor that he never talks about?' And what if it is a Doctor who's done something terrible, who's much deadlier and more serious, who represents that thing that is the undertow in both David and Matt. You know there's a terrible old man inside them. Well, here he is, facing the children he becomes, as it were." Knowing that Matt Smith was planning to leave, Moffat wrote the special specifically with the brief appearance of the Twelfth Doctor during the sequence of all of the Doctors uniting to save Gallifrey, prior to casting anyone in the role. Moffat later stated of the 50th episode, that it was his "plan from the start" that all the Doctors would fly in to save Gallifrey, and he knew there would be a new one at that time. He wrote it before knowing who would be cast.
Typically, Doctor Who's anniversary stories are named after the number of returning Doctors, as with The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors. Moffat explained his choice of title to SFX magazine, commenting that "... it's very rare in Doctor Who that the story happens to the Doctor. It happens to people around him, and he helps out – he's the hero figure who rides in and saves everybody from the story of the week. He is not the story of the week. In this, he is the story of the week. This is the day of the Doctor. This is his most important day. His most important moment. This is the one he'll remember, whereas I often think the Doctor wanders back to his TARDIS and forgets all about it."
Because "The Day of the Doctor" was filmed in 3D, the episode took longer than usual to shoot, especially as every CGI shot had to be done twice. Filming began on 2 April 2013 in Neath, Wales. On 9 April 2013 scenes were filmed for the special in Trafalgar Square, London. On 17 April 2013 Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, Billie Piper and David Tennant filmed scenes in Chepstow,Monmouthshire, Wales, and some scenes were shot in Chepstow Castle. On 2 May 2013, scenes in Cardiff were being filmed for scenes that take place at Totter's Lane and Coal Hill school, locations which had previously featured in the first 1963 serial An Unearthly Child, the 1985 serial Attack of the Cybermen, and the 1988 serial Remembrance of the Daleks. Filming for the special was completed on Sunday 5 May 2013. From 4–5 May 2013, Paul McGann returned to Doctor Who alongside John Hurt's War Doctor, to record "The Night of the Doctor".
The first trailer for the special was shown to attendees of San Diego Comic-Con in July 2013. The BBC's decision not to release the trailer online to international fans was met with controversy. On 26 July, the BBC responded to criticisms by saying the trailer was intended to be exclusive to Comic-Con attendees and that content for all other audiences would be forthcoming at a later date.The trailer was also screened at The Edinburgh International Television Festival, at the end of Charlotte Moore's "Meet The Controller" session. On 28 September, the BBC revealed that the trailer for the special had been specifically shot and was currently in post-production. On 19 October 2013, a specially-made teaser trailer, directed by Matt Losasso, was shown on BBC One, and was then subsequently posted online. It contained icons from the history of the show and had a monologue by Matt Smith, as well as body doubles and CGI to create shots of previous Doctors. A clip from "The Day of the Doctor" was shown at the BBC's Children in Need show on Friday 15 November. The official trailer for the episode aired in the United Kingdom at 8 pm GMT on 9 November. Due to the leak of a trailer earlier on 9 November on BBC Latin America's Facebook page, the BBC officially released it ahead of schedule. A second official trailer was shortly released later.
Furthermore, before the release of the main trailers, a short clip previewed the Eleventh Doctor and Clara examining a seemingly impossible painting. On 10 November 2013, a short clip of the Eleventh Doctor announcing "The clock is ticking" interrupted a BBC One ident. This was followed on Monday 11 November by another ident interruption, with the Eleventh Doctor stating "It's all been leading to this..."
On 28 September, the BBC unveiled a Twitter hashtag (#SaveTheDay) and an ident that was used to promote the special.Respectively, the hashtag and the ident were shown before and after the premiere of Atlantis on BBC One. The hashtag was used to reveal all subsequent promotional material. On 7 November 2013, a video starring Smith in character as the Doctor was released promoting the hashtag, promising exclusive content. A website was launched to reveal the content.
The British Board of Film Classification rated the episode PG for mild violence and threat. The Australian Classification Board also rated the episode PG for "mild science fiction themes and violence", noting there was "very mild impact" with regards to sexual themes. The episode broadcast at 7:50pm in the UK, and was preceded and followed by other Doctor Who related programmes and broadcasts, including broadcast of an after-party.
The following is a list of some broadcasters that aired "The Day of the Doctor" on 23 or 24 November 2013, depending on time zones.
"The Day of the Doctor" is planned to be released on DVD and 3D Blu-ray on 2 December 2013 in the UK. It will be released on 4 December 2013 in Australia and 10 December 2013 in North America.
"The Day of the Doctor" received instant positive reactions. Ben Lawrence of The Daily Telegraph gave the special five stars, calling it "charming, eccentric and very, very British." Den of Geek's Simon Brew praised the special, calling it "terrific", and stating that it was "pulsating with comedy, ambition, and top to bottom entertainment." Jon Cooper of The Mirror gave the episode five stars, stating that it "not only gives hardcore fans a beautiful reinvention of their favourite show but also gives casual viewers a stonking story and a reminder why we all love this show so much."
Jim Shelley of The Daily Mail called the episode "a clever, chaotic, infuriating combination of nifty, knowing tiny detail and big, hollow, pompous bluster." However, he disliked the effects, accusing the BBC on pandering to the American audience, as well as disliking the Zygons, deeming them not "scary enough," and naming Matt Smith and David Tennant "irritating." Mashable's Chris Taylor stated that the episode is "one designed to please fans and newcomers alike," and that it "shows why the Doctor is finding his way into ever more homes and hearts." The Guardian's Viv Grospok criticised various elements of the episode, though concluded that "it was all worth it."
Social analytics website SecondSync revealed that Doctor Who generated almost 500,000 "tweets" on Twitter during its broadcast, with the peak number of tweets occurring at the beginning of the broadcast, at 12,939 tweets per minute.
Overnight figures revealed that the episode had a total of 10.18 million viewers for the live broadcast in the United Kingdom, while the box office takings for its cinema screenings totalled £1.7m (US$2.2m), which placed it at number three in the UK film chart for the week, behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Gravity. The live simulcast on BBC America, at 2.50pm EST/11.50am PST, had a total audience of 2.4m viewers, with a further 1.2m watching the later repeat, the largest audience in the channel's history. The cinema screenings, on a total of 660 screens nationwide, took a total of US$4.8m (approx £3m) at the box office, placing it at number 2 in the US chart. The special had a total of 1.95m viewers for its two broadcasts in Australia, with 590,000 watching the live broadcast on ABC1 at 6.50am AEDT/3.50am AWST, and another 1.36m watching the repeat at 7.30pm, while the cinema box office takings totalled AU$1.54m, putting it at number three in the Australian film chart.  A total of 1.7m viewers watched the two broadcasts on Canadian channel Space, making it the most watched entertainment programme in Canada on the day, with the 1.1m watching the live broadcast at 2.50pm EST being the channel's largest ever audience. Worldwide, cinema screenings brought $10.2 million at the box office.