I absolutely adored the 50th Anniversary Special for Doctor Who. It is my second favourite episode of Doctor Who after ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’. It really reaches into the heart of who the Doctor had become between the Doctor Who Movie and the relaunch. It shows the Time War right at the end and the devastating decision that The War Doctor made just before he become the ninth Doctor.
It also used the greatest of time travel devices; the act of crossing one’s own timeline, which in the Doctor’s case results in The War Doctor (played by the fabulous John Hurt) crossing paths with Matt Smith and David Tennant. It also saw the return of Billie Piper but not as we would have expected. She is The Moment, the weapon of mass destruction that the War Doctor wants to use to end the war. She chooses the form of Rose (Bad Wolf) in order to help the War Doctor make a better decision. It’s perfect, and made even more so when the curator turns up with jelly beans right at the end.
The episode itself is a masterpiece, easily one of the very best that Steven Moffat has ever written for the show. It has so many in-references for diehard fans, it has classic and favourites villains, and it has the multiple Doctor storyline. It also has one of the greatest women from history involved, Elizabeth I, and the question of why, when she turned up to the Globe near the beginning of series three, she wanted him dead.
The Day of the Doctor is just the perfect way to celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who.
Equally ‘The Time of the Doctor’ was the perfect way to send off Matt Smith, in the Christmas special that followed a month later. It was very much time for Matt Smith to go, even though I loved him as the Doctor, there wasn’t very much more for him to do with the character. As much as I like Clara, the chemistry that Matt Smith had with Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill, it was time to refresh the show with a new Doctor.
I love that the Crack in the Wall comes back to haunt the Doctor, and the mystery of where the Silence came from is finally resolved. I don’t know how much planning Steven Moffat put into his storylines or whether it is a seat of the pants kind of plotting that just happens to work out brilliantly.
The most moving part of the episode though is Clara’s plead through the crack in the wall to the Time Lords to save the Doctor. It was the very best way to ensure that the Doctor could carry on and re-generate, while also saving the day. It was a beautiful moment made all the more horrific by Clara’s later reactions to the new Doctor; she thought she was saving her Doctor not creating a brand new one.