The Day of the Doctor, the BBC’s episode celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who was a huge success across the world.
They broadcast it simultaneously in 94 countries. Some of those broadcast took place in cinemas around the world. In the UK the box office takings put the epsiode in the top three Cinema showings for the week. In the United States it took $4.8 million at the US box office making it second only to The Hunger Games sequel.
And of course in the UK with 12.8 million viewers The Day of the Doctor was the most watched TV programme of the week.
But was it any good?
Let’s face it must have been almost an impossible task for producer Steven Moffat to get it right and keep everybody, fans and non-fans happy. He could’ve littered with in jokes and nods to the past and alienated the casual viewer. Or he risked annoying the fans by going light on past references. As it turns out his nods the past were very subtly woven into the story, such as sign saying that the Chairman of the School Governors was Ian Chesterton – one of the Doctor’s original companions back in 1963.
The comic timing tension and camaraderie between David Tennant and Matt Smith I thought was marvellous. Tennant was not as over the top as he was towards the end of his tenure as the Doctor.
John Hurt as the previously forgotten incarnation Doctor was simply superb. His character was known as the “War Doctor” and his appearance completed a story arc that we’ve enjoyed since the programme came back in 2005. He was the Doctor who fought in the Time War. Rugged, battle weary, I loved his exasperation at the younger Doctors’ mannerisms .
The interplay between three doctors was very funny. I’m not sure about the Tom Baker cameo as the museum curator. He obviously wasn’t the Doctor himself but it was all obviously nice to see him and I have to admit I cried out at the glimpse of Peter Capaldi.
Moffat provided us with a roller coaster ride, resurrecting 1970s villains the Zygons in their phlegm spitting, shape-shifting magnificence. We saw tantalising big budget Star Wars style glimpse of the Daleks versus Timelord battles. And he managed to bring Billy Piper back in a completely different role to that of Rose Tyler. In fact Billy Piper’s performance as the conscience of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction was sublime to say the least.
Thoroughly entertaining “The Day of The Doctor” succeeded in celebrating the past whilst setting up another 50 years of Doctor Who.
But for me the best thing about the 50th anniversary celebrations wasn’t this 75 minute special.
It was the 8 minute mini-sode that the BBC put on the internet a few days earlier.
When I watched that and heard the voice say, “I’m a Doctor. Though NOT the one you were expecting,” I gasped as Paul McGann appeared on-screen for the first time since 1996. He utterly nailed his performance. And now we know who he came to regenerate into the War Doctor by sipping a potion created by the Sisterhood of Karn. “Will it hurt?” he asked almost knowingly.
For me this was the best 8 minutes of Doctor Who made by the BBC since they resurrected the show in 2005.
Now it’s your turn: Do you agree with my review of Doctor Who The Day of the Doctor? What did you think of it? Was it a success? Did it do justice to the anniversary? Please let me know what you think. Leave a comment below or post a link to your own review.