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The Day Of The Doctor

ShowDoctor Who / Series VII / Episode 16
First Broadcast2013/11/24 - 16:00 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeThe Night Of The Doctor
Next EpisodeThe Time Of The Doctor

I went to see it with Tinkerbell at the cinema which turned out to be better than I expected. Seeing it with a group of fans of all ages, many of whom dressed for the occasion, let out the odd cheer, laugh, gasp, etc. all the way through, really added to the enjoyment.

The episode itself had everything: multiple Doctors, references, humour and revelations. We went back to the very beginning of Doctor Who, starting with the original title sequence and theme music and being in black and white. It changed to colour and we saw Totters Lane and Coal Hill School (with one I. Chesterton now chairman of governors). Clara is now a teacher there, but she quickly races off on a motorcycle when hearing of a call for her from her doctor. Back together in the TARDIS, we realise we're back in our time with a thoroughly modern action sequence involving the TARDIS being transported by helicopter.

The plot of this story is now revealed and we get more of what we expected from this special. Time Lord art gives us a window into the Time War on Gallifrey and the War Doctor in action. He's at Arcadia when it fell. We discover what The Moment is (and its interface is played by Billie Piper, but as Bad Wolf, not Rose). The phrase "No More" is significant and we see how the Doctor came to the point where he was ready to destroy Gallifrey and the Daleks to stop the war and save the Universe. David Tennant's Doctor joins the story and eventually the three Doctors are working together. There's the expected mockery of each other and related jokes. The TARDIS desktop upgrades and "reversing the polarity" are resurrected with the delightful addition of "confusing the polarity".

There's great depth around why the War Doctor's future regenerations are the way they are. Ending the war is something they have dealt with in different ways. The Zygons are back, scarier than last time and their story plays out with this as the backdrop. The War Doctor returns to activate The Moment. Clara realises he hasn't done it yet and the other two Doctors follow him to support him. Then they realise there's another way out. They can hide Gallifrey, frozen in time, in a pocket universe and the Daleks will destroy themselves when Gallifrey disappears, as if they'd destroyed each other. There's a tremendous sequence where all thirteen Doctors work together to make this happen.

Back in the museum there's mutual respect between the Doctors as they head back to their respective time streams aware that they won't remember what they tried to do and will have to live with the belief they destroyed everything. Then there's the cameo to end all cameos, as Tom Baker returns as the Curator / future Doctor, who reveals that they did succeed. It seems the Doctor now has a quest to find and free Gallifrey. We finish with a glorious final scene involving the first twelve Doctors gazing out at the Universe.

All up, it was a simply marvellous episode. It had all the references to the full history you could want as well as a solid storyline. We've now placed the War Doctor in sequence and seen all the regenerations. We've been shown the missing adventures around the Time War and told the Time Lords have not been wiped out (something I always thought was an odd choice). The next Doctor will have a new direction to follow.

Speaking of next Doctors, we have a regeneration coming in the Christmas Special. It would seem that the restriction on twelve regenerations will be worked around somehow. It's always been questionable anyway, despite the apparent limit being defined in Mawdryn Undead. The Master got around it by himself and was promised more for helping in The Five Doctors. I suspect it's more of a self-imposed limit that a real one.

There's also the question of how many the regenerations the Doctor has already had. Now that we know about the War Doctor we've seen eleven changes of face. But there's also the regeneration in Journey's End, as well as a recovery / regeneration (?) initiated by River Song in Let's Kill Hitler. It would seem the Doctor may have had as many as is allowed. We'll find out soon.