The Day of the Doctor

First Broadcast November 23rd, 2013 @ 7.50pm (12.8m viewers)

It is impossible to comprehend the pressure that Steven Moffat must’ve felt when faced with the prospect of writing this tale. How do you possibly go about celebrating a programme which has been around for 50 years? Well, you acknowledge the past whilst focusing on the present. Moffat’s task was not helped by contractual issues with cast members and characters who may or may not feature. He has admitted there was even a version of the story with just Clara in it! And yet in times of adversity, ingenuity came to the fore.

Building on the closing events of ‘The Name of the Doctor’ and the mini-episode ‘Night of the Doctor’, the central focus of the story was a previously unknown incarnation of the Time Lord. This regeneration fought against the Daleks during the Time War and was so shaken by the experience that the Doctor refused to acknowledge his existence. Whilst it of course would’ve been nice to have had Christopher Eccleston return, we were treated to John Hurt as the War Doctor. The legendary actor is of course superb but it would be another notable individual whose surprise appearance that would prove particularly memorable.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

Debate rages over whether The Curator was a future incarnation of The Doctor or not. However the exciting fact remains that Tom Baker played the character. No individual before or since has epitomised the popular Gallifreyan more than Tom Baker. Hilariously it was such an exciting piece of news even Baker himself couldn’t hold it in, letting it slip in an interview. Despite the forewarning it still came as a surprise. For those fortunate enough to watch the episode amongst hundreds of other fans the commnal reaction was truly unforgettable. Seeing Tom Baker stood opposite the current Doctor Matt Smith was a special moment.

Readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted ‘The Day of the Doctor’ the best Doctor Who story of all time in 2014. This is probably a bit far-fetched. I personally would’ve preferred to have seen Billie Piper interact with the Tenth Doctor and Joanna Page’s Queen Elizabeth is incredibly tedious. But those distractions aside, Steven Moffat delivers a superb special that succeeds in celebrating Doctor Who superbly. A multi-doctor story, mirroring previous anniversary specials. The return of a classic monster. Daleks. Historical and modern Earth settings. Gallifrey during the Time War. A regeneration. Representations of every incarnation of The Doctor. Even Peter Capaldi from the future! As a celebration of Doctor Who’s 50 years Steven Moffat could not have done a better job!


The Eleventh – Doctor Matt Smith
The Tenth Doctor – David Tennant
The War Doctor – John Hurt
Clara – Jenna Coleman
Rose – Billie Piper
Kate Stewart-  Jemma Redgrave
Elizabeth I – Joanna Page
Osgood – Ingrid Oliver
The General – Ken Bones
Androgar – Peter De Jersey
McGuillop – Jonjo O’Neill


Writer – Steven Moffat
Producer – Marcus Wilson
Director – Nick Hurran

Also First Aired On This Day…
  • An Unearthly Child
  • The Invasion: Episode Four
  • Dragonfire: Part One
  • Silver Nemesis: Part One
  • The Five-ish Doctors Reboot


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