7.50pm, the 23rd of November. A date and time circled, starred, and circled again by Whovians across the globe.
With ‘The Night of the Doctor’ (and an incredibly fun yet complex Google “Whoodle” to match) helping to over-hype our Doctor Who senses, we were finally mentally and physically prepared for this 50th celebration episode, whether that be in selected 3D cinemas, or even in front of the TV, like Doctor Who tradition demands of us.
However or wherever (can I be hopeful that other planets watched it too?) you watched it, it’s certain to say that we were all watching the same wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey magic that we’ve been dreaming of for weeks on end. Quicker than you can shout ‘GERONIMO’, the Doctor Who formula of late went into full swing: Clara goes running for the Doctor, charming greetings are had, only to be spoilt by time-space mishaps in need of his investigation. U.N.I.T. has called upon the Doctor’s aid due to a disturbance in a set of “T.A.R.D.I.S. art”, which is discovered to be a plot of the retro race, the Zygons.
I was worried the episode would fall into ‘hero-fights-villain’ category. Yet, it became something much more than that. It was The Doctor’s day. Thanks to the help of a time-rift (and, of course, a fez) we find David Tennant, Matt Smith and John Hurts’ Doctors joined together to ultimately decide the fate of Gallifrey. Whilst they do have aid from a colourful host of characters (Bad Wolf and Tom Baker’s scarf, that’s all I can say), they have to discover this concept of what it means to be a Doctor. The Warrior, the Hero, a Doctor.
Fans have never seen so much morality being disputed across what is, essentially, one person (same casing, different software). It was heart-wrenching, yet rewarding, thanks to it kicking off a potential search for Gallifrey, either at Christmas or when we see Peter Capaldi (again, SPOILER) as the Doctor.
The episode wasn’t all drama and fezzes, thankfully. I don’t think I’ve giggled like a weirdo so much in one episode! Everything about the Doctors that has been previously poked at is poked at again, right in the sore spot. The Sonic Screwdriver not being a water pistol, the Doctor’s ever-changing fashion sense, the way he fails to grow up. It helps to spark a wonderful chemistry between this Power of Three. Opening an unlocked door was a personal highlight of this in action.
Nostalgia is rife in this special too. Not just helping to bridge the gap in Doctor Who lore with the Time War feud, but having more nods to fans than a nodding Churchill dog in a car over a pothole. Watching the original ‘wormhole sequence’, seeing all 13 T.A.R.D.I.S. models at once, hearing the good-old cringe-worthy catchphrases. What’s more, the final sequence needs the aid of all Doctors through time and space, ending with them stood in a line with their smouldering faces – perfection. With drama, humour and a lot of nostalgia, Doctor Who’s 50 years go out with a bang.