Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special: One of the best episodes ever!

Published: December 2, 2013
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This is the second last episode to feature Matt Smith as the 11th Time Lord. Photo: AFP

The ‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary special finally hit the airwaves on Saturday November 23, after the endless amount of hype, merchandise, spoilers and speculation. The episode has received a Guinness World Record for the worlds largest ever simulcast of a TV drama after being broadcasted in 94 countries across the globe. More than 1,500 theatres worldwide screened the show, some even in 3D.

‘The Day of the Doctor’. Photo: Reuters

Spoilers ahead!

Although the viewers were anticipating big, promising events from The Day of the Doctor, it surprisingly leaves out the major villains of the series to focus on the history of Gallifrey. As indicated by the mini-episodes that preceded the broadcast, this story takes place during the legendary Time War, which has been referenced but never fully revealed.

‘Time War’ was the devastating war between the Time Lords and the Daleks (Doctor’s biggest enemies) that threatened to engulf the entire universe. It fell to the Doctor to take the most drastic action by destroying his home world, Gallifrey and annihilating his own species along with the Daleks. John Hurt’s previously unseen  ‘War Doctor’ is the one who is responsible for taking this decision, as he has stolen a mass destruction device named ‘The Moment’.

The Daleks. Photo: AFP

This episode begins with the 11th Doctor and his companion Clara Oswald, being summoned by UNIT to the National Gallery where they observe a 3D image of the fall of Gallifrey and find out that Time Lords can create moments of time preserved in stasis that take form of 3D pictures. They later discover that Zygons, Doctor’s ancient enemies, have escaped the paintings using Time Lord’s technology.

Zygons, Doctor’s ancient enemies. Photo: Reuters

Meanwhile, The Moment’s interface that takes the form of Rose Tyler, one of the most fan favourite companion, rips holes in space and time in order to show the War Doctor his own future. This tear in time brings the 11th and the War Doctor together with David Tenant’s 10th Doctor as he also encounters Zygons whilst inadvertently becoming engaged to Elizabeth I.

‘The Moment’ interface Rose Tyler and the War Doctor. Source: BBC

Once the threat of Zygons is eliminated, the un-numbered War Doctor, who is between Paul McGanns’s Eight and Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor, goes off to activate ‘The Moment’ as he believes his ultimate sacrifice will cause peace to prevail in the universe. He is then joined by Smith and Tenant along with Clara where they all discuss how the Doctor has come to terms with the genocide he caused and the guilt he has been carrying off for hundreds of years.

Ten and Eleven decide to help the War Doctor not be alone in his decision, to lessen his burden, but Clara’s tear streaked speech makes Eleven realise that they still have hope. Between the three of them, they begin to form a plot that could change their history.

10th and 11th Doctor. Photo: Reuters

Fortunately, things end on a warm note, with the surprising appearance of each and every Doctor and 12 TARDIS’, as they revolve around the burning planet. Another huge surprise came in the form of Peter Capaldi’s teaser of the next Doctor.

Peter Capaldi’s Teaser As The 12th Doctor. Source: BBC

From the very beginning of the episode, it is pretty clear that the show’s budget has been increased.

The special features of the episode include the original black and white opening title, TARDIS being air-lifted to Trafalgar Square, the scenes from the Time War, the stock footage of each and every Doctor, and finally the cameo of Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, bringing things to a full-circle as a tribute to the fans of the show.

TARDIS being air-lifted to Trafalgar Square. Source: BBC

In my opinion, ‘The Day of the Doctor’ is, by far, one of the best Doctor Who episodes the fans have ever been treated to.

Steven Moffat, the writer of the episode, delivered a tremendously satisfying climax which was far more than what ‘Whovians’ were expecting. It completely changed the Doctor’s history without destroying the story arc.

This is also the second last episode to feature Matt Smith as the 11th Time Lord, as he would be regenerated into Peter Capaldi, an Oscar-winning British actor, as the 12th Doctor during the Christmas special.

Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. Photo: AFP

So if you are a Doctor Who fan, you do not want to miss this episode.

I can’t wait until the Christmas special finally hits the airwaves!

Ramsha Sadiq

Ramsha Sadiq

A student of Mass Communication at Karachi University. She loves travelling, photography and reading. She tweets as @ItsRmsha (twitter.com/ItsRmsha)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.