Writer: Steven Moffat
Director: Nick Hurran
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Series: 50th Anniversary Special
Companion: Clara Oswald
Summary: The Eleventh Doctor meets the Tenth Doctor and The War Doctor when he discovers an “impossible painting” of Gallifrey, which is actually Gallifrey suspended in time. Is it possible that the Doctor can change history and free Gallifrey?
Review: Was this special worth the hype? I’d say yes! It was great to learn the mystery of the War Doctor, who was played very well by John Hurt. He captured the angst and the struggle with the decision to go against everything he believed in. It was fun to see the three Doctors interact, and there were so many humorous moments, like the “confusing the polarity” line. Seeing the Zygons again was excellent, as they are among my favorite monsters and I’d been wanting more stories with them for ages. I loved all the nods to the past, like the more subtle ones like showing that Clara teaches at Coal Hills School, the same school where Barbara and Ian taught; to the more overt ones like the TARDIS console room shorting out and turning into the classic console room. And best of all was seeing Tom Baker. I’d heard him spoil things, but my Facebook friends dismissed the idea as another rumor, so seeing him actually turn up was such a joy. This was a great story and a great celebration of the show’s past and present.
Continuity: Clara teaches at Coal Hills School, where Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton taught. Ian Chesterton is now chairman of its Board of Governors. Clara rides a motorbike into the TARDIS console room, mirroring a policeman doing the same thing in the Doctor Who movie. We’ve also seen the Tenth Doctor and Rose ride a moped out of the TARDIS in “The Idiot’s Lantern” and the Eleventh Doctor rode a motorcycle out of the TARDIS in “The Bells of St. John”. Clara can now open the TARDIS by snapping her fingers, just like the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors have done on numerous occasions, beginning with “The Forest of Shadows”. (The TARDIS must love her now!) The Eleventh Doctor is still wearing Amy’s glasses. Malcolm, the scientist who worked with UNIT in “Planet of the Dead”, is mentioned. The Doctor uses the phone outside the TARDIS again, just like he did in “The Bells of St. John”. The War Doctor’s catchphrase “No more” was said by Dalek Caan in “Journey’s End”. Both the War Doctor and the Tenth Doctor seem to like red buttons (cf. “The Christmas Invasion”) When Kate Stewart notices there are three Doctors, she asks for the “Cromer file” referencing the “The Three Doctors”. The Doctor wishing to intervene for crying children was mentioned in “The Beast Below.” “The Three Doctors” and “Time Crash” also had scenes where a returning Doctor criticized the TARDIS’s current console room. The Tenth Doctor says his last words when the Eleventh Doctor mentions Trenzalore. Before regenerating into the Ninth Doctor, the War Doctor’s final words are “This body is wearing a bit thin”, the final words of the First Doctor before he said “Keep warm” and collapsed in “The Tenth Planet”.
Trivia: This was the first Doctor Who episode to be released theatrically, unless you count the Dalek movies from the 60’s. The story uses the very first opening for the show. It was also the first Doctor Who episode to be shot in 3-D and set the record for the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama, airing in 94 countries and 1500 theatres worldwide!