‘Doctor Who’ trivia: 10 things you didn’t know about ‘The Night of the Doctor’

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Three years ago today, Paul McGann returned as the Eighth Doctor in a surprise prequel episode ahead of Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary special, ‘The Day of the Doctor’.

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of McGann’s debut as the Eighth Doctor in 1996’s ‘TV Movie’, let’s revisit ‘The Night of the Doctor’.

Here are ten facts you might not know…


In the original script, the story was divided into two parts. It was planned that the first part would conclude with the shot of the Doctor in the rubble.


The episode’s final line – John Hurt saying “[Doctor] no more” – recurs in ‘The Day of the Doctor’, most notably when the War Doctor shoots the words into a wall on Gallifrey.


The distorted reflection of the War Doctor’s face seen in the final moments is taken from the BBC’s 1979 adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment.

Crime and Punishment. John Hurt

John Hurt played Rodion Raskolnikov in the series.


Cass (Emma Campbell-Jones) wears the bandolier that is later used by John Hurt’s War Doctor.


The Eighth Doctor’s “it’s bigger on the inside” line was first used in 1973’s ‘The Three Doctors’.


The Doctor asks “Will it hurt?” about his impending regeneration; an in-joke referring to the actor playing his successor; John Hurt.


The Eighth Doctor’s final line, “Physician heal thyself”, is a biblical proverb from Luke 4:23.


The Sisterhood of Karn first appeared in the Fourth Doctor story ‘The Brain of Morbius’ in 1976.

Doctor Who Tom Baker Brain of Morbius


The five companions from Big Finish’s audio adventures name-checked by the Doctor before he regenerates are Edwardian adventuress Charlotte ‘Charley’ Pollard (2001-2007), chameleon-like Eutermasan C’rizz (2004-2007), Blackpool girl Lucie Miller (2006-2011), actress Tamsin Drew (2010-2011) and Irish WW1 nurse Mary ‘Molly’ O’Sullivan (2012-2015).


‘The Night of the Doctor’ was watched by approximately 890,000 viewers on the BBC’s Red Button service after it was released on 16 November 2013.


Buy the 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition box set, featuring ‘The Night of the Doctor’, on Amazon here.

What’s your favourite moment in ‘The Night of the Doctor’? Let us know below…