Day Of The Doctor - The War Doctor

‘Doctor Who’: ‘The Day of the Doctor’ review

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Was it perfect? No. It was never going to be. The pacing was all over the place, there was an underwhelming sideshow of Zygon villainy, and one or two points where the plot briefly seemed to skip ahead of comprehension. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. We loved it.

It was a glorious salute to the show, and to all of us at home on, or behind, our sofas. You’ll probably have to watch it a hundred times to get all the references embedded in it. Best of all, it managed to give the show a whole new life. A very interesting future life…

We’ll have a full in-depth review for you tomorrow, and we promise it’ll be more than just a series of excited noises. There’ll be big words and little words and at least one use of the word ‘Blimey!’ as well. But until then, be still your beating hearts. Grab your sonic (red, blue, green – whichever flavour you prefer) and relive the day with our exclamation-heavy list of the Top 10 moments (including one weaponised Moment) from ‘The Day of The Doctor’ #SavetheDay…

(Wait, we can drop the ‘Save the Day’ hashtag now, yeah?)


Facing down her equally attractive Zygon clone, and with a big nuclear countdown clock ticking away, Kate Stewart cooly invokes the memory of her father, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. There’s a lovely big picture of him too. It’s like an emotional ‘five rounds, rapid!’ to your nostalgic childhood memory of the best soldier, and the best moustache, in the whole wide Whoniverse.


Wasn’t John Hurt good? Of the many scenes we could pick – from his emotional hovering over the Big Red Button of Mass Destruction to the bit when he asks what a Cup-a-Soup is – we’ve gone for his introduction, where he does something the modern Doctor is always loathe to do: pick up a gun. And then he promptly uses it to shoot a message into a wall, Looney Tunes style. Clearly you can’t take The Doctor entirely out of The War Doctor.


Lovely to see Billie Piper back… playing a weapon of mass destruction playing Rose Tyler playing Bad Wolf… crikey, they didn’t make it easy on her did they? And wonky science aside (so galactic WMD can also create time widows?), Piper was excellent as The Moment, particularly in her feisty introductory scene. Who knew a wooden box could be so… sexy? Actually that’s two sexy wooden boxes in this show now. It’s becoming a habit.


We knew it was coming but still, David Tennant. In a fez. That’s your cosplay sorted for the next year then.


If you were watching this through specs (not brainy specs, 3D specs!) then the gallery paintings was where you got a little extra for your money. Probably. Did the moment we first see the 3D canvas work? We had to watch it on a boring old 2D screen, but even then the effect was enough to get across a clever and enormous Big Red Button of an idea: Time Lord art capturing a moment in time. Hmm… if only that could be used later on in the episode somehow…


Quite the dust up, the Time War, wasn’t it? Plenty of ink has been spilled over it in the past 8 years but it’s only now we get to see the full explodey-wodey horror of it. Some stunning SFX work as Dalek ships pummel Gallifrey from orbit, plus lots and lots of extras in Gallifreyan garb running through rubble, screaming and falling over. It genuinely was quite visceral. That’s where your licence fee went this year: explosions.


As if it wasn’t fun enough seeing carefully cut and pasted footage of all The Doctors as they unite to save Gallifrey, we then get to see them all together on what appears to be a big space cloud, staring up at the newly restored Gallifrey (or at least their idea of it – did he find it?). Every Doctor on screen together for the first time in half a century. Fantastic, as one might say. Look at the scene too closely and you can see the glue and effects work, but chances are that by then tears of nostalgia were clouding up your vision anyway.


Did you see that! Or rather, them: those eyes? The first ever glimpse of Capaldi’s Doctor in a ‘don’t blink or you’ll miss a portion of his face’ appearance, and the first time we’ve ever seen a new Doctor before a regeneration. And what’s the middle-aged Scottish rascal doing? Helping to save Gallifrey. We’re impressed with The Twelfth Doctor already. And we just got shivers typing ‘The Twelfth Doctor’.


What’s better than seeing a new Time Lord? A one we never ever thought we’d see again. Or maybe one we’ve yet to see again. Does it make a difference? Oh, you bet it will to several million Internet commenters! Seeing Tom Baker turn up was like being reunited with a big teddy bear you thought had left you forever after falling off a giant space telescope. The enigmatic bovine stare, the grin, the honeyed baritone… It was like a lovely big scarf being wrapped round the collective neck of fandom.


Moffat promised that the 50th would set a new course for The Doctor. He wasn’t kidding.

Gallifrey – which since 2005 has been a synonym for ‘EPIC FAIL’ in galactic languages, and has always been mentioned with a lowering of the voice and a dip of the head – is returned! All thanks to some wibbly-wobblyness that’ll require another viewing to fully comprehend. But where? When? Whaaaaa?

Since 2005 The Doctor has been running from the memory of Gallifrey’s destruction. Now he’s running back to it. The long way round. And without a map. The Time Lords have returned to the universe. Oh the shenanigans that’ll cause. And just like in the old days, it looks like The Doctor will be the wanderer forever straying from his homeworld. That’s if he can find it in the first place.

Hang on. Does that mean his family’s still alive?!?

Aired at 7.50pm on Saturday 23 November 2013 on BBC One.

> Order the 50th anniversary special on DVD on Amazon.

> Order the 50th anniversary special on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Watch the 50th anniversary trailer…

What did you think of ‘The Day of the Doctor’? Let us know below…