2013 – The Year of the Whovians (Part 2)
John Hussey concludes his look back over the major news, rumours and developments of 2013.
Yet another year has almost come and gone and what a year 2013 has been! We have been bursting with news and rumours left, right and centre on the many major matters. They have left us in anticipation, sadness and above all discussion. I would like to once again take this opportunity to look over the year and discuss everything that has gone on.
The 50th Anniversary Celebrations
50th Anniversary Short Stories
As part of the build-up to the 50th Anniversary celebrations Penguin Books released a series of short stories each written by acclaimed writers from both Britain and America. Each story featured one of the incarnations of the Doctor starting with the First Doctor all the way up to the Eleventh Doctor. They were first released each month as e-books before being re-released as a paper-back anthology in November. Here are the stories of the series and their respective writers:
- Eoin Colfer – A Big Hand For The Doctor
- Michael Scott – The Nameless City
- Marcus Sedgwick – The Spear of Destiny
- Philip Reeve – ‘The Roots of Evil’
- Patrick Ness – ‘Tip of the Tongue’
- Richelle Mead – ‘Something Borrowed’
- Malorie Blackman – ‘The Ripple Effect’
- Alex Scarrow – ‘Spore’
- Charlie Higson – ‘The Beast of Babylon’
- Derek Landy – ‘The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage’
- Neil Gaiman – ‘Nothing O’Clock’
Doctor Who made its third appearance at the Proms this year featuring more of Murray Gold’s classic music from the series with Ben Foster once again conducting with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
50th Tribute at BAFTA Awards
Doctor Who received a special tribute video made especially for the 50th Anniversary which featured at the BAFTA Awards.
The BFI Screenings
The BFI arranged special screenings of chosen episodes from each of the Doctor’s eras with special Q&As afterwards featuring cast and crew. They did that once a month in the build-up of the 50th Anniversary.
Doctor Who Revisited
BBC America produced a series of documentaries which did a run through of each of the Doctor’s and their respective eras with interviews from cast and crew from both the Classic Series and the New Series. Each Revisited documentary was accompanied with a chosen episode to represent that months Doctor.
Official Celebration Convention
Doctor Who received a massive convention during the 50th anniversary weekend in London which allowed fans to meet some of their favourite Doctors and companions from the series as well as attend many specially put on performances for their entertainment as well as attending a screening of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ during its broadcast.
An Adventure in Space and Time
Mark Gatiss was finally given permission to fulfil his dream of writing a docu-drama of the origins of Doctor Who. This special one-off tribute programme delved into the early days of the show and showcased how it was created and how William Hartnell performed both in front of the camera and behind along with the stress and excitement he endured during the role. It was a fitting piece of tribute to the people who brought the series to life and made it possible to be still around after 50 years.
The Light At the End
Big Finish Productions was given permission to do their own 50th anniversary audio story in which they brought together for the first time all of the first Eight Doctors. The first three Doctors were voiced by William Russell, Frazer Hines and Tim Treloar. It was also the first time Tom Baker had starred alongside his fellow Doctors Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. The story brought them all together to confront their arch-nemesis the Master.
The week leading up to ‘The Day of the Doctor’ the BBC broadcasted tons of programmes to help celebrate the show. These included:
- The Science of Doctor Who (Featuring Professor Brian Cox as the host)
- Greatest Monsters and Villains Weekend
- Children in Need (A preview clip for ‘The Day of the Doctor’ was shown)
- Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide
- Doctor Who: Blue Peter Special/Doctor Who: Blue Peter Party
- An Unearthly Child (Restored)
- The Culture Show: Me, You and Doctor Who
- The Graham Norton Show (Matt Smith and David Tennant appeared on the show)
- 12 Again: Doctor Who Special
- Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty
The Day of the Doctor
The End and Beginning
The year concluded with ‘The Time of the Doctor’ bringing an end to an era and the beginning of the next chapter for the Doctor. Matt Smith’s era came to its conclusion and his final episode wrapped up all of the unanswered questions of his tenure like who blew up the TARDIS etc. It all came together in one final performance which paid a nice tribute to Matt’s era and his Doctor before finally saying farewell. Matt will truly be missed by the fans for being such a wonderful Doctor and acting his socks off for the last four years within the role. Farewell Matt and thank you for all your hard work and for bringing so much fun and joy to our screens.
Now we make way for Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor and prepare for his full-on arrival next Autumn. For now we can watch his first scene to our heart’s content and wait in anticipation for his first series. All I can say is I’m looking forward to how his Doctor evolves and most certainly how Clara will get him out of trouble due to post-regeneration taking the effect of making him lose his memory.
The Time Travellers Guide to Being Funny
Comic Con 2013
Matt Smith was joined by Jenna Coleman for this year’s Comic Con and what a fun experience it was watching them two together during their panels. They made such a great friendship in their time together on the show. The funniest moments came from Matt and Moffat’s banters with each other. Sadly this will be the last year we see that happen.
Doctor Who TV April Fool Prank
Like last year I can’t go without mentioning Doctor Who TV’s witty sense of humour. This year we were made to believe that Moffat and co had decided it was time to get rid of the iconic police box that acts as the TARDIS’s exterior due to it no longer fitting in with modern society and wanted something more appropriate for the new era. I wonder what it will be next year?
The Five-ish Doctors Reboot
Peter Davison had fun with his special film ‘The Five-ish Doctors Reboot’ which he wrote and directed. This specially made film was a daft story about Peter, Colin and Sylvester trying desperately to get onto the set of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ and to be part of the celebrations after Moffat kept declining and ignoring their phone calls. It was certainly an amusing way to get the Classic Doctor’s together for the 50th. A bit of good old-fashioned fun.
Doctor Who sadly received no awards at the National Television Awards. Matt lost his chance at getting Best Male Performer to Colin Morgan (Merlin), while Karen Gillan lost Best Female Performer to Miranda Hart (Call the Midwife). Finally, Doctor Who lost Best Drama once again to Downton Abbey, which also beat Sherlock and Merlin as well.
Doctor Who however received better luck within the TV Choice Awards winning Best Drama and Outstanding Contribution Award. This award was received by Moffat, David and Peter Davison.
Doctor Who later was awarded a Guinness World Record for ‘Largest Simulcast of a TV Drama’ due to the success of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ being broadcast in 94 countries.
Lost Heroes of the Whoniverse
Sadly like last year we lost more members of the Whoniverse. This year we lost Bernard Horsfall who appeared as Lemuel Gulliver in ‘The Mind Robber’, a Time Lord in ‘The War Games’, Thal Taron in ‘Planet of the Daleks’ and finally Chancellor Goth in ‘The Deadly Assassin’. We also lost Ray Cusick, the man behind designing the Doctor’s most deadliest enemy the Daleks. Two more terrible losses to the Doctor Who family. I wish to express my best wishes for their family and friends and also for everyone to join me in honouring their memory.
Series 7, Prequels, the 50th and The Time of the Doctor
- The Bells of Saint John
- The Rings of Akhaten
- Cold War
- The Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
- The Crimson Horror
- Nightmare in Silver
- The Name of the Doctor
Series 7: Part 2 certainly brought the series back into full swing after its short break with about an air of mystery, excitement and adventure for the build-up of the 50th year. With the combined efforts of Moffat, Cross, Gatiss, Thompson and Gaiman we were given a large range of stories and plots to stick our teeth into. We had Spoonheads stealing souls into the Wi-Fi, terrifying Gods terrorising the Rings of Akhaten, a lone Ice Warrior trying to bring about the end of the world and ghosts within a creepy old mansion. Then we had a journey into the heart of the TARDIS, an investigation in Victorian Yorkshire, the Cybermen invading an alien theme park before finally the Doctor entered his darkest battle by visiting his grave on Trenzalore. The mystery of Clara Oswald certainly kept the storyline with an air of mystic while we delved into new adventures with the new companion. What finished off the series was the dip into further mystery revolving around the Doctor’s greatest secret.
The Night of the Doctor
This prequel brought about a surprise return from the Eighth Doctor and told the story of his regeneration on Karn where the Sisterhood offered him a dark choose for his next incarnation. The temptation to save everyone was too great and he threw away his title of Doctor to become a warrior to bring about the end of the Last Great Time Lord, thus becoming the War Doctor.
The Day of the Doctor
The 50th anniversary pecial delved into the events of the last day of the Time War and told the true story of what happened on that fateful day, a day that changed both the past and the future for both the universe and the Doctor. It was the Doctor’s day and one he would never forget.
The Time of the Doctor
The Eleventh Doctor had reached his final journey and his prophecy came about as he reached Trenzalore and attempted to save his people, the Time Lords. This resulted in a battle to the death which left the Eleventh Doctor crippled from time. The end result had the Doctor gain a new set of regenerations and began his next journey in life as the Twelfth Doctor.
2013 has certainly been an exciting year and has seen the celebration of a lifetime. Doctor Who turned 50 and showcased that it is still a power to be reckoned with its simulcast across the planet receiving sky-high viewings from across the globe. Series 7 came to a brilliant conclusion and made way for the exciting ‘The Day of the Doctor’ before ending with the heartbreaking ‘The Time of the Doctor’ which brought an end to Matt Smith and the beginning of Peter Capaldi. Above all bridges have finally been made between the classic and new era and all unanswered questions from Matt’s era have been answered. This year has certainly been on high and I believe Doctor Who will only continue to rise higher and higher. I think with confidence I can declare that this year has certainly been ‘The Year of the Whovians’.