4 Questions, 4 Answers: Making Sense of the 50th Anniversary

Guest contributor James Bristow attempts to answer four of the bigger questions.

While many in the Who world are enthralled with what The Day of The Doctor has offered there are some who are confused with several parts of the 50th anniversary special. With such a complex plot in hand let’s dig a bit deeper and answer the four big questions that are leaving you a bit lost in the timey-wimey world of The Day of the Doctor.

What happened to the Zygons?

day-of-the-doctor-tv-trailer-(18)-zygonA big question that is seemingly on everyone’s lips. Although the answer to this frustrating question is answered quite clearly in the special… albeit quickly overshadowed by following events.

As we know the Doctors had mind-wiped the Zygons, Kate Stewart and the other U.N.I.T members (or scientists, if you prefer). The main purpose of this? To stop the whole of London being destroyed of course!

Although very cleverly with this mind wipe, in the words of the 11th Doctor, they would now sign the “most perfect treaty” of all time. Quite a throwaway line, especially when we have on our minds the impending ‘moment’. However the one thing that makes the treaty so clever is that there is no good vs. evil – U.N.I.T do not know who they are and the Zygons do not know who they are. They have a whole new world of their own to agree on and naturally both sides will want fair rules for the world they are living in.

The result is the “most perfect treaty of all time”. In terms of “The Day of the Doctor” this brings a rather sweet ending to the Zygons.

How many Doctors are there now… is Matt Smith the 12th Doctor?

This is one question that could be opened up for debate. Although if we’re to take the words spoken in The Day of the Doctor as gospel… Matt Smith is the 12th Doctor!

One Gallifreyan asks: “All twelve of them” Another replies: “No sir, all thirteen”

This (if we read it literally) confirms that Matt Smith is the 12th Doctor and Peter Capaldi will play the 13th Doctor, which we know would reach the Doctor’s apparent limits of 12 regenerations. Interestingly (again if we read this literally) the use of the word “all” certainly implies that the thirteenth incarnation is the limit.

This new figure is also strengthened by “The War Doctor” played by John Hurt going through a journey in the special, going from a person who never believed himself to be a ‘true’ Doctor to eventually being just as much of a Doctor as the rest.

As we know just because the Doctor has reached (or will reach rather, we’ve still got Christmas left with dear old Matt Smith!) the limit doesn’t mean the show will finish for good, be gone. However with Gallifrey now being lost could the eighth series of Doctor Who in 2014 surround the 13th Doctor finding Gallifrey and somehow gaining further regenerations to secure his future?

Only time will tell, although there’s no arguing the above quote from the 50th Special will no doubt play with our minds for a long while and mess up all those DVD sets out there!

Tom Baker’s role – Curator or Doctor?

tom-baker-the_day_of_the_doctorThis is another interesting one, while some may ask the question above the answer is given out straight onto the plate, so to speak. As many of those familiar with past Doctors will know, Tom Baker played the fourth incarnation of the Doctor from 1974 to 1981. While it was a delight to see dear Tom return as a surprise to our screens, it has left some wondering just how he could appear back (in terms of the storyline). To quote a section of the final scenes:

11th Doctor: “I never forget a face”

The Curator (played by Tom Baker): “I know you don’t, and in years to come you may find yourself revisiting a few, but just the old favourites, aye”

Putting aside the nice little nod of Baker being one of the most loved Doctors by fans of the show, this quote could lead us to believe that one day the Doctor may regenerate into one of his old incarnations, he may even have the ability to regenerate into a face he likes, or knew once (it could even be uncontrollable). Or maybe the Doctor develops the ability to change his face temporarily (a little more unlikely, but you never know).

The idea of regenerating into old faces the Doctor has seen in the past could even be a way of an explanation when Matt Smith regenerates this Christmas and Peter Capaldi takes the leading role (as Capaldi has appeared twice in the ‘Who universe as different characters).

It’s quite a unique idea. The curator we saw in the 50th Special may be the 15th Doctor, he might be the 40th Doctor – it’s an open ended mystery which will never need any form of closure.

Why did Bad Wolf Rose appear?

The-Day-of-the-Doctor-Extended-TV-Trailer-(11)Another common question that has be asked. However one that can easily be explained.

The Moment is a weapon created by Ancients of Gallifrey. The operating system was so sophisticated that it become sentient, it developed a conscience and appeared to the War Doctor as a face from his future.

This is where people have gotten a little confused. The Moment did not chose to show itself as Rose, but to show itself as Bad Wolf Rose (series one, “The Parting of the Ways”). Why it chose itself to appear as Rose is a mystery (although one could be lead to believe it chose Rose as she was, arguably, the most powerful companion the Doctor ever had).

So why did The Moment actually appear? Well, it appeared in another form (the form of Rose) to give the War Doctor (John Hurt) a choice, a choice to either end the war by killing Daleks and Time Lords, or to find another way of ending the war. With the thanks of another twelve Doctors the latter is chosen and Gallifrey is saved.

It’s as simple as that!


While I know there will be 5 more, 10 more, 50 more, 200 more questions about the 50th Anniversary special I hope the above four (what seem to be common) questions answer the main brain scratchers of the 50th special.

Doctor Who has lived on for half a century and in 2013 it is the strongest it has ever been. Naturally with a show that has ran so long it will always be open to complexity. We should relish in this, Doctor Who isn’t simply a show you watch, know everything inside out within a second and get bored, it makes you think and makes you wonder just where it will take you in time and space next.