Don’t you mean the 8th Anniversary?
Guest contributor Paul Humphreys on his expectations for the 50th as a nuWhovian.
Back in my childhood, a worryingly long time ago, my parents would finish watching television with me, grumble about its quality and harp on about ‘how much better TV was when they were kids’. One show they kept going on about was a science fiction program called ‘Doctor Who’. So I watched it with them and needless to say, as quite a young child, I wasn’t impressed at all. I still remember my parents telling me in 2005, ‘remember that program with the dodgy seaweed monster we showed you years ago? They’ve brought it back!’ I was slightly apprehensive, but ‘Rose’ blew away those expectations, delivering a glossier show; with special effects, excitement and humour as I had (perhaps unfortunately) come to expect from modern TV and movies.
Since 2005, I have returned to the classic series, but it has never been able to capture my imagination in the way that ‘nuWho’ does so spectacularly. I’m sure many people would consider my perception of the classic series to mean I am not a ‘proper’ fan, but on the contrary; the mythos and depth of the entire show fascinates me and the fact that the ‘nuWho’ was a re-launch, rather than a reboot demonstrates how important the incredible universe of Doctor Who is. I’ve spent many hours on Doctor Who wikia pages brushing up my knowledge on Classic Who! I wanted to wait until after ‘The Name of the Doctor’ to write this article, as it may have contained clues to what the 50th might contain and boy was that the correct decision! So now I’m going to talk about my expectations for the 50th Anniversary special as someone who is almost exclusively a nuWhovian.
I think everyone will agree that a multi-Doctor special was almost expected for the 50th Anniversary and I too was desperate to see this happen. Unlike most fans though I imagine, I was satisfied with the news that just David Tennant is returning, although I have to admit having Christopher Eccleston back would have been perfect (BUT they apparently did ask him, he just didn’t want to do it). However, with the revelation of ‘The Name of the Doctor’ fresh in our minds, I think John Hurt’s addition brings the number of Doctors to a comfortable and acceptable trio. Matt and David seem to have a great chemistry and I’m really looking forward to seeing how their Doctors interact with each other. Having only three Doctors also means that we hopefully won’t see a ‘too many cooks’ situation and take away from the story, which is why I’m personally pleased with the decision not to bring back all the old Doctors.
The only classic serial I am particularly familiar with is, perhaps appropriately for this article, ‘The Five Doctors’. In this 20th Anniversary special, the Doctors (and some companions) were whisked away to the ‘Death Zone’ for what was essentially (although enjoyable) a non-canon adventure. I would like to see the 50th Anniversary special to be more than just a one-off and to tie in with existing arcs and mysteries surrounding Doctor Who. I think this is almost guaranteed; with Steven Moffat at the helm and with the ending of ‘The Name of the Doctor’, I think it is clear that the 50th will certainly tie in with and push the series forward. To have a multi-Doctor special, I think there needs to be a sufficient threat as to require more than just one Doctor. I personally hope that this doesn’t simply involve an explosion of all of the Doctor’s enemies at once, as that would leave the episode bloated and the plot would inevitably be lost. I would love the ‘Silence’ arc to be concluded (as I don’t think it has just yet!) or perhaps even a new threat. I don’t know whether the episode will be completely centred around John Hurt’s character, or maybe he is involved in a sort of ‘redemption’ so the other Doctor’s forgive him for what he did; but his Doctor will clearly be heavily involved in the story. I would personally love to see the Master return, as I think he truly is a match for the Doctor. I also think the Daleks need to be involved in some capacity because, well, it’s the Daleks!
Although I don’t particularly care for the classic series, I still enjoy some of the more obvious nods, especially with just seeing the old Doctors (in flashbacks and so on). I also enjoy the Classic nods because it keeps the rest of the fanbase happy! I’m not overly fussed about the return of other old companions (from nuWho) unless they add to the plot and I think we would have known about them by now in any case.
The Time War
The one thing I’ve been desperate to find out more about since the launch of nuWho is the mysterious and monumental event that is the Time War (the Last Great Time War that is!). The mere existence of such an event raises nuWho higher than Classic Who and it’s an ingenious idea. We’ve been given tantalising hints and scraps of information about the War, mainly from little speeches about it from the 9th and 10th Doctors. I think the time has finally come to shed more light on the events of the War and maybe (hopefully!) get some Time War flashbacks. I think that John Hurt’s Doctor is definitely involved in the War; most likely being a secret 9th Doctor before regenerating into Christopher Eccleston. It very much sounds like the horrific acts he committed, that were so ‘anti-Doctor’ could only have been committed during the War. Remember Kahler-Jex in a ‘Town Called Mercy’:
‘War is another world. You cannot apply the politics of peace to what I did. To what any of us did.’
It could well be that this is a set up for what the Doctor did, the Eleventh Doctor certainly seemed to accept that it was done without choice.
In summary I think we’re in store for a terrific special. I believe completely in the excellent standard of Steven Moffatts writing and vision and I think we’re in for a treat. Hopefully the special will be feature length, which would be fantastic, but I think it will at least be longer than a normal episode. What do you think? Do you Classic fans agree with me or would you prefer a lot more of a homage to the Classic series?