The 50th Debate: No Classic Doctors

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Guest contributor Jordan Isaac Goodier weighs up the pros and cons.


This article will look at the pros and cons of the classic series Doctors not appearing in the anniversary, as well as the fans reactions and my views on their reactions.

The news last month that there will apparently be no classic series Doctors in the special split the fandom:

  • There are people that believe that every Doctor ever should be brought back and are prematurely judging the 50th special before they have had the opportunity to watch it.
  • There are fans bitterly disappointed, but hoping the anniversary will contain enough connections to the past, so that the special really does celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who.
  • Then there are the people on the other side of the fence, the ones that are un-phased because they never had the chance to watch the classic series Doctors.
  • There are fans that think that Moffat is doing the right thing, and there are people that think he is destroying their favourite show.

In short, there are many people with varying opinions, but they all want the 50th anniversary to be the biggest, best and most special episode of Doctor Who ever. I’m going to attempt to look at all the pros and cons of not having any of the classic series Doctors back.



If there were say, all eleven Doctors back in starring roles, the special would have to be much, much longer than it is currently predicted to be in order to allow each Doctor their time to shine! However, the special is predicted to be about ninety minutes long, so having all eleven Doctors returning just wouldn’t be viable. It wouldn’t allow them all enough screen time. So, for this reason, it’s good that they’re not coming back. However, one wonders why they didn’t get at least one classic Doctor back…

Another good reason for not having them back is that people today, on the whole, tend to expect a bit more action from Doctor Who. They expect the Doctor and his companion to be running all over the place. Can you imagine the classic series Doctors (excluding the 8th Doctor, Paul McGann, because he’d certainly be able to keep up) doing that these days? So, one could argue that’s a good reason to not have the first seven Doctors back.



There were supposed to be more good reasons for why the classic series Doctors shouldn’t come back, but I honestly can’t think of any and the two above reasons are fairly flimsy anyway! Plot twist! There’s no reason the classic series Doctors shouldn’t all be back in some capacity. Obviously, the first three Doctors are no longer with us, but one could recast them as they have done so for Mark Gatiss’ upcoming Docu-drama/Biopic, “An Adventure in Space and Time”.

Also, because I rightly agree with not giving all the Doctors starring roles otherwise it’d just turn into a huge party, the Doctors could simply have cameo roles. They could all be seen throughout the episode for a minute or so and have some funny dialogue, maybe reminisce about days gone by and then off they go. Or they could play minor characters in the episodes, not their Doctors, but other characters. They could give knowing nods or winks to the audience as they converse with the eleventh Doctor. There are many successful ways the classic series Doctors could have been brought back, at no expense to the episode.

So why didn’t they bring them back? Who knows? Still, I shall not be judging the episode before I even see it based solely on the fact that there are no classic series Doctors returning. I shall instead look forward to the special and speculate as to what is going to happen; because I’m 100% sure it’ll be something very, very special. And whilst we’re at it, I completely agree with Moffat’s way of thinking on the special. Celebrate the past, but build for the future. I’m in complete agreement. And if you’ve paid attention to the filming reports, you’ll see they’re doing just that.

I for one, am disappointed that the classic series Doctors won’t be returning in some capacity, but I’m not going to let something so trivial dampen my expectations for the 50th! Because, let’s be honest, it is trivial. The story comes first. A great story is what is needed to make an episode great. Throwing in nods to the past is necessary for an anniversary, but it (the story of an episode) should not be ruled by the fans wanting every Doctor and companion and villain ever in the episode. We’ve had enough party episodes over the years thank you very much.

Saying that, they could just be fobbing us off, maybe there will still be classic Doctors in the episode? They’ve lied to us before…

What’re your thoughts on the 50th anniversary?