Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Episode: The Day of the Doctor

The first doctor, William Hartnell. Source:

Many among us have often wondered, “What’s up with Queen Elizabeth I?” That is, not in a strictly in a historical sense. Fifty years to the day of the first ever episode of the British Sci-fi show “Doctor Who” the special anniversary episode of the show answered a lot of frequently asked questions for the show’s fans including the nature of the relationship between England’s former monarch and the time traveling alien that has captured many hearts, The Doctor. The episode was well worth the wait and as a local fan and SLV student, Zoey Gillean comments, “It was wonderful and I’m glad that they had John Hurt in it because it answered a lot of questions.” For those among the student body who avidly watch the show, November 23rd marked an unforgettable date in the show’s long history. The 799th episode of the show achieved the Guinness World Record for the largest ever simulcast of a television drama as it was aired in 94 countries at the same time!

The eleven doctors. Source:

The episode’s dual plotlines follow three doctors on two separate adventures while they live out the last day of the Time War on the planet of Gallifrey and an alien invasion in London. The “War” Doctor, portrayed by John Hurt, attempts to end the catastrophic time war by destroying both his own race of Time Lord’s as well as the enemy Daleks involved with a weapon of mass destruction called “The Moment.” The galaxy-eating weapon manifests its consciousness in the form of the Doctor’s previous companion, Rose Tyler, as the Bad Wolf. The weapon then opens fissures in time to bring the Doctor together with two of his future selves in order to see the personal consequences using the weapon would have on him. In Elizabethan London however the 10th Doctor and Queen Elizabeth I must face shape-shifting Zygons in order to stop the aliens from invading the earth with the help of the other two doctors and some rather confusing “timey-whimey” technicalities. With a jump in time to present-day London we learn that the Zygons were waiting for the planet to be worth conquering as they emerge from paintings into the archive but are soon tricked into negotiating peace when the Doctors temporarily make them forget which side they are on. Back to the Time War, the Doctors, with a little persuasion from the 11th Doctor’s current companion, Clara, find an alternative method to ending the time war and saving the planet by freezing it in a moment of time and allowing the Time Lord’s enemy to destroy themselves. Although neither the “war” Doctor, nor the 10th Doctor were able to remember that they had saved Gallifrey, the 11th Doctor ended the episode by vowing to find and restore the planet. To tie up the loose ends we are shown a shot of the “War” Doctor beginning to regenerate into one of his future incarnations and the 11th Doctor conversing with a man who appears to be a retired, aged version of the as-of-yet unknown 12th Doctor.

This memorable special will be hard to forget moving forward but the fans have much to look forward to with the promise of a brand new Doctor being handed the reins in the upcoming Christmas Special. Any show that holds a record as the longest-running science fiction show must have a dedicated fan base and this show is no different! The sight outside of the sold-out Santa Cruz theatre airing the special in 3-D was one filled with more than a few costumed fans ready for a fantastic night. One could argue that this day made history.

-Katie Maxwell

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