Initial viewing figures for last night’s The Day of the Doctor were an impressive 10.2m. When the official consolidated numbers – which include those who recorded the episode – are released the special will comfortably be crowned the night’s biggest show.
The BBC will no doubt be very pleased with that achievement which crowns a week of anniversary celebrations.
But the broadcaster has been a little dishonest in its coverage of one important event in the show’s history – it’s cancellation in 1989.
If you’re a fan of a certain vintage, there’s a good chance you wrote to the BBC once or twice complaining about that decision and received a response justifying the decision on the basis that Sci-Fi wasn’t popular.
As many of us knew at the time, that was bull crap and the success the show’s enjoyed under both Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat is a lasting testament to idiocy of a generation of BBC executives.
It’s a pity the corporation couldn’t be a little more honest this week about how dense some of its managers were.
When the presence of the shape-shifting Zygons in the special was announced I wondered whether they might be used to include the past Doctors – could archive footage and some digital wizardry allow a Zygon to morph through the roll-call of Doctors in some fashion?
In the end show runner Steven Moffat found an even better way to incorporate them and give them a role in the drama’s epic conclusion. Ok, so the stand-ins for the final group shot weren’t entirely convincing but they look a lot more like the previous Doctors than the previous Doctors do!
Some of the show’s past stars have been naughtily exaggerating their lack of involvement in the celebrations, helping to make their Doctors’ eventual appearance even more of a treat.
There’s an extra bit of vintage Doctor fun courtesy of this painfully funny mini-episode written and directed by Peter Davison:
And of course Moffat brought both the 8th and 4th Doctor’s right into the heart of the celebrations with special appearances by both Paul McGann and Tom Baker.
Some fans are suggesting Tom wasn’t really playing the Doctor but surely it’s obvious that after his night job at London’s Museum of Moving Image came to an end the Fourth Doctor moved from museums to galleries?
Is there anyone who didn’t love getting a glimpse of Peter Capaldi’s new Doctor and see him play even a small part in the show’s celebrations?
Certain corners of Twitter and various forums are getting their Tom Baker Y-fronts into a knot over the numbering of the Doctors if the John Hurt incarnation was really the Doctor after all.
But surely the message of the night was that the numbers no longer matter?
The Doctor’s past isn’t the fixed event we used to think, it’s possible for him to have adventures which he doesn’t remember and for him to retrospectively commit his past and future selves to solving problems and challenges he’d never originally encountered.
The best solution seems be this – if you think there should only be 13 Doctors, simply stop watching when the show gets to that magic number while everyone else gets on with enjoying some top-notch telly.
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor is released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 2nd and is available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk.