So. That was a bit good, wasn’t it?
To disclaim, I’ve not watched a Doctor Who episode in about two years. The last episode I saw was the Season 6 finale, when the Doctor married River Song. By that point, I had more or less lost interest in Matt Smith’s incarnation. Smith’s doctor was okay, but didn’t exactly have the thing to keep me watching compared to Eccleston and Tennant, as I pointed out earlier this year when Peter Capaldi was announced as the twelfth Doctor.
Or is that now the thirteenth Doctor? Regardless, Steven Moffat managed to pay tribute to a series, with Day of the Doctor, that lives in British culture folklore in perhaps the best possible way, both for the fanbase who’s surrounded themselves in the pre-2005 era for those who jumped in back in 2005.
Smith and Tennant’s chemistry together, as well as the pair’s relationship with John Hurt as the ninth Doctor (before Eccleston, in case you’re still confused), was absolutely evident throughout and worked perfectly. Hurt’s Doctor channeled the pre-2005 era mostly (though Tennant did reference it once or twice in the near 90 minute special). And out of the episodes I have seen with him in the main role, it’s probably my favourite Smith-led episode, even if – for once – he probably didn’t have the main focus.
And we saw thirteen TARDISES tonight. Yes, thirteen! Yes, that is a plural! Yes, we saw Capaldi, if briefly! It made me do a little squeal as Capaldi is more or less the reason as to why, before tonight, I am excited for Doctor Who for the first time in quite a while (though I now expect YouTube videos of fans adding Capaldi saying ‘fuckity bye’ from The Thick Of It at the end of that monologue in the final Gallifrey bit). The mere fact we got to see thirteen TARDIS boxes tonight in itself was actually exciting! I really can’t wait for Christmas and next year.
But not as exciting as what happened towards the end of the episode when we saw Tom Baker return as the fourth Doctor. I’ve only dabbled in and out of the old stuff, but even I had a little moment when he first spoke (whilst writing this, I’ve since discovered Baker was actually hinting at an appearance this week, but I – thankfully – never caught the news stories on this until after the episode aired). You could immediately tell it was him.
The special has managed to alter the direction of the show in a massively major way, but purely on a fan service level (like the little nods to the past, including Tennant’s “I don’t want to go” line – his final line before Smith took over and in tonight’s special) the episode delivered. Yes, the whole UNIT/Zygons/nuke subplot was an unresolved point and it’s still massively gutting that, even for all his efforts to distance himself from the show since he left, that Christopher Eccleston couldn’t even conjure a ten-second cameo for Hurt’s regeneration besides the usage of an old scene from Series 1. What a dick tease that was, by the way.
And considering Tennant has, in my eyes, been our generation’s Tom Baker (Eccleston may have have been my first Doctor, but Tennant has been my favourite since I started watching), I actually wonder what would have happened if him and Baker had a little scene together.
Nonetheless, for the first time in two years, I watched Doctor Who. And for the first time in two years, I couldn’t have picked a better day to come back and be drafted back in. Not just for Day of the Doctor, but the brilliant comedy special The Five(ish) Doctors. I really can’t wait for Christmas now.
And, just like tonight, I can’t wait to see forward into the future with Capaldi in charge of that blue box.
Long live Doctor Who.