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'Doctor Who' 50th Anniversary: Minisodes, Trailers And Tom Baker

Christine Bancroft |
November 22, 2013 | 2:04 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Are you excited? Are you ready? 


50 long years ago, the BBC rolled out its new sci-fi show, "Doctor Who," with the first episode, "An Unearthly Child." Unfortunately, it aired the day after the Kennedy assassination, so no one watched it. They tried again the next week, and now, the show will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with simulcast airings of the special, "The Day of the Doctor," as well as a number of other programs to honor the series. With half a century under its belt, the show is the longest running science fiction show in the world. 

The BBC has rolled out a number of teasers, trailers and supplementary content to tickle the fancy of fans and ramp up the enthusiasm and excitement. If you haven't seen them, here's what you missed:

Fourth Doctor Tom Baker has revealed (against the wishes of the BBC, evidently) that he is going to be in the 50th Anniversary episode "Day of the Doctor." He did not reveal to what extent he will be appearing, in what capacity or what his role will be, but he will be in the episode. Grab your hats; grab your scarves. This is not a drill.

The first teaser rolled out on Oct. 19, and features all 11 Doctors, including colored images of William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, the First and Second Doctors. With narration by current Doctor Matt Smith, he describes the "day of the Doctor" as the "day [he's] been running from...all [his] lives."


These two trailers gives us the first looks of actual footage from the special, including appearances by Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), as well as John Hurt's unknown incarnation of the Doctor. 

"Night of the Doctor" Minisode

In this "minisode," penned by Steven Moffat, we see oft-forgotten Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) in his regeneration into the War Doctor (John Hurt). After a disastrous spaceship crash on the planet of Karn, a former colony of Gallifrey home to the Sisterhood of Karn, first appearing in the Fourth Doctor's episode "The Brain of Morbius." The Sisterhood of Karn are telepathic and have some precognitive abilities, and therefore allow the dying Eighth Doctor to choose his regeneration with their Elixir of Life; during this time, the Time War rages on between the Time Lords and the Daleks, threatening to undo time itself, and so the Eighth Doctor decides to be exactly what is needed to end the War: not a Doctor, but a Warrior.

"The Last Day" Minisode

Also by Steven Moffat, we catch the first glimpses of the Time War from the point of view of a new recruit to the Gallifreyan forces. It takes place in Arcadia, the so-called "safest place on Gallifrey," where the recruit is trained in utilizing the technological enhancements to his brain (which induces hallucinations) and scanning for the unlikely invasion of Daleks, which would be disastrous to the safety of the city. In "Doomsday," the Doctor says that he was there, at the fall of Arcadia, during the Time War, so he's somehwere on location. Fun fact: if someone says something is "impossible" in "Doctor Who," then it's going to happen immediately thereafter. 

Supplementary Material

Aside from the official "Day of the Doctor" material, the BBC is doing a number of other specials, including "The Science of Doctor Who" with Professor Brian Cox, a full gambit of seecondary shows regarding its place in culture, a radio show featuring new interviews about the Doctor and his identity, and "An Adventure in Space and Time," the special written by Mark Gatiss and starring "Harry Potter's" David Bradley as William Hartnell, Jessica Raine as producer Verity Lambert, (a different) Brian Cox as BBC Head of Drama Sydney Newman and Sacha Dhawan as director Waris Hussein. Neil Gaiman (who wrote episodes "The Doctor's Wife" and "Nightmare in Silver") has written a short story, "Nothing O'Clock," which will be released as an e-book through Amazon. You can read a full schedule of events here, or see other material from the BBC here

Contact Staff Reporter Christine Bancroft here or find her on her dumb Twitter here. She's going to a party to watch the special, and will also be judging a costume contest with only the most discerning of tastes. 



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