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    TV Review - Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor

    It seems that like the Doctor, I have been awaiting this day all my life, or at least as soon as I knew of the 50th anniversary episode... The suspense has been brimming, the anticipation has been soaring and my collection of memorabilia has become even bigger recently but at last, the day finally dawned and I was there to share the experience with other Whovians across the city. Donning my hat, multi-coloured scarf and a packet of jelly babies, my timelord companion and I rushed to get our pick of the cinema seats. Sitting in row D (for Doctor) and number 8 (in celebration of my favourite regeneration Paul McGann), we discussed timelord trivia with those around us until the lights dimmed and the celebrations began. Needless to say it was worth the wait. Filling in the gap between McGann’s Doctor (who later transformed into Hurt’s so-called ‘War Doctor’) and Christopher Eccleston’s regeneration was the great Stephen Moffat - a personal hero and chief Dr Who/Sherlock writer, who treated us to a visual spectacle in the form of the Time War. Brutal Dalek invasion and Gallifreyan terror aside however, The Day of the Doctor was a whole lot more than a foray into the Doctor’s past. It was a complete shift in space...a timey wimey wibbly wobbly wonder.

    The transitions between Hurt’s decision to destroy the Dalek’s and Gallifrey, Smith in the Art Gallery and Tennant’s romantic liaison with Queen Elizabeth was a trifle confusing to begin with. However, as the three doctors finally encountered one another (to rather amusing ends) the story eventually unfolded into an emotional spiral. In the course of aiding a peace treaty between U.N.I.T and the Zygons, Hurt’s Doctor uncovered the man he would eventually be if he destroyed Gallifrey. The man who regrets and the man who forgets. Luckily Clara was there to save them morally once again as the ‘Impossible Girl’, and the rest is the Doctor’s history. If you haven’t yet seen the episode I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a terrific feat of loyalty and an exemplar of never giving up hope. Who says you don’t learn anything from television?

    The series of nods to previous episodes and Doctors was beautifully crafted, opening with the original credits of Hartnell’s era where it all began. More favourably however was Tennant’s remark to the Tardis - “Oh you’ve redecorated...I don’t like it”, a clever quip harking back to 2nd Doctor Patrick Troughton who uttered the same in U.N.I.T’s office for the 20th anniversary in 1983. Complete with scientists wearing Tom Baker scarves, the much-loved U.N.I.T takes centre stage (as in Pertwee’s era) and even includes a surprise cameo from one familiar face. Moffat took care to reference our timelord’s 50 year on-air span and provide elements to please every Whovian, no matter which Doctor was yours (Although if we’re filling in the gaps, I would love to hear more 8th Doctor adventures!). Plus that extra special glimpse of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was a sweet taster towards this Christmas’ special episode When Silence Will Fall.

    Of course much can be said about the tremendous three: Hurt, Smith and Tennant. Hurt’s comment toward Smith and Tennant’s obsession with their sonic screwdrivers was sheer hilarity - “What are you going to do? Assemble a cabinet out them?”, whilst Smith and Tennant’s choreographed confrontation of the Zygons at the Tower of London was perfectly timed, reinforcing the idea of the Doctor as the same man regardless of their clashing personalities. To see the 10th Doctor (Tennant) back on screen was like a journey through my teenage years, reminiscing on Saturday nights curled up with coursework and the bliss of Tennant’s eccentric yet remorseful spirit. One of the best Doctors to have ever graced our screens, his assertiveness and charming persona was only triumphed by Hurt’s turn as a man torn between right and wrong.

    Ah yes, John Hurt. At first I was slightly skeptical upon learning that he would be the ‘War Doctor’, wondering how he would fit into the Whoniverse as a whole. However, this legendary actor had all the makings of one of the greats; wise yet confused and guilt ridden through sad and lonely expressions. It’s a shame that we could not see more of this particular Doctor and his journey through the time war, but his one-on-one talks with the moment’s conscious (an eerie Billie Piper who played on Rose Tyler’s bad wolf persona) provided enough insight to lay down the foundations left behind after the hiatus between the McGann film and the series reboot in 2004.

    So with Christmas on the way and the possibility that the Time lords are back (characters I dearly missed in the newer episodes), Dr Who can only continue to gain momentum and carry on its legacy for years to come. Seeing each Doctor lined up looking towards Gallifrey at the end of the episode sent shivers up my spine, not least a happy tear rolling down my cheek as I stared up towards the screen in awe. I will admit that spending years rewatching the classic episodes (particularly the brilliant Peter Davison), unsure of whether the new series would work, my uncertainty has surely been laid to rest. Here’s to your future Doctor - Jeronamo!

      Sarah's posts By Sarah O' Hara



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