The 50th was a great time to be a fan of the show, the anticipation was great and even some of the moaning from the vocal minority who I swear just like to dislike couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm.
I was fortunate to be on a day off and on twitter when the bbc put Night of the Doctor online so I was able to watch it straight away and be completely surprised by Paul McGann’s entrance on the spaceship. The mini episode is wonderful, it’s a lovely script and McGann is excellent, I hope we one day have a two Doctors type story with him getting a good meaty script to sink his teeth into.
Onto Day of the Doctor itself and this is a story that had to deliver and thankfully it does. The use of the Hartnell titles and orginal music is a lovely idea and perfect. We finally learn about the end of the time war as The Doctor contemplates genocide (nothing from End of Time is contradicted despite what some of the moaners say infact EOT mentions The Moment being taken by the Doctor and the high council are mentioned here) John Hurt is wonderful as the War Doctor (though he was clearly meant to be Chris Eccleston whose absence is felt and I’m not quite sure why they couldn’t have used Paul McGann)
The interplay between Matt Smith and David Tennant is wonderful and John Hurt’s reactions to them are great. Billie Piper as The Moment also gives a good performance and it’s right that The Daleks appear to celebrate the 50th. The Zygon subplot feels a bit out of place as it’s never resolved fully but it’s good to see them again and the Kate transforming into Zygon scene is nicely gross!
The conclusion with Clara and the later Doctor’s helping save Gallifrey is a good one, it makes sense that the Doctor would find another way ( and it dosen’t change the past few years worth of story. Only the 11th Doctor at this point in time knows what he did so the guilt and angst felt by the 9th and 10th is still real as they thought they’d killed them)
It was also nice to see all the old Doctor’s in those clips at the end and then we get the mighty Tom Baker turning up as a possible future Doctor. A perfect end to a great story and one I’ve already rewatched plenty of times.
The 50th ends with Time of the Doctor which wraps up the Matt Smith era and after the high of Day this episode feels a bit of a let down. The story is a bit slight, more concerned with explaining daangling plotlines (as welcome as that is) and teasing a possible Gallifrey return while The Doctor stays in one place for hundreds of years to protect it, a very Doctorish thing to do. It’s a shame that being forced to create a new Doctor for the 50th means bar these closing moments we don’t get any time spent on The Doctor facing up to not being able to regenerate again. I always thought that would’ve been a intresting character arc for him (perhaps this was the intention for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor if Chris had done the 50th)
Matt’s last scene however redeems the story, a lovely leaving speech and a Amy cameo that feels right and then bang we meet Capaldi and like Matt before him I immediately warm to him just on the basis of a few lines.