Spoilers, sweeties. A recap of all the feels from the ‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary Special


by Pilar Clark (@daspilar)

Again, if you have not seen the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special or do not want to read spoilers, jump in your TARDIS and get out of here!

First, Gallifrey is destroyed. Then it’s undestroyed. Then everything goes positively timey-wimey as Billie Piper turns into an apparating Jiminy Cricket redux and saves everyone. Clear as Androzani spectrox muck, no?

Doctor Who’s “The Day of the Doctor” went down on Saturday night in what was arguably the most epic mind blowing episode ever. I’m still collecting myself.

As Whovians the world over – the special was simulcast in more than 75 countries – counted down to the long-awaited, heavily-hyped 50th anniversary of the eccentric-meets-amazing-meets-WTF British phenom, laps laden with fish fingers and custard and fezzes tilted just right to feel madcap, it all began… to the tune of the original title sequence from 1963. And we weren’t disappointed. But we sure were confused and delightfully addled by all the things.

Lovely little winks and homages to all the Doctors broke the internet if my Twitter feed is any kind of barometer of gobsmacked awesome, with nods to everything from Totter’s Lane (where the First Doctor parked his TARDIS while his granddaughter was at school) to “the round things” from TARDISES past to the machine that goes “ding” to that inside joke about Queen Elizabeth finally being explained. Although, anyone else surprised that the virgin queen didn’t turn out to be River Song? I still haven’t quite figured out how she and the Doctors fit together. As the Daleks would say, “EXPLAIN!”

But still. It was worth having my mind blown six ways to Sunday to hear the Tenth’s words (“I don’t want to go..”) break our hearts a little all over again, realize that the Eleventh was carving the original air date and time of the first episode of Doctor Who into the Tower wall, and suddenly fling the aforementioned fish fingers and custard everywhere when recalling that Clara had already written “no more” on her whiteboard in the opening sequence, therefore setting us up from the get go.

And while it was hard to not get schoolgirl giddy every time a reference to a companion briefly made its way on screen – Amy’s pinwheel and River Song’s red heels are apparently dangerous enough for safekeeping in the Black Vaults, while references to the Bad Wolf story arc, John Hurt’s regeneration complete with Chris Eccleston’s eyeball morph, and Peter Capaldi’s waggling eyebrows set an already overwhelmed fanbase on FIRE, the best part of it all was when Tom Baker sent all the fandom into instant hyperventilation with his cameo as The Curator.

And then there was this line: “I’ve been running all my lives. Through time and space… Every second of every minute of every day for over 900 years. I fought for peace in a universe at war. Now the time has come to face the choices I have made in the name of the Doctor. Our future depends on one single moment of one impossible day, the day I’ve been running from all my life… The Day of the Doctor.”

If there could have been one collective mic drop, this would have been its defining moment. Echoing throughout time and space and reversing polarities forever.


  1. tahoniaNovember 26th, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I need to know: will there be a renumbering amongst the counters? I read Moffat say somewhere that the Doctor never numbers himself, so numbers are irrevelant. BUT I need to know when I say “9 is my Doctor” am I claiming Eccleston or Hurt?

  2. JeanettaNovember 26th, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I’m still in awe.

  3. PilarNovember 26th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I’m still trying to collect myself, too, Jeanetta. At the moment, I can’t find my jaw. It fell off about five minutes in and rolled under the couch.

  4. PilarNovember 26th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Honest answer: No one knows. For a while, I was thinking of John Hurt as the First Doctor, but obviously he’s not, so…

  5. JayneNovember 26th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I loved it … I am sure I didn’t get all the hidden references, but I will certainly watch it again a few times to see what I missed.

  6. ScottNovember 27th, 2013 at 6:44 am
  7. ScottNovember 27th, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Also heard from Neil Gaiman on the subject: http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/gaiman-on-doctor-numbering-56240.htm

  8. PilarNovember 27th, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I’ll be watching it again for sure, Jayne. There are so many more references, I couldn’t fit them all in this piece!

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