24th Nov2013

‘Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Billie Piper, Jenna Coleman | Written by Steven Moffat | Directed by Nick Hurran


Steven Moffat often infuriates classic Doctor Who fans, his disregard for the laws of time and the stories that have made Doctor Who so special often has them complaining constantly, I’ll admit I find myself looking at the weaknesses in the latest Doctor Who and wondering just why he appears to not care about a character I care so much about.  This could be the case with The Day of the Doctor, but if you forget who we have been told time should be, and relax with our view of what we want Doctor Who to be there is something brilliant about the episode and of course the conclusion makes us forget any weakness it had anyway so who cares?

To try and not spoil the story for people who haven’t seen it themselves, the official synopsis is that in London’s National Gallery strange things are happening to paintings.  In 1562 there is a murderous plot in Elizabethan England, and off in Gallifrey we have the Time Wars.  These events have one connection, The Doctor…in all three times, who must join together to save reality on The Day of the Doctor.

Although the spectacular of the 50th anniversary, and the fact David Tennant has returned with John Hurt and Matt Smith to be the three Doctors, the synopsis of the story does sound like a typical Doctor Who story and this is exactly what it is.  Coupled with that comes the same old weaknesses, in the middle of the episode there are elements that do tend to lag and can get quite boring to the point we want something to happen, which it of course does.  From the fairly brilliant beginning we then have the ending that not only re-writes many things we expect of the Doctor but adds a few surprises to what we already knew.  Forgiving the times when the story slows down, all together this is a good episode, but not the best as the BBC seem to want you to believe.

Without spoilers I can’t really say my favourite part of the episode, but I can take a look at what I thought really did work and that was the acting of John Hurt, The War Doctor, and what a version of The Doctor he is.  This really is an episode that focuses on him and no matter how much we love to see Tennant and Smith bounce of each other and compare the size of their screwdrivers Hurt’s subtle performance is what makes this episode special.  You often see him sat while all the chaos goes on around him pondering his thoughts and looking at the future versions of himself looking for answers to questions only he can answer.  This is a role that Hurt excels at, and while he is meant to be The Doctor who did the most evil thing a Time Lord could do he is the most peaceful of the three.

I can understand why some Doctor Who fans didn’t connect well with The Day of the Doctor and I can understand why some fans absolutely loved it.  I loved it for the most part, but still had issues with some of the choices that were made with not only time but also the history of The Doctor himself.  Is The Day of the Doctor an episode that did the 50th anniversary justice? My gut instinct is to say yes it is, especially for the surprises it holds for the fans and the extra mini-episodes that were made to surround it.  I’m not sure what impact it will have on the future of Doctor Who, but it does have the potential to be series changing…which may or may not be a good thing.  All we can do is wait and see what happens in the Christmas episode and beyond.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.com

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