Doctor Who 50th anniversary collection Part 2
A review by Nalini Haynes
Director: Nick Hurran
Writers: Steven Moffat (written by) Terry Nation (characters: “Daleks”) Robert Banks Stewart (characters: “Zygons”) Kit Pedler (characters: “Cybermen”) & Gerry Davis (characters: “Cybermen”)
Stars: Matt Smith, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston, John Hurt, William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Patrick Troughton, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, all as the Doctor
The Doctor Who 50th anniversary collection features season 07, episode 15, The Day of the Doctor, the second part of the story harking back to Classic Who‘s Valeyard, twining several of the Doctors together and preparing for Matt Smith’s departure from the series, paving the way for Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor in the Christmas Special. There’s a long list of special features including mini-zode ‘The Last Day’.
Quicklinks to reviews
‘The Day of the Doctor’ review
The opening sequence starts with black & white images, leading in to a black & white image before colour fades in. Clara is teaching at Susan Foreman’s (the first Doctor’s granddaughter’s) old school. Upon the corner of the school wall hangs a sign foraged from Ian Foreman’s (the first Doctor’s) junkyard.
A young teacher rushes in to Clara’s classroom to give her a message that her doctor called. Clara takes off wearing leathers and a helmet on a bike, riding into the countryside then in through the open door of the TARDIS just prior to the TARDIS being lifted off the ground by a claw… to be ‘towed’ away by a helicopter.
Matt Smith as the Doctor uses the TARDIS’s (unconnected) external phone to make a call, asking why they’re being carted away. He stands too close to the edge, sliding off, then slipping further down, arriving feet-first in London.
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s daughter, Kate, has been overly enthusiastic about collecting the TARDIS for UNIT, bringing it to the London.
Kate gives the Doctor and Clara the royal tour of the Under Gallery where Queen Elizabeth the First stashed artworks she thought were too valuable to destroy and too dangerous to show to the public. A 3D oil painting, the Fall of Arcadia, is presented as her ‘credentials’ although why this should be necessary or even possible is never explained.
In the Under Gallery, the floors are covered in stone dust while shrouded shapes loom around our heroes. More 3D paintings abound but all with shattered glass. The glass was broken from the inside, the figures once kept in stasis have, apparently, leapt through the glass to freedom.
John Hurt as Doctor 8.1 appears in Gallifrey, declaring ‘No More’ before stealing the ‘Moment’, a weapon of last resort with a conscience. This doctor lands in the desert and trudges for miles over the sand before arriving at a deserted barn with artistic gaps between every board and beam. The Doctor meets Bad Wolf, the conscientious conscience (Billy Piper), who declares she tries to be hot.
Before the triad unites, Doctor 10 proposes to Queen Elizabeth. Before he escapes, he kisses her and her zygon double a number of times before being forced in to marriage. In the Ultimate Guide (see the 50th anniversary collection disk 1), David Tennant spoke so earnestly about how the Doctor didn’t have dalliances, didn’t do the naughty — juxtaposed with ALL THE KISSING that David Tennant did as the Doctor. I don’t think they included this kissing. I suspect David Tennant is still hanging on to his childhood illusions, living in denial even after his years on the set. Or perhaps he’s confusing his Doctor Who kissing with his Casanova role? And all the other roles he’s had over the years?
Bad Wolf opens portals through time and space, allowing the Doctor to meet himself again and again.
After years of mourning Gallifrey, Doctor Who finally comes to grips with the destruction of the Time Lords’ home world alongside the not-so-permanent destruction of billions of daleks. It’s a roller-coaster ride that completely disregards science fiction conventions, aiming squarely at family viewing through its rampant plot holes to create an adventure–comedy flavour.
IMDB says the ‘Day of the Doctor’ is 77 minutes. A DW fan asked me to note the times: I clocked the ‘Day of the Doctor’ at 1 hour 16 minutes and 30 seconds on the review (not retail) copy DVD.
IMDB rates the ‘Day of the Doctor’ at 9.4 out of 10 stars; if you’re looking for a fun family-friendly romp, this rating is a fair indicator although it’s not the best place for new viewers to join the series. Too many in-jokes wouldn’t make sense if you leapt into the deep end here.
If you’re looking for real science fiction, the type without holes in it… well… I’m not sure that there’s any on TV at the moment. And if you’re looking for hole-free science fiction, I’d recommend reading a book. But remember, perfection is hard to come by. Especially if the author hasn’t had 400 years to work out alternative solutions with lots of fan-feedback suggesting possibilities.
‘The Last Day’ review
Another mini-zode, this one starts with a Gallifreyan soldier turning on a new recruit, someone who’d had implants incorporated into his brain, with cameras replacing his eyes. We’re not told why these cybernetic implants were put in the guy or why military not medical personnel are inducting the cyberman — I mean, cyber–Time Lord.
After a major freak-out, the cyber-TL is trained for duty in Arcadia, Gallifrey’s capital city. Superior officer dude tells him how it’s complete safe, yadda yadda. This will end well. Totes.
‘Tales from the TARDIS’ review
‘Tales from the TARDIS’ is a 43 minute doco featuring snippets from the series alongside living doctors and companions talking about their experiences working on Doctor Who. Topics covered are diverse, anything from being recognised on the street to developing their costumes, from Matt Smith’s satisfaction to, inevitably, the 6th Doctor’s horrendous costume.
David Tennant and Peter Davison talk about being offered the role of the Doctor and hesitating. Sylvester McCoy tells what might be a slightly tall tale of how the BBC wanted his hat; Sylvester replied that the hat was his, so he came with, thus landing the role.
Sylvester McCoy talks about daleks and how he didn’t feel like he was a doctor until he stood against them. Surprisingly, this doco did not discuss Ace and the baseball bat; instead Sylvester talked about the difficulty daleks had moving across cobblestones, the fix and resulting ‘drunken daleks’.
The featured companions include Carol Ann Ford who played Susan Foreman, William Russell who played Ian Chesterton, Anneke Wills who played Polly, Nicola Bryant who played Perri, Karen Gillan who played Amy Pond and Jenna Coleman who is currently playing Clara Oswald. All talk — very briefly — about their time as companions and the impact Doctor Who has had on their lives.
Highlights included some shenanigans with John Leeson as K9 and Nicolas Briggs as the daleks in read-throughs and on set.
Although ‘Tales from the TARDIS’ got off to a slow start — lots of music and graphics in between talking — it picked up after 5 or so minutes to become a pleasant review of Doctor Who with a primary focus on New Who.
My review copy is part of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection to be released on 10 September 2014. Thanks, Roadshow.