Yes, this is one bit of fan service that just refuses to die — no doubt because DOCTOR WHO fans want it so very badly. The new twist on the same old rumor is that show-runner Steven Moffat — who is writing the anniversary episode as we speak — has fanned the flames with a cryptic remark of his own.
At a BBC Drama Commissions event last week, Moffat said:
“Getting the other Doctors involved would be very fitting for the anniversary episode wouldn’t it?”
YES, it would be very fitting, and it would be very possible to pull off — with the right script and the right approach to coaxing former actors back into their costumes.
The Daily Mirror tabloid reported that all the living former Doctors have agreed to do it — really? Even Chris Eccleston? And Colin Baker has changed his mind over the past few weeks? — and the Doctors whose portrayers have passed away will be resurrected with archival footage and CGI. The CGI bit is entirely doable, especially with a top-notch effects house like The Mill on the job. (Heck, I’ve seen fan projects done on laptops that are passable — and would have made it to air back in the old days.) And, with rumors the anniversary show will be shot in 3-D, the footage is going to get run through computers anyway.
At least the production has snared a top director in Nick Hurran for when production begins in April.
However, The Mirror goes on to claim that current Doctor Matt Smith will regenerate into the 12th Doctor at the end of the story — and that’s where my suspension of disbelief ends.
I hear that Britain’s Daily Mirror is only slightly more trustworthy than Sontaran war propaganda, so I’m taking the regeneration claim with an salt mine’s worth of salt. In fact, I do not believe that at all. Not one bit!
So, aside from all the rumors, what do we know is definitely on the agenda? BBC Worldwide was kind enough to lay out details recently at the 2013 London Toy Fair. And so far, the BBC’s lineup is not all that impressive.
After part two of Series Seven runs its course in May, TV viewers will have to content themselves with a 60-minute anniversary special on Nov. 23, and its companion, the 90-minute docudrama AN ADVENTURE IN TIME AND SPACE.
That’s it. No mention of series eight — it has not even been formally commissioned yet — but at least we have gotten word from Moffat that Matt will be back for the 2013 Christmas Special.
Luckily, BBC America has chosen an opportune time to get into the DOCTOR WHO original programming business, ponying up for the DOCTOR WHO REVISITED series, which looks at each Doctor’s era in an individual special. The first one, covering William Hartnell’s original, aired on Jan. 27, pairing the documentary with an airing of “The Aztecs.” The next one, focusing on Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor, will be followed by “The Tomb of the Cybermen.”
Yeah, yeah, there will be toys and games and collectibles and treasuries and coins and stamps and all sorts of other bric-a-brac, but what I’m interested in is the TV show. Sorry, but the Big Finish audio productions — though wonderful — simply are not enough for me.
And we do not know enough facts yet to pass judgment. For some ridiculous reason, the BBC seems to think it’s wise to keep its cards close to the vest. Sure, lots of people are talking about DOCTOR WHO, but the buzz is starting to sour, and the BBC may just find itself testing that old adage about there being no such thing as bad publicity.