Friday, November 23, 2012

DOCTOR WHO: Countdown to the 50th Anniversary

One year and counting.

365 days from now, on November 23, 2013, fans of Doctor Who will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the science fiction program's debut in 1963 with episode one of "An Unearthly Child."  That's a pretty impressive achievement for a low-budget BBC series originally developed to teach children about historical events.

Eleven Doctors and umpteen companions later, Doctor Who has finally become the worldwide phenomenon it deserved to be and Whovians all over the globe are anxiously awaiting next year's special.  After all, with stories such as "The Three Doctors" and "The Five Doctors" celebrating the show's tenth and twentieth anniversaries respectively, and charity short stories like "Dimensions in Time" and "Time Crash" featuring previous Doctors, it's going to be pretty disappointing if some form of multi-Doctor story isn't the basis of the 50th anniverary.
Last year at this time, I shared my thoughts on how the 50th anniversary special could work but one year later, we're still not much closer to knowing how it's going to turn out.  We've received all sorts of mixed messages over the past twelve months, some of them probably deliberately obfuscating, and Rassilon knows that showrunner Steven Moffat isn't going to reveal anything until he wants to.  Here's a rundown of what little we do know:
Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor) -- Interviewed by Kasterborous at the end of October, Davison was asked if he would return for the anniversary.  "Every day I check the phone to see if Steven Moffat has called me.  I don’t know what’s happening next year, I have nothing to report.  I’m sure it will be something fantastic, but I don’t know what.  I think if [the classic Doctors] aren’t invited, I’m going to make my own rival video.  I’ll do my own 50th anniversary special.  Colin Baker’s prepared to work for nothing!"
Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor) -- Spoke with Doctor Who TV two weeks ago and was asked about reprising the Sixth Doctor.  "No," he denied.  "As far as I know, neither of any of my erstwhile colleagues have been asked either."
Paul McGann (The Eighth Doctor) -- Made comments in July that were reported by Digital Spy about if he was involved in the anniversary.  "No," he responded.  "I mean, I know it's imminent but no, there's been no invites to or sounding out taking place but maybe it will happen, we don't know."  It should be noted that McGann has recently debuted an entirely new look for his Doctor sanctioned by the BBC in promotional materials for the Big Finish audio adventure "Dark Eyes."
David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) -- Made very poor denials last week during press interviews for Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger.  Even if no one else returns for the anniversary, Tennant most likely will.
Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor) -- Interviewed by Collider at the beginning of November and asked about a special with several Doctors.  "Are they?" Smith replied.  "I don't know, you tell me."  On the related subject of Mark Gatiss' documentary on the show's genesis, Smith remarked, "Ah, the genesis of The Doctor, but that’s about William Hartnell isn’t it?  I mean, there’s that and we’ll obviously make a 50th anniversary episode special, and then they’ll be all sorts of live events I would’ve thought that surround that.  I think we’re going to make it a big year for Doctor Who on the BBC. I think that’s the plan."
In another interview with Den of Geek, Smith was asked about working with actors from the show's past.  "I think it’s a lovely idea.  Whether or not it’s something that’s in any way achievable nowadays, I just don’t know, because actors have other commitments, and they move on from the show.  But I’ve enjoyed, in the past, watching the multi-Doctor episodes.  If you’re a fan of the show, it’s just a cool thing, isn’t it?  Seeing them and going 'Aah, they’re talking to each other!  And they’re both the Doctor!'  Steven will come up with something brilliant, and of course I know what it is and I can’t say anything!  But whether or not that’s achievable, I don’t know."
William Russell (Ian Chesterton) -- In a piece last week by the Coventry Telegraph, Russell said it would be "a great idea" for his character Ian to return to the show and joked that he should send Matt Smith's Doctor back to school.
John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) -- Spoke with TV Choice at the beginning of this month and asked about returning for the anniversary. "I haven’t heard anything.  There was a rumor online that said I’m not able to do it because of my schedule.  But actually, I haven’t been asked.  So it’s nothing to do with my schedule.  And to be honest with you -- I have time.  I’ve always said, if they come to me and ask me to do Doctor Who or Torchwood ever again, I would do it at the drop of a hat."

So again, we still don't know much more than what we started with, although it seems like everyone who should be involved in the 50th anniversary special thinks it's rather a good idea.  Time will tell, though...It always does...

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