It would be nice to be a Time Lord, if only for the ability to jump forward a couple of weeks and see the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special straight away. The BBC really have pushed the boat out for it, not only making it feature length and shooting in 3D, but also planning an entire day of celebratory programs across all of the BBC channels and radio stations, and organizing screenings in selected US theaters as well.
With that amount of hype, however, the pressure truly is on for showrunner Steven Moffat and the Doctor Who cast and crew to deliver something truly spectacular to mark half a century of aliens, companions, Doctors and time travel. Familiar faces David Tennant and Billie Piper are returning to join the current Doctor and companion, Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, and veteran actor John Hurt is playing another mysterious incarnation of the Doctor.
To help keep the hype train chugging along, the BBC has published an extensive interview with Moffat and the cast of the episode, which includes some brand new screenshots and some new details about what’s in store for Doctor Who fans. Moffat, for his part, remains as boldly ambitious as ever:
“I didn’t want this to just be a celebration of 50 years of the past. I wanted it to be a celebration of the mythology of the legend of the Doctor and all that entailed. This should be the first step on the next journey, guaranteeing the 100th anniversary. The story focuses on the most important thing that ever happened to the Doctor. We very rarely do that in Doctor Who as it’s usually about the people the Doctor meets or the companions that travel with him. This time it’s different.”
While it is nice, and appropriate, that the special should be all about the Doctor and his largely mysterious life story, it’s hard not to be a little skeptical about that particular description. In the fifty years since the show’s inception, a lot of very important things that have happened to the Doctor and there’s some potential concern that the anniversary special might trip over itself in an attempt to one-up everything that’s gone before. One of the main flaws in Moffat’s writing is his penchant for forced melodrama, which can sometimes end up getting in the way of a stronger story.