‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary Won’t Include Any Classic Doctors

Published 2 years ago by

Peter Davison and David Tennant in the Doctor Who Children in Need special Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Wont Include Any Classic Doctors

Sometimes shutting down rumors can be just as important – though not as fun – as exploring new ones, and such is the case with the speculation about whether the Doctor Who 50th anniversary will bring back any of the classic incarnations of the Doctor. The excitement was ratcheted up several notches when it was announced that David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor, would be returning along with Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.

When the press release teased that Tennant and Piper were part of an “all-star cast,” it was expected by many that cast would include other actors who had played the time-travelling alien in the past.

Not so, it seems, as the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine has stated that the anniversary episode will only feature a team-up of the two most recent Doctors:

Although David Tennant has returned to his role of the Tenth Doctor, the other old Doctors will not be taking part.

In an interview with Digital Spy, Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy sadly admitted that neither he nor any of the other 20th century Doctors had heard from the producers with regards to appearing in the episode, which has nearly finished filming. Though McCoy feels that an all-star reunion should be done, for the sake of the fans who are “desperate” for it, he says it’s not going to happen:

The 20th century Doctors haven’t heard anything. I don’t know about the 21st century Doctors, but we from our century have not been asked to do it. We old Who-ers have not been asked to go along.

All of us want to do it, just for the fans – because that’s what they want. But we’ve heard nothing – Tom Baker’s heard nothing, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann… none of us have heard anything.

Christopher Eccleston was invited to reprise his short-lived but fondly-remembered turn as the Ninth Doctor for the special, but ultimately turned the offer down – not all that surprising since his original parting was not particularly amicable and was based on a disagreement over “the way things were being run.

There have been a number of Doctor team-ups in the past that set a precedent for the character coming face-to-face with himself. The first three actors – William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee – got together for “The Three Doctors” in 1972, and Troughton and Pertwee later appeared alongside Tom Baker, Richard Hurndall and Peter Davison in 20th anniversary episode “The Five Doctors”. The episode title “The Two Doctors” was taken in 1985 when Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton were featured alongside one another, and another two-Doctor collaboration occurred in 2007 when David Tennant and Peter Davison starred in a short Doctor Who special for Children in Need called “Time Crash”.

Doctors and companions in Doctor Who The Five Doctors Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Wont Include Any Classic Doctors

No doubt some fans will be disappointed by the absence of any other Doctors in the special, but it’s a pretty justifiable decison. Speaking to Digital Spy at an earlier date, showrunner Steven Moffat said of the 50th anniversary, “It is important you don’t turn it into a fanfest. We can’t make this all about looking backwards. It’s actually got to be the start of a new story.” Including the classic Doctors would require an explanation as to why they have all aged so much, considering the fact that the Doctor can supposedly go for decades or even centuries without appearing any older, and every extra Doctor included could lead to less focus on the the individual characters – and, subsequently, a messy plot.

Let us know whether you’re feeling cautious, optimistic, despairing or excited about the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. Are you happy with just two Doctors or did you want more?


Doctor Who airs Saturdays @8pm on BBC America

Source: Doctor Who Magazine (via Doctor Who TV) & Digital Spy

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. Maybe I’m wrong but wouldn’t it not make sense for them to have the earlier doctors in this? Because they’ve aged significantly (obviously), and they can’t look older than we last saw them in the show because they transitioned to a new Doctor at that age. Example: Doctor looks 50 when he transitions to the new actor playing a new incarnation of the Doctor. So when he shows up at this reunion, he’d loook 70. Again, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not huge into Doctor Who.

    • wibbly wobbly etc.

      It would have been cool to have at least one old Doctor to introduce to the new fans. Oh well, still can’t wait for 10 and Rose to return.

    • Oddly enough, an “aging” Doctor didn’t stop them from having that pairing with Patrick Troughton and Colin Baker especially when you consider that the second Doctor, in particular, was force regenerated.

      This led to people inventing this secret season theory where the 2nd Doctor was apparently force regenerated only after being conscripted to work for the Time Lords… a theory that still makes no sense when you consider that Jamie (who was also in “The Two Doctors”) and Victoria were already sent back to their respective times and had their memories erased.

  2. makes sense. this isnt the real doctor anyway. its that doppelganger

    • He’s not the doppleganger. He wouldn’t have the Tardis or rose.

      • The doppelganger is with Rose.

        • Actually, I could have done without 10 and the Boomerang Blonde! She’s had more returns from that supposedly CLOSED dimension than Freddy Kruger – and HE has more talent and looks better.

      • rose and the doppelganger were left in a alternaet universe or something lke that. i cant remember exactly but its not the doctor. but i could be wrong but i always thought they couldn’t meet each other, two doctors at once. i know about that skit but i thought that was just that, a skit.

        • They’ve had three and five doctors together at once before. It can definitely happen .I also think even more doctors have been together in the non canon books and stuff.

        • David Tennant is playing the Doctor in the special, not the doppleganger Doctor.
          If it was the doppleganger he wouldn’t have the exat Tardis as David Tennants Doctor.

          • Well, if a little research is done you would find that in a deleted scene from that episode where the doctor leaves metacrisis human-doctor and Rose in the parallel world, the doctor leaves them with a piece of the tardis so he can grow his own. He says something to the effect of, “This universe is in need of protecting. The Doctor and Rose in the Tardis…”
            It was actually a pretty cool scene, and I sort of wish they left it in. Russell T DAvies said something about wanting to revisit it at some point. But we will probably see nothing of the sort.
            Rose herself has the time vortex running through her after looking into the Tardis’ heart, so I’d say that gives her free reign to travel through time if needed to. I bet it’s something like that, or a future rose, or something to that effect.

  3. Too bad. I can see the reasoning behind it.

    You know you’ve got the current Doctor Matt Smith, in the bag. Then start working your way backwards.

    Ok Tennant is a thumbs up. Good.

    Eccleston? Not a chance.

    You’re blocked right there. If you jump past Eccleston and start including previous incarnations, then why isn’t the Eccleston Doctor there? You’ll have to give a reason right? Lets say Pertwee jumps in and then the famously cranky Tom Baker says, “Get lost!” Then more explanation is required for why certain Doctors are included …… And why the missing Doctors are not there.

    I would prefer a really good and concise plot for the 50th Anniversary Special over a big messy sentimental reunion. There is no way the plot could be efficiently presented with a whole mess of Doctors underfoot, all vying for attention and screen time.

    Plus think of the expense!

    No, no. Matt Smith, Jenna Louise-Coleman, David Tennant and Billie Piper are more than enough characters.

    How long is the run time of the special. Do we know? Is it still only 45 minutes?

    • It’s going to be 90 minutes.
      Shown on tv and in 3D cinemas.

      • IF thats true about the 90 minutes that will be awesome. i miss the days of random doctor who episodes being 50, 55 60 minutes long and some specials being 72-75 minutes.

        I know it will at least be 60 minutes, do you have a link to where they say it will be 90? thanks!

        • I’d settle for an opening featuring the faces of ALL the Doctors accompanied by the classic WHO theme tune.
          That is all.

        • I cant give a link because I’m on my mobile, but if you just type “Doctor Who 50 Anniversary” into google it’ll come up saying its a 90 minute 3D/HD special. :)

    • 4 technically wasn’t in “The Five Doctors” and they got around that by showing some unused footage from “Shada” and explaining that the matrix malfunctioned when he was being extracted from that period and thus was trapped.

      Either way, Paul McGann hasn’t aged all that much and any aging by him wouldn’t need to be dealt with at all considering he was only in the TV movie and we never saw him regenerate.

      That 9 wouldn’t be there could easily be handled by some throwaway dialogue.

      • Yes! Paul McGann would be great. He never really had his chance to shine as the Doctor. He’s aged very well to (in other words, hardly at all), It’d be great if they got him involved.

  4. Boo!!!!!

    • Here, Here. The least they could do would let Paul McGann return. He deserves a “second chance” to shine as the Doctor.

    • I agree, Paul has kept himself fit and he could easily do the part again! I am saddened by the way the 50th has been coming together. This doesn’t feel like a 50th, it feels like a 3 year anniversary.

  5. I thought BBC said a while ago (officially) that ALL 11 Doctors would be back (some computer-generated). It doesn’t seem like a very great special if the only returning characters are Rose and 10. I was expecting those two along with Donna, Martha, Amy, Rory, 9, Captain Jack… Really, more than just Rose and 10. Whatever, I’m sure it’ll be great.

  6. A very disappointing decision. Some of us have been anticipating this anniversary for years, and I think the majority of Doctor Who fans believed it would not be allowed to pass without a proper celebration of the series’ history and the actors who made it so successful for so long. Sadly, Steven Moffat seems to have little respect or regard for history, for the fans, or for the actors. This is not a celebration of 50 years of Doctor Who. At best, it’s a celebration of eight years of the new series, and at worst it’s a slap in the face for everyone who loved the old show.

    • I agree, this SHOULD be a fanfest, Moffatt is an idiot for saying it shouldnt be. The 50th anniversary should be about the entire history of the show, not just the 21st century. I am really hoping they are lying to everyone to surprise us all, although I doubt it. Will be good to see Rose and ten again though.

    • BBC is using the whole year to celebrate all the doctors. Check out the BBC site for the schedule.

  7. I Do hope captain Jack is in this episode too

  8. John Barrowman has already stated he wasn’t contacted either.

  9. Let’s be honest it would be terrible if they included most of the other doctors mainly because they look so old. Especially Tom baker and Colin baker.

    • Wow – ageism rears its ugly head. Who really cares what they look like? It’s the TALENT that matters.

      • A lot of the fans care what they look like, that’s who. Nobody wants to see an old, fat Colin Baker wandering around in his clown outfit.

  10. @David – SOME of us want to see them no matter WHAT they look like. To say that they’re not wanted because they’ve aged or put on weight is the height of bigotry and it doesn’t speak well of someone CLAIMING to be a fan.

  11. Great, the 50th Annivasary is turning into Days of Future Past. I hate life.

  12. The only explaination of how Rose and the 10th doctor can “come back” most likely deals with the fact that Rose and the “human” version of the 10th doctor were left in an alternate earth when we last saw them…

  13. I think all the actors ,who are still alive and that played the Doctor, should be in the fiftieth anniversary episode. Let’s be honest. Tom Baker is just as fantastically charismatic now as he was before. I think the real reasons they don’t bring Tom Baker back for the 50th anniversary is because the whole show would just be about him and David Tennant and the current Doctor would be shown up as the forgettable ham that he is.

  14. It’s a bit misleading to describe it as a “50th anniversary special”, because it’s not celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who. It’s just a story from the new series that coincides with the 50th anniversary. A token gesture rather than a genuine marking of a significant occasion in UK television and scifi.

    I can see their reasoning for not wanting an ensemble of Doctors (what’s that joke about herding cats?), but giving us a Tennant/Smith story and ostracising pretty much everyone from the classic series, treating it as if it never existed, is pathetic. I’m really disappointed at how this is playing out. It’s starting to look like a real missed opportunity for something grand.

  15. The classic doctors absolutely should have been involved. Steven Moffat has only done 10 years and without the folks involved before him, this should be a 10 year anniversary. He doesn’t deserve to celebrate the history milestone (when not celebrating the folks that came before him). It’s like remembering all the soldiers that died in wars of the past but only celebrating the one this decade.

    It is horrible and sad. I hope he has lied about not having them involved (as he says he lies due to all the gossip and spin) but I fear not. I hope in the next decade when the show moves on from his hands, he’ll want to be remembered and want to be quoted and no one will care…perhaps payback.