‘Doctor Who’ 50th Anniversary Schedule Revealed

Published 2 years ago by

Much has been made of Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary as it approaches later this year. Fans and followers of the longest-running science fiction serial in the world have buzzed for months over the amount and content of material that will be released to mark the occasion.

While we’re still in the dark as to just what showrunner Steven Moffat has up his sleeve for the anniversary, a recent interview will at least give audiences an idea of the shape of the coming year’s Who-based entertainment.

In an interview recorded for the Gallifrey One 2013 fan convention, Steven Moffat commented on the upcoming year of Doctor Who. Moffat confirms that the show is still set to return for the second half of season 7 in March, followed by a long hiatus until the 60-minute, 3D-filmed 50th anniversary special airs in the fall. The special will be followed “later in the year” by the docudrama An Adventure and Space and Time. Finally, the usual Doctor Who Christmas Special will once again grace television screens on December 25th.

Most interestingly, Moffat implies that the movie will not be the only new material released for the anniversary. He states:

Doctor Who – the 50th – is approaching us with various different things a lot of different things going on. Don’t believe the nonsense about one sixty-minute film, that’s complete nonsense.”

The exact nature of these “various different things” is not described by the showrunner, leaving the matter open for much heated discussion. Will there be more than one movie-style special? Perhaps even some more full-length episodes?

Alas, neither of those options appears to be the case. Unnamed sources known to Bleeding Cool have asserted that no new episodes of Doctor Who will be seen after the end of season 7 (outside of the anniversary special, of course). Moffat may in fact be referring to a series of web-only mini-episodes that bridge the gap between the end of season 7 and the anniversary special itself, along with revivals of older (and hopefully relevant) episodes from the five decades of Who lore.

Doctor Who Matt Smith Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Schedule Revealed

Beyond the confirmation of the scheduling for the Doctor Who specials, Moffat’s interview is definitely worth a watch for fans. Moffat not only discusses scriptwriting and directing, he also drops some serious hints for the upcoming episodes of the series that will begin appearing in March.

Unless something changes significantly in the coming months, it appears as if Doctor Who fans will have to settle for a truncated season and two specials (well, three if one counts An Adventure in Space and Time) in 2013. Fortunately, one of those specials looks to be a genuine cultural event. One can only hope that Steven Moffat will be able to justify pouring so much energy and effort into one 60-minute dose of Who.


Doctor Who will materialize on BBC and BBC America for the second half of season 7 on March 30th, 2013.

Source: Bleeding Cool

Follow Kyle Hembree on Twitter @ProjectNightHam
TAGS: Doctor who
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  1. It makes me so sad hearing about Doctor Who news now, like I used to love it but since Moffat came around the series has gradually got worse and worse for me. I miss Russell T Davies so much haha.

    • Sad to see there are more people who feel this way,but yes..I hear you man !
      Think so too ! Moffat was good under control of Russel,but as show runner he sucks. His stories are to flipping around and all over the place. Lacl of feeling and emotions. Pressure must be high !

      And why do the call it second half of season 7 ?
      It’s season 8 ! BBC tricked most people when they said it will have more WHO eps a year ! All we get are 7 a year now and a special ! :(
      Thats a new season each year ! Lame they call it part 2 of season 7,is like cheating ! So we get a new season every 2 years then !

      • With that logic, season 5 should be season 7 since we got the specials before the 11th Doctor’s run. And imho, Season 5 was better than any other seasons under Russel’s because it’s not just another mystery of the week episode with 1 or 2 word(bad wolf/torchwood/vote for Mr. Saxon/images of Rose popping up here and there) linking to the season finale where some old villain of the doctor return and tries to invade earth/threatening human kind.

        • +1

        • Ugh, well said.

        • Uh, yeah, but slight problem;
          Season 5 SUCKED. Let’s review:
          – Big Eyeball chasing a shapeshifter
          – Giant star whale being tortured
          – Daleks with tea
          – Weeping Angels that move on-screen
          – Fish Vampires
          – Doctor Who meets Pochahantas “It’s us or them”
          – Random story about a historic figure
          – Random story that’s companion-lite
          – Big bad end of the universe itself with every enemy appearing, solved with timey-wimey nonsense.

    • 10TH doctor!?!?! Or 11th?!?

  2. it would be awesome if the the special was a two parter. and be like the end of time where one part is 60 minutes and the second was 75. ever since dw has become more popular in america i feel that the episodes have gotten shorter to satisfy american programming with commercials. a couple years ago you would have one regular episode be 45 minutes and the next could be 65. now it seems they are running about 42 minutes. which is how long an hour long program runs in america.

    • i hate being an american, most americans are too lazy to watch 60 minutes of a single show. i on the other hand would thoroughly enjoy longer Doctor Who episodes and specials

  3. His name is not Stephen Moffat, but Steven Moffat. Or the Moff…

    • Good catch. I’ve corrected the typo.

  4. I keep thinking they’re missing an extra digit in the runtime of the Anniversary Special. I don’t know how they could put together anything that does justice to the 50th anniversary in 60 minutes.

  5. I like Moffat’s twisty stories. He’s my favorite DW writer, and the recent episodes are better than ever, since he’s become the show runner. It’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen next and I like that.

  6. At this point I just need some new Who in my life I’ve reverted to watching Doctor Who confidential in 2 mintue spells on youtube. Just give me something.

    • Well ragtag64, I’m just like u. I’ve been catching up on Netflix, but now I’m completely board with my life cuz I finished. I tried Torchwood, but that only lasted about 4days until I finished all Torchwoods on Netflix. I think they should put them on Netflix quicker.

  7. Steven Moffat has destroyed everything Russel T. Davies worked so hard to build up in his rebooting of the series…Moffat was a great contributor as an episode writer, but that was all…everything that was great about the characters he developed as a writer were ruined when he took over as showrunner because he overused them and changed their “mythology rules” with each appearance (see: the angels…becoming BITERS?!) Not only that, but he also spent his three years on the show with the SAME DAMN PEOPLE…Russel kept everything fresh year to year…but with Moffat it’s been the same doctor and the same companions from the get-go, until he finally (SPOILER ALERT) killed of Amy and Rory…maybe he should just stick with Sherlock, which is an incredible mini series in its own right, and let someone else take the doctor who mantle who’s not spreading himself or herself too thin with multiple high concept projects

    • BOO THIS ^^ MAN

      • Agree with you ragtag64, I find that Steven has brought Doctor Who closer to its original roots, the new Doctor is amazing, the stories more intense, not to mention more adult with more mature story elements. The Series finales have all be incredible. Matt Smith has been an amazing Doctor and I know this will hurt a lot of David fans but I don’t care so here it goes, Matt Smith is a much better Doctor than David, and I adored David’s Doctor and still do but he doesn’t hold a candle light to Matt’s Doctor IMO.

    • @Jeff

      Steven Moffat invented the Weeping Angels in the Blink episode. He can do whatever he damn well pleases with them…… including bite with them.

      I like Davies. But I like Moffat’s concept for DW more.

      • He invented them… but messed them up. His only good monsters or episodes are episodes where the Doctor is not involved. For example as you stated ‘Blink’

    • The show’s just gone downhill since Verity Lambert stepped down as showrunner.

    • I agree, I don’t like the whole Amy an Rory thing that took up so much of dw, but sticking with Amy and Rory made me kinda board of the 11th doctor, I still love him but jeez! I mean really, but I wonder, who will be the 12th doctor. Another thing I wonder, is how the writers r going to overpass the rule of only 12 regenerations. I hope that they don’t end it, which they WON’T. But I still wonder…

      • @Rose10 I think they’re going to surpass it using how River gave the doctor all of her regenerations and somehow she had a lot more than timelords because she’s special or something or other.

      • The rule of 12 regenerations were only in place while the Time Lords were in power they enforced it, with them gone the Doctor can regenerate as much as he pleases. In the episode “The five Doctors” the High council offer the master a whole new cycle of regeneration in return for helping the Doctor(s. In the Sarah Jane show “death of the Doctor” Matt Smith stated that he could regenerate far more than 12 times.

        But in the end it all comes down to ratings, if Doctor remains popular then no matter what they will find a way to keep the Doctor going.

  8. This is the same man who is giving us the brilliant SHERLOCK so even though Doctor Who season 7 hasn’t been the best, he is still good at what he does, and I wanna believe he will do an amazing job with the anniversary specials. So do your thing Steve!

  9. i think having a new companion will help the quality improve, sorta a reboot of sorts (not really but thats the word i think of).

  10. I personally much prefer Steven Moffat as a showrunner. Although, I admit he can’t write women (They’re all cheeky and witty i.e. River and Clara). RTD did write some great episodes like Midnight but aside from that, his arcs were boring and unexciting. They were all basically the same: Doctor becomes helpless, companion does something extraordinary (Rose looks into time vortex, Martha tells stories of the Doctor for a “shocking” reveal, and Donna becomes the doctor-donna). See? Where Moffats season climaxes have the Doctor being the Doctor and being clever, albeit saving the day. Season 5 was way better than all of RTD’s. Moffat gives it a breath of Classic Who and maybe that’s why some people are iffy on it. Anyway, we’re all titled to our opinions :)

    • Agreed mate. RTD write some good, some average and some bad episodes while Moffat might be convoluted, always delivers episode or arc wise. RTD’s season never really had any long season arc except for few easter egg that would reveal which one of his old enemy’s returning in the end of the season and it’s a bit repetitive because it’s the same thing from season 1-4 but I do love season 1 so much.

    • Omg, perfect whovian I LOVE ur style!!!! U have the same thought as me. Season 5 was awesome, and Steven Moffat is to thank! I also enjoy how it brings back the style of the classics, but that’s just my opinion.

  11. I just wish every doctor since Tom Baker was not trying to be Tom Baker. Lets get back to the variety of personalities each doctor had prior to TB.

  12. 60 minutes is not long enough. Especially for a movie which may or may not include prior doctors, prior companions and/or huge battles. Its going to be rushed and badly.

    • I totally agree, I think there should be a 2 parter, each one an hour+!

    • it’s not a reliable source*

  13. Why is it BBC series have (1)such short season lengths and (2) so long inbetween seasons?

    BBC would be making so much profit if they at least tried to copy US season lengths (up to 22 episodes a season), now that their series are getting so ppular here in the US, the profit potential is sky-rocketing every year…

    So many BBC series I have grown to love (primordial?, Ripper streets, being human, etc…) now are gone and may never reappear

    Why should we even start watching your series if your only going to get us engaged just to shut down for years???

    Are there no Business schools in england to teach them the benefits of building audiences and gaining market-share and how to keep it?

    • I’m actually pretty happy with the shorter length of British series. The behind-the-scenes stuff makes it clear: if you’re going to shoot 22 episodes, you need to do twice as much in the exact same time. Get scripts. Hire talent. The whole thing.

      Most 22-episode series seem to have a few episodes that were padding. Take any of the Star Trek series as an example, and it’s clear what episodes no one would have filmed if they were on a 13-episode commitment.

      Instead of focusing on just getting their audience habituated (“that episode was so-so, but I watch this thing every Tuesday anyway”), they’re focusing on making quality television (especially important in an era when people are routinely time-shifting viewing; if you make the episode an event, people have to sit through the commercials).

      I’d much rather have a 13-episode series of really good viewing, as opposed to a 22-episode series in which 14 of the episodes are padding.

  14. Another Question for Moffat

    Why are so proud of an upcoming season that only has 7 episodes?

    Shouldnt you be adding to the franchise with more episodes per season and fewer monthes between seasons?

    Dont you care about market share or sustainability of your shows?

    • This season doesnt have 7 episodes? Its part 2 of Season 7. The first part was aired back in August. They say “new series” because it might confuse the viewer, and hey, that’s you! Also, he works for the BBC. He doesn’t determine air dates. Remember that he’s the producer for 2 hit shows and has to make room for producing them both. And this is a tricky year with the 50th coming up. I don’t mind it because it gives me something to look forward to.

  15. ok im with RTD on the DW episodes. ever since season 5 started ive been so frustrated at how theyve changed! i have been watching dw since 2nd grade (when 2005 rolled around) and im a sophmore in highschool now. i grew up with rtd’s genius and moffat ruined it. i luv matt smith and all but jesus christ hes done nothing new but hair cuts and suits!!!

  16. So we don’t actually get Season 8 until next spring? Maybe? That’s crap. I’m really sick of this half-season hiatus stuff. Moffat has done some good things but he’s also been very bad at times, especially recently. He likes to take the suspense and plot twists up to eleven to create the most twisting story possible, at the expense of good characterization and actually making sense, but he can’t keep a handle on his own plots. His characters are weak and his character development is bland. Plus, he can’t write an episode without making some classist or sexist implication. The head writing under him is just not good. I think it’s time for him to leave. There are many far superior writers out there that could bring DW up to the par it needs to be. Such a great show deserves better treatment than it’s getting of late.

  17. Gonna keep giving me half a series a year, rather than what you promised me last year? Half a series at the beginning of the year and the remainder in the latter half of the year… Interesting. I think you can look for another fool to spend his money and time on your product. You dont promise me something, when youre the BBC, and then break your promise – and still get my very hard earned money nor my very scarce free time. No respect for the BBC any more, as they apparently lie to children. As far as Im concerned, they can go jump in the thames.

    One less audience member. Very pissed off.

  18. Does anyone know or has anyone heard if the 3D anniversary episode will hit theaters in the US? My nerd herd and I are dying to know; all of the press releases are talking about the UK release. Any info would be greatly appreciated.