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”.
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
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