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Published on June 7th, 2012 | by Andrew Reynolds

All the Doctors?

It’s hard enough trying to reunite five friends but imagine trying to wrangle five generations of actors – all famous for playing the same role, all with respective careers at various levels of success, together to potential play the role that made them household names.

It’s barmy, right?

Then again Doctor Who is fantastical by nature and with the news that, potentially, that five Doctors; Colin Baker, Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Peter Davison and Paul McGann, all reunited, all very warm and chatty, would be interested in appearing alongside the contemporary incarnations of the Doctor – it’s fantastic!

Sure, Colin Baker’s emphatic ‘no’ might not have been that surprising given the history he has had with the BBC, but it was a pragmatic answer – there has been no offer, so why would he declare his interest?

It would be surprising if he decided not to do it on the grounds of recrimination.

Colin’s position seems more akin to Tom Baker – whose request of ‘something witty’ to bring his incarnation back to the screen, is simply a request for good material – it might be a celebration but let’s not get lazy. And that’s taking for granted that the age difference could be explained away convincingly and wouldn’t be a stumbling block for any of the Doctors potential appearance.

In footage of the exciting meeting, posted on YouTube by Alonsireviews, Tom Baker talks of how much he owes the fans and doesn’t simply want to be a ‘shagged out old icon of the last century’:

Sylvester McCoy also speaks of not disappointing the fans while both Davison and McGann (whose appearance would require the least amount of technobabble to explain away the age difference and more tantalisingly, has the least established timeline, and that’s no disservice to Big Finish) were silent about their involvement in the anniversary.

It’s a question that might not be the most comfortable to ask but: If there was still some animosity towards the way the show was handled during their respective runs would the individual Doctor’s let it overshadow how much it has given them in return?

Christopher Eccleston remains the obvious stumbling block with his seemingly untenable position reagarding his time on the show.

No one knows the exact circumstances that led him to distance himself from the machinations of the Beeb’s senior staff but he seemed adiment that he wouldn’t return: ‘Never bathe in the same river twice’ he reportedly said in 2011.

It’s impossible, crazy and, with nobody willing to confirm anything other than ‘interest’, it feels as though it could all fall apart at any moment but if animosity could be overcome, an idea could encapsulate the passage of time and changes in appearance, then maybe, just maybe all the Doctors could return.

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About the Author

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Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.




13 Responses to All the Doctors?

  1. avatar Michael says:

    Even with Moffat writing it would be incredibly difficult to create a story where all the Doctors get something other than a cameo. Even with the ‘Timecrash’ explanation for the age difference I still think it wouldn’t feel right.
    I think a meet up on TV is much more likely to just include Tennant. If the others are given cameos then they won’t do it anyway. It’s far more likely that we’ll get Doctors 4 – 8 in a Big Finish celebration. Perhaps Chris can be persuaded to do one of those for the 60th. Matt and David will be doing them by then as well.

  2. avatar bessie's spare wheel says:

    I wonder if Colin’s “No” had any relation to the comment Moffat made in the Grade Radio 2 documentary a few weeks ago where in relation to the 85 hiatus Moffat said: “You don’t cancel Bond just because there’s been a bad one.” Now that was probably meant totally off the cuff and not seriously but the fact is Moffat said it, so Colin is hardly likely to go around saying he’d do it when he thinks there’s a likelihood (as Colin has already said on twitter) that’s there’s “zero” chance he suspects. Cos it would just look like he’d been up for it and then kicked in the teeth. I really hope the 50th doesn’t degenerate into a Dark Dimension squabble between who Moffat rates and doesn’t. Even if it’s only for a scene invite them all back or none at all, otherwise the 50th will descend into nasty bitchiness. Every Doctor is someone’s favourite, they’re all in the pantheon, every Doctor should be in a 50th anniversary special somehow, and all get their brief moment in the sun, and yes maybe Tom as longest serving and senior Doctor should get a bit more of a moment than the others. As Moffat retweeted the Collectorsmania photo I hope he can see the barminess of not including all the Doctors. I can see a scene where some villain has the 11th Doctor all beat and the villain’s like “Who’s gonna help you now? You and whose army?” and the Doctor’s like: “Well actually I don’t need an army” and the other ten Doctors step out of the shadow (or maybe not!).

  3. avatar kevin merchant says:

    Is it really necessary to re unite old doctors for an anniversary celebration? As Tom Baker says: Let’s go for something more witty

    • avatar bessie's spare wheel says:

      I think it is. Tom turned down the Five Doctors and was happy to hog the 30th anniversary special! What Tom wants isn’t neccessarily best for the show. The alternative seems to be Silver Nemesis or Zagreus! It’s the 50th, it’s the last chance to really get a lot of the classic series and new series Doctors together. It doesn’t have to be a Five Doctors romp (though that would be great imo!). What else is there? Another documentary? The actors playing other parts – that’s just teasing and piss taking the audience. There’s a lot of epicness and humour to be mimed from a multi Doctor story penned by Moffat shown by his series six arc and Time Crash. That’s what the centre piece of the 50th has to be, Doctors facing off both dramatically and humourously. What on earth could be wittier? It’s a huge one-off, lets chill and bask in an audience pleasing funny dramatic era-mash-up of a celebratory yarn!

  4. avatar Rick Lundeen says:

    Way too much constant speculation and chatter about this. It’s a year and a half away. Moffat will do what’s best.

    • avatar bessie's spare wheel says:

      Of course there’s gonna be speculation! In tv terms this is like the day after tomorrow now and less than eighteen months to go. This time last year I’d have said it’s a while off, but not now. It’s approaching now.

      I’m a big Moffat fan usually but found some crucial bits of last season seriously undercooked. The Mels character and regeneration was produced out of a hat to get himself out of a hole and made it feel arbitrary. It needed Mels setting up earlier. Instead of developing River and the whole scenario we get the Doctor emoting to some publicity stills of RTD companions (seriously – WTF was that scene about?). But never mind, Amelia can say “fish fingers and custard” and everything is apparently fine. Parents who seemingly couldn’t care less that their baby had been abducted so we impossible to believe in from then on. A finale as fulfilling as a MacDonald’s trapped in basically a holodeck episode replaying Big Bang note for note undid the good work of Impossible Astronaut. Then followed up by a flat as a pancake Christmas Special means I don’t do the blind faith in Moffat we trust stuff. Not anymore.

      Also I think there’s a fair bit of snottiness towards a multi Doctor story. You can’t just do a really good story for the 50th – that’s just a really good story. That’s not special. It’s got to be special and good. I think that means multi Doctor in some form. I think that’s what the audience wants even if not some of the fans who think a multi Doctor story is unsophisticated.

  5. avatar TonyS says:

    I agree with Rick. Whilst I may have voiced some doubts about the last season, the show is in a safe pair of hands and Mr Moffat will produce something spectacular.

  6. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    And about the late greats William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee? All this talk of reuniting the surviving Doctors for a celebratory story is all very well, but i would be absolutely mortified if the 3 legendary actors who started the show were ignored or recast Hurndall-style into the script. If it is not possible to include ALL the Doctors with the equal respect and service they deserve then why not just have a bloody good story with the current (and excellent) Doctor and his new assisstant! It may surprise some of you out there but you do not need to focus on the show’s 50 year history to make a scorcher of a celebration! Give me a good story and i’ll be happy!

  7. avatar Drew says:

    “adiment”?!

  8. avatar kopicbloodaxe says:

    Actors can be technologically “youthened” these days with various degrees of success (Tron: Legacy, Beowulf). It may even be possible just to use their voices for new dialogue on digitally altered old footage or somesuch.

    Having said that, maybe it would be best to insert contemporary Doctors into scenes from classic episodes to create a thread linking all the old Doctors with new dialogue dubbed by surviving actors.

    Just saying, all things are possible for the *right* storyline. The trick is just that… get it RIGHT.

  9. avatar Steve Andrew says:

    I don’t think it’s at all necessary to have a huge multi-Doctor extravaganza, there just seems to be no good reason beyond “well it would be nice”. But like any good skeptic, I’m willing to have my mind changed if it’s done right.

    I enjoyed Time Crash, but I admit it felt really odd to have the 5th Doctor be visually significantly older. And there’s only so far you can stretch that whole “time-differential” explanation. I’m sorry, Tom and Colin have just aged too much – I just cannot see them appearing as the 4th and 6th Doctors without it being embarrassing. And there’s only so much digital de-ageing that can be done on a tight BBC budget.

    An older 7th Doctor might work – after all, Sylvester was allowed to look older in 1996 before his regeneration. And of course, there would be no problem with Paul McGann appearing.

    Beyond that, it’s just a question of juggling egos and schedules. We’ve got 7 surviving pre-Smith Doctors, each with varying degrees of persuasion needed to come back. It just seems like an insurmountable task for a potentially ill-advised project.

    However I can totally imagine them lending their voices to some kind of animated special or specials, which then opens up the possibility of having different voice actors for the Grandfather, the Dandy and the Clown. But with only a year-and-a-half to go, I can’t see this happening.

    Personally, I would be happy for a 50th anniversary show to be something unexpected, something that doesn’t necessarily involve multiple Doctors. I have no idea what that would be – I’m happy to be surprised.

  10. avatar Brian Stultz says:

    I would like it if they would show up through out the year not necessarily in the same episode.
    If I was writing the show this would be the 50th special:

    The Doctor should be tricked into the void by Omega as punishment for thwarting Omega’s plans in the past. The Tardis will materialize on Gallifrey The Doctor will seek out Romana and the Master for help to escape; Then The Master who is in league with Omega can then steal the Tardis and the Doctor will have to call upon his past selves to help him escape the void, retrieve the Tardis, and stop Omega and The Master. You could have multiple Doctors return as well as Leela, Romana and both of their K9s can also be involved in some capacity. The story could end with the Master Regenerating into Idris Elba or Benedict Cumberbatch!

  11. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    With the success of the Avengers, plus the 50th Anniversary there isn’t a better time for a multi-doctor team-up!

    How many other Sf shows can have a team up of different versions of the same character?

    if done it must be done well as we all say but that’s obvious really. Perhaps the way to do it is to have several episodes with smaller numbers of Doctors in, with 11 as the recurring Doctor across all of the multi doctor episodes. So a problem starts off with the eighth, say, and eleven has to cross his past time line to solve a problem in the present or future. I think it could work.

    Oh and the doctor age thing is no problem – I like to imagine that we, the audience, see the Doctors as older as that’s how the Doctor sees them – with added time distortion – but non- Time Lord characters see them as they appeared normally. This might account for five’s lack of comment on his change of appearance in Time Crash as ten mocks him.

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