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Published on January 21st, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

50th Anniversary Myths and Mistakes

It’s easy to get carried away, swept up in the milieu of rumour, hyperbole and constant speculation. But it is also important to keep sight of the facts.

Doctor Who's 2013 Logo

For months now Doctor Who fans have been anticipating the forthcoming 50th anniversary special, knowing that the majority of the details wouldn’t come along until November. There is a great deal of material on the Internet, however, that muddies the waters, albeit unintentionally.

I refer you, dear reader, to the recent post by the Birmingham Mail, in which journalist Paul Cole declares that all five surviving classic series Doctors will be appearing in Steven Moffat’s anniversary special, united together by River Song (Alex Kingston). He also states:

The half-century special, to be broadcast in November, will use studio trickery to resurrect the first three Doctors – William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee – in brief flashback scenes.

Now, all of this is perfectly feasible, except for the fact that Mr Cole presents no sources, offers nothing by way of insider credentials and has unintentionally made himself a figure of fun.

So, there’s a huge pinch of salt required when reading the above, but most importantly, let’s remind ourselves of the public facts:

There is one anniversary special, written by Steven Moffat (confirmed by Doctor Who Magazine 456).

This will be complemented by An Adventure In Space and Time by Mark Gatiss, casting for which is currently taking place.

Both Big Finish, BBC Books and AudioGO are planning their own celebratory 50th anniversary releases.

We’ll be bringing you a full run-down of what’s what in 2013 soon enough, but in the meantime, stick to the facts, and unless Steven Moffat is telling you otherwise, don’t listen to idle Internet gossip…


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

8 Responses to 50th Anniversary Myths and Mistakes

  1. avatar Paddy says:

    So many of these unsourced and vague, almost generic reports seem to come out, I think the only solution is for some bright spark to great a Pinch-of-Salt-ometer – where you can type in the name of a publication and it will check back through all its previous unfounded Doctor Who speculation articles and grade against how many of them were accurate, giving you an idea of how much of a pinch of salt to take it with.

    Or maybe I’m overthinking it, and you should just assume they’re all tosh until Steven says so.

  2. avatar TonyS says:

    I’m not sure when can entirely eliminate the possibility of toshiness even if Mr M says so!

  3. avatar Alex says:

    I have to agree – there’s far too much rumoring going on. The problem is people are making assumptions and they’ll reject any production that doesn’t meet those assumptions. For example, people are assuming it’ll be an 11 Doctors story – or, at least, a story featuring the return of Tennant or McGann or (fill in the blank). There’s nothing to suggest such a story will happen, or would be feasible for TV. That said, the production team has to some degree brought this on itself. For example, last summer we had Neve McIntosh denying any plans for her to return as Vastra, yet not even a week later she was spotted filming a new episode as Vastra; similarly, Jenna-Louise Coleman stated in several interviews there would be no immediate connection evident between the characters she played in Asylum of the Daleks and The Snowmen, yet a connection was made crystal clear (if not necessarily explained right away). So when you have David Tennant or even Christopher Eccleston making “no chance” or “haven’t been asked” comments when asked if they’re coming back, I can see why it’s being taken with a grain of salt. Plus, we know from past experience that casting for an episode is usually not confirmed until almost the day filming starts, and as we’re still a few months away from the 50th special being filmed, we really have no idea who will be in it.

  4. avatar sassy3000 says:

    Anything with River is automatically ruined.
    But of course what else can one expect from Moffat?! That’s all he has done for the last three years. Ruin Doctor Who. With overly simplistic story lines with humongous plot holes. And sleazy gross dialogue appealing only to fellow sleaze-bags.
    And the Doctors will probably be forced to be happy to discover they are married to that gross disgusting sociopathic puke from hades. Someone who is the very type of character that Doctors 1 thru 10 would have all fought against and put in jail! Only due to Moffat’s gross incompetence will they be forced to betray everything the character ever believed in.
    Oh for the laughable fools out there who insist it’s “weird or abnormal” to hate a fictional character. Well then it’s every bit as weird to like or admire a fictional one! LOL! BOX!
    I have to laugh at all the hypocrites. So little common sense.
    I’ll look through FanFic during the month of Sept through Nov. I bet several writers will have far better stories for the 50th anniversary.

  5. avatar Philip Bates says:

    Well, as a fellow sleaze-bag, I love what Moffat’s done for Doctor Who. I hope my writing is a quarter as good as his; he is, after all, at the top of the game, and the writer whom most would aspire to be – also, the writer most want to work with. Look at all the big names the show has attracted!

    His episodes have been praised time and time again, and ratings have been incredible. With the BBC3 repeat and Live +7 added in, The Snowmen was watched by over 11 million people.

    The BBC obviously trust him massively, giving him the keys to their biggest show – in its anniversary year. They also must trust the brilliant Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman and Alex Kingston. I’m not quite sure why Doctors 1-10 would lock her up, but bearing in mind she was in Stormcage for quite some time…

    She’s never actually caused harm to anyone – other than the Doctor, and even that, she fought against.

    I’m fairly sure there’s also River Song fan-fiction out there – aside from, of course, the swathes of fan-fiction inspired by Steven Moffat and the Eleventh Doctor.

    I think River would quite like being called a “sociopathic puke from hades.” You just can’t buy that sort of respect.

    I understand people are going to react against certain aspects of the show – I know I have in the past – but it’s important to remember that Doctor Who will always be Doctor Who. You’ve just got to love it for what it is, not hate it for what it’s not.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      But y’know. Each to their own. ;)

  6. avatar Philip Bates says:

    True. I apologise for my inappropriate language. ;P

  7. avatar Philip Bates says:

    Also, I think he/she hates it for what it isn’t. DW, for one, isn’t overly simplistic. And since when were simple stories (but well told) seen as bad?!

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