Doctor Who News Celebrate The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary!

Published on April 9th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Classic Doctors Physically Unable to Appear in 50th

Hey, you – yes you, Doctor Who fans disappointed by the non-appearance of Christopher Eccleston in the 50th anniversary story and hoping for at least one classic era Time Lord to make an appearance.

We have bad news.

Paul McGann, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy are in Australia. Here they are on the sofa in today’s edition of Mornings on ABC.

(Thanks to @bridgetwalker78)


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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+.

32 Responses to Classic Doctors Physically Unable to Appear in 50th

  1. avatar Alex Smith says:

    yes but Tom and Peter arent here are they

  2. avatar Ian says:

    I really hope then they CGI them in! Or Tom & Peter return. If not it seems to be celebrating 8 years of Nu Who.

  3. avatar TonyS says:

    Preswumably they will be filming the special over more than one day…

  4. avatar nova2926 says:

    Has anyone considered that filming of the special will go on for several weeks.

  5. Tom Baker’s one of my all time favourite Doctors but he’s now 79 and to see him back in his gear would just be embarrassing.I’m sure we’ll get some archive footage but that will be it, which is fair enough.

    • avatar Simon says:

      While I understand not wanting him back because of his age, to ignore him and not include him would be a mistake in my opinion. The man is an acting legend, and sci-fi royalty, not to mention it’s more than likely the last chance he’ll get to appear on a TV screen as the Doctor, so I would like to see him included, even if not as the Fourth Doctor.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      The old Doctors do not necessarily have to come back as the Doctors. There is a trailer for the new Saint film which shows Roger Moore and Ian Oglivy possibly playing different characters. It would be good to acknowledge the contribution they all made to the show. Having said that, I am sure the Grand Moff is aware of this and even now is laying his plans…

  6. avatar Francis Cave says:

    Well they are over there at the moment while the 50th anniversary adventure is being filmed but surely it would be possible that in a month or two’s time when they are all back some further filming could be done to include them?

    After all there are still seven and a half months to go before broadcast….

  7. Well Look at Paul McGann! Seriously, He’s certainly physically able to play the Doctor again! We don’t even know what he looked like when he regenerated so he could play the Doctor even when he’s 82! So why wouldn’t Moffat cast him? I am getting so sick of all this denying and secretiveness. I think it’s doing more harm than good at this point. Everyone is getting so upset (including me) that their favorite Doctor isn’t going to be in the 50th. I wish the BBC would just tell us instead of stringing us along. It’s mean spirited and cruel to the fans. While I love surprises, I’m not loving the way they are handling their approach to the 50th. They can still keep some element of surprise….we don’t have to know the story…or every detail. If I have to wait until the very showing to see if my favorite Doctor (Paul McGann) is in it that will be torture and I will probably be disappointed. We 8th Doctor fans have waited far to long to see him on the screen again. Big Finish has done a much better job with their 50th plans. They have told us who will be in their audio adventure and even given us a trailer. We don’t know what the story is exactly but we’ve had a teaser. Fans are excited and happy. That is the way to do things. Moffat should pay more attention to how Big Finish does things.

    • avatar rickjlundeen says:

      Catherine, I really do think this is a no win scenario for the TV production team. So far, their message has been “trust us, we’ll do a good show” and really, that should be enough, because understandably, they would like to keep some things a surprise. WhatEVER they do, someone is going to be disappointed and it would be a logistical nightmare to wedge all the Doctors in there. For the sake of all the fans’ mental health, we should probably only assume that it’ll be Tennant and Smith—and let’s see what they do. If ANYONE can make this work, it’ll be Moffat but the higher the expectations, the more disappointed you’ll be when the impossible doesn’t happen.

      • For my personal wish the only one I ever cared about seeing back on the screen is Paul McGann. other then Tennant and Eccelson he is the one that would be so easy to do and because of his short stint would be the nicest to see but I fear I am going to be heartbroken. I understand what the production team is up against but I also don’t feel they’ve handled it well and I just cannot trust them. At least as far as Paul McGann is concerned, I would not want to see him in another role. I have all his other movies for that. I will also not be happy with oll clip footage. Anyway…this is my wish and It will probably not come true.

  8. By the way where is Peter Davidson. I thought he was in Australia too?

  9. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I can’t really think this would surprise anyone. Besides, The Moff wasn’t even that happy with the Colin or Syl era….which will make for interesting commentary when they get around to those “Doctor Revisited” specials…

    • Yeah, but it’s not about what the Moff thinks or wants. It’s about what the fans want. The 50th is for the fans. Moffat should know that.

  10. avatar lozzer says:

    I’d be more than happy if they were included as guest actors playing different roles. Why couldn’t this work… or aspects of their former selves popping up throughout the episode, I don’t particularly want to see Colin in his costume or Sly in his silly jumper, but they could do something clever with them, something unexpected. To be honest I just want a good story.

    • avatar Francis Cave says:

      Well Colin at least could return as a certain other Gallifreyan he has played in the series!

  11. Host: “I think everyone should be involved.”
    McCoy: “Yeah all the fan bases all over the world believe that but not the producers.”

    Wow! This says a lot. Either all this denial is true or the classic doctor actors are now being instructed to speak not so favorable about the show producers?!

    • avatar Francis Cave says:

      I think you are reading far too much into McCoys comment.

      Who would be instructing them anyway??

      • Whoever is instructing them to deny any involvement…if indeed they are being instructed. David Tennant denied involvement and look what happened…he’s been cast.

        • avatar Andrew says:

          It was always inevitable that Tennant would return.

  12. avatar Steve Andrew says:

    I would dearly love for the 50th to be a multi-Doctor story as I still have fond memories of the Five Doctors. But, much as it would be lovely for all surviving Doctors to be represented somehow there are so many reasons why this couldn’t / shouldn’t / doesn’t have to happen.

    The older Doctors are just too old. My favourite will always be Tom, but he just looks far too different now. Speaking as a Fourth Doctor fan, I would want the Fourth Doctor to appear as he looked in 1980. Same goes for Peter (despite the lovely Time Crash) and Colin. Sylvester I could just about believe as he was allowed to look older in the TV Movie. And obviously Paul McGann has barely aged since 1996 (wish I could say the same about myself.)

    But then… does this even need to happen? Why do we assume that it has to be an all-out multi-Doctor extravanganza? Why do we even think that Moffat and the production team has to do this “for the fans”? That is a terrible, terrible reason to make any story and goes completely against how art in any medium is supposed to work. A writer must write the story he or she wants to write. It doesn’t matter how high-profile the show, the writer can’t do a story “for the fans” because:

    1. A large community of fans will not be able to agree on what should happen in a show.
    2. A showrunner can’t mind-read the fans.
    3. Even if he could, so what? It’s impossible to put any kind of creativity into a story if you’re being told what to do by millions of fans.

    Moffat is employed by the BBC, not us. He is under no obligation to give us anything other than the story he wants to write. That’s not being “disrespectful” to the fans / show’s history / past Doctors – that’s him doing his job.

    Feel free to have opinions on how you’d like the 50th to go – we all have them, even I have them. I’m just not wedded to my opinions or theories – I’m happy to be proved wrong, I’d really love to be surprised. Don’t be disappointed if your own ideas don’t happen – it’s not because Moffat is being disrespectful, he just might want to go in a different direction.

    And as for me rambling like this, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…

    • Moffat doesn’t have to read the fan’s mind. It’s all out there and it has been out there for ages on the net, aqt conventions, various TV shows. If Moffat has missed all this then he has been hiding in a cave somewhere.

      • avatar Steve Andrew says:

        And I’m sure he’s well aware of the wide range of fan opinions. But fans online and at conventions don’t speak with one voice. For all those who think all past Doctor actors should be starring, there are just as many who’d be happy with them in flashbacks and just as many again who think the story would be an almighty mess if too many of them are in.

        Moffat literally cannot please everyone. Nor should he have to. Writing a story based on fan opinion is no way to write a story.

        If he doesn’t include past Doctor actors it might be for a variety of reasons. He might just not feel it’s the right way to go for the story.

        Whatever happens, I’m happy to reserve judgement til after I’ve seen the episode.

  13. avatar Wojak says:

    It’s a huge shame and a mistake by Moff and co. It could easily be written to include them and build in the age issues. It could have been beautiful. Given all the hyperbole, throw away lines and innuendo by the production team this is a terrible way to manage expectations.

  14. avatar STLShawn says:

    personally,,,, a four hour interview show for each of the 20th century doctors would be great. All of them are such great story tellers, such a joy to listen to.
    But i do agree that cameos would have been a good thing.

  15. avatar Callinton says:

    Wow, how wonderful for that “super nerd” to have “Paul McCann” on his show.

    • Yeah, I picked up on that too.

    • avatar Francis cave says:

      Even better his excitement that he only has another eight doctors to meet.

      Err..good luck with that one mate…

  16. Apparently this has stirred someone up in the BBC today because whenI posted it on DoctorWhoOnline on twitter I got a nasty response from them and then when I tried to post it (twice) on the official FB page of the TV show they removed it. I included the quote from the host about how they all should be involved and what McCoy said about the fact that even though all the fan bases around the world believe that the producers don’t.

    • avatar Doomster says:

      The doctors not appearing in person will be appearing as talking paintings.

  17. avatar Guy Grist says:

    Wait a minute it took then two weeks to film Cold War and the 50th is twice the length and the cgi shots need to be filmed twice because of the 3D. So just wait a bit.

    • avatar BDB says:

      I am Beyond tired of this – either put ALL the doctors there or spare us this torture. Yes Christopher E will not be in the special- annoyed with that too. I hope the painting scenario is not this – Smith walking up to each Old Doctor and speaking to them for a second and moving on! I want them to come out of the paintings and be in the entire show helping his latest self! No cameo BS! If they do otherwise they will KILL the show! I want a 90 minute show ! Hell with 3vd! 2 new shows for the entire season not counting mind games of 8 shows left over from last season! DID YOU KNOW THAT THE DOCTOR HAS SO MANY FACES IT’S HARD TO TELL WHO’s WHO???????? Lastly if Paul M is “allowed” to return – the first line out of his mouth should be ” It”s about time”!!!!

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