David Tennant has played the Doctor for perhaps the final time. Yes, I know his reign technically ended with The End of Time, but what I’m trying to say is…
Filming for the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who has now concluded.
Danny Hargreaves, who’s been working as the show’s SFX supervisor and technician since 2006’s The Girl in the Fireplace, reported the news on Twitter yesterday:
That's a wrap ! Dr who 50th Done !! Wow it's going to be epic !!!!!!!!!
— Danny Hargreaves (@Dannysfx) May 5, 2013
Now, this might seem premature, what with only a few images emerging, but bear in mind that the vast majority of filming has been kept top-secret, likely at their studios in Roath Lock.
In fact, we know very little about the 50th anniversary.
Small potential spoilers follow…
Let’s start with… who’s actually in it? Most notably, it’ll feature two Doctors: the Eleventh and the Tenth. News of the latter’s inclusion broke at the end of March, although it was argued that Tennant’s return is inevitable. With them, the Doctors bring Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper).
It’s since been revealed that Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, was asked to take part, but turned it down, with Digital Spy stating:
“Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven’s plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode.
After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best.”
It was certainly a shock, as he was mooted to return if filming for Thor 2: The Dark World didn’t prove problematic. It was merely a question of signing on; something which never came to fruition.
And more recently, Doctor Who Magazine delivered a blow to Whovians by noting:
“Although David Tennant has returned to his role of the Tenth Doctor, the other old Doctors will not be taking part.”
This was after months, maybe years, of speculation that – yes, Paul McGann would be up for returning; Sylvester McCoy too. Colin Baker isn’t too keen as his appearance has changed, but Peter Davison surely would. And Tom Baker…
Ah well. It looks like just the two Doctors. But that’s still 100% more than the normal episode, and we should consider ourselves lucky, really. Yep, soon after the Tennant-is-back announcement, a photo emerged of Matt Smith and Tennant at the readthrough. And not long after that, another revealed that Gavin & Stacey’s Joanna Page will star in the special.
Soon, cameras snapped her (as Queen Elizabeth I, presumably) alongside Tennant and Piper and – -wait, is that a Zygon?!
Solely seen in Terror of the Zygons, the shape-changing monster was an instant hit and has been called to return ever since their orange nodules strolled into view. They’re even Tennant’s favourite creature, one he always wanted to fight, so he’ll finally get to come up against them this November…
Not that they’re the only retuning monster – at least, according to their creator (and The Seeds of Doom writer) Robert Banks Stewart, who’s said that the Daleks and the Cybermen are also set to appear!
That’s not all location filming has revealed though. John Hurt (Merlin; V for Vendetta) will also be in the 50th special, and there’s speculation over who exactly he’ll play.
Doctor Who also took to Trafalgar Square where snap-happy fans tweeted a shed-load of photos with Matt Smith hanging casually from the TARDIS, with Jenna inside. Then, of course, UNIT snatched him up – headed by another returning star, Jemma Redgrave, as the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate Stewart. Her first – and only – appearance was in 2012’s The Power of Three, and the character received a lot of love from… well, pretty much everyone!
Another location report unveiled some very familiar signs: I.M. FOREMAN’S SCRAPYARD and COAL HILL SCHOOL (the latter with a Mr. I. Chesterton as its Chairman of the Governors and a Mr. W. Coburn its headmaster), both of which appeared in the very first episode, An Unearthly Child, nearly 50 years ago.
That’s right: Doctor Who is nearly half a century old.
In that time, we’ve had eleven brilliant Doctors; the bravest of companions; quite a few deaths; Daleks; Cybermen; the Master; Silurians; Ice Warriors; Autons; Sontarans; a three movies, one of which starred an alternate Doctor; too many roundels to count; novels galore; audio adventures; journeys into the comic book format; the best talent on TV; conventions worldwide; the best and most-dedicated fans – and through it all, one bright blue box that can travel in all of time and space.
No wonder the show’s 50 years old.