Doctor Who News Shoes

Published on May 6th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

50th Anniversary Filming Finished!

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.

Joanna Page cast in Doctor Who 50th anniversary special

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:

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).

New Earth

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…

David Tennant, Joanna Page and Zygons on location for Doctor Who 50th anniversary

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…

The Zygons return to Doctor Who!

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.

Matt Smith hangs from the underside of the TARDIS!

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!

Doctor Who - 50th Anniversary Special

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.


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

23 Responses to 50th Anniversary Filming Finished!

  1. avatar Gwylock1 says:

    Thank God that’s over with.

    • shame that can’t be said of the all the negativity that’s flying around on Twitter! Some people have no patience. I’m excited as much as the next fan, I’m sure we wont be disappointed

  2. avatar Ian says:

    Just to add the report in DWM about no classic Doctors returning is from a ‘source’. Although it is probably true, the BBC nor the production office have commented.

    • avatar Chris says:

      I hope the report is not true because after the rumors of no Classic Doctor involvement and the piece from DWM my excitement for this special has dropped significantly. I mean I’m going to watch it but just having Smith and Tennant is not captivating enough for me I’m afraid. It would be disappointing to say the least considering that it was Moffat who penned Time Crash. Actually I would be more forgiving if McGann’s involvement was announced, making it sorta of a Three Doctors episode for the new series. Because really there’s not excuse for not having McGann involved. You can’t use the excuse of an aged appearance because he’s barely aged since 1996.
      So, can’t do it because of the aged appearance of the Classic Doctors? McGann is the exception; they got around that with Davison for Time Crash.
      Moffat’s “not looking back, looking forward”: admirable and understandable. The Three Doctors got it right by bringing back Hartnell and Throughton while also introducing a new villian. Five Doctors suffered by trying to cram in as many villains as they could. But it was still a fun episode because the other Doctors were there (except for Tom that is and the departed William Hartnell but Richard Hurndall was a good replacement).
      But there are these reports of Dalek and Cybermen involvement along with Zygons and that kinda flies in the face of Mr. Moffat’s comment about not looking back.

  3. avatar vortexter says:

    Just to add a bit of interesting news, they were filming Saturday night in Pontypool, South Wales along the main road going to Abergavenny not far from where I live. I was hoping to see some filming but was unwell that night. Not much more to say I’m afraid! If I hear any titbits from the filming I’ll let you know.
    Hopefully it will be 90 minutes long and a fitting tribute to both classic and new series. I’m hoping for a good glimpse of the time war and Gallifrey to feature prominently. And hopefully a return of Mr Ian Chesterton.

  4. avatar Ian says:

    If the classic Doctors are not returning I hope they will CGI them into the special. Star Trek did it in the 90′s with the Deep Space 9 (DS9) crew going back in time and meeting the original crew (Kirk, Scotty etc) in more trouble with Tribbles.

    • CGI might be good enough for the likes of Tom Baker and Colin baker but I will be very disappointed if that’s the only way McGann returns….if indeed he does. There would be no excuse for that.

  5. avatar vortexter says:

    I like the CGI idea. Maybe having the Doctor wander into classic who scenes. Remember that stray hand that emerges from behind Sutekhs chair in ‘Pyramids of Mars?’ We all thought it was a technician holding Sutekhs cushion down when really it was the 11th Dr Matt Smith getting his sonic screwdriver back…

  6. avatar Geoff says:

    Vortexter, that is very funny! I’d love it if they really did put in something like that as a throw away for us but it’s probably too expensive for a fan only gag. I know that in one of the star wars prequels one of the cg storm troopers bangs his head as he goes through a door, just as a nod to the scene in star wars on the Deathstar where an extra does the same thing.

    I’m sure the heritage of Who will be honoured. Mr Moffatt wants to
    Move forward, and so do I as a fan but I’m sure he knows that there’s a difference between fan only appreciated continuity and nods to the established and famous history of the show. I don’t think he will chuck out the baby with the bath water.

    We’ve had loads of mods to past Dictors in the last 7 years, Human Nature, Eleventh Hour, Next Doctor to name but a few. I have a feeling we will get something more this time.

  7. avatar JK says:

    “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.”


    • A very good source.

      That’s all we can say.

      • avatar JK says:

        Hmm… are you saying the BBC’s official story of a few chats and a polite refusal is false?

  8. avatar Ian says:

    Do you mean Christopher Eccleston?

  9. avatar TonyS says:


  10. avatar Ian says:

    HP? Harry Potter?

  11. avatar IrishWhovian says:

    Everything seems to look splendid…. Except for one thing…. And that’s the old doctors NOT returning! And the other past companions, including Captain Jack! They should be in it! The 50th would be incomplete without them! It doesn’t make sense not to bring them back! If Matt says it’s something that “won’t disappoint” then why aren’t the classic doctors returning! I was SO looking forward to it! You blew it Moffat!

  12. avatar Ian says:

    Hang on!! We don’t know for 100% if no classic Doctors or companions are back. I think one might be back though, Ian. Dunno if you see that photo? Don’t want to mention it as its a spoiler.

    • You just did…

  13. avatar vortexter says:

    The more I think of it, the more likely we are being duped and it will be a proper anniversary tale. Two doctors, Two companions, Zygons, Daleks and Cybermen oh my!. And UNIT and the Brigs daughter.
    In fact, to put things into context (and I was the first to complain when I heard the old Doctors were not returning) I seem to remember many of the classic Doctors complaining when they were offered ‘cough and spit’ parts in the abandoned ‘Lost in the Dark dimension’ special that never got made because their scenes were minimal and Baker was the main thrust of the narrative. So maybe its a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
    I have decided to sit back and relax on the night and perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If I don’t like it, then I’ll only watch it the once and c’est la vie!
    (To be honest even if I don’t like it I’ll probably watch it again. I just wont buy the 3D blu-ray… Aw who am I kidding, of course I will…sigh).

    • What was this “Lost in the Dark Dimension” thing? Was this before the 1996 McGann movie? I ask because I’ve heard McGann say over and over….even a few weeks ago…that he has not heard one thing from anybody involved with DW (other than Big Finish of course) since he walked off the DW Movie set in 1996.

      • avatar Ian says:

        It was to be an anniversary special in 1993. The story was partly about the 4th Doctor not regenerating at the end of Logopolis.

        • There’s an excellent feature on it in the latest Nothing at the End of the Lane:

          We also discussed it in the podKast:

  14. avatar vortexter says:

    It was a special that was set up with Graham Harper as director with the Fourth Dr stuck in his Tardis grumbling and in a flux state before regenerating. The 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th Drs all had about one scene each (Davison with an Ice Warrior I believe) and about two lines each so they weren’t happy with lack of screen time. The production was set up with offices and design work and maquettes in production before the plug was pulled in favour of the McGann tv movie, If memory serves me right. Perhaps the Kasterborous guys could post a new thread on this eh?

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