Doctor Who News Celebrate The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary!

Published on July 17th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Moffat: “We Can’t Do Eleven Doctors!”

While it may still be a hoax, a ruse, a cunning lie Steven Moffat isn’t breaking. For now, all we know of the 50th anniversary special from the man himself is it won’t be a ‘traditional massive reunion’ this time around.


Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Moffat dismissed the notion of an Eleven (or maybe twelve?) Doctor show:

“You’ll have to watch, won’t you? People say, “Are you going to do the 11 Doctors?” We can’t do 11 Doctors! Three of them are dead!


What we’re not doing is the traditional massive reunion. It’s a different kind of anniversary, and the spine of that is David and Matt.”

What you’ll notice from the statement above is that it isn’t a tacit dismissal of the idea of the eleven Doctors appearing in some capacity; after all who expected a ‘traditional massive reunion’?  It would come as no surprise if this were some twisty, hiding-in-plain sight admission that we will be seeing the Doctors together…just not how we expect them to be.

And let’s face it; Matt and David are a stellar double act to base a show around. Now let’s hope they’re given something to really get their teeth into.

If you’re not anticipating something special, then I’d start getting excited around about… now!

(Thanks to DWTV.)


Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author


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.

36 Responses to Moffat: “We Can’t Do Eleven Doctors!”

  1. avatar derekbd says:

    Excited, yes, me.
    What would be perfectly feasible (and thoroughly fanwankily fulfilling) would be to have the VOICES of all the previous incarnations appear prominently at some point in the tale.

  2. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    They’ve got the new SXF team starting on the show, whose first project is the CGI effects on the 50th anniversary special. Let’s see how god a job they can do inserting Matt and Jenna into a bunch of classic adventures via CGI as the eleventh and Clara work their way up and out of the Doctor’s time stream.

  3. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Trials and Tribble-ations style perhaps?

  4. avatar Koth says:

    Nope. Wont believe it till I see it. Moffatt disappoints me no end as his payoffs are weak and dull.

  5. avatar Chris says:

    “If you’re not anticipating something special, then I’d start getting excited around about… now!”
    Frankly I’m more excited for Big Finish’s Light at the End and Adventures in Space & Time than the 50th anniversary show. For a number of reasons which will get me thumbs down.

    “after all who expected a ‘traditional massive reunion’?”
    Uh, me and a lot of people. Now it goes without saying that obviously the first three Doctors have sadly passed on and we were probably expecting archive footage or stand-ins, but I don’t except the non-involvement (as far as we know although its pretty clear they’re not involved) of the living Classic Doctors. I can think of a lot of ways of having the previous Doctors involved and explain their aged appearance. And not having Paul McGann come back as the 8th Doctor is frankly pretty lazy.

    And I’m sorry the double team of Matt and David isn’t terribly exciting for me. It would be interesting to finally see how the modern Doctors interact with each other. I will give some points for at least having one previous Doctor return. I’m going to watch it of course but sadly its not something I’m dying to see.

    • Well I’ve just given you your first thumbs up! It’s just so stupid not to have least called in Paul McGann. Maybe he will be in it and if he is I just wish that Moffat would tell us. I’m so sick of only hearing about Smith and Tennant.

  6. avatar Christine says:

    I was very pleased when I saw all of them in the name of the doctor so I’m happy already. And I for one am excited about the David and Matt combination especially because there are going to be zygons. Yes!

  7. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    A BIG chunk of the audience, especially in the UK and the USA are ravenous for Tennant and Smith and don’t much care about the classic Doctors unfortunately. There’s still a huge following for the old doctors–(Tom Baker’s still my favorite)—but logistics, age and mortality being what they are, I trust Moffat to make the best choices he can. I’m just hoping for a nod to the past and a very cool surge forward into the future.

    • avatar GallifreyanFallenAngel says:

      I’m a US teenage girl who has been a fan of Doctor Who for just over a year now. I’ve barely started watching the classic series, but I’ve seen at least one episode per Doctor. In fact, I really like the Third Doctor a lot, and Jon Pertwee was about 50 when he took on the role. I’ve loved how there isn’t romance or teenage angst, or event adult angst. I’ve been divided on the classic Doctors issue for a long time. Yes, it’s the 50th, not the 8th anniversary, but I remember watching The Five Doctors not too long ago, and thinking on how cluttered it was and how it would sometimes distract from the plot. It’s a very hard decision to make as showrunner, I’m sure, on how to handle the 50th. I wouldn’t be able to. To be honest, I’d prefer that there be no Doctors return than just having Tennant and an incarnation we’ve never seen before. But we’ll see. Just as long as there aren’t any soppy “Rose feels with the Doctor” moments, I’ll feel okay. (Sorry Rose fans. :P )

      • avatar rickjlundeen says:

        I’m glad you’re checking out some past Doctors. Speaking as a 51 year old US guy,–welcome to the club! :) I first fell into the show back in 1980 and Tom Baker was my first Doctor, so I’ve been following along ever since. I think Moffat agrees with the cluttered notion and not a lot of people really think about that. The 5 Doctors was very busy, albeit fun and there were only 4 Doctors in attendance. Having two Doctors run around in these adventures works pretty well. It worked well enough in The Three Doctors–Troughton and Pertwee on screen most of the time with the short cameos of Hartnell on the Tardis monitor. The Two Doctors with Troughton and Colin Baker worked well too. Time Crash with Davison and Tennant was fun as well. I think a double act with Tennant and Smith might be the best way to go after all with the occasional nod to some of the past actors.

      • avatar Chris says:

        You bring up a good point about the Five Doctors feeling cluttered. It isn’t the best anniversary multi-Doctor story but the fact that it had three Doctors and the late Richard Hurndall filling in for William Hartnell along with a bit of archive footage from Shada makes it memorable. The Three Doctors is probably the best one out of all the televised mulit-Doctor stories as it had a good story whereas the Five Doctors tried to fit in as many classic villains as possible. Pertwee and Troughton’s chemistry was great, Hartnell got to make his appearance as The Doctor and we introduced to a new bit of Gallifreyian lore: Omega.

        From my point of view there really is no excuse for not having the Classic Doctors involved because the nature of the show allows for multiple story possibilities. Not to mention it was Moffat himself who made the bridge between Classic and New Series with Time Crash. Now that its his Doctor in the Tardis and he’s running the show I guess there’s no need for the others now :/

        • avatar Spider-pope says:

          I would argue there is an excuse not to have them involved. Tom Baker and Colin Baker look nothing like they did, Peter Davidson isn’t doing much better, three others are dead.
          Sylvester McCoy was likely still busy doing pickups for The Hobbit, Christopher Eccleston is a dick. The only Doctor left is Paul McGann. And would one extra Doctor really make much difference?

          I would much rather keep the multi-Doctor stories to Big Finish, stories where i can still imagine the Doctors as they looked when they first had the role, rather than grimace at Colin wearing a supersize version of his coat, or Peter Davidson hiding his bald patch.

          And i would be extremely surprised if we didn’t see old footage spliced in ala Name of the Doctor in the Anniversary.

  8. avatar vortexter says:

    They cant do 11 Doctors? There’s no such thing as cant! Of course it would work. I don’t care if Colin Baker’s a bit portly or Tom Baker is more silver fox than teeth and curls these days, I think we are all pretty forgiving and would love to see our old fave’s back in action. They could all be in a dreamscape in soft focus or brought together with the Blinoivitch limitations effect explaining the difference. They don’t even have to be throughout the show beginning to end, just a 20 minute middle bit and a big goodbye at the end.
    It could be a clever ruse and we could be surised but a wasted opportunity if it isn’t true.

    And personally I think they will be in it in one capacity. We know there are paintings involved. Perhaps they have animated the classic Docs so the paintings move and talk?

    • avatar TonyS says:

      There is such a thing as cant. We sometimes get it in here :)

  9. avatar geoff says:

    I’d love to see proper old school Doctors acting in the flesh in the show, I’d accept any explanation as to why they looked different. I’m very sceptical about cgi renderings of them though. I still remember the very poor cgi Arnie in Terminator Salvation. I don’t think things have moved on that much.
    However I can see why they probably won’t bring the old crew back and for the purposes of making popularise television for a broad audience it might be the right decision. With one exception: Paul McGann, neither old or new Who and still young enough looking to carry it off. I’m excited about John Hurt and I do like Steven Moffats work on the whole but I can’t fathom why on earth you’d bring in John Hurt and leave out another equally charismatic movie star Doctor who (no pun intended) already exists, is willing to appear and not only deserves to have another outing but could also have a really exciting one. I think if you are willing to bet on a casual audience accepting Hurts Doctor then surely they’d accept McGanns as well.

  10. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Apparently, Tennant’s NOT playing the Doctor, just the alternate one-heart, human look-alike left in parallel Earth, and Hurt’s only doing a ‘meanwhile and never were’. So, no actual past Drs, classic or new, will appear.

    This is Moffat’s big idea.

  11. avatar Greg campbell says:

    He should admit that it’s not that they can’t do it, it’s that they don’t want to.
    The sad reality is that the 50th anniversary will feel far more like an 8th and this one opportunity to really make Doctor Who one continuous series and not divided into ‘new’ and ‘classic’ will have been lost.
    There is no excuse not to have past Doctors, especially as Eccleston was invited, it suggest room for another Doctor and there’s five of them to choose from, all ready and willing.
    Am I excited about the 50th? To be honest, no I’m not. It’ll be a good story, I’m sure, but it certainly doesn’t look like a celebration of 50 years so far.

  12. avatar hyncharasfather says:

    “What you’ll notice from the statement above is that it isn’t a tacit dismissal of the idea of the eleven Doctors appearing in some capacity; after all who expected a ‘traditional massive reunion?”

    Oh, come on now! That’s just uncalled for.

  13. avatar Steve Andrew says:

    What? Some fans thinking they Know For A Fact what is going to be in a show that’s 4 months away? Surely not!

    Aside from a few set photos, we know sweet bugger all about what’s going into the show. There haven’t been any studio photos. We haven’t even had an official synopsis yet. There may well be references to the classic Doctors, there may even be “Name Of The Doctor”-style flashback appearances. We have no idea at this point, so quite how anyone can pass judgement on something that hasn’t been transmitted yet baffles me.

    So Moffat says they can’t do an 11 Doctors reunion? Good for him, I say. If my Doctor (Tom) is to appear, I want him to appear as he did in 1980, not as he does now. And none of that time-differential bollocks, it would just not be right.

    Who are we to say that the only way to have a proper celebration is to do a big multi-Doctor extravaganza? For that matter, who are we to say that ANYTHING we want should be in the show? We don’t get to decide.

    For the next 4 months, the 50th anniversary show will exist in a quantum state where it is neither good nor bad. Only in late November, will the quantum waveform collapse and we’ll know which of those two possibilities it really is. Complain as much as you want, but please, in the name of peace and sanity – wait until there’s something on-screen to complain about.

  14. I don’t want anymore flashbacks of past Doctors. It’s not SPECIAL anymore. And yes I think it would be hard to do all 11 Doctors in one episode and some look way different then when they played the Doctor…but….surely Moffat could have worked a major part in for at least one classic Doctor…Paul McGann would have made the most sense & McCoy maybe could have pulled it off. What they should have done was in season seven written episodes to include appearances of some of the classic Doctors instead of this stupid Clara thing. I AM still holding out hope that we will get an appearance by a classic Doctor or two but I believe even if we do…especially from the statement “David and Matt are the spine”…it will be very short and not anything to get excited about. So far all we know is that the story will be very Smith and Tennant heavy and that Eccleston was asked. And we know they have brought in Hurt to play some form of Doctor plus other actors who have never been associated with DW before. I find this insulting that Moffat would bring in Hurt and ignore classic Doctors…yes, yes I know….we don’t know for sure they AREN’T in it. I think the 50th is all about money and promoting New Who. It is greatly ignoring the classic series….yes there have been some references but imo that’s been VERY sparse. They’ve had a whole year’s lead up to Nov. 23rd to do shows with classic Doctors but instead chose to concentrate on the current series. This being the 50th…I mean THE 50th afterall….I was expecting much, much more. Maybe they didn’t have enough money who knows but I am not excited at all for the 50th…in fact I am very disappointed and angry. It definitely feels like an 8th anniversary to me and I don’t agree at all with Moffat. It may be a great story but the more I hear and read about the 50th anniversary episode the more I feel calling it a 50th is totally bogus.

  15. avatar TonyS says:

    A couple of points. The Special has now been filmed and possibly edited too. No amount of complaining will change what was shot or what we see on the screen in November. If past Doctors have not been used, no amount of posting here or elsewhere is going to alter that. Complain about it if you must. But you have to accept it. On the subject of complaining, why not wait until we know what we are complaining about? If anything. In other words, watch the transmitted programme and THEN decide. It may be that Steven Moffat has constructed a breathtaking episode that really celebrates the anniversary in a totally suitable way and smashes everybody’s expectations. Also, I for one am glad and relieved that Steven Moffat is following his vision for the programme and not ours. That is not to say that I have been happy with everything he has done- far from it. But if he had tried to please the fans, he would have been torn into a million pieces and … oh THAT’s why he put that in TNOTD! I realise that I am beginning to sound like a stuck record but judge the special in November based on what you see. Do not judge it on what you fear it might not turn out to be!

    • avatar Steve Andrew says:

      As I believe the kids these days would say: THIS. :-)

  16. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    This this!

    Particularly fed up with hearing about McGann. Great as he was in the telly movie and in the audios, he isn’t owed a slot because the proposed 90s series didn’t happen, which seems to be part of this grand assumption of entitlement that fans feel. And why would he be used and not any of the other still alive, still available Drs (if none of them really aren’t going to appear).

    I look forward to whatever the special holds; if that includes McGann and any of the others, then fine, but they’ve done the 11 Drs about as best as they could in The Name of the Doctor. It’ll be time to enjoy the special for what it is, not what it isn’t.

    • Well as strongly as you feel and remember that please, you’ve got to remember that there are many who feel as strongly that McGann SHOULD be included and are FED UP with reading interview after interview that seems to point in the direction that he isn’t. If you are going to participate in these discussions then you are just going to have to put up with it…and dare I ask…show a little more understanding of people’s feelings and opinions regardless of what you think.

      • avatar castellanspandrel says:

        Fair enough, Squeegee, I apologise if offence was caused. I simply felt I was trying to strongly express a minority view on the topic of McGann rather than trying to insult anyone. It just feels like hearing a stuck record at the moment, but I know those with the opposite view will feel that way too, for different reasons.

        This one certainly seems to be a hot potato and I can only reiterate that I’ll be happy if PM rolls up in the special, but I suspect I’ll be fine if he doesn’t, too.

        • I agree with you on that and I wasn’t offended. I think both sides are being very vocal at the moment and it can get nasty. I respect everyone’s opinion…well most everyone. I recognize that people are very passionate about this show and no matter what side someone is on I think people need to be a little more tolerant of people’s views. Emotions are running pretty high right now and that doesn’t surprise me in the least given the fact that this event is such an amazing, rare milestone and the years of devotion many fans have had to the show. I only hope Moffat will realize this and give us something that we can ALL be happy with. I will try more to follow a little of my own advice here too. :)

          • avatar castellanspandrel says:

            Well, whadd’ya know? The rumours are strongly pointing to McGann popping up in the 50th. And yes, it does make me happy!

            I suspect, as others do, that it’ll be a regeneration scene from him to Hurt, but who knows?

    • avatar Greg campbell says:

      They really haven’t done the 11 Doctors the best they could, that’s nonsense – Tom through to Paul wanted to do it so the best they could have done is 7 out of 11.
      Instead they have given us 2 out of 11 (I am inclined to believe Baker and McCoy when they so strongly deny involvement) and those two featuring are the latest ones, meaning the story’s appeal is lessened for those of us who want to see proper inclusion of 20th century Doctor Who and not just the last 8 years.
      Yes, we will simply have to wait and see, just don’t expect me to be excited about it until they give me something to be excited about.
      And Billie Piper?? Why in God’s name do we need Rose back again more than Paul McGann, there’s not an argument in the world that can convince me! Pandering to new Who fans while those who have been in it for the long haul get ‘nods’ – utter rubbish!

  17. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    “… if none of them really are going to appear……” Or something.

    • avatar castellanspandrel says:

      Noticed I got a thumbs down merely for the above little addendum, which was really just a footnote to correct my grammatical error rather than a continuation of my opinion. Bit petty? *awaits blitzing by multiple thumbing down*

  18. I think it odd that of all the interviews I’ve read that have been done with Moffat in the last few months either no one has asked or Moffat has refused to answer, therefore the interview didn’t include, a question of him such as “what do you have to say to the many fans out there who don’t agree with your take on what the anniversary show should be?” Surely he’s got to be aware that there are many fans who are upset with him right now but no one is asking him these questions or if they are he is not answering them. The interview statements from him have been all about what is important that the 50th should or should not be. In other words… all about him and his opinions and direction of DW. There have been no statements made directly to fans about how they feel and no comments from him that show that he is actually aware of how some fans feel. Yes there was one where he was making fun of the angry fans and we all have varying opinions on how we felt about his statements then. Maybe someone will finally ask him these questions at Comic Con. I certainly hope so. It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction he gets, what questions are asked from fans of him, and how he responds.

    • avatar Steve Andrew says:

      “what do you have to say to the many fans out there who don’t agree with your take on what the anniversary show should be?”

      Do you actually know what his “take on the show” is? Aside from his monthly page in DWM and the odd snippet of interview here and there, we know absolutely nothing about what kind of a show the 50th special is going to be. Nothing. He’s being even less forthcoming than usual. I’m sure a lot of people are putting this down to his “arrognance” and “disrespect for the fans”. But isn’t it just more likely that he just wants to get on with his job? He has no responsibility to constantly reassure the fans with what they want to hear.

      This is just how the creative process works – an artist / writer puts time and effort into their work, the work gets finished, then people judge it based on the finished item. We don’t get to stick our oar in halfway through the creative process – do you know how eye-gougingly frustrating that is for an artist?

      I totally understand why Moffat disengaged from the internet – I couldn’t stand the incessant niggling from fans who thing they know how to do his job better than he does. I practically cheered out loud when I saw that clip of him at the BAFTAs saying how he just laughs at the fans who complain about what they THINK he’s going to do, rather than just waiting.

      I’ve had loads of comments on my art page telling me that there are a few things wrong with my drawings – bits of anatomical detail that are out of place usually. I try to take them with good grace and most of them I’ll adjust them appropriately. (I always seem to have trouble drawing arms that are the same size for some reason.) But it’s always AFTER the artwork in question is uploaded. I could very easily put up works-in-progress, lots of artists do, but I’m far too insecure to do that.

      Squeegee – I’m sorry if it seems like I’m directing this at you, I’m honestly not. I’m just a curmudgeonly blathering old fool with poor impulse control on the internet and I sincerely apologise if I cause offense. (And I understand the irony of saying that BEFORE I press “Post Comment”.) We are all entitled to our opinions, just as everyone else is entitled to tell us our opinions are… not quite the opinions they would have.

      I’m just really frustrated with the near-constant stream of “Aggggghhhh, Moffat is doing everything wrong!! GRRRRRR!!!” that the guys on Radio Free Skaro so ably lampoon every week. I’ll get back in my padded cell now…

      • I’m not at all offended and I understand how you feel. I only hope you can understand how I, like many other fans also feel. No we don not have concrete evidence to go on about what or what may not be in the 50th but you have to admit that we’ve had enough evidence to SUGGEST that classic Who may not be as represented as well or as much as many people would like ie: the biggest hope of course being the return of classic Doctors. I don’t believe that any of us are telling Moffat how to write his 50th anniversary story. We are just vocalizing what we wish he would at least include. I would never dream of judging an artist before his work is finished but at the same time most artists don’t get the type of hype and attention before something is finished that Steven Moffat does. This is a completely different situation…this is a big deal. A 50th anniversary of a television series is extremely rare and a once in a lifetime extremely special event. Because of this it is receiving a ton of hype and people all over the world are contemplating the outcome of the story. How can people NOT have opinions and judgments when we are told things every week about what to expect. This is just not the same as a regular TV series or the regular Doctor Who series for that matter. This is big and this is emotional for many fans. Of course emotions are going to run high and of course judgment is going to be made. I will be one of the first to apologize if everything Moffat and everything that has been reported is totally false and we get a complete fanwank fest.

        Also my above statement was actually more directed at the interviewers and not so much at Moffat. I am just puzzled as to why these interviewers aren’t addressing some of these concerns when interviewing Moffat. Seems to me that there are enough pessimistic fans out there that would want to know some of these answers.

    • avatar Greg campbell says:

      I do wonder if he actually took himself off twitter because he knew the old guard would turn on him for not including the classic Doctors in the 50th.
      Yes, he’s under no obligation to explain himself to fans, but surely he must appreciate the very strong feelings that fans have on this matter, it’s the 50th, for heaven’s sake – so far he’s said no 11 Doctors, ok, but that’s not the same as no classic Doctors, which sounds a bit like he’s trying to hoodwink us, only we’ve heard the classic Doctors telling us they’re not involved. He’s also said that its about the next 50 years, well, why then are Tennant and Piper back? why was Eccleston invited? Is this Moffat admitting its fine to look back as far as 2005 but no further – this to me is a blatant snub to classic Doctor Who, so how’s about writing something worth reading in your monthly magazine article and shed some light on this, as many fans are waiting for this special, not with excitement but with frustration.

      • avatar Steve Andrew says:

        Again, I have to ask: what are you basing all this on? We know next to nothing about what Moffat has in store, we have no idea how much of the story will make reference to classic Who. But despite this lack of knowledge, we’ve decided he’s “snubbing” the show’s history?

        I’m sure he’s well aware of the strong feelings many fans have on this (you know, what with him being a fan himself). I’m reasonably sure he doesn’t exist in a bubble, he can’t be THAT ignorant.

        But on the other hand, he’s got a big list of things to worry about these days and the views of a vocal section of fandom are probably fairly low on that list. And I guarantee, for every fan who takes great offence at the (COMPLETELY UNCONFIRMED) lack of any classic series elements, there are just as many who are perfectly happy to wait and see. And probably many many more who are wondering what all the fuss is about.

        • avatar Greg campbell says:

          I’m basing it on the fact McCoy and Baker II have said there are no classic Doctors back – when someone suggested Colin Baker was possibly trying to hide his involvement he shot the guy down in flames.
          I’m sure there’ll be some classic series references or ‘nods’ but that really isn’t good enough for this – it was great in Name of the Doctor but this is something else, this is special, and if a made up Doctor can feature over a proper Doctor then it is a snub.

          Yes, it isn’t the end of the world, there are worse things going on, etc etc but I am passionate about Doctor Who and will speak out when I disagree with something or when I wish to praise something.

Please be aware that all comments are subject to adherence to our comments policy.
Back to Top ↑