Doctor Who News John Hurt stars in Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor

Published on October 26th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Moffat: John Hurt Steals The Day of the Doctor

The Day of the Doctor is coming – but if Steven Moffat’s recent comments are anything to go by, Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary special might as well be called “The Day of the John Hurt”…

Chatting with the Radio Times, the writer and Executive Producer praised veteran actor John Hurt – cast when Christopher Eccleston withdrew – describing him both as scene stealing and “grumpy”.

It was great fun. You’d have David and Matt, they’d be leaping around the set and doing every form of physical comedy with each other – and, you know, slightly competing about who could be slightly more insane than the other – and then John Hurt would come along and do this [tiny movement] with his eyes and you go ‘That’s it – he’s got the scene now hasn’t he?’

It seems that not only was the first man to have an Alien burst through his chest a master of out-acting his co-stars, he was also grumpy. Or not, as the case may be.

John was delightful – delightfully grumpy in every single way. During our last meal [while filming] he got grumpy about the fact that he liked the wine!

He’s not actually grumpy, he’s actually a really, really lovely man.

We’ll see just how good Hurt is when The Day of the Doctor airs on TVs and cinemas worldwide (I can’t believe I’m typing this) on November 23rd!


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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+.

13 Responses to Moffat: John Hurt Steals The Day of the Doctor

  1. avatar Graham Exton says:

    I’m not at all surprised. He’s been around long enough to steal the show with little or no effort, and I’m sure Mr Tennant and Mr Smith were OK with that.

  2. avatar TonyS says:

    An actor of John Hurt’s calibre- I’d be surprised if he DIDN’T steal the show.

  3. avatar lara says:

    what does it mean “the writer and Executive Producer praised veteran actor John Hurt – cast when Christopher Eccleston withdrew …” — hurt was cast when CE withdrew? when?

    • avatar David F says:

      Yeah, I can’t see any basis for that inference. The core of the story must have always depended on a Doctor who wasn’t known to us. No other article has given us reason to think he was a direct replacement.

  4. avatar DonnaM says:

    So the more understated style of Hurt tops the manic activities of the other two? Terrific actors that they are, my one criticism of both as The Doctor is that tendency to go slightly hyper, so I wouldn’t be surprised by that.

    Did Moffat’s original draft assume CE would agree to take part? From his previous comments I assumed there had been some contact about it, but he knew from an early stage that wasn’t going to happen.

  5. avatar BOJAY says:

    I like the inclusion of “cast when Christopher Eccleston withdrew”. I am not going to get involved in a debate about it, but I think we all know that that is what happened, despite Moffat’s, or anyone else’s claims to the contrary. I am sure that John Hurt is brilliant in the special, but the fact remains he would not be there, and there would be no “lost”, or previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor had Eccleston been involved.

    • avatar David F says:

      ‘I think we all know that is what happened . . . ”

      Nope. And not only do we not know it, but many of us don’t even suspect it. In fact, it hadn’t crossed my mind at all. And I’ve thought about this episode a lot.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Well, in that case……..No, I do think that there are grounds for suspicion, even if we don’t absolutely know, and everybody doesn’t agree. I’m going to view the special with an open mind, and without baggage, but the more I have thought about it, a lot, my suspicion remains. Giving credible roles to three established Doctors, plus a previously unknown one would have been quite a feat narratively, and quite a task for a story. Not saying Moffat couldn’t have done it, but for someone who has discouraged the notion of a Five Doctors “everyone in the pool” approach, it might have been a strange move on his part. I can’t see him having a Doctor appear in a perfunctory fashion, and 75 minutes is 75 minutes. I still believe that the Doctor who was originally in the mix to have done this horrible thing was meant to be the Ninth. Maybe Eccleston had an objection to that? I don’t think that is case that he did, but my suspicion remains. It won’t matter in the big picture for me, but it does nonetheless.

        • avatar gary soanes says:

          John Hurt was never a replacement for Christopher Ecclestone, he was cast in the special before Ecclestone decided he did not wish to return. Steven Moffat has been foreshadowing the Doctor’s ‘greatest secret’ [ ie his 'forsaken' / hidden incarnation ] for several years, so i believe that this enigmatic ‘Doctor’ would always be a major player in this story, regardless of Ecclestone’s involvement in the episode

  6. Cast…when CE withdrew…. instead of Paul McGann :(

  7. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Hurt’s dr is a phoney.

  8. avatar Howard Railton says:

    This special is a particular travesty perpetrated by Moffat, to not only reject the actors who’ve played the role of the Doctor before but to replace them with a phoney/fake dr by Hurt (however good an actor it’s a pretty miserable thing to do to the show in it’s anniversary special. Also, we’re lead to believe by the indications in the last ep of the last series etc., this version of the Doctor will be made into a horrible twisted villain. Of course, it’s not the first time the series has played this card, Valeyard and various dopplegangers not withstanding, but why does moffat want to pervert the heroic figure fans and audiences have enjoyed all these 5 decades?

    It really is time Moffat was kicked out.

  9. avatar STLShawn says:

    Ahhh so much going on. I’m not going to chime in on the “cast after” statement, or the “boot Moffat” idea (what? Grumpy Shawn not going there?). Instead I wanted to say. LESS THAN A MONTH! I’m so excited, so looking forward, so many wonderful things on the horizon!

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