The Night of the Doctor
23 November 2013
Paul McGann (The Doctor)
|Written by||Steven Moffat|
|Directed by||John Hayes|
|Produced by||Denise Paul|
Still trying to skirt around the edges of the Last Great Time War, the Eighth Doctor is forced to fully join the conflict by the mysterious Sisterhood of Karn. Killed while trying to save a woman who hates him for simply being a Time Lord, The Doctor gets to choose what his next incarnation will be like. He arranges for a warrior… but makes the darkest sacrifice of his life in order to be reborn.
The idea for “The Night of the Doctor” came following the creation of the previously unknown incarnation of The Doctor played by John Hurt in “The Name of the Doctor”. Steven Moffat decided that he wanted to see how this Doctor came into being, with the best story idea being a direct regeneration from the Eighth Doctor, which would have the added benefit of showing the end of the Eighth Doctor, which Moffat had always wanted to see. Having contacted Paul McGann, who indicated his willingness to participate, Moffat then constructed the mini-episode to serve as an additional surprise for the fans, as well as serving as an introductory piece to “The Day of the Doctor”
“The Night of the Doctor” was recorded at Roath Lock on 7–8 May 2013; the first day of filming consisted of all scenes taking place on the planet Karn, while the second day consisted of scenes in Cass’ spaceship. Rather than a return to the costume from the TV movie or using the new image that Big Finish had introduced, Moffat decided on a variation of the TV movie outfit designed by Howard Burden. The new outfit referenced the previous one, retaining the long green coat and grey waistcoat, but making it appear more of an “adventurer’s” rather than “gentleman’s” outfit. at the same time, pictures of McGann in costume were taken on the current TARDIS console room set
- The Eighth Doctor’s last words, “Physician, heal thyself”, quote the proverb found in Luke 4:23 of the Bible.
- The Eighth Doctor mocks his imminent death in four minutes, stating he might get bored waiting and need a television, books, chess, and knitting.
- The opening credits give only the name of the episode, and the name of the actor playing The Doctor, and omit the series name.
- Unusually, the credits use the form “Introducing John Hurt as…” even though the same style of credit was used for him in The Name of the Doctor. Such credits are usually used only once.
- According to Emma Campbell-Jones, Paul McGann played the War Doctor in the scene where he takes Cass’ bandolier after the regeneration. This technically makes McGann the second actor to play two incarnations of The Doctor, since Sylvester McCoy played the Sixth Doctor for the regeneration sequence in Time and the Rani.
- The Doctor asks if his modified regeneration will “hurt”. The actor portraying his next incarnation was named John Hurt.
- The Eleventh Doctor also stated that he would be unable to call himself “Doctor” if he killed a Star whale. (The Beast Below)
- The Sisterhood of Karn last appeared onscreen in the Fourth Doctor story The Brain of Morbiusat that time, they also used the Elixir of Life to heal The Doctor, and were also in the habit of causing ships too close to Karn to crash.Cass’ bandolier is seen as an obvious armament of the War Doctor’s attire in both The Name and The Day of the Doctor.
- The Night of the Doctor was also included on both the DVD and Blu-ray releases of The Day of the Doctor.