The Time of the Doctor
25 December 2013
Orla Brady (Tasha Lem), James Buller (Dave Oswald), Mark Anthony Brighton (Colonel Albero), Sonita Henry (Colonel Meme), Sheila Reid (Clara’s grandmother), Jack Hollington (Barnable), Rob Jarvis (Abramal), Tessa Peake-Jones (Marta), Nicholas Briggs (Voice of the Cybermen/Daleks), Peter Capaldi (the Doctor), Karen Gilan (Amy), Sarah Louise Maddison (Angel), Caitlin Blackwood (Amelia), Dan Starkey (Sontaran)
|Written by||Steven Moffat|
|Directed by||Jamie Payne|
|Produced by||Marcus Wilson|
Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universes deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars.And amongst them the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe.
- This is the first televised regeneration story in which the Doctor regenerates at the end of the story to end on a shot of a character other than the Doctor and the second since The War Games not to end on the Doctor’s new incarnation. In this case, this story’s final frame shows Clara’s reaction to the newly regenerated Twelfth Doctor, not the Twelfth Doctor himself.
- This story takes place over a longer amount of time than any other, with the Doctor having lived more than three hundred years (and probably far more) since the beginning of the episode.
- This is the shortest regeneration story (in overall run time) to be broadcast on BBC1, as The Night of the Doctor was only shown on Red Button.
- The regeneration is presented differently from other regenerations shown in the revived series, with the use of a prolonged explosion of energy occurring before the actor transitions. The final transition consists of a brief flash of golden light around the actor’s head.
- Regenerations in the revived series are presented as getting bigger and stronger each time. The Ninth Doctor’s regeneration into the Tenth Doctor’s introduced the regeneration flames. The Tenth Doctor’s regeneration into the Eleventh Doctor’s used the same effect but as a result of holding it in for too long, causes damage to the TARDIS. When the Eleventh Doctor’s regenerative abilities are reset into a new cycle, the effect is big enough to destroy a Dalek ship. However, when the first regeneration after the reset completes itself (the physical change from Eleventh to Twelfth), it is shown as a simple transition. This could be a callback to the first regenerations from the classic series, insinuating that regenerations grow increasingly violent and dangerous as Time Lords near the end of their regeneration cycles.
- Before filming for this special began in September 2013, Matt Smith agreed to play a role in the American film, How to Catch a Monster. His character was depicted as having a thug-like buzz cut, which meant Smith had to have his signature quiff completely shorn off. By the time the filming was underway for the special, Matt’s hair had not grown back enough to fill out the Eleventh Doctor’s hairstyle. It was decided that he would use a hairpiece identical to his quiff, which also made it easier for makeup artists to apply ageing effects through older-looking hairpieces. In a humorous moment in the episode that references the wig, the Doctor, surprising Clara, removes a wig to reveal he is bald. (A cap was used to achieve the effect)
- Coincidentally, Karen Gillan had also shaved her head for a role in the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy and wore a wig alongside Matt Smith in their final bow on the series.
- Smith can also be seen wearing a wig in the teaser trailer for The Day Of The Doctor.
- During the filming of the special, Matt Smith suffered an injury to his leg and later had to visit a physical therapist to recuperate from the accident. This injury inspired a rumour that the script for the special would be altered to have the Eleventh Doctor lose a leg when the Weeping Angels attacked. The rumour was proven false when no such event took place in the episode.
- This is both the second Christmas special and the second regeneration story to feature the Cybermen, being preceded by The Next Doctor in 2008 and The Tenth Planet in 1966 respectively. It is also the third regeneration story to feature the Daleks, the first being The Parting of the Ways in 2005 and the second being The Day Of The Doctor in 2013. The show’s very first Christmas episode, ‘The Feast of Steven’ in 1965, was also part of The Daleks’ Master Plan but the Daleks were notably absent from that particular episode. This is the eighth story overall to feature both Daleks and Cybermen in the same episode with major roles, preceded by The Five Doctors, The Ultimate Adventure, Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, Return to Earth, The Mazes of Time and The Eternity Clock.
- Additionally, Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians, Judoon and Slitheen were all part of The Pandorica Opens; Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians and Judoon were all part of A Good Man Goes To War; and Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians and Silents were all part of The Eternity Clock.
- Moreover, Daleks and Sontarans were both part of The Five Companions; Daleks and Silurians were both part of Evacuation Earth; and Daleks, Cybermen and Silurians were all part of The Mazes of Time.
- This is despite the fact that Steven Moffat said he had no desire to write a story in which the Doctor faces all of his enemies (The Brilliant Book 2011) yet he is the writer that has come closest to doing this after writing three episodes now which have featured multiple recurring enemies.
- With their role in The Day Of The Doctor, this marks the second time the Daleks have featured in two consecutive episodes, excluding multi-part stories and flashbacks. The first time was Frontier in Space and Planet Of The Daleks. However, Planet is a continuation of Frontier and both deal with parts of the same Dalek threat, whereas some time has elapsed between the events of Day and Time and they both involve two separate Dalek threats: the Time War and the New Dalek Paradigm respectively. If Frontier and Planet are considered to be one story, then The Day Of The Doctor and The Time Of The Doctor can be considered the first stories to do this.
- Though considering himself not much of a “weepy guy”, during the table read-through for the script of The Time Of The Doctor, Matt Smith had an emotional breakdown while trying to read his final lines – specifically “I will always remember when the Doctor was me” – and cried. Steven Moffat immediately came over to his seat and hugged him while Jenna Coleman tried to avoid being overcome with sadness herself.
- The music that plays out Matt Smith’s regeneration scene is a Series 7 music track composed by Murray Gold, “Infinite Potential”, which is a solemn version of “The Long Song” heard in The Rings of Akhaten. It is followed by a sampling of the Series 6 track “My Silence” as he removes his bow-tie.
- Untranslated, the message echoing from Trenzalore is a sequence of three electronic, ringing beeps- two beeps in a row, followed by one more beep. These can be interpreted as the syllables used to pronounce the words “Doctor Who?”, its translation.
- After being given a new regeneration cycle, the Doctor can live as far as a twenty-fifth incarnation (discounting the separate Meta-Crisis Doctor incarnation) before running out again.