Doctor Who 50th Anniversary On The Big Screen
November 9, 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary On The Big Screen

The celebration for the 50th anniversary of the cult – now hit – British science fiction TV show Doctor Who will include a worldwide simulcast on November 23.

The “Day of the Doctor”, which will be the second to last outing for outgoing 11th Doctor Matt Smith, will also feature the “return” of 10th Doctor David Tennant. As the Doctor is a Time Lord (a 900+ year old Time Lord at that), he has lead many lives and reincarnated into new bodies (a neat trick, but how else does a series get to run 50 years). While normally crossing the timelines and meeting past-selves isn’t supposed to happen, it actually does – notably for these anniversary episodes.

It happened in 1973 for the 10 year anniversary, aptly titled “The Three Doctors” and again in 1983 as the “The Five Doctors.” As the original three actors to take on the role have passed away, and most of the others are far older, it clearly wasn’t possible to do a “The 12 Doctors” – not to mention how could you squeeze enough villains and threats for that many heroes!

There is actually a “Third Doctor” of sorts in this special, as John Hurt could possibly be the Doctor’s truly evil side. It appears that even the greatest hero in the galaxy has a dark side.

Actually what makes this special so special is that the BBC is pulling out all the stops. It will air in the U.K. as expected, but fans across the world won’t have to wait to see it. The special, as noted, will be simulcast in 75 countries and will air in the United States on BBC America.

It will also air in movie theaters on November 23. While being part of a major fan experience might be a compelling reason to go to the theater (and we can only imagine that this will include lots of people in costume), the 75-minute episode will be presented in 3D. Those heading to the theaters will also get to view a 10 minute behind-the-scene featurette that follows the special.

BBC America noted:

“The theatrical events will include specially shot introductions and The Day of The Doctor: Behind The Lens, a 10 minute behind-the-scene featurette directly following the special. The short features Matt Smith, David Tennant and Jenna Coleman with Billie Piper and John Hurt, as well as lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, discussing their 50th Anniversary experiences.”

This special will NOT air on BBC America, but we can’t imagine it won’t pop up on YouTube. It will also likely be available on the DVD/Blu-ray, which has already been announced for a December 1st release date.

Finally, the celebrations for Doctor Who aren’t limited to the 23rd. BBC America, as well as much of the world, will air the made-for-TV movie, An Adventure in Space and Time on November 22. This isn’t a documentary but rather a drama that looks back to the making of the series.

In other words, it won’t be so much the day of the Doctor, but a weekend of all things Doctor Who!

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer and has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and the fitness sports industry for more than 15 years. In that time his work has appeared in more than three dozen publications including Newsweek, PC Magazine and Wired. His work has also appeared on,,, and Peter is a regular writer for

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