Gallifrey Falls No More – The Day of the Doctor reviewed

Gallifrey Falls No MoreSo, that’s it, we are now living in the years after the 50th anniversary which I like to think of as AD or after Day of the Doctor. We had surprises, Daleks, Zygons, Doctors and all sorts including the end of the Time War and the fate of Gallifrey decided. I loved it and thought it struck the right note in lots of places which I will discuss shortly. It also had a few themes worthy of more detailed thought which again I come to below.

One tiny note of caution – there are lots of spoilers below though that shouldn’t bother you, after all you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want to know more!

The great moments from Day of the Doctor

First let me get the little moments where the hairs on the back of the neck went up or you felt like clapping (or in the case of some fans shedding a tear). This may not match your list and it is from memory after only one watch. No doubt I have overlooked someone’s favourite – I apologise:

  • The vintage look to the credit
  • The policeman at the beginning leading to Totter’s Lane (I got that one right!)
  • Coal Hill School, Ian Chesterton as Chair of Board of Governors (and why is Clara working there?)
  • Captain jack gets a mention
  • The Capaldi Doctor moment
  • All the Doctors aid Gallifrey (I talk more below)
  • The Hurt -> Eccleston regeneration (well almost)
  • The line-up of Doctors at the end
  • The Curator (whatever that was about – see below)

I have more to say on other topics…

Billie Piper

Billie is credited as Rose on the BBC website (link right at the top of this post) which is a bit of a red herring. This is one of the most stylish parts of the writing for me – hands up all those that would have written her in as Rose and made her try to recapture the part as it was all those years ago? Hands up – yes mine included. This is a far more subtle part with a really nice performance that was on screen a lot and avoided all those Clara – Rose scenes which we would have enjoyed but I argue that this is a lot better. In fact the whole story is the Moment allowing John Hurt to realise he too is the Doctor and have a better outcome than the terrible destruction of Gallifrey.

Could Day of the Doctor been an Eighth Doctor story?

Yes. Night of the Doctor tells us that (I review that in The Night of the Eighth Doctor).

If, like me, you saw some of the after show party Mr Moffat’s interview tells us something important here. Yes, the Eighth Doctor could easily have pushed the button and then soul searched for the whole of this anniversary special but there was a large gap between the Eight Doctor and the Ninth Doctor. At least the Eighth Doctor has lots of books, comic strips and Big Finish – there is still room for another Doctor hence John Hurt.

I suspect most of us would have just used Paul McGann and the danger is the show would have been all about looking backwards.

Was the Zygon / Queen Elizabeth / UNIT story just a bit of a filler?

Yes. And No.

Lots of normal fun bits – the Tower, London, the Brigadier’s daughter, marrying the Queen, some time travel, great 3D paintings and so forth. It wasn’t the main story. Yes it was! Look again – this is how the Moment steers the War Doctor into realising there is an alternative. This is not just the background around the bigger story and a way to work in lots of nods to the past, this is the solution:

  • The whole 400 years sonic screwdriver / happens off stage is clever and is how Gallifrey can be computed out
  • The use of the painting to shift out of time is the way Gallifrey is saved.

This is mastery by Moffat the great writer.

Gallifrey is saved

Once we look close how can we have the Doctor in any form destroy all those lives and children (rather a lot). This gives us the great interplay around the War Doctor, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. The Moment also arranges for all the other Doctors to be there without any needless meeting them all and then wiping their memories. Fantastic!

Who didn’t want the Doctors all to appear?

Clara

Managed to do some bits, fan-girled and is clearly still a link through from the Name of the Doctor.

The Curator

What was that about? Great scene for Tom, pity nothing for the rest and what on earth does it mean? Let the speculation commence!

The Rest

Too much else – lovely seeing Tennant, Matt Smith lines up Trenzalore, it was really a War Doctor story. Loved it.

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