Posted by: Nick Walters | June 22, 2011

DW@50

23 November 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and no doubt, right now, plans are being laid to celebrate this milestone.

Who knows what these plans are? Certainly not me. But here’s what I would do…

Firstly, BALLS to a multi-Doctor story. Why? Two reasons:

1. They’re crap.

Entertaining, but crap. The Three Doctors is probably the best – there is a real, urgent reason for bringing the first two Doctors back, it really does seem like the Time Lords are desperate and that the Universe is doomed if Omega succeeds. So story-wise, it’s great. The on-screen realisation, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Doctor Who has rarely looked this cheap and tacky, and monsters have rarely posed so little threat as the Gel Guards. Omega’s anti-matter kingdom should be a domain of wonder and awe, but it’s just another quarry (they use wacky camera angles in a desperate attempt to hide this) and a cheapo set made out of cardboard and glitter. The nadir of this is when the mighty Omega, to demonstrate his power, summons up – a CHAIR! Wowza. It’s the storyline and the performances (especially Troughton and Stephen Thorne as Omega) that save this.

The Five Doctors, in all of its versions, is also fun, and boasts more impressive special effects, but the story shrieks and groans in its valiant efforts to bring everyone together. Terrance Dicks is the true star here, crafting a (relatively) plausible story from such a daunting brief. It’s to his credit that he expands on Time Lord mythology, introducing the Dead Zone and Rassilon. The main pleasure of this and of all multi-Doctor stories is seeing the various incarnations of the Doctor meeting and interacting, and  – once you’re over Tom’s absence – these scenes are a joy.

The Two Doctors is a horrific abortion of a Doctor Who story, and a bit like watching a drunken Father Christmas vomit over your sobbing children. I absolutely love it, but the plot in no way justifies the inclusion of the Second Doctor.  Troughton once again turns in an excellent performance; he is the best Doctor in all of these multi-Doctor stories.

(I’ll skip over the  The Eight Doctors, The One Doctor, The Infinity Doctors et al as I am sticking to the TV series).

No-one, unless they are clinically insane, would place these stories in their list of top ten, twenty, or even fifty Doctor Who stories. (The Two Doctors is at No. 25 in mine).

2. WHO would they get?

Say the BBC ignore my advice and, in their madness, commission a multi-Doctor story to be broadcast on 23/11/13 – The Twelve Doctors, or maybe The Thirteen Doctors. Casting is the major problem: the first three Doctors are sadly no longer with us, and to replace them with stand-ins would disrespect their memory. Yes, Richard Hurndall did a fair job in The Five Doctors, but can you imagine ANYONE standing in for Troughton, or Pertwee? As for replacing them with CGI versions, fuck off. Sorry, just FUCK off. I cannot speak for the surviving Doctors, but here goes anyway: Tom would probably do it, so would Davo, and Colin – but they all look very different from how they did back in the day. McCoy might be too busy filming the Hobbit. McGann would probably do it, whilst  Eccleston almost certainly would not. Tennant? Not sure – he loves Who so he probably would. So we’d probably end up with Doctors 4,5,6,8,10 and 11 – The Six Doctors. (Well, they used a once-mooted  title earlier this year, why not do it again?)

Please, Auntie, don’t go down this route – they kept on doing it in Star Trek up to *and including* the reboot. Thought it might be “nice” to see all the Doctors together again, look at the precedents, and forget it.  Celebrate the Doctor’s past with a documentary, in which all surviving Doctors participate – this would get round McCoy being tied up with The Hobbit (ooer), as he can be interviewed on location or something whilst filming that.

But that’s *not* my big idea of how to celebrate DW@50 – it goes without saying that there will be a documentary or celebratory programme of some sort. No, my big idea is:

MAKE THE DOCTOR WHO MOVIE!

You’re nodding in agreement, aren’t you? It makes PERFECT sense. There’ve been rumblings about a Who movie for years, and the anniversary would seem absolutely the right time to do it. We have 6 episodes left in 2011, and we know there have been 14 commissioned for 2012/13. So this is how it could play out:

    • Season 7: Six episodes in Autumn 2012 (yes, the fans will moan about the gap between the end of Season 6 and this, but, well. Fans. Will. Moan.) plus the Christmas Special.
    • Season 8: Seven episodes in Spring 2013 (see? less of a wait, mongs!) at the end of which the Eleventh Doctor REGENERATES into the Twelfth Doctor!!! This will lead into:
    • The Movie: released on 23 November 2013 starring the Twelfth Doctor, who will be a one-off, cast especially for the film (see below).
    • Season 9: New Thirteenth Doctor, new logo, new showrunner etc. to commence Autumn 2014, funded from the profits of the film.

    See? It makes perfect sense!

    And the master-stroke would be the casting of the Doctor. It would have to be one of the most famous actors in the world, to ensure it’s a success. Harrison Ford, I reckon. He’ll be 70 in 2013; he’s still fit enough for the action sequences (as the last Indy film showed) and has that old/young thing going on. You’re probably all (all? The 2 people who read this) screaming at me now, but it HAS to be someone of his stature. Cos then everyone will go and see it. Oh and Ridley Scott can direct it, too. That OK with you Mr Scott?

    As for the plot of the film, I’ll leave that to the writer. Me, Mr Scott, if you’re reading this! Or one of those nobodies like RTD or Moffat or Cornell if you must. I’m sure Lawrence Miles would also be interested. No matter who writes it, the film must be epic and sensational. So that probably means Daleks, then. And Cybermen. And Plasmatons and Omega and UNIT and K-9 and everything! Ghaaa! DON’T do this, I beg. A massive invasion of Earth by some totally new aliens – perhaps new versions of the Daleks – would be my (safe) bet.

    Whatever the plot, the film must end with the death of the Ford Doctor and his regeneration into the Thirteenth Doctor (Dylan Moran) to lead in to Season 9. There could be some loophole left in the movie to allow further 12th Doctor adventures if Mr Ford is willing. For example he could pop off in the TARDIS for ages  whilst only being absent from the film for one minute, etc. Like what happened in Robot/The Face of Evil (if you don’t know what I am on about then you are not a true fan, and please kindly leave this blog!)

    Or perhaps we don’t see who Matt Smith regenerates into at the end of Season 8, so that the movie begins without all the post-regen bollocks we got in the McGann TVM, and we get basically a stand-alone movie with a canonical 12th Doctor and the chance for prequels/sequels.

    Or perhaps – that’s enough speculation. Doctor Who – The Movie, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. It must – MUST – be done!

    Come on, you are already imagining a big-budget Who movie directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford with Helena Bonham-Carter as his companion, aren’t you? IT WOULD BE MINT! It’s not as if it could ever be as bad as Time and the Rani, is it?

    IS IT?!

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Responses

  1. Oooh. I was with you right up to Harrison Ford. If you’re casting a big-budget Yank you’re more likely to get Jack bleedin’ Black. And in these austere times a big budget is unlikely anyway. And if you’re going to cast Helena B-C you’ll end up with Tim Burton directing and I know how much you like him.
    I reckon it will be a 10/11 match-up TV special but I’d love to see McGann get another go, however briefly.

  2. Fair enough Ming, Harrison Ford was just my first thought, but it has to be someone of his mighty stature. Perhaps Sean Connery could come out of retirement? That would be cool. In fact, it would be the coolest thing ever!


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