‘THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
“Gallifrey Falls…No More!” – Celebrating 50 Years of ‘Doctor Who’
23rd November 2013!
It’s so strange to think how much time has passed since ‘the day of the Doctor’. We’ve had the 50th anniversary! It’s come and gone. So much had happened in the lead-up to that special day in the history of ‘Doctor Who’. I was in Chichester for the weekend when I watched what was on that night.
The original DVD of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ was a 1-disc DVD set. ‘The Day of the Doctor’ has now been re-released as part of the ’50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition DVD’ of ‘Doctor Who’ and is on Disc 2.
So, did I enjoy ‘The Day of the Doctor’ by Steven Moffat? Yes I did, on some level. But to be honest, I enjoyed ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ by Peter Davison more, as I found it better than ‘The Day of the Doctor’.
This story celebrates the new series of ‘Doctor Who’, whereas ‘The Light At The End’ by Big Finish celebrated the classic series. This is a shame as I wanted all the Doctors and companions to be in the TV story.
I liked how the story opens with the original 1963 William Hartnell titles and music. I also liked that opening shot of a policeman at 76 Totter’s Lane and of Coal Hill School to match ‘An Unearthly Child’.
The TARDIS gets picked up, as the Eleventh Doctor and Clara are taken to the International London Museum by U.N.I.T. They have to solve a mystery involving a Time Lord 3D painting where they meet the Tenth and War Doctors.
I enjoyed Matt Smith as the Doctor. I’ve grown to like him and he has improved for me over the years. I love his relationship with Clara. He gets to wear his fez and I liked it when he meets the Tenth Doctor. There’s a sense of friction as well as being brothers between these two young Doctors.
I was so pleased to see David Tennant return as the Tenth Doctor, as he’s one of my favourite Doctors. It’s like David has never been away. He has a flirtatious relationship with Queen Elizabeth I and I liked it when he meets Matt’s Doctor. I liked the comedy moments between the two Doctors.
I love Jenna Coleman as Clara. She’s so lovely and it’s a relief to have her as a clear character and a good friend of the Doctor, compared to when she was the ‘impossible girl’ in Series 7. I loved Clara’s scenes with Matt Smith’s Doctor and she has her own voice throughout this 50th anniversary special.
Billie Piper returns as well, but she’s not playing Rose Tyler I’m afraid. Here she plays ‘The Moment’, a weapon of mass destruction that the War Doctor steals from Gallifrey. She takes the form of Rose and challenges the War Doctor in the decision he has to make to blow up Gallifrey in the Time War.
John Hurt guest stars as the War Doctor. John Hurt turns out to be the 8½ Doctor between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston; and is the Doctor who fought in the Time War. John is great as the War Doctor, but I would have liked Christopher Eccleston to be in this as he was supposed to be.
The Daleks make an appearance in this 50th anniversary special as they fight and exterminate the Gallifreyans during the Time War. The battle scenes with the Time War and the Daleks are amazing!
There’s also the return of the Zygons, the shape-shifting monsters who appeared in ‘Terror of the Zygons’. It was amazing to see the Zygons in this story and they have a diabolical plan to invade the Earth.
The story’s guest cast also includes Joanna Page as Queen Elizabeth the 1st; Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart (the Brigadier’s daughter) and Ingrid Oliver as Osgood, who works for Kate Stewart in U.N.I.T.
A highlight for me was the Black Archive scenes where we get to see U.N.I.T. photos of the Doctor’s companions on display, both classic and new. There are some lovely photos of Sarah Sutton’s Nyssa there.
At the end, all of the Doctors appear to save Gallifrey. This was a nice gesture, but I felt disappointed as I didn’t feel the classic Doctors appeared in this story since they were cameos mostly from archive footage of previous stories.
Tom Baker makes an appearance, not as the Fourth Doctor but as the Curator of the London Museum. It’s great to see him in this 50th anniversary special of ‘Doctor Who’ and he has a nice scene with Matt Smith’s Doctor.
The episode ends with a dream sequence as all of the Doctors stand on a cloud. It was a nice way to end the episode, although I could tell the Doctors weren’t the real actors and had CGI make-up on them.
After seeing ‘The Day of the Doctor’, I saw the BBC Three ‘Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty’ featuring many of the Doctors and companions. It was a rather rushed and poorly organised programme, but I was glad to see the companions including Sarah Sutton who put a smile on my face.
After that, I enjoyed seeing ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ by Peter Davison. You can now see this on the ’50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition DVD’. This made the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ for me as many of the Doctors and companions were in it, both classic and new.
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On the original ‘The Day of the Doctor’ DVD, as well as ‘The Night of the Doctor’, there’s also ‘The Last Day’ prequel. There’s also the ‘Behind the Lens’ making-of documentary; the ‘Doctor Who Explained’ documentary and two anniversary trailers.
On Disc 2 of the ’50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition DVD’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s also the ‘Script to Screen’ behind-the-scenes featurette; two ‘Cinema Intros’ with Strax and the Doctors and the ‘Tales From The TARDIS’ documentary (also on ‘The Time of the Doctor’ DVD).
‘The Day of the Doctor’ was the highlight of the 50th anniversary for many ‘Doctor Who’ fans. For me personally, I don’t think it’s the best anniversary special I’ve seen. But I enjoyed seeing David Tennant and Matt Smith’s Doctors in it. ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’; ‘The Light At The End’ and the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ CD series made the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ for me!
‘The Day of the Doctor’ rating – 7/10
‘DOCTOR WHO – THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Is this Really the Day of the Doctor?
This ‘Doctor Who’ novelization is dedicated to the memory of Sir John Hurt.
In all the ‘Doctor Who’ reviews I’ve done on my ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog, you may have picked up that I’m not really a fan of the Steven Moffat era. It’s just something about his era that doesn’t work for me. It’s a shame as Steven Moffat is a clever guy and I was hoping his era would be better than it was.
I’ve now finished reading/listening to the ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelization/audiobook of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ by Steven Moffat. This is one of four Target novelizations on four new series episodes released in April 2018. The others were on ‘Rose’, ‘The Christmas Invasion’ and ‘Twice Upon A Time’.
Over the years, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the 50th anniversary celebrations that happened with ‘Doctor Who’ in 2013. I’ve made it no secret that I didn’t find ‘The Day of the Doctor’ a satisfying episode to celebrate 50 years of a TV series that I grew to love and enjoy. Other fans would disagree.
Reading/hearing this Target novelization/audiobook has given me a chance to share more on why I don’t think ‘The Day of the Doctor’ is as good as other anniversary celebrations in ‘Doctor Who’. I consider other anniversary celebrations in that 50th year to be better than the actual TV celebration.
Personally, I enjoyed the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ audio series by Big Finish/AudioGo and ‘The Light At The End’ by Big Finish more than the actual ‘Day of the Doctor’ episode. I also prefer ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ by Peter Davison more than ‘The Day of the Doctor’, which ties into the TV episode.
Even the ‘Prisoners of Time’ graphic novel of ‘Doctor Who’ by IDW Publishing is what I consider a better 50th anniversary special compared to ‘The Day of the Doctor’. The reason why I prefer those anniversary specials than ‘The Day of the Doctor’ is because they embraced 50 years of the TV show.
‘The Day of the Doctor’ doesn’t really do that as a 50th anniversary special. It does feature all the ‘thirteen’ doctors saving the day at the end (sort of, via a number of video clips from previous stories), but the story focused more on the Time War and the new series Doctors than on the classic.
I don’t consider just focusing on the Time War and the new series Doctors to be enough to justify celebrating 50 years of the series. Sarah Sutton said ‘the key is in the title – 50th anniversary’. I concur. ‘The Day of the Doctor’ should be embracing everything ‘Doctor Who’-related over 50 years.
I enjoyed ‘The Three Doctors’ and ‘The Five Doctors’ more than ‘The Day of the Doctor’ because those stories were trying to embrace everything ‘Doctor Who’ in the 10 years or 20 years the show had been running. They are flawed stories, but at least they had all of the Doctors featured in them.
Mind you, I can’t blame Steven Moffat for the mountain he had to climb in terms of delivering a satisfying 50th anniversary special of ‘Doctor Who’ for TV audiences to enjoy. Getting all of the ‘thirteen’ Doctors in a single TV episode is tricky, considering the first three actors have passed away.
Again, it is difficult to tell a 50th anniversary special within one episode lasting for about 77 minutes in length. But here’s an idea on my part. Instead of telling ‘The Day of the Doctor’ in one episode, why not tell the story in five episodes. That way, you’d get a very exciting epic in a five-parter on TV.
Just imagine what ‘The Day of the Doctor’ would be like had it been made as a five-parter. The Doctor could travel across the universe to visit various companions and ask for help. He could’ve visited Steven Taylor on the planet of ‘The Savages’. He could’ve restored Jamie and Zoe’s memories.
The Doctor could reunite with Jo Jones as he did in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’. Perhaps the Doctor could meet Leela and Romana in the Time War or reunite with Nyssa on ‘Terminus’ and Tegan on Earth. The Doctor could reunite with one of the five Peris and perhaps reunite with Ace on Gallifrey.
And there is a way around getting the classic series Doctors back despite them looking older. Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann could return as holograms in a ‘Star Trek’-styled holodeck. They can all be Curators of the Museum just like Tom Baker was in the actual story.
But then again, we shouldn’t have been surprised ‘The Day of the Doctor’ ended like it did. Steven Moffat is not your traditional ‘Doctor Who’ writer. He prefers to experiment with new ways of telling ‘Doctor Who’ stories. Sometimes they come out with varying results. Sometimes not always excellent.
It’s like what Peter Jackson said in that special video he did with Peter Capaldi. Some of Steven Moffat’s stories are great; some are not great. Peter Jackson hits the nail on the head with that statement. Such a pity then that Steven Moffat has become such an overrated ‘Doctor Who’ writer.
‘The Day of the Doctor’ novelization is Steven Moffat’s first foray into writing a ‘Doctor Who’ book for the series. It’s an interesting departure for Steven Moffat from writing TV episodes. I recall in ‘Doctor Who Magazine’ that Steven Moffat was into reading ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelizations once as a kid.
Before reading/listening to the Target novelization/audiobook, I thought that this would give Steven Moffat a chance to expand on the TV episode and improve upon some of the weaker aspects of the story. Perhaps I would enjoy ‘The Day of the Doctor’ in novelization form as opposed to the TV form.
Steven Moffat could rectify on anything I found unsatisfying when I saw the TV episode. He could tell the same story, but at least he could provide extra treats for ‘Doctor Who’ fans to enjoy and embrace more of the show celebrating its 50 years as opposed to what was shown in the TV version.
So therefore with all of that out of the way, let’s finally talk about ‘The Day of the Doctor’ novelization/audiobook itself. (Pause) To start off with, WHAT IS WITH THE VERY BIZARRE CHAPTER LISTING OF THIS BOOK?!! Look at this chapter list in the photo below!!! It’s numbered out of order!!!
Who structures chapters in a book like this?! Steven Moffat obviously! And yeah, I get that it’s supposed to be a new way of telling a story and how to produce a book. But it’s going to be pretty frustrating and confusing for people who pick up a copy of the book from the bookshelves in a shop.
Someone’s going to complain that there’s a printing error with the chapter list of this book with the chapters being numbered out of order like they are. But no! It’s how Steven Moffat wants us to read the book! It’s designed to be numerically out of order! Why couldn’t this be from Chapters 1 to 12?!
Maybe the idea is that I’m supposed to read the book out of order by starting with Chapter 1 in the middle of the book and work my way from there. Perhaps I should do that the next time I read the book. Oh wait! It doesn’t work like that! Since guess what! There isn’t a Chapter 9 in the book! At all!
Apparently according to the book, Chapter 9 is listed as highly confidential. Well to be accurate, it’s supposed to be blocked in our memories by the Silence. Personally, I think the reason why Steven Moffat did not include a Chapter 9 is because Christopher Eccleston said “No!” to return as the Doctor.
Yeah! Apparently, the chapter numbering is supposed to reflect the numbers of the Doctors, including David Tennant as 10, Matt Smith as 11 and even Jodie Whittaker as 13. I’m surprised Steven Moffat didn’t have a chapter called ‘Chapter War’ to reflect that John Hurt is the War Doctor.
But even that approach doesn’t work either! Because Chapter 1 doesn’t feature the First Doctor; Chapter 2 doesn’t feature the Second Doctor, Chapter 3 doesn’t feature the Third Doctor, etc. The Twelfth Doctor appears in the novel, but he is in Chapter 7 and not Chapter 12 as you would expect!
I honestly wouldn’t mind this approach to writing a ‘Doctor Who’ Target novelization if it was a new creative form of writing on Steven Moffat’s part. But there are other things in this book that get me frustrated. These include changes to certain scenes and the omissions of some of my favourite scenes.
Back to talking about chapters, there are these inter-chapter notes that provide as introductions to each of the chapters in the book. This is much in the same manner as the inter-chapter notes in ‘The Sands of Time’ book. However, the way that Steven Moffat does it in his novelization is very unusual.
The inter-chapter notes are narrated by someone in the first person. I’ll reveal who that person is later on in the review, but he’s supposed to be in charge of these so-called ‘Doctor Papers’ that provide as chapters to the book. But the way some of these inter-chapter notes are written is pretty bizarre.
For example, the narrator is breaking the fourth wall a lot to us as a reader. Now this is supposed to be a novelization in book form, unless you have a Kindle version of it. But there are pieces of the inter-chapter notes that can contain a lot of humorous lines. Sometimes the lines often slow down the book.
Here’s how the first inter-chapter notes go…
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you say this is long-winded before we get into the story? I know this is to inject humour for us as readers to enjoy. I’m not opposed to humour in ‘Doctor Who’. On the contrary, I welcome it. But it’s got to be humour that’s applied properly in terms of the story.
You don’t apply humour for the silly effect. Donald Cotton’s novelization of ‘The Myth Makers’ works well for me because the narrator Homer is allowing you to enter the story without any distractions of unnecessary humour. The humour in these inter-chapter notes feel like it’s taking you out of the story.
I enjoyed Russell T. Davies’ novelization of ‘Rose’ so much because he was able to deliver both the humour and the storytelling at a fast pace as well as allow you to absorb the ‘Doctor Who’ worlds he created. The extra material added in the book did not have distractions in it to prevent the enjoyment.
Steven Moffat’s balance of humour and storytelling in ‘Doctor Who’ is often uneven. I want to enjoy the story, but the sometimes often unnecessary humour stops me from having a chance to experience it in novelization form. If you’re questioning what occurs in the story, then you’re not experiencing it.
In the inter-chapter notes, there are strange taglines to the ‘FEED CONNECTING, FEED CONNECTED, FEED STABLE’ stuff. These include notes to ‘hold the book straight and turn off your mobile phone’ as well as a warning that I am ‘within ten feet of a Cyberman’. How does this progress the story forward?
I found those taglines baffling and strange to read. I would question what the significance of these taglines are whereas I really shouldn’t. Perhaps Steven Moffat is appealing to the younger audiences as I’m sure these Target books are supposed to be. But surely better material can be given to the kids.
Let’s talk about the audiobook. The story is narrated by Nicholas Briggs who voiced the Daleks and the Zygons in the TV story. I was looking forward to hearing Nick Briggs voice the Daleks during the Time War segments of the story for this audiobook. But guess what! The Daleks don’t have any dialogue!
WOW! I mean…WOW!!! How could Steven Moffat not feature having the Daleks say anything during the Time War segments of the story, especially when Nick Briggs is reading the audiobook? Actually I take it back, there is a moment where a Dalek does speak but it’s during a flashback! Yeah! A flashback!
It’s when the Doctor reflects on the day he caused the destruction of the Time War (which I think is well-written for the War, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors). The Dalek that speaks is the Emperor Dalek and it’s taken from a scene in ‘The Parting of the Ways’ and it features the Ninth Doctor. And that’s it!
No other Dalek voices are heard in this audiobook. You’d think there would be more Dalek dialogue in a novelization/audiobook of ‘The Day of the Doctor’, would you? I wouldn’t consider a flashback to ‘The Parting of the Ways’ featuring the Emperor Dalek to count as part of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ tale.
To be fair though, Nick Briggs does have more to do than just be the narrator. He gets to be the voices of the Eleventh, the Tenth and the War Doctors of this story, to which he does very well. And Nick Briggs gets to voice one of the Zygons which was good to hear. A pity it was not for some more Zygons.
And this leads me to another problem I have with the audiobook as well as the novelization. In the book, during the inter-chapter notes, I discovered that they’re being read by the Curator. This is only revealed to us as an audience at the end of the final inter-chapter notes before the very last chapter.
Now I couldn’t tell this at first when reading/listening to the book/audio because Nick Briggs doesn’t use the Tom Baker voice as the Curator. He uses his normal voice throughout. Now it is a good build-up in terms of the Curator’s reveal before we know who was talking to us in the inter-chapter notes.
But like I said, I couldn’t tell it was the Curator due to Nick Briggs using his normal voice for those inter-chapter notes. Which begs the question – why didn’t Nick Briggs use his Tom Baker voice to speak as the Curator during the inter-chapter notes? It would make sense while reading the audiobook.
It’s not just the Curator though. In most of the chapters, each of them are narrated by a certain incarnation of the Doctor. This includes ‘The Night of the Doctor’ narrated by Eight; ‘The Flight of the Doctor’ by Eleven; ‘The War of the Doctor’ by War; ‘The Love of the Doctor’ by Ten; etc and so forth.
Now wouldn’t it have been interesting if the Doctors reading the chapters were voiced by Nick Briggs as those Doctors in certain chapters. It would certainly make things less confusing. I often found that the chapters were being read in the third person instead of the first person by the different Doctors.
Oh yeah that’s another problem I have with this book. Steven Moffat seems to make out that when a different Doctor is reading a certain chapter; he usually refers himself in the third person than the first. The inter-chapter notes say it’s up to the reader to identify who the author of each chapter is.
Now it’s going to be confusing for the reader when he/she doesn’t realise that it was the Doctor talking at the end when he’s mostly narrating a chapter in the third person. I know the Doctor’s an alien but there are instances where he narrated in the first person instead of the third like ‘The Entropy Plague’.
Oh and when Steven Moffat writes the War Doctor, the Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor interacting each other, he doesn’t refer to them as Doctors War, Ten or Eleven. He simply refers to them as the Doctor, the Doctor and the Doctor. Why?! I mean, yes the Doctors are the same person.
But in terms of reading the book, it gets confusing. Terrance Dicks referred to the Doctors as Doctor One, Doctor Two and Doctor Three in his novelizations of ‘The Three Doctors’ and ‘The Five Doctors’ because he wanted to clarify to the audience reading which one of the Doctors was talking in the story.
Steven Moffat doesn’t do that for the readers of this book. It seems less user-friendly and not for the uninitiated reading this ‘Doctor Who’ book. Thankfully Nick Briggs’ voices for each of the Doctors helped me to identify which of the Doctors was talking whilst reading/listening to the book. But still!
Chapter 1 of this book, sorry Chapter 8 (you see why the chapter listing gets confusing) is mainly ‘The Night of the Doctor’ mini-episode featuring the Eighth Doctor. I like how this scene was written in novelization form and how the Eighth Doctor experiences rescuing Cass before the crash on Karn.
The decision that Eight makes to regenerate and become the War Doctor seems rather strange in the book. At first, he refuses to be more involved in the Time War. But then it seems like he’s being manipulated by something else to change his mind suddenly and decide to become further involved.
Oh and we get the reveal of what was in that potion that the Sisterhood of Karn gave to the Eighth Doctor to regenerate. Do you know what this potion is? Are you ready for this? Here we go! It turns out the potion given to the Eighth Doctor was…just lemonade and dry ice! What?! I mean…WHAT?!!
How come that feels so lazy in terms of a reveal of a regeneration potion? Steven Moffat could have provided something more exotic than that. A special kind of herb or something. I feel that the mystery of what that potion had been was taken away for me. Lemonade and dry ice just feels so silly in concept.
During the bit where the Eighth Doctor lists his companions, including Charley, C’rizz, Lucie, Tamsin and Molly, he also mentions Fitz from the BBC Books stories. How come Steven Moffat didn’t have Eight also recall Benny, Izzy, Mary Shelley, Liv and Jen (an Eighth Doctor companion I co-created 😀 )?
At the beginning of Chapter…11…yes I was right there (the second chapter), the Eleventh Doctor seems to think he’s talking to Clara whereas she isn’t there and he’s talking to himself. He also hears the War Doctor’s voice rebuking him inside his head since he’s denying his existence every time.
There’s something omitted in the book from the TV story that made me appreciate the TV story more. In the TV story, Clara and the Eleventh Doctor hugged each other when they reunited in the TARDIS. This doesn’t happen in the book. Honestly, I liked that moment. Why wasn’t that bit included in the book?
The book also features appearances of Mr. Armitage, the Brigadier and River Song in the story. Now this I did like, especially since Mr. Armitage would be present at Coal Hill School where Clara works during Series 8. The Eleventh Doctor talks to Mr. Armitage via TARDIS phone when he asks for Clara.
The Brigadier appears mostly in flashback scenes where Kate Stewart recalls her dad. It’s intriguing that Kate Stewart remembers seeing the Doctor as Tom Baker with her dad, the Brigadier, as well as Sarah Jane Smith. I assume this all took place during the events of ‘Robot’, not ‘Terror of the Zygons’.
The new scenes with River Song are ones where she’s spending her ‘married’ life with the Eleventh Doctor (I think). It turns out in the story that River Song made the Eleventh Doctor forget how many children were killed on Gallifrey by using a therapy robot. This was intriguing to discover in the book.
The Moment character as played by Billie Piper in the TV story doesn’t feature much in the novelization. Due to the story being told by various Doctors in each chapter, the Moment’s role gets reduced. She’s there when the War Doctor activates the Moment but she’s not in the dungeon scenes.
This is a shame for me. I liked the Moment scenes when she’s encouraging the War Doctor on his journey to find out whether he should press the button or not to end the Time War. The Moment in the novelization also comes across more cheeky, playful and relishing death than shown in the TV story.
I did like it when the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors are recalling seeing someone who looked like Rose Tyler in the barn when he was the War Doctor. They’re puzzled since they wouldn’t have met Rose then before he was the Ninth Doctor. The connection is made pretty early on rather than later on in the story.
Other scenes get omitted in the novelization from the TV story. These include the Eleventh Doctor’s dream at the end of the story as well as the War Doctor’s regeneration into the Ninth. This makes ‘The Day of the Doctor’ less of a traditional ‘Doctor Who’ novelization compared to others I’ve read.
Although saying that, there are some references to the Ninth Doctor after he regenerated where he smashed every mirror in the TARDIS to avoid seeing his new face and thinking of how many children he must save to make up for the ones killed on Gallifrey. It would’ve been nice to see it in the TV tale.
The chapter called ‘400 Years of the Doctor’ features the journey from Richmond to the Tower of London being expanded upon for the War, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. It also has the chapter read by the three Doctors’ various points of view which often made it very confusing for me to read/hear.
There’s also a moment where the Tenth Doctor gets aggressive towards the Eleventh Doctor when he forgot how many children were killed on Gallifrey. Do you know what? I prefer the TV version of that scene. That subtle anger from Ten to Eleven was pretty powerful on TV compared to the novelization.
It transpires the First and Second Doctors were colour-blind during their tenures and that their eyesight was monochrome. Okay look, the reason why ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the 1960s were black-and-white was because they didn’t have colour television back then. There’s no need to be obvious!
By the way, my favourite scene from ‘The Day of the Doctor’ TV episode isn’t featured in the novelization. I’m talking about the Black Archive scene where they featured photos of companions, classic series and new series, including Nyssa of Traken. How come Steven Moffat didn’t include that?!
But the Black Archive happens to contain VHS cassettes of the two ‘Dr. Who’ movies starring Peter Cushing. Wait a minute! The Peter Cushing movies exist in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe? And they’re just considered movies and not an alternative universe as I seemed to have suggested for my timelines?
Okay. That’s a bit unusual. It does make me wonder how the film companies could’ve got the stories of ‘The Daleks’ and ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ to make them into movies in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe. Perhaps the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors pitched them since they seem to love those movies.
In fact, how come Steven Moffat didn’t include Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy hiding underneath shrouds in the Under-Gallery from ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’? He seems to have made in-jokes with the Peter Cushing films. Why not for Peter, Colin and Sylvester in the book?
Is Steven Moffat embarrassed by Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy these days? (realises) Oh silly question! I forgot! He’s the one who deleted Peter, Colin and Sylvester’s phone messages when they had tried to get into the episode as well as deleted their ‘three Daleks’ scene. 😀
‘The Wedding of the Doctor’ chapter is pretty bizarre itself in the book. It’s supposed to have a wedding in it with the Tenth Doctor and Queen Elizabeth I. Yet there’s no wedding featured or referred to in the chapter. It seems that the Doctor is embarrassed about getting married to the Queen.
Beforehand, the Tenth Doctor’s encounter with Queen Elizabeth is elaborated on. It seems she had him tortured and sentenced to death by beheading before they had their picnic together. It’s also suggested that Queen Elizabeth may be the true mother of Susan Foreman…I DON’T WANT TO GO THERE!!!!!
In the book, the Tenth Doctor had a horse called Alison whereas in fact it’s actually male. This echoes something when the Eleventh Doctor rebuked the Preacher for calling the horse ‘Joshua’ instead of ‘Susan’ in ‘A Town Called Mercy’. If a woman calls herself ‘Bill’, why not a horse call himself ‘Alison’?
Regarding the marriage between the Tenth Doctor and Queen Elizabeth I, earlier on, Clara presses for information from the Eleventh Doctor on his marriage to the Queen. I couldn’t help but feel that Clara was too jealous about the Doctor being married to Queen Elizabeth whilst reading/hearing the book.
The Eleventh Doctor mentions to Clara that he’s been married a lot and is possibly married to Captain Jack Harkness. Although that’s a little difficult to accept concerning the relationship the Doctor had with Captain Jack in his Ninth and Tenth forms. However I could have missed something.
It’s also indicated that the Eleventh Doctor can’t wear the fezes he has in the TARDIS because they were presents from ‘Tommy’. I had no idea who he was talking about, but it turns out that the Tommy he was talking about was Tommy Cooper. I wish I could’ve appreciated the joke at the time.
The chapter called ‘Dearest Petronella’ is a chapter in the form of a very long letter by (presumably) the real Osgood (or not) to the Zygon Osgood (or not). It’s a chapter that more or less sets up what happens to Osgood in ‘Death In Heaven’ as well as ‘The Zygon Invasion’/’The Zygon Inversion’.
Osgood senses that her Zygon duplicate likes being her and she gives her permission to carry on. This would explain why there were more Osgoods during ‘The Zygon Invasion’ story in Series 9 which had me confused when I watched it. I hope it’ll be made clear by the time I re-watch the TV story again.
Before that, the chapter called ‘In The Absence of the Doctor’ are accounts given by Kate Stewart and Osgood on what happened in the Black Archive scenes without the Doctor present. Although it was confusing to read since I didn’t realise that it was Zygon Kate and Zygon Osgood at the very end.
Apparently, Zygon Kate killed Atkins in the story. It also gets revealed that Osgood and McGillop (the one who moved the ‘Gallifrey Falls’ painting from the London Museum to the Black Archive) may have romantic feelings for each other. This was unusual to discover, as it’s rare to find in Osgood’s character.
Osgood’s not usually the romantic type, is she? She also gets to see in McGillop’s mind, with Zygon Osgood’s help, to find out when he was ordered to move the painting by the Doctor. She also gets too much information about McGillop’s infatuation of her, which I believe is too much information to read.
During the scenes where the War Doctor and Clara interact with each other, the War Doctor seems to find Clara’s voice familiar as he recites “Fear makes companions of us all.” This is a subtle hint to the speech made by Clara to the Doctor as a little boy when she visited him in that barn during ‘Listen’.
In fact, Steven Moffat makes a point to mention footer notes for readers to refer to other ‘Doctor Who’ novelizations including ‘Doctor Who and the Silence in the Library’ and ‘Doctor Who – Listen’. A pity I can’t read these books, as they either exist in ‘alternate realities’ or sometime during early 2195!
Like I said, the Twelfth Doctor makes an appearance in the story by appearing in the War Room to coordinate the disaster relief when all of the Doctors are saving Gallifrey at the end. This was a nice moment. It does make up for being more than just a cameo in showing the eyes of the Twelfth Doctor.
In fact, there are many moments in the story where all of the ‘thirteen’ Doctors are helping out to save Gallifrey and its people from numerous natural disasters caused by shifting the planet into another dimension. This is actually much better than simply having footage from previous episodes.
But it’s only the First Doctor who gets something to say from the classic Doctors in the novelization as well as the new series Doctors. I was expecting the Fifth Doctor to say “Soon be there!” from ‘The Five Doctors’ in the book. Sadly it didn’t occur. Most of the classic series Doctors don’t say anything.
In the last inter-chapter notes, it seems that the Doctor’s other incarnations had visited the Under-Gallery for a tea party before the War Doctor, the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor and Clara had theirs. It would’ve been really nice to read that scene during the book instead of it being referred to.
It gets revealed that Clara often meets the Curator for tea but he pretends not to remember her. This was intriguing as I wonder how many times Clara has seen the Curator for cups of tea. Maybe it’s during school trips at Coal Hill School. I’m not sure, but it was interesting to discover in the book.
Another thing about the Curator I felt Steven Moffat could’ve taken advantage of was explaining why he looked like an older Tom Baker. He could’ve homed in on it by referring to that last scene of the older Tom Baker at the end of the ‘2017’ version of ‘Shada’, leading into ‘The Day of the Doctor’ itself.
Sadly this didn’t occur in the novelization. It’s still unclear whether the Curator is a past or future version of the Doctor. I can assume he’s a past version following that last scene in the 2017 version of ‘Shada’ or he could be a future version taking on the form of Tom Baker at the end of his life. It’s not clear at this point for me.
The last chapter of the book features the Thirteenth Doctor meeting Cass before she dies with the Eighth Doctor. This is unusual to have a chapter featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, especially as this is in a book before Series 11 is shown on TV. It’s a very risky and daring move on Steven Moffat’s part.
Actually come to think of it, I wonder if Steven Moffat based the Thirteenth Doctor scene from the trailer announcing Jodie Whittaker’s announcement as the new Doctor in July 2017. That would make sense to me. The last chapter of the book also has the Thirteenth Doctor interacting with the Moment.
The last page of the book, page 232, is a number of tallies of 5 with the words ‘HELP ME’ on it. Here’s a photo image of the page for you to see.
Now this is essentially an appendix in the book where the Curator asks the reader to refer to it concerning the absence of Chapter 9. This is to indicate that we have read Chapter 9 whereas in actual fact the Silence have made us forget reading the chapter. I’m not sure this works in reading the book.
But here’s something that shouldn’t really work. From looking at page 232, you wouldn’t think it’s possible for it to be read in an audiobook of the novelization. (Pause) Nick Briggs managed to do it! I’m not even joking here! Nick Briggs reads page 232 to finish off ‘The Day of the Doctor’ audiobook.
He does it by reading the page as “One, One, One, One, Dash; One, One, One, One, Dash; One, One, One, One, Dash; One, One, One, One, Dash…” before a scary voice echoes over the tallies of five saying ‘HELP ME’!!! This freaked me out as the audiobook ended. Enjoy your nightmares as you listen to that! 😀
Okay, in all honesty, ‘The Day of the Doctor’ novelization/audiobook is not bad. But it can often be at times frustrating. The structure of the book including the chapter listing; some of the story changes made and the omission of many scenes makes this less a Target novelization of a ‘Doctor Who’ TV episode.
But I’ll give credit to Steven Moffat. At least he tries to be creative, even though it does vary at times. He provides detail to many scenes in the book. It’s just a shame that a lot of the detail featured in the book isn’t what I expected from watching ‘The Day of the Doctor’ on TV and on DVD.
So does this book change my mind about ‘The Day of the Doctor’ being a proper 50th anniversary special of ‘Doctor Who’. Not really. But I have to admit, it makes me appreciate the TV version of the story more. ‘The Day of the Doctor’ is a fairly decent novelization/audiobook. But it’s not as good as the ‘Rose’ novelization/audiobook.
‘Doctor Who – The Day of the Doctor’ rating – 5/10
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Bloody hell Tim this novel seem a bizarre mind melt buddy, it’s Moffat & his ego trying to be clever but instead makes this a very uneven toned story.
Queen Elizabeth might be Susans mother what in God’s name is Moffat thinking? Oh again he’s trying to be clever but it comes across as lazy writing to get a cheap gag.
Think I’ll skip this one Tim i don’t think it help my moods or blood pressure lol i think I’d be ranting at the changes too much.
This is one of my favourite reviews Tim, i like your subtle humour & how you explained the differences of the novel to episode, your idea for a five part story would’ve been amazing & far more satisfying than what we got which felt crammed.
The Tim Bradley campaign for future showrunner starts here.
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Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Day of the Doctor’ novelization/audiobook. Very pleased that this is one of your favourite reviews by me. This is the longest review I’ve ever done on a ‘Doctor Who’ novelization/audiobook. I’ve had to rewrite it a number of times in order to make sure I hadn’t missed anything out I wanted to say about this novelization/audiobook.
Yeah I think Steven Moffat is letting his ego come across in his writing for the 50th anniversary special of ‘Doctor Who’ both in TV form and novelization form. I think that’s another reason why I don’t consider ‘The Day of the Doctor’ a good episode to celebrate 50 years of the show, since Steven Moffat’s ego in terms of writing gets in the way of letting the episode embrace all of ‘Doctor Who’s history. Again, Steven’s attempts of applying humour to the story in novelization form does make it uneven as you say. I think Steven Moffat would be better writing a comedy spoof series of ‘Doctor Who’ rather than writing the actual show itself, especially as he wrote the Comic Relief special, ‘The Curse of Fatal Death’.
I don’t think it’s confirmed that Queen Elizabeth I is Susan’s mother in the novelization. It’s hinted at, but you are right it comes across as being lazy in terms of writing. It’s like how that lemonade and dry ice potion for the Eighth Doctor to regenerate comes across as being lazy. It’s such a shame as Steven Moffat seems to come up with clever ideas for ‘Doctor Who’ in terms of writing, yet he doesn’t seem to take it seriously as he should. He often spoils the mysterious aspects of the show that were important from its beginning in 1963.
I don’t blame you for skipping this ‘Doctor Who’ novelization/audiobook, Simon. It’s not the best one I’ve come across and even I got slightly annoyed by some of the changes made to certain scenes as well as the omissions by Steven Moffat. The hug between the Eleventh Doctor and Clara and the Black Archives moment showing photos of past companions, classic series and new series, including Nyssa of Traken, were some of my favourite scenes in the TV story even if they were small moments.
Glad you like the subtle humour I put into my review for this novelization/audiobook. I assume ‘The Five(ish) Doctor Reboot’ jokes I put in the review about Steven Moffat’s ‘shame’ of Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy made you laugh.
Also pleased you like how I explain the differences between the TV episode and the novelization/audiobook of this story. Like I said, I prefer the TV episode more than the novelization/audiobook. If I’d been writing this novelization of the story, I would’ve done things differently to how Steven Moffat approached it in terms of writing.
Glad you like my idea of making ‘The Day of the Doctor’ a five-part story instead of a single episode. It just would’ve included every aspect of the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ had ‘The Day of the Doctor’ been a five-parter and would have felt less crammed in as you say.
Thanks for your comments, Simon. Glad you enjoyed my ‘Day of the Doctor’ novelization/audiobook review.
I’m currently reading/listening to the ‘Twice Upon A Time’ novelization/audiobook by Paul Cornell. Honestly, I’m enjoying that more than I enjoyed ‘The Day of the Doctor’ novelization/audiobook. Paul Cornell’s writing seems and feels clearer to me so far as opposed to Steven Moffat’s writing.
Soon as you said five parter i was like yup that is exactly what they should of done, not many shows make 50 years & wouldn’t minded a reduced number episodes for series 7 say 10 instead of 13, Torchwood third season Children Of Earth was a five episode arc which i find to be the shows best season, they missed a huge trick there Tim.
Yeah i find cutting scenes with past companions out insulting to a episode which should celebrate ALL the shows history not just the new series, that dry ice lemonade drink regenerates the Doctor really IRKED me, glad not in the episode, the Doctor is at the point of death but is given dry ice lemonade which triggers a regeneration………(apologies) but what a load of bullshit….seriously Moffat thought that a great idea, he’s the most overrated hack the shows ever had, you put more heart, emotion & character drama in your stories in one episode than he has over 7 years as showrunner.
I shall hopefully start Stockbridge Terror soon, i have sadly had a relapse with my mental health & was quite ill yesterday because my body suffered shock trauma because i couldn’t cope with all family dramas, it overwhelmed me & caused me to relapse, so hopefully your story help me forget about my current situation & i can see were Billy, Nyssa & The Doctor next adventure entails.
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Glad you agree with me on my thoughts about ‘The Day of the Doctor’ being a five parter. I’m surprised the production team didn’t take that opportunity to celebrate 50 years of ‘Doctor Who’ by dedicating five episodes of a story for that special anniversary. You’re right about ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth’. Had Russell T. Davies been in charge of the 50th anniversary celebrations, he would’ve taken the amount of time and effort to make those celebrations worthwhile and for it to live to its fullest. That’s something Steven Moffat doesn’t seem to do with his ‘Doctor Who’ episodes. The production team certainly did miss a huge trick there.
Had I handled Series 7 of ‘Doctor Who’, I would have made every episode be a tribute to each era of the show. For Episode 1, it would be for the William Hartnell era and I would’ve featured Steven. For Episode 2, it would be for the Patrick Troughton era and I would’ve featured Jamie and Zoe. For Episode 3, it would be for the Jon Pertwee era and I would’ve featured Jo Jones. For Episode 4, it would be for the Tom Baker era and I would’ve featured Leela and Romana. For Episode 5, it would be for the Peter Davison era and I would’ve featured Nyssa and Tegan and so on and so forth. It would all build up to the 50th anniversary special which could be a five-parter if I was given a week by the BBC to transmit it in the run up to the 23rd of November 2013. I would’ve also put in a quest theme throughout Series 7 and the 50th anniversary special story to make the celebrations worthwhile. I’ve thought this out, haven’t I? 😀
I was very disappointed the Black Archives scene that showed photos of past ‘Doctor Who’ companions from the classic and new series wasn’t featured in the novelization/audiobook. If it had been included, I would’ve given this novelization/audiobook the benefit of the doubt. But as it’s not included, it just makes ‘The Day of the Doctor’ novelization/audiobook less enjoyable than the TV episode seems to be (for the most part).
I’m pleased you find my stories have more heart, emotion and character drama compared to what was in the Steven Moffat era episodes. I try my best to pour out my love in the ‘Doctor Who’ stories I write. I just can’t comprehend how ‘Doctor Who’ under Steven Moffat’s era felt inferior compared to Russell T. Davies’ era. I’m glad I was brought up on Russell T. Davies’ era of ‘Doctor Who’, otherwise had I been brought up on Steven Moffat’s era first, I’d probably switch off. I’d like to think Chis Chibnall’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ will restore my faith in the new series with his style of writing. I hope it will but that’s something for me to find out and look forward to in October this year.
That’s okay about ‘The Stockbridge Terror’. I certainly hope you’ll get to enjoy that six-part adventure by me when you get to read it. I think you’ll enjoy it, especially with the ties it has to ‘Circular Time’ and ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ by Big Finish as well as the comic book stories set in Stockbridge with the Fifth Doctor including ‘The Tides of Time’, ‘Stars Fell On Stockbridge’ and ‘The Stockbridge Horror’. It should be a pretty exciting adventure especially with featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy as well as Maxwell Edison, Andrew and the Sontarans.
Thanks for your comments, Simon.
Hello Tim and I like this review.
I decided to comment on your review of this special to give you my thoughts on it and to get something off my chest.
I see you enjoyed it and I thought it was really good and a great fit for the 50th anniversary. I wonder if a feature-length special will be done for the 60th anniversary.
I personally felt as though the Doctors, Clara and UNIT worked well together. My favourite scenes were the Black Archives with all the companion photos, the War Doctor regenerating and the appearance of Tom Baker as the Curator. I don’t really agree with you saying that the special should have been a five-parter (you like and Timelord like ‘The Keeper of Traken’ despite saying it should have been longer’, nor that Series 7 should have had an episode dedicated to each Doctor, mostly because they would have to find cast members that were physically suitable for the role. I can’t say ‘The Fiveish Doctors Reboot’ is better since they aren’t really comparable. Both are definitely better than ‘Doctor Who Live: the Afterparty’ surely. I’ll still check out the novelisation eventually despite your criticisms of it.
Now I am getting onto the really important thing I wish to get off my chest. I thought I’d post it here because it does kind of relate to the criticisms surrounding the Moffat era. I have been going through a bit of stress when it comes to discussing this era of Doctor Who. Even though he has been having mental health issues which is understandable, I am going to reference Timelord007 in this and I’m doing so with no malice. I think the arguments surrounding this era and Stephen Moffat have gone too far. It’s ok not to like it and lots of people have good reasons, but there is a lot of overkill in it most times. Maybe Moffat is overrated as a producer and would have been better off as a spoof writer. The Moffat era is possibly overrated, but then again some people feel that way about the Fifth Doctor era. People have every right to like any era of Doctor Who regardless of its reputation including the Moffat and Chibnall eras. I’m sure Timelord007 doesn’t have any malicious intent when criticising the Moffat era and you most certainly don’t do it maliciously since you especially do well in your criticisms. I’ve just been a bit stressed about the whole thing lately now that I’ve seen it and that’s most likely down to the fact that I have autism.
I’m sorry if I’ve gone on a bit. I just thought I’d say this to clear the air a little bit. I’m sure you and Timelord won’t take this the wrong way as it’s not aimed at you and I’m saying it with no malice towards you or him.
Take care, WF92.
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Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Day of the Doctor’. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the story. I’m glad you enjoyed the things that I enjoyed from the story e.g. the companion photos featured in the Black Archives scene, the Doctors, Clara and Tom Baker as the Curator. I know I’ve made criticisms about the story both in the TV version and in the Target novelization/audiobook, but I can’t deny I got some enjoyment from checking them out. I probably had higher hopes for the 50th anniversary special that weren’t met, which is why I enjoyed ‘The Light At The End’, the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ series, ‘Prisoners of Time’ and ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’ more compared to ‘The Day of the Doctor’. I appreciate you not agreeing with my idea for 5-part story compared to a single feature-length episode, but I prefer anniversary specials to be longer rather than shorter to make the most out of celebrating the 50th anniversary. It’s why I enjoy ‘The Hobbit’ film trilogy more than other people since the most is made out of telling the story produced by people who love the world of Middle-Earth as interpreted by Peter Jackson. ‘The Afterparty’ should have been handled better and dedicated more time to various eras of the show featuring the companions rather than focusing on one thing which was mostly ‘The Day of the Doctor’. I don’t think ‘The Afterparty’ exists as a special feature on DVD or as a downloadable feature to watch on YouTube or BBC iPlayer. 😀
I know Timelord007 and myself have criticised the Steven Moffat era at great lengths, especially in the reviews I’ve done on certain episodes of his era. I don’t mean to sound malicious when I criticise one of his stories. I try my best to find positives and negatives in the things I watch and that’s true in the case of Steven Moffat as a writer. There was a time when I did like the guy’s writing, since he wrote excellent ‘Doctor Who’ stories in ‘The Empty Child’/’The Doctor Dances’ and ‘Blink’. I just feel his era has been underwhelming over the years and I’m not saying these things to tell people who love the Steven Moffat era that they’re wrong. As I’ve stated in my general summary of the Steven Moffat era in my ‘Twice Upon a Time’ review and what I said in my ‘Leisure Hive’ review, everyone is entitled to their opinion on what they prefer and what they think is good and bad ‘Doctor Who’. I know Timelord007 can be very passionate in his criticisms, but hopefully he’s not doing it to put people out on how they feel about the Steven Moffat era. I respect his opinion about certain things in TV and film just as much as he respects mine. And I hope the same is between you and me when we discuss something ‘Doctor Who’/TV/film-related when we can’t agree on certain things we like and enjoy. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about this and you’re entitled to your opinion over this matter. I just hope my opinions whether they be critical or not have been entertaining enough for people to enjoy and find interesting. Incidentally, I had no idea that you have autism.
Many thanks for your comments.
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Thanks for the reply Tim.
I know your not being malicious in that sense. Same with Timelord.
I recently rewatched ‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances’ both of which were absolutely amazing. ‘Blink’ was decent as well. I agree that the Moffat era is underwhelming when compared to Moffat episodes from the RTD era.
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I have been thinking about doing a blog post focusing on the Top 10 Best Things about Steven Moffat’s era of ‘Doctor Who’. I haven’t been able to get around to that lately. I was thinking about it in early 2020 before the pandemic happened. Hopefully I’ll get around to doing that blog post someday. I might be checking out the ‘Sherlock’ series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman soon to explore more thoughts on Steven Moffat’s and Mark Gatiss’ writing.
Stay tuned! 😀
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