Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor : A Defence

colin-bakerFollowing on from Doctor Who Magazine’s interview with Colin Baker I have my own musings on his Doctor and in fact feel that he is without doubt the most hard done by actor to ever play the role. Colin makes valid points concerning his reluctance to talk to DWM. Most Doctor Who fans often feel a need to quantify everything concerning the show, I too am guilty of this, regularly typified by DWM who carry out votes asking readers to rate Doctors, stories and merchandise for example. The problem with this is that everyone has different opinions. In the same issue of DWM as Colin’s interview is the result of their 2014 series survey. The best episode as voted by the readers of DWM from Peter Capaldi’s first year in the role was ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’. Now although I enjoyed the story I personally didn’t think much of it, the resolution was particularly poor, in my opinion, considering it to be a case of style over substance. However, credit where it is due the Foretold/Mummy was superbly realised and skilfully portrayed. I personally thought ‘Listen’ was by far and away the highlight of the series but that is only my opinion and apparently does not correlate with the opinions of the majority. The problem therefore with having votes of this nature means that for all the celebrated ‘favourites’ you have those at the bottom end of the scale. It is therefore no wonder that Colin Baker was left deflated when his Doctor was rated towards the bottom as is his debut story ‘The Twin Dilemma’.

the-twin-dilemma1There is no hiding from the fact that ‘The Twin Dilemma’ is poor, which is expected given the problems the production team had experienced with the script. For example, the twins are terrible. In their opening scene they speak very derogatory of their mother, immediately making them unlikeable and made worse when we discover they are mathematical geniuses. Boy geniuses in science fiction never appeal to the audience, modern US comedies yes, but not in science fiction. The costume design is also appalling, for example Kevin McNally’s character has a particularly garish multi-coloured top at one point and even Nicola Bryant’s costume looks like it has been thrown together. Mestor the gastropod is not brilliant either and the Jacondan’s do look like they have simply had feathers stuck to their heads.

the-twin-dilemma2‘The Twin Dilemma’ is one of the rare occasions where a new Doctor’s debut story is not the opener to a new season. In fact the only time this ever occurred before or since was with Patrick Troughton’s debut story, ‘The Power of the Daleks’. That decision was made to start the Sixth Doctor’s tenure with the final story of season 21, producer John Nathan-Turner feeling that “nine months was too long to wait to see the new guy”. This is the first decision which conspired against Colin Baker and sadly not the last. It was also decided that the regeneration process was to have a damaging effect and leave him disturbed. Following on from the previous incarnation this approach makes a lot of sense. However, this strategy doesn’t have the opportunity to be followed through properly. As a result you have a character that is a stark contrast to anything seen previously and as a result is deliberately unlikeable. The problem with that is the lengthy gap from March 1984 to January 1985 works against you. After that 9 month break the recollections of the viewer were of a character that is unpredictable and egotistical making it a difficult sell to get those people to engage with the programme again. Sadly the Sixth Doctor is often associated with strangling his companion and that remains a tough memory to break. But credit to the production team the lure of the Cybermen brought the viewers back and the remainder of Season 22 resulted in reasonably consistent viewing figures between 8 and 6.5million.

21st Century Doctor Who is often associated with story arcs that meander through the series or even multiple ones and this was precisely what the production team were attempting to achieve with Colin Baker’s Doctor. Starting with a Doctor disturbed by his regeneration, being more of an alien personality than had been previously seen but over time he would mellow, following a personal journey which would’ve seen him become the hero we all know he could’ve been. Over that period his companion Peri would’ve stood by him and supported the change, in a similar way to how Rose Tyler helps the Ninth Doctor overcome the trauma of the Time War. This could also have been reflected in his attire. The Sixth Doctor’s costume is one of the most ridiculed parts of the show’s history, a garish mishmash of colours reflecting his exuberant and jarring personality. As that temperament changed so too may his costume have developed, perhaps to the blue variant or black as Colin Baker had suggested? Ultimately, that interesting story arc was to be interrupted because of the disdain that the upper echelons of the BBC had for the programme.

sixth-doctor8 sixth-doctor

Michael Grade, Controller of BBC 1, and Jonathan Powell, Head of Series and Serials, cancelled the programme in 1985 but following the outcry the show would return, at a reduced length, with what became ‘The Trial of the Timelord’ season. As a result of this hiatus the personal journey of the Sixth Doctor never came to fruition. Also Nicola Bryant’s contract was expiring and her character had to be written out, which was certainly dramatic but then ruined by a rewritten revelation at the end of the season. Bonnie Langford was installed as the replacement companion but did not get any formal introduction. Her character was a health and fitness fanatic, making the Doctor exercise in a peculiar TARDIS scene, but in other accounts she is supposedly a computer programmer from Pease Pottage, not that that skill was put to any use during the broadcast stories. Also the continuity is nonsensical. We see her already established as the companion during the future events concerning the Vervoids but after the trial she leaves with the Doctor in the Tardis, despite them not having met at that point in his timeline. It is not surprising that such an error occurred given that the relationship between John Nathan Turner and script editor Eric Saward disintegrated with the script for the finale being withdrawn and unusable. Having got through the Trial of the Timelord season the show would be rocked once again by a decision made by senior BBC staff.

In 1986 John Nathan Turner was instructed by his superiors to fire Colin Baker from his role as the Doctor. Michael Grade was correct in identifying the Sixth Doctor as an unlikeable character but the enforced hiatus had prevented his development so the brash and disagreeable personality shaped people’s opinions and those sentiments could not be changed. If Colin Baker had been given a proper crack at the whip, coupled with some better scripts which fully maximised the potential of the character development story arc, his Doctor would I’m sure be more highly regarded. Sadly, he was treated poorly and did not get the dramatic finale he deserved, which could’ve seen his Doctor complete his evolution and cement his position in the hearts of fans across the world.

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REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Myth Makers (1965)

the-myth-makers-trojan-horseI’ve decided to revisit some of the lost episodes from Doctor Who’s history which no longer exist in the archives by using the original audio recordings which have been remastered and released onto CD. It is also possible to find some very good reconstructions on the internet using animation and images taken from the production.

The Myth Makers is possibly an underrated Doctor Who story. Although the historical stories of the 1960’s were a part of the ‘educational’ purpose of the show they ultimately were phased out the following season after the completion of ‘The Highlanders’ as they were difficult to achieve on the shows budget and were not as popular with viewers as other space adventures. Using only the original audio recordings and some reconstructions posted online, I think this is actually a really good story. Although it is possibly a bit overstretched to 4 parts, it is along the same lines as the 1982 story ‘The Visitation’. On that occasion the Doctor was responsible for the Great Fire of London, on this occasion he gives the Greeks the idea for the Trojan horse, shaping history as we know it. I really like adventures like this where the Doctor is shown to be the one responsible for the famous historical events, that’s the fun with an adventure series with a time traveller. Although not maximised to its full potential we also get the Doctor debating wether or not to give the Greeks the idea of the Trojan horse, it may have been a fanciful story created by Homer. This is far more different to the “You cannot change history, not one line” stance of ‘The Aztecs’ (1964). Instead, the Doctor is actually shaping history, no wonder the Time Lords put him on trial for not adhering to the rule of non-interference.

There is also a reasonable amount of action in the story, the TARDIS appears during a fight between Achilles and Hector for a start, and who doesn’t enjoy a good sword fight? I think that if we had the visuals of these combat scenes and if the Trojan horse was successfully achieved on-screen then this story would be more highly regarded.

What I also didn’t realise is that Francis de Wolff who plays Agamemnon had also been Agrippa in Carry On Cleo, which also featured a turn from future Doctor Jon Pertwee. Small world and all that.

The story is also momentous because it sees the departure of companion Vicki. This is a strange one, although not so high on the ludicrous scale as Leela’s departure in ‘The Invasion of Time’ (1978), Vicki does have plenty of scenes with Troilus who she subsequently leaves the TARDIS to find. It just seems strange given the carnage occurring inside the walls of Troy at the time but she safely manages to navigate that and also irritating because everyone calls her Cressida instead of Vicki. She is then replaced by Katarina, a handmaiden to the frankly over the top Cassandra, but she doesn’t really feature in any significant way apart from helping to carry a wounded Steven into the TARDIS. However, her confident prophecy that she is to die is straight out of the Russell T Davies era of the show. More pressing of course is that Steven is clearly in a bad way and in need of treatment, what will happen next….?

Next week “The Nightmare Begins”! (How great does that sound!? Very is the answer.)

REVIEW: Doctor Who: Mission to the Unknown (1965)

Mission_to_the_Unknown

I’ve decided to revisit some of the lost episodes from Doctor Who’s history which no longer exist in the archives by using the original audio recordings which have been remastered and released onto CD. It is also possible to find some very good reconstructions on the internet using animation and images taken from the production.

Mission to the Unknown holds a unique place in Doctor Who history. It is the only Doctor Who episode broadcast which doesn’t feature the Doctor, his companion or even the TARDIS. However, William Hartnell was still credited despite not appearing. Also referred to as ‘Dalek Cutaway’ the episode serves as a prelude to the epic ‘Dalek’s Masterplan’ which was to follow after the next story, ‘The Myth Makers’. As a result it is quite an exciting episode, the Daleks are dominant obviously but the Varga plants are also very effective and actually create most of the peril and dramatic moments. It would be interesting to see the original visuals and see how well the Varga plant transformations were achieved. Also of note is the menagerie of aliens from the seven galaxies who are also particularly unique and visually strong.

Apart from Marc Cory conveniently hearing a Dalek loudspeaker announcement to confirm his suspicions, the whole episode perfectly unveils that the Daleks have formed an alliance with a band of other aliens in order to threaten the galaxy. For added drama their first target is Earth!

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to watch this on transmission without the internet or Doctor Who magazine to explain what was going on. So after an exciting episode with an impending threat coming from the Daleks, who are stronger than we have ever seen them, the narrative lingers with the viewer for a further four weeks because first the TARDIS crew lands outside the city of Troy.

Next week….The Myth Makers

Top 15 Doctor Who VHS covers

  1. The Trial of the Timelord

Trial_of_a_Time_LordThis artwork was used for the outer cardboard box which contained the 3 tapes which made up the 14 episode 23rd season. Despite being constructed in a manner based loosely on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ those three story strands are each represented in the artwork, by Drathro, Sil and a Vervoid. In addition the over-arching plot concerning the trial of the Doctor is also represented with the inclusion of the Valeyard. It is the image of the Valeyard which gets the cover on this list. The detail and visualisation of the three alien creatures is excellent but it is the way that Michael Jayston’s eyes appear to be piercing from the surface, staring out at the viewer which makes this design notable. It also features a very strong image of Colin Baker, resolute and focused, indicating the severity of the predicament in which he finds himself in during the story.

  1. The Power of Kroll (Colin Howard)

The_Power_of_KrollAlthough this story is not highly regarded the VHS cover designed by Colin Howard is excellent. Kroll looks imposing, dominating the frame and towering over the Doctor and Ranquin in a far more convincing manner than is achieved during the story. It is also one of few artworks where the artist manages to portray the environment in which the story takes place. In this case the long grass, rising to above Tom Baker’s waste, and the watery swamp give you a feel for the story without knowing any of the plot. It is also always appreciated when we get images of the lovely Mary Tamm, in her penultimate story on Doctor Who, this time looking over the Doctor.

  1. Paradise Towers (Colin Howard)

Paradise_TowersAgain, not a widely regarded story but once more Colin Howard manages to deliver an impressive piece of cover artwork. What makes this piece so succesful is the image of the Doctor and Mel, wrestling with the pool cleaner robot. The expressions and grimaces are incredibly accurate, you can practically hear Bonnie Langford screaming. Similarly the Chief Caretaker, the wonderful and much missed Richard Briers is also beautifully included. Other notable details such as the deterioration on the tower blocks and the water also add to the overall appeal of the cover. The shape of the cover is also broken up with a curve outline, something not seen on other artwork.

  1. Planet of Fire

Planet_of_FireThis is the only video cover which was released after 1996 to make this list. After the Paul McGann TV movie was broadcast the BBC decided to change the style in which video covers were made. Instead of commissioning artists to create a unique piece of artwork, digital photomontages were used instead. The majority of these are largely uninspiring and insipid with very little flair. However, this example for Planet of Fire does get onto the list. The strength of it lies in the realistic effect of the flames engulfing the leading characters. Although it is not particularly representative of the product of the story but it certainly matches the title.

  1. The Mark of the Rani (Colin Howard)

The_Mark_of_the_RaniThis cover equally features all three of the lead actors from the story, including in her first appearance The Rani, played by the effervescent Kate O’Mara. Anthony Ainley also makes the cover along with Colin Baker. One of the strongest features of the artwork is the background, the green star field permeating across the cover. Although hidden by text we also see the Rani’s Tardis console. This was a fantastic design featured in the story, which sadly did not return. Instead of the hexagonal shaped console we’d seen since 1963 this console was circular, with a central time rotor constructed of conjoined hoops. Other features also include Stephenson’s Rocket, which doesn’t feature as predominately as the mine shaft that is used for the cliff-hanger of Part 1. Colin Baker’s Doctor features centrally in the composition.

  1. The Day of the Daleks

Day_of_the_DaleksThis is one of the earliest video releases, only the 7th title, from 1986 and as a result it has a simple photo montage cover design. Although simple, featuring only Daleks in a strong ‘V’ formation it actually suggests a story featuring lots of the evil pepperpots from Skaro. However, this is something which ultimately the story doesn’t deliver. The artwork features five Daleks, but the story only sees three make an appearance but this shouldn’t be looked on as a negative. Video artworks for Dalek stories often mean them sharing the limelight with their Time Lord nemesis or the Exillons or Davros, a trait which continued into the DVD range. But on this occasion the cover is all about the Daleks, they fill the frame, menacing in their formation. As the most successful alien creation on the show it is only right that they take centre stage for once.

  1. The Deadly Assasin (Andrew Skilleter)

Deadly_AssassinThis is Andrew Skilleter’s first entry onto the list, an individual synonmous with Doctor Who artwork. He produced covers for the Target and Virgin novels, plus the iconic Five Doctors Radio Times cover. This particular example for the Deadly Assasin is very strong. Tom Baker is the central focus and his facial features are captured perfectly. Equally well realised is the decomposing Master, his creepy elongated fingers stretching over the Doctor. The shadowed figure of Goth also replicates a strong image seen during the story, as is the triangular sights. Also included is the seal of Rassilon design which is subtle with Tom Baker taking the central focus with the threatening Master looming over him.

  1. The Mind Robber (Alister Pearson)

The_Mind_RobberStories of Doctor Who from the 1960’s were produced in black and white and the video covers refected this. However, there was the possibility to include some colour and in this case the colour was included in the realisation of Rapunzel. The golden hair brings life to the artwork but that does not mean that the rest of it is lacking in any way other than colour. The Mind Robber is a story with a lot of different elements and the majority of those are reflected in this cover. The white robots and Medusa are incredibly detailed and the addition of the clockwork robots and unicorn add more strong visual elements. Also of note is image of Patrick Troughton, with his hair taking a lot of the plaudits which always reflected his ‘cosmic hobo’ characterisation of the role.

  1. Warriors of the Deep (Colin Howard)

Warriors_of_the_DeepAlthough not a highly regarded story Warriors of the Deep did see the returns of both the Silurians and their sea dwelling cousins. The colour of the artwork, a deep green, reflects the deep ocean floor where the story takes place, specifically the sea base, located appropriately at the bottom of the composition. Whether you agree with the redesigns of the two main monsters or not one has to admit they do look impressive on this cover with exquisite detail. Even the Myrka looks intriguing, a creature which failed to deliver on screen but seen in an appropriately selective way. The Silurian ship adds balance to the composition with the Doctor taking centre position. However, the image of Peter Davison is clearly taken from a still taken during the production and doesn’t work effectively on the cover, his eyes looking in the general direction of the Sea Devil but not specifically at him.

  1. The Ark in Space

The_Ark_in_SpaceThis is a brilliant cover. Simple in it’s construction but incredibly effective. Realeased in 1989 it demonstrates how the compositions improved gradually over time from the Day of the Daleks release with more elements being added and the overall composition improving. This cover includes a great image of Tom Baker, looking delightfully apprehensive and also has the space station Nerva, orbiting the planet Earth. However, the absolute success of this cover is the Wirrin. An alien creature, brilliantly depicted, lurching and threating over the whole planet. It is a very evocative image and works beautifully. The text at the bottom is also placed properly, all other releases having in centrally which often obscures parts of the design. That method could actually have worked on this cover but the fact it is moved over to the bottom right corner balances the whole image very succesfully.

  1. Terror of the Autons (Alister Pearson)

terror_of_the_autonsThis is a great cover which would’ve caught the eye of any shopper at their local video store. Largely this is because of the rich purple background which doesn’t correlate to anything seen in the story but works perfectly with the rest of the configuration. Both Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and Roger Delgado’s Master are perfectly brought to life, Pertwee’s hair and Delgado’s goatee beard in particular look fantastic. The Autons also get a respectable presence with the faceless Auton policeman looking menacing and the oversized carnival mask equally prominent. The centre image of the radio telescope signalling to the Nestenes is an interesting selection but does provide an adequate focal point to the composition.

  1. An Unearthly Child (Alister Pearson)

Unearthly_ChildThis cover is one of a few which featured both on the VHS release but also as the cover to the Target novelisation. As discussed previously, it was an executive decision that the covers for 1960’s Doctor Who stories must reflect the black and white nature of the video material. As a result the design was largely monochrome but still has fantastic creativity. The blending of William Hartnell and Carol Ann Ford’s faces is beautifully executed and rightly receives the focus. Hartnell in particular is beautifully captured. The bottom of the frame recreates an iconic moment from the closing seconds of the very first episode, the TARDIS landing on the unknown landscape. This is picked up brilliantly with the TARDIS itself being in colour, the prominent blue standing out from the rest of the composition despite the fact it would obviously have been monochrome on the video.

  1. Castrovalva (Andrew Skilleter)

CastrovalvaThis is a fantastic piece of artwork which just so happened to be used as a video cover. The incredible highlight is the visualisation of the recursive occlusion seen during the story. Such an abstract image must have been incredibly difficult to achieve but is pulled off spectacularly with the Fifth Doctor moving through the myriad of staircases. The image of Peter Davison in his first televised appearance as the Doctor is suitably prominent, even if his hair doesn’t seem as blonde as in real life. Anthony Ainley’s Master also gets an appearance, firing his TCE weapon and his TARDIS also stands at the top left corner of the composition. The colour is also very strong and rich but ultimately the quality of the artwork is in the abstract recursive occlusion visual.

  1. Tomb of the Cybermen (Alister Pearson)

Tomb_of_the_CybermenMissing, presumed dead! Returned to BBC Video after over 20 years.

Need I say more?

When Tomb of the Cybermen was discovered in Hong Kong in 1991 it was a moment of celebration for Doctor Who fans. At the Doctor Who celebration at Longleat in 1983 a poll was taken for the first title which fans would like to see released onto video. Tombs won. But because it wasn’t in the archive any longer Revenge of the Cybermen was released instead. However, in 1992 fans could finally own the Tomb of the Cybermen and watch it as often as they liked. The artwork for the release appropriately features the iconic image of the story, the Cybermen breaking out of their tombs.

  1. The Sea Devils (Colin Howard)

Sea_DevilsThis is my all-time favourite Doctor Who video cover. It features one of the most iconic images of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, a photograph taken during the making of this story with a Sea Devil reaching for his shoulder, which incidentally I have framed and on my wall at home, much is my fondness for it. Pertwee’s facial features and expression are captured perfectly. Similarly, the legendary Master, Roger Delgado features in the artwork and is visualised expertly, holding his calling device which adds another detail, as does the prison castle. The real highlight however is undoubtedly the Sea Devils. It is not very often that we were treated to multiple versions of the same monster on a cover. But in this case we have a trio of Sea Devils, all from different angles providing a more rounded view of these iconic monsters. The background is an appropriate blue colour; highlighting the nautical nature of the adventure but for some reason the DVD release had a pink colour scheme.

Overall, it is one of the best examples of the amazing artwork created by a series of talented artists for the popular VHS releases, showcasing fantastically captured Doctors, villains and monsters in beautiful compositions that will live long in the memory.

Doctor Who Festival tickets still available but are they worth it?

doctor-who-festival-logo

This November the Excel Exhibition Centre in London will once again host a Doctor Who event featuring cast, crew and plenty of other activities. In 2013, the Doctor Who Celebration marked the 50th anniversary on a grand scale with multiple Doctors and companions in attendance and subsequently tickets sold out in 24 hours. Tickets for the Doctor Who festival went on sale at 10am on June 5th but are still available. So what has changed? Is Doctor Who losing its appeal or have fans reacted unfavourably to another expensive event designed to increase revenues for BBC Worldwide?

Firstly, the issue of ticket price has to be addressed. In 2013 the standard adult ticket was £45 per day. In 2015 that has increased to £65. That equates to a 45% increase on the original ticket price. Similarly, the special TARDIS tickets have increased from £95.50 to £110 for adults and for a family they have increased from £218 to a staggering £285. On that evidence it is hard to argue that BBC Worldwide are not just simply trying to squeeze money from the passionate fans who adore the show. However, TARDIS tickets have already sold out for the Festival, which does demonstrate the faithfulness of the fans but are they being catered for as well as they could be?

The event itself is hardly original. In 2012 an official convention was held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay at an astonishing £99 a ticket. This convention allowed organisers to recognise what would provide the structure of all future events, guests gathered in an auditorium whilst on stage cast and crew discuss the show. In addition to this, guests could book to get autographs and photographs with Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, however those opportunities were of course limited and at an additional cost. This was largely repeated at the Doctor Who Celebration in 2013 but on a grander scale. Now it appears that the Doctor Who Festival will replicate it once again. Perhaps this is an indication of why there are still tickets available; fans have seen these events all before. So perhaps this is the reason fans are wary of spending significant amounts of money to attend events similar to previous ones they’ve already attended? It is also proved from previous experience that the exclusive merchandise sold at the event will later make its way onto official merchandise outlet sites at a reduced price, devaluing the so called ‘exclusive’ prestige. In addition to the Festival this year there has also been the Symphonic Spectacular tour, plus the Doctor Who Experience attraction. Therefore, there are plenty of activities that Doctor Who fans can spend their hard earned money on to engage with the show and those are just the official events.

Unofficial conventions are staged every weekend all over the world and offer the opportunity to engage with the actors more closely than just seeing them up on a stage. To many it is that brief 30 seconds with a star that provides the highlight of their day and a memorable experience. That simply isn’t possible when thousands of people are sat in an auditorium. Those thousands of tickets sold, plus the high ticket price, point to a big revenue generator but perhaps this perceived apathy from fans failing to purchase tickets is a sign that organisers need to not only reevaluate their pricing policy but also the format of the events that they hold.

John Nathan-Turner era discussion – Part 1

Having read the revealing biography of JNT I have decided to revisit this era of Doctor Who, with the discussion focusing on some of the memorable and often widely debated moments.

Part 1 – The Changes Begin

John Nathan-Turner had worked on a few Doctor Who serials, starting with the Space Pirates in 1969 as a floor assistant and subsequently later stories such as The Ambassadors of Death and Colony in Space. During the production of ‘The Talons of Weng Chiang’ he began as Production Unit Manager and held the position through Seasons 15, 16 and 17. In 1979 he then became the Producer of the show, taking over from Graham Williams and was tasked with taking Doctor Who in the 1980’s.

Season 17 had been problematic for the production team. The Erato effect in ‘Creature from the Pit’ failed to cause anything but uncontrollable laughter amongst the crew, ‘Nightmare of Eden’ had indeed been a nightmare with the director leaving during through the production, and the final story of the season ‘Shada’ was completely abandoned due to industrial action. The tone of the product on screen had also become noticeably lighter than the horror-influenced period of Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes, largely attributable to Script Editor Douglas Adams. Behind the camera the star of the show Tom Baker had also become more opinionated and difficult to manage but also the budget for the show was struggling to cope with the demands required of the production. This was the environment which faced John Nathan-Turner, a daunting task for an individual who had not been a producer before. As a result Barry Letts was appointed Executive Producer to oversee JNT as he began to take the show in a new direction.

Leisure_HiveThe Leisure Hive (1980)

The first story to enter production was David Fisher’s script ‘The Leisure Hive’. JNT would use this story to begin to ring the changes, updating the look and sound of the show, removing some of the comedy elements and scaling back the appearances of K9 and the sonic screwdriver. With the suggestion of Barry Letts and incoming script editor Christopher H Bidmead, there was a return to stories being influenced by real, or at least what could pass for real, science. In this story tachyonics is the predominant science mentioned, which was based upon tachyons that are theoretical particles which move faster than light. This method grounded the show back into a world of realism and plausibility and away from the fantastical tales of the previous regime.

1980The first and most notable change was the new title sequence, incorporating a journey through space, a new image of Tom Baker and redesigned logo; it was also accompanied by a new arrangement of the theme tune by Peter Howell. The new titles would later become more associated with the Fifth Doctor but the travelling through the star field proved highly successful and continued throughout the 1980’s. It still retained the travelling motion which had been established by the previous ‘time tunnel’ sequence and it is still used today in the modern show. A reimagining of the logo to a very on-trend neon tube design has dated a little but at the time was fresh and further established a new era of the show. The new look immediately catches the eye but unfortunately that initial excitement is let down by an interminable panning shot of the Brighton seafront until the Tardis is finally revealed.

June Hudson designTom Baker’s costume also got a facelift, superbly created by expert costume designer June Hudson; it had a fresh colour and new materials but still retained the iconic scarf associated with his Doctor. Under the direction of JNT question marks were added to the collar of Baker’s shirt but wisely Hudson made them subtle, unlike the plague of question marks across Sylvester McCoy’s jumper. The costume fitted the fourth Doctor at this later stage of his regeneration. It was more stylish; colour coordinated and had a maturity which elevated it above the previous casual ‘student-esque’ look which had been highly successful. Now however the Doctor had become older, which was reflected in the new title sequence image, and amusingly acknowledged with him asleep in a deck chair on Brighton sea front. The Doctor’s character becomes more melancholic and less dominant in the story, with the comedic elements almost entirely removed. Entering his seventh and final year in the role Tom Baker delivers a memorable performance, particularly after being aged but still retaining his presence and appeal. Tom Baker was and always will be associated with his role as the Doctor, he had become iconic in the role and to some children had indeed been the only Doctor in their experience. So although the Fourth Doctor had matured he was still that alien mysterious personality, just underneath a new costume.

foamasiThe new look for the show included more than just the lead actor’s appearance. The Leisure Hive on Argolis delivers a bright and colourful environment with the Argolins in particular looking fantastically bold, which contrasts greatly to the dreary appearance of Earth. I personally like the addition of the nodules on the horn which indicates the Argolin’s age and how close they are to death. The Foamasi are also noticeably different in terms of the way they are featured very sparingly on screen, shadowy shapes, peculiar eyes peering round corners, all suggest a notable alien creature. Unfortunately, the final look is ultimately unimpressive, portly and covered in a peculiar fabric intended to appear as scales but essentially failing. One of the more successful effects utilised for the first time in the story was Quantel, a digital image processing system which allowed the creation of the cliffhanger for episode 1 which appear to show the Doctor being torn apart. These are simple effects which can be created easily nowadays but at the time added to the fresh appearance of the programme, pushing the technical boundaries further than had been previously achieved. Even the Tardis exterior prop received a redesign, notable for the stacked roof consistent with the original prop from the 1960’s.

Further changes noticeable in this story include the move to include new electronic music. JNT took composer Dudley Simpson, who had contributed to an extraordinary number of stories over the years, out for lunch to inform him that his services were no longer required. From that point on all incidental music fell into the remit of the historic BBC Radiophonic Workshop. As a result the show looked but now also sounded more contemporary.

The Leisure HiveUnfortunately, the production of the programme went over budget and it is thought that this is the reason for director Lovett Bickford never being appointed on any further productions. Despite this ‘The Leisure Hive’ achieves exactly what ‘The Eleventh Hour’ managed to in 2010. It was still Doctor Who but it felt new and fresh and different.


Tom Baker delivered another commanding performance in the next story, playing both the Doctor and his evil doppelganger, Meglos. The story was also notable for the appearance of Jacqueline Hill, who had played original companion Barbara Wright, an early example of Turner’s penchant for ‘stunt casting’ to gain attention for the series from the press. It also saw the use of more new video technology, ‘scene sync’ which allowed for CSO (green screen) effects to support camera movement instead of static shots. The use of CSO may also have been a solution to avoid building sets and ensure this story came in under budget, unlike ‘The Leisure Hive’.

The next three stories formed a trilogy set in E-Space, which existed outside our own universe and over the course of the trilogy would see the arrival of new companion Adric and the departures of both Romana and K9 from the series. These substantial changes paved the way for the biggest transformation in the show, not seen since the mid 1970’s, a new Doctor…

The (Alternative) Day of the Doctor

Now this may be deemed sacrilegious by all those who voted the 50th Anniversary special the single greatest episode in Doctor Who’s history in DWM’s poll but I thought I’d give it a go anyway. One of the main disappointments I found during the episode is the fact that David Tennant and Billie Piper do not interact. Another issue is that Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603 but the National Gallery was not built until over 200 years later. I also was not a huge fan of Joanna Page’s performance. So to solve this I removed her character, changed the date and brought the Tenth Doctor and Rose back together. The Moment would then be a brief voiceover which only the War Doctor can hear. There is also a nice moment of Rose speaking with the War Doctor about his next incarnation and the changes that she saw after first meeting him.

Anyway, I hope you like it!


IMG_5707A policeman walks past Coal Hill School and passes a sign for “I.M. Foreman, Scrap Merchant”. Inside the school, Clara Oswald is teaching, ending on a quote by Marcus Aurelius: “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” The school bell rings and as the students leave, a teacher runs into the classroom informing Clara that she has had a call from her “doctor”. She grabs her helmet and hops on her motorbike. She approaches a police box stood at the side of a rural road. As she approaches the TARDIS the doors open and she drives straight inside, closing them with a click of the fingers. The Doctor, reading a book of ‘Advanced Quantum Mechanics’, greets Clara with a big hug. Suddenly, the TARDIS takes off without starting the engines. Startled, the Doctor looks out to see a helicopter carrying the TARDIS away. He calls UNIT’s head of Scientific Research, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, from the phone on the TARDIS exterior doors.

UNIT scientist Osgood rushes to Kate with her phone. Kate instructs Osgood to tell Malcolm that the ravens need new batteries and for Osgood to use her inhaler at the sound of her heavy breathing before accepting the call.

The Doctor is told that he has been summoned. Kate is surprised to learn that he is on-board the TARDIS, which they thought was empty and were simply moving it for his convenience. Instead the TARDIS is brought directly to the “scene of the crime”. Upon arrival, the Doctor and Clara are taken into the National Gallery to investigate.

The Doctor explains his relationship with UNIT to Clara, who is sceptical of the Doctor ever having had a real job. They stop in front of something impossible, a 3-dimensional oil painting. The painting depicts the fall of the Gallifreyan city of Arcadia during the Time War. Kate tells the Doctor that there is some controversy over the work’s name. It is either named ‘No More’ or ‘Gallifrey Falls’. The painting is a form of Time Lord art. The Doctor is visibly disturbed by the painting. As his old memories awaken, he shares with Clara his darkest secret: the life he has tried to bury for years. There was a past incarnation of the Doctor that fought in the Time War, and made the ultimate decision to eliminate the Daleks and the Time Lords. And it was done after the events depicted in this painting…

The Daleks ravage Arcadia. As children cry and the people scream, a soldier sends a message to the High Council of Time Lords: Arcadia has fallen. He looks around and sees the Doctor’s TARDIS. Then the elderly voice of the “War Doctor” asks the soldier for his gun. The Doctor uses the weapon to shoot a message for both warring civilisations into a nearby wall: NO MORE. As the Daleks prepare to exterminate a group of Gallifreyans, the Doctor’s presence is detected and draws their attention away from the innocent people and they discover the message. Suddenly, the Doctor’s TARDIS crashes through the wall, demolishing several Daleks. The Doctor’s escape from Arcadia is witnessed by a single Dalek. It questions the meaning of “NO MORE”, bellowing “Explain! Explain!” but explodes into flames.

Gallifreyan Commanders gather in the War Room, planning their next moves, with the General dismissing the High Council’s plans as “they have already failed”. They receive the Doctor’s message, and the General is not pleased to learn of his presence, calling him a madman. A Time Lady rushes in to inform the War Council that there has been a breach in the Omega Arsenal in the Time Vaults. The most feared and forbidden weapon in the universe is missing: The Moment. The Doctor has stolen it, and intends to use it to end the Time War once and for all. The Time Lords have already used all of the previously forbidden weapons, but dared not unleash this weapon in particular. It was said that the Moment was the ultimate weapon, capable of eradicating all life in its vicinity with the exception of the person who activates it, leaving them alone to be haunted by that action forever. The General muses that only the Doctor would be mad enough to use such a weapon.

Footsteps can be seen leading away from the battle-scuffed TARDIS, which has been uncharacteristically abandoned by the Doctor. The sound of his voice issuing an ominous final warning is heard: “Time Lords of Gallifrey, Daleks of Skaro, I serve notice on you all. Too long I have stayed my hand. No more. Today you leave me no choice. Today, this war will end. No more. No more…” The Doctor’s tired face comes into view as he strides across a desert surface, a burlap sack over his shoulder. He enters a barn-like dwelling, where he uncovers a complicated mechanical box, covered in gears. The device ticks loudly as its clockwork-like parts rattle and clank. As the Doctor studies it, he cannot find a discernible trigger mechanism. He puzzles over how to activate it grumbling “Why is there never a big red button?” Surprisingly he hears a voice. Confused he looks around the barn and realises there is nobody else there. Turning around he realises it is the Moment which is the voice which he can here. “How are you doing that?” the Doctor asks. “I exist on a higher plane of consciousness. I am the interface. I am the Moment.” War-weary and bitter, the elderly Time Lord confirms that the Moment needs time to activate, a strategy which he determines is to allow the person looking to use it time to consider their actions, to count the lives which will be lost. The Moment then reveals that it can provide an escape route out of his predicament, opening a time fissure. More than that the Moment can show him his future, to see what becomes of him after his action – but a fez falls out, much to the confusion of the Doctor…

Back in the 21st century, Kate Stewart explains that the painting was discovered deep within the gallery vaults, hidden away. The Doctor ponders how the painting could possibly be on 21st Century Earth. As Kate leads the Doctor and Clara away, a nearby UNIT scientist named McGillop receives a mysterious phone call. Befuddled, he stares at the painting, wondering why he should move it.

The Doctor and Clara move through the Gallery, he recalls a time when he investigated other strange occurrences in the National Gallery shortly after opening in 1838 but he was a different man back then…

The camera focuses on a particular painting but panning out there is a blur as two shapes sprint past the painting. The Tenth Doctor and Rose are running down the corridor. They turn round a corner and back up against the wall, short of breath Rose asks,            “What the hell was that? All red and suckers!” The Doctor explains, “It was a Zygon. But what are they doing here?” “And I thought the Ood looked bad enough,” says Rose. The Doctor explains that they have to find out what the Zygons are doing here, they peer around the corner and are spotted by a Zygon. Another chase along the corridors begins until the Doctor and Rose reach a gallery, closing the doors and pushing benches up against them. Outside the Zygon bangs on the door. The Doctor triumphantly reports that the Zygon cannot get in, only for Rose to point out that they now also cannot get out. Suddenly a time fissure appears, and a fez lands in front of the Doctor and Rose, much to their bemusement.

Back in the National Gallery, Kate welcomes the Eleventh Doctor and Clara to the Under-Gallery, a secret storage area established deep underground. The Doctor notices that the floor is covered in stone dust, and asks a scientist named Osgood to analyse it and produce a report (in triplicate with lots of graphs). As they walk through the gallery, the Doctor spots a fez in a glass case and immediately dons it, much to the bemusement of Clara, who wonders if he can ever go past one without putting it on, which he cannot do.

Kate shows them more 3-D paintings, landscapes this time but with the broken glass from their shattered frames covering the floor. The Doctor notes that the glass has been shattered from the inside, and Kate says that they all contained figures which have now disappeared. Suddenly, another time fissure opens. Puzzled, the Doctor faintly recalls seeing the fissure before, before realising that the fez that had fallen through in 1838 was the fez he was now wearing. Delighted, he throws the fez into the fissure and follows it. Clara tries to follow, but Kate restrains her.

The Eleventh Doctor falls through the fissure and lands in front of his predecessor in the nineteenth century. Stunned, the Tenth Doctor dons the fez himself. The Eleventh jumps up and rambles excitedly about how skinny his predecessor is, which makes the Tenth realise his identity. They incredulously pull out their sonic screwdrivers and compare them. Rose takes a liking to the Eleventh Doctor, pointing out that his sonic is bigger! As the Doctors begin bickering, the time fissure increases in intensity. The Eleventh shouts through the tunnel to Clara. Hypothesising that the fissure can go both ways, he tosses his fez in, but it fails to appear in Clara’s time. Kate then leaves, to call one of the UNIT members to bring her the Cromer file – not noticing a dark shadow behind her…

At the end of the Time War, the War Doctor picks up the fez and steps into the fissure.

Back in 1838, the two Doctors try to reverse the polarity, but the use of two sonic screwdrivers at once confuses the polarity, resulting in the War Doctor falling through and landing in front of his future selves. He jovially greets them, asking after the Doctor and mistaking them for his companions. The two older Doctors, both disturbed on seeing their former incarnation, pull out their sonic screwdrivers, affirming their identity to their younger self. Unimpressed by his future incarnations, the War Doctor asks if he is going through a mid-life crisis. Suddenly, the Zygons break through the door and into the gallery surrounding the three Doctors and Rose. They are threatened by the Zygons, but Clara’s voice sounds from the fissure making them cautious about destroying the Doctors and Rose, so instead the Zygons imprison them.

Kate has returned to Clara, comes up with an idea and takes Clara to the UNIT Black Archive to retrieve Jack Harkness’ vortex manipulator in order to save the Doctors.

The Doctors and Rose are thrown into a cleaner’s cupboard. The War Doctor tries to sonic the door, but it fails and so sits down. The Tenth asks why these three Doctors have been brought together, whilst he and his Eleventh incarnation try to work out a way of getting through a tiny ventilation shaft.

In the present, Osgood and McGilop are reading the results of the analysis of the stone dust. The dust is from materials not found in the structure of the building, but common in statues. Osgood realises that the statues must have been smashed, and suddenly understands why: the inhabitants of the paintings needed a place to hide. The Zygons reveal themselves from underneath the dust cloths covering what the humans had believed were statues. The aliens accost McGilop, and corner Osgood. Osgood prays for the Doctor to save her, but instead of being killed, she is faced with her duplicate. The Zygon taunts Osgood, but she gains the upper hand by tripping the alien with her scarf, and runs away.

Kate and Clara enter the Black Archive, housing the most dangerous alien artefacts recovered by UNIT. Its contents are so top secret that staff have their memories wiped every day. It transpires that this is not the first time which Clara has visited the archive. They view the Vortex Manipulator. Osgood and McGilop enter the Archive, to Clara’s surprise. They reveal themselves as Zygons, as does Kate. Whilst Zygon Kate updates Zygon Osgood and Zygon McGilop that they have acquired the device, revelling in the fact that the Zygons now possess the ability to time travel, Clara takes her opportunity, grabbing the Vortex Manipulator and uses it to travel to the past.

The War Doctor proposes an isolated sonic shift in the door molecules in order to disintegrate the door, but the Tenth Doctor rejects the idea, saying it would take centuries to calculate the necessary formula. The War Doctor starts bickering with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, chastising them for ashamed of being a “grown-up”. Subdued, they look at him darkly, reminding him of the day he ended the Time War. Rose sits down and talks with the War Doctor. She remembers back to when she first met the Doctor, his ninth incarnation. He was a broken man, haunted by his actions. But it didn’t make him a bad person.  The War Doctor asks his future selves ‘How many children died on Gallifrey that day?’ The Eleventh Doctor says, “I’ve absolutely no idea.” The Tenth Doctor suddenly gives him a look of outrage and disgust, the Eleventh Doctor claims he doesn’t know how many children died, he says he’s forgotten the events of that day; he’s so old that he’s not even sure of his age anymore, so old that he can’t remember if he’s lying about his age. However, the Tenth Doctor angrily asks how the Eleventh could ever forget something as important as this particular number, and bitterly states that there were 2.47 billion children on the planet that day. Disturbed by his successor’s impassive nature, he asks him, “For once, I would like to know where I’m going.” Irked by this remark, the Eleventh Doctor coldly replies, “No, you really wouldn’t!” The Tenth Doctor looks back at him, deeply concerned. Rose explains to the War Doctor that the Tenth Doctor has become “the man who regrets” and the Eleventh “the man who forgets”. They are the future of the Doctor. The War Doctor muses that his sonic screwdriver, at the most basic level, is the exact same device as the ones used by his counterparts: “Same software — different case”. He realises that if he scans the door and implants the calculations as a permanent subroutine in the screwdriver, it will take hundreds of years to work out the formula necessary to disintegrate the door, meaning that the Eleventh Doctor’s screwdriver, being essentially the same as the ones before it, has the completed calculation ready to go. They exuberantly congratulate themselves on their cleverness before Clara bursts in through the door, telling them that the key had been in the door the whole time. Clara chastises the three Doctors for being so obtuse.

The real Osgood walks through the halls of the Under-Gallery, before discovering the real Kate trapped in a Zygon body print chamber. Osgood frees her, but Kate bemoans the fact that the Zygons now have control of the Black Archive and also the planet.

The Doctors, Rose and Clara sneak back through to the gallery, whereupon they observe the Zygons preparing their plan. The Eleventh Doctor explains to Rose and Clara that the Zygons have decided to take Earth as their new home after their planet had been destroyed in the early battles of the Time War. However, the nineteenth century version of Earth is too primitive for the invading shape shifters, so they intend to invade the future in order to establish their new home world. They therefore have translated themselves into stasis cubes using the Time Lords’ three-dimensional painting technology. Clara points out that the Zygons have not just infiltrated the future but have access to the UNIT Black Archive.

The three Doctors, Clara and Rose return to the Tenth Doctor’s TARDIS, with the other two Doctors insulting the desktop theme. The presence of three different Doctors causes the TARDIS to short out, revealing the interior of the War Doctor’s TARDIS, then finally the most current TARDIS desktop, which also receives an insult, except from Rose, who really quite likes it, much to the hurt of the Tenth Doctor. They set off for the Black Archive.

Kate, Osgood, and McGillop confront their doppelgangers in the Black Archive. Kate threatens to detonate a nuclear warhead beneath the Tower, destroying all of London in order to protect the planet from the Zygons, and voice-activates it, blocking her Zygon duplicate’s attempts to stop the countdown with her identical voice pattern. The Eleventh Doctor’s voice is heard begging Kate not to detonate the warhead, via the space-time telegraph he had once given to her father, but she cuts him off. He tries to land, but the Tower of London had been made TARDIS-proof to prevent his interference. However, the War Doctor figures out a way to get in, using stasis cubes. The Doctor calls McGillop in the past, and instructs him to bring the “No More”/”Gallifrey Falls” painting to the Black Archive…

The two Kates fight over the detonation, both needing to agree in order to stop the detonation. The real Osgood begs the Doctor to save them again. The Doctors, Rose and Clara have frozen themselves in a painting, but now face the Fall of Arcadia as it unfolds, and are immediately met by an attacking Dalek, which the Doctors repel with their sonic screwdrivers. It crashes through the glass of the painting and the Doctors emerge. Clara and Rose soon follow.

The three Doctors hand the two Kate Stewarts an ultimatum when they refuse to disarm the Black Archive’s nuclear warhead: they corrupt the memory modifiers to confuse everybody making them unaware if they are Human or Zygon. Then, if they stop the detonation and create a peace treaty, which is bound to be fair as the negotiators can’t remember which side they’re on; they will have their memories restored. Utterly confused over their identities, the two Kates stop the detonation and begin to negotiate the treaty.

As the treaty negotiations continue, Clara speaks to the War Doctor. She explains that “her” Doctor always talked about the day he wiped out the Time Lords. She says that he would do anything to take it back, but the War Doctor remains convinced that his actions will save billions of lives in the future. Clara goes to get a cup of tea. Across the room, the War Doctor notices a time fissure has opened and realises that the time has come to make his choice. When Clara returns the War Doctor has vanished.

Back in the barn, the War Doctor stands in front of the Moment, which now has a trigger mechanism in the form of a big red button for him to push. The interface questions him once more. He still doesn’t believe he is worthy of the name “Doctor”, losing all hope, that is until his future selves arrive and step out of their TARDISes. They join him at the Moment, finally forgiving him, and themselves, for their actions, ready to support the man who was the Doctor more than anybody else. The three of them prepare to push the button together, but Clara tearfully objects. She knew that “the Doctor” had activated the Moment and destroyed his home planet, but she had never imagined the Eleventh Doctor, her Doctor, with his hand on the button. Rose begs for them to come up with another idea.

The reality of the Time War projects around them: children crying, innocents suffering. The Doctor could not find another way to end it all, but Clara and Rose believe there is a different solution. They remind the Time Lord of who he is: the Warrior, the Hero, and the Doctor. They’ve had plenty of warriors, and what he will do is a heroic act in itself. What the universe needs now is a Doctor who lives up to the name he chose for himself: never cruel or cowardly, never giving up and never giving in.

A brilliant new idea descends upon the group of Time Lords; the Eleventh Doctor says that he’s had a long time to think about it — he’s changed his mind! The Tenth Doctor has the same lightbulb moment. The intent of the Moment has worked: the War Doctor saw the future he needed to see and thus a better solution has been thought up. Picking up on the idea, the War Doctor agrees that it’s a wonderful idea. They have changed their minds about using the Moment, and the Eleventh Doctor disarms the device with his sonic screwdriver. Instead, they intend to freeze Gallifrey in a moment in time, tucked away in a parallel pocket universe, the way the Zygons froze themselves into the Time Lord art. When Gallifrey vanishes, the sphere of Dalek ships surrounding the planet and firing constantly will be destroyed in their own crossfire before they can stop firing, and the universe will believe that the two races destroyed each other.

On the last day of the Time War, another message from the Doctor appears before the High Command: GALLIFREY STANDS. The three Doctors in their respective TARDISes travel towards Gallifrey, and transmit a message to the War Room. Three transmissions, each showing a different Doctor (much to the General’s dismay), appear. They explain their crazy plan to save Gallifrey. They will position themselves around the planet equidistantly, and freeze it using the stasis cubes. The General objects, claiming that the calculations would take centuries, but the Eleventh Doctor is well prepared for the task. After all, he’s had centuries to think about it. The voice of the First Doctor is heard contacting the War Council of Gallifrey. More police boxes fly around the planet, all the past incarnations of the Doctor have come together to save Gallifrey. His second through eighth incarnations check in with High Command, while the post-war Ninth Doctor delights in the act of redemption he always wished for. The General bemoans the idea that all twelve Doctors have arrived, when three was bad enough. However, his count is one short. All thirteen regenerations of the Doctor are present to save Gallifrey — a new incarnation from the Doctor’s days yet to come is also present, briefly glimpsed in the form of a hand moving a lever and his fierce eyes. As the Daleks increase their attack upon seeing the thirteen TARDISes, the General instructs the Doctor to do it now. After a colossal explosion, the space becomes empty and quiet as a damaged Dalek fighter pod goes spinning off.

Back in the National Gallery, the Tenth, Eleventh, and War Doctors muse on the ambiguity of whether their plan succeeded or not. The presence of the mysterious painting of the fall of Arcadia remains an enigma to the three Doctors. The War Doctor bids a fond farewell to his replacements, who finally address him as “Doctor”: a man fully worthy of the title, even if he will only know it briefly. Because the time lines are out of sync, the War Doctor and the Tenth Doctor won’t be able to retain their memories of these events. They will forget them completely until they reach their Eleventh incarnation. However, right now, the War Doctor is content. He gives Clara and Rose a farewell kiss and takes a moment to identify his TARDIS from the other two in the gallery. As he dematerialises his TARDIS, he notices his hands glowing with regeneration energy, and realises it makes sense, as his old body is “wearing a bit thin”, he collapses to the floor of the Tardis. After surviving the Time War, he is ultimately dying of old age. With his work done in the battle, the energy begins to overtake the War Doctor. He expresses one last desire that the change will leave him with “less conspicuous” ears this time. The War Doctor regenerates into his new incarnation but he awakens confused, disorientated and suffering from amnesia caused by the time lines being out of sync.

Acknowledging that he won’t be able to remember the answer, the Tenth Doctor questions his successor as to “where they’re going”, something which the Eleventh Doctor so clearly wants to forget. The Eleventh Doctor relents and reveals that they are destined to die on Trenzalore, in battle, with millions of lives lost. The Tenth Doctor says that’s not how it’s supposed to be, but the Eleventh Doctor tells him it is determined now. Preparing to leave, the Tenth Doctor tells himself that he’s glad his future is in good hands. He kisses Clara’s hand, receiving a glare from Rose as she enters the TARDIS, and with a smile the Tenth Doctor also starts to step into his TARDIS. Before he does, he expresses his desire to change their final destination of Trenzalore, saying: “I don’t want to go.” As the TARDIS dematerialises, the Eleventh Doctor remarks “he always says that”.

Clara asks the Doctor if he would like to sit and look at the painting for a little while. He smiles, asking how she knew. Clara kisses him on the cheek and tells him that she always knows — it’s his sad old eyes. As she steps into the TARDIS, she mentions that an old man, possibly the Gallery’s curator, was looking for him. The Doctor muses out loud that he would be a great curator. He could call himself “the Great Curator”, retire and become the curator of this gallery. A very familiar voice affirms that he really might. The astonished Doctor looks over to see a very familiar face standing next to him. An old man who greatly resembles the Fourth Doctor speaks to him of the painting, which he says he acquired under “remarkable circumstances”. He tells the Doctor that its two names are actually one: the true title of the painting is “Gallifrey Falls No More”. The Doctor realises that he was successful, and Gallifrey was indeed saved. The mysterious man reveals that it is simply “lost”, and that the Doctor still has a lot to do. He also muses that he and the Doctor might be the same man from different perspectives, sounding wistful about days gone by, congratulating the Doctor on the new journey he is about to commence. As to whether or not he truly is an incarnation of the Doctor from the future, the Curator simply teases the thought, “Who knows, eh? Who… ‘nose’?”, and with a tap of his nose, he turns and walks away. The Eleventh Doctor concludes that he has a mission, the mission of a lifetime: he must find Gallifrey and return it and its people to the universe.

Reflectively the Doctor speaks of his dreams, as he is seen to walk through the TARDIS console room. He says that he finally realises where he has been travelling all this time: home. As he exits the TARDIS, the Doctor joins his eleven past selves in gazing up at the magnificent planet in the sky, determined to find Gallifrey and save his home once and for all.

“It’s taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I’m going. Where I’ve always been going: Home, the long way round.”