It’s 2013 and in the world of Doctor Who, that pretty much means one thing: the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Yes, as of November the Whoniverse will have existed for fifty freaking years (by our reckoning, anyway). This in itself is a pretty huge deal, but if you’re only a fan of New Who, you might not know what else that means: a probable Anniversary Special. And the possibility – just a possibility – of a Multi-Doctor Special.
See, there have been Anniversary Specials before. For the ten-year anniversary, it was called “The Three Doctors,” featuring, well, the three Doctors we’d seen thus far. For the 20th, there was “The Five Doctors.” This title is a bit deceptive, as Tom Baker needed more distance from the role and opted out (they used old footage from an unaired episode, and a wax mannequin instead!), but the other four, as well as a handful of past companions representing all five Doctors, made appearances.
Will there be a multi-Doctor special this time? No idea. Certainly the issue is more complicated now; some of the actors have passed on, some have very visibly aged, not to mention the fact that you’re dealing with Eleven Doctors and some felt “The Five Doctors” was too crowded. Most of the US audience aren’t even familiar with Classic Who, and regardless of where you are, you’re going to be dealing with a generational issue (though it’s worth pointing out that small children in the early 80s weren’t familiar with the first few Doctors – and there weren’t reruns and recording devices then, either!).
Still, silly as it may be, I have hopes for some sort of multi-Doctor story. It would be nice to see Tom Baker finally make an anniversary appearance. It would be silly to acknowledge fifty years of television by focusing on only the most recent seven. And perhaps most of all, I really, really want to see Christopher Eccleston don his leather jacket one more time. “The Five Doctors” is almost as well-known for the Tom Baker scuffle as anything else; I’d love for everyone to put aside old differences for the enduring phenomenon that is Doctor Who.
Something else I’d personally like to see make an appearance in the anniversary special: one of the many villains from “The Five Doctors” called The Raston Warrior Robot. Sure, it looked like a Putty from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, but it “moved like lightning” and was pretty darn creepy. It could be terrifying in the right context (and really the Weeping Angels use at least part of this sort of scare). Not to mention, these things are hard-core; here’s a clip from “The Five Doctors” where one takes out a troop of Cybermen (also featuring Sarah Jane and the Third Doctor).
The fact remains, though, that whether or not there is a multi-Doctor special, there will be an Anniversary special celebrating 50 years of history with which US audiences might be less familiar. So in the coming months, I’ll be talking a bit about past Doctors, companions and enemies, so maybe you’ll feel a bit more in the know when November rolls around. And we’ll jump right in with a post next week, featuring perhaps the most controversial Doctor: the 8th, from the US TV-movie.
What bits of Who history would you like to see covered? What would you like to see in an Anniversary Special? And do you think a multi-Doctor story is a possibility?