November was, overall, an eventful 50th Anniversary for Doctor Who. Lots and lots of great things were happening, on television, on DVD and in the magazines. I can now look back upon the entire 50th Anniversary and list my favourite items. Here, starting with the best, and working my way back, is what I consider to be the Best of the Bunch, in order of preference:
- An Adventure in Space and Time
- The Day of the Doctor
1. An Adventure in Space and Time
In first place, and deservedly so, is the sublime An Adventure in Space and Time, which aired on BBC2 from 9-10.30pm on the night of Thursday 21st November. This was simply the best Doctor Who production that I’ve seen in many years. The performances of all of the actors were exemplary, particularly David Bradley in the role of William Hartnell.
Indeed, I must say that the ONLY real criticism that I could express is that An Adventure in Space and Time, at under ninety minutes, was much too short. Because of this, there was the unfortunate need to skip over a number of extremely important figures and details in early Doctor Who history (for example, the vital roles played by Ray Cusick, Terry Nation, David Whitaker and a number of others) because of time and space constraints, if you’ll pardon the obvious and corny pun. This excellent drama would have benefited greatly if it had been at least half an hour longer, or preferably even forty-five minutes.
Many, many thanks to the irrepressible Mark Gatiss for having the dedication and perseverance to stick with this project over so many years, until the time was right and The Powers That Be at the BBC finally gave the go ahead to put it into production.
2. The Day of the Doctor
In second place, and, in my opinion, not very far behind An Adventure in Space and Time, was the 50th Anniversary Special itself, The Day of the Doctor, which aired on BBC1 on the evening of Saturday 23rd November, from 7.50pm-8.05pm.
As I’ve often said, I usually find most modern Doctor Who specials to be a bit hit and miss compared to the series proper. Often they’re a bit of lighter fare to entertain the family after they’ve gorged on the Christmas dinner and chocolate treats (and possibly a few drinkies for the mums and dads, yes siree!). And sometimes they seem to be just a bit of lightweight fluff filler thrown out to keep us hanging on in between seasons, or during the internal breaks within the seasons themselves.
But, that said, The Day of the Doctor was excellent. Not perfect mind you, but definitely excellent, and I consider it to be, despite a few minor niggles, without a doubt my favourite Doctor Who special of the modern era.
To Be Continued…