I have been an occasional viewer of Dr Who rather than a fan. Now don’t get me wrong, I have hidden behind cushions in the living room when I was a child because it was all so intense, but I would not class myself as a Whovian. That said, I loved the David Tennant episode about the first world war where they end up back at the memorial at the end and found that very moving and I have dipped in to episodes which had an interesting storyline or well known actor appearing. It was guaranteed therefore that I would be one of the 10 million viewers who watched live last night. Those figures seem low considering they were beaten by Strictly, but I think they can be explained by the way we now view on catch-up and on-demand. No-one stays in on a Saturday night to watch a programme now as they can see what they want, when they want.
It had to be special. A 50 year anniversary was good enough for Google to create a big interactive game so it was clear from the outset that this episode would outshine all others and tie up some loose ends. 5 Doctors appeared at various times, trying to make sense of a life where a decision to win must be taken at permanent cost to the people the Doctor comes from. We saw Capaldi’s eyebrows, forgetful Smith, Tennant and his gym shoes, Baker without his scarf, John Hurt as the version with the terrifying decision to make and the conscience of the weapon The Moment take on the appearance of Rose in Bad Wolf mode.
It was well done and would have been good to see in the cinema. I wonder if cinema will be the natural next step for Doctor Who, once the TV series reaches its inevitable conclusion. Star Trek might be the precedent to follow to keep the franchise alive and well as the budgetary constraints of publicly owned TV hold back the creation of sets, special effects etc that make it all believable on a weekly basis.