It was the news that Doctor Who fans were dreading: the Doctor Who 50th anniversary will not see the return of any Doctors from the Classic Who era. The celebration of the longest running sci-fi show will instead only feature Matt Smith and David Tennant as the Eleventh and Tenth Doctors, respectively. The Hypable staff explain why the BBC have made a big, big mistake.
The Doctor Who 50th anniversary will star Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman, and see the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper. Christopher Eccleston turned down an offer to return as the Ninth Doctor, and John Barrowman will not return as fan favourite Captain Jack Harkness.
And if you were worried that the Classic Who contingent would not be represented – never fear. The episode will also see the return of Jemma Redgrave, who played the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate Stewart, in a 2012 episode.
Yes, you read that right. The only representation of Classic Who will be a character who showed up for the first time in the 2012 New Who episode “The Power of Three.” There will be no previous Doctors. No Classic Who companions. We wouldn’t even count on seeing K-9, who must be sitting around in the BBC props department. So why has the current Doctor Who creative team gone so far out of their way to ignore the legacy of Classic Who?
Fans were not expecting to see a multiple-Doctor story ala “The Five Doctors.” What we wanted to see was some recognition for the actors who are the very reason we are able to celebrate the Doctor Who 50th anniversary at all. They could have been cast in a cameo here, as an alien there – it would be simple enough to give them each a one-line role, or to pan over Tom Baker wearing his scarf in a crowd scene. At this point, it isn’t about the characters – it is about the actors who brought them to life.
New Who only began in 2005, which would make 2013 the eighth year of Doctor Who. Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction show, ever. It does a disservice to the wonderful history of Doctor Who not to invite these actors back, even for a small cameo. And let’s be clear – given the ages of the actors, it’s unlikely (read: impossible) that most of them will be around to celebrate the 75th anniversary, if Doctor Who gets there. This is their last chance, so why not give it to them.
Unfortunately for fans, Steven Moffat has decided that the 50th anniversary is the perfect time to kick off his new Doctor Who story. What Moffat doesn’t seem to understand is that the 50th anniversary should be an episode where every fan of Doctor Who can come together to celebrate the show they love. It should absolutely be about “looking backwards” – it’s difficult to celebrate the history by looking to the future. A “fanfest” is exactly what it should be because it should be a celebration for the fans.
Of course, we were also disappointed that Tennant and Piper will be the token representatives of the New Who era. It’s sad that Eccleston said no, but at least he was given the option. The fact that he was the only Doctor asked merely reinforces that the 50th anniversary is set to be a celebration of Moffat’s New Who era, and nothing more.
The creative team are attempting to placate fans with the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary historical special, “An Adventure in Space and Time”, and an audio story which will feature all the Doctors. For fans, these sideline projects are just not good enough. The current Doctor Who team should get their egos in check and realise that the 50th anniversary is not about them at all. How disappointing that they have chosen not the respect the very actors who gave us Doctor Who in the first place, especially as this opportunity is literally once in a lifetime.
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