Doctor Who Magazine has confirmed what has been widely speculated: David Tennant and Matt Smith are the only Doctors in the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who.
Despite fan opinion running the exact opposite direction, the only Doctors to be represented in the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who will be the 10th and 11th Doctors played respectively by David Tennant and Matt Smith.
Chris Eccleston, the 9th Doctor, was offered to take part, but declined for reasons unknown. The U.K. publication The Mirror confirmed with Eccleston’s publicist that “Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven’s plans for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode. After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best.” The BBC later confirmed the same information.
Doctor Who Magazine’s latest issue, which is currently available in the U.K. but has not yet been received by American subscribers, states:
“Although David Tennant has returned to his role of the Tenth Doctor, the other old Doctors will not be taking part.”
This information means that the following actors from the classic era of Doctor Who have purposely been excluded from the 50th anniversary episode of the longest running sci-fi show in television history: Tom Baker, the 4th Doctor, age 79; Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor, age 62; Colin Baker, the 6th Doctor, age 69; Sylvester McCoy, the 7th Doctor, age 69; and Paul McGann, the 8th Doctor, age 53. Should the show make it to its 75th anniversary, life expectancy being what it is, only McGann is likely to see it.
Some fans have speculated that this information is merely a rouse by the BBC and showrunner Steven Moffat. They believe that the remaining, living Doctors will actually take part. This seems unlikely given that whereas Moffat has been prone to cryptic statements on Twitter or in interviews, flat-out denial in the officially sanctioned magazine and then a reversal is not quite his style.
Fans are well aware that the classic Doctors do look older than when they last saw them in their roles. For many, the hope wasn’t so much that those Doctors would fully reprise their original roles, but that these Doctors could lend their vocal talents, or perhaps have a cameo as an alien. Especially in the U.K., there are parents and grandparents who fondly remember Tom Baker’s unprecedented six-year run as the Doctor and attribute the show’s success largely to his popularity. Many wondered if he might just be seen in the background wearing his iconic scarf one more time.
In the past, both Matt Smith and David Tennant have expressed their admiration for the previous Doctors. Smith has even stated that he would have wanted the other Doctors back. At present, both are decidedly mum on this issue.