Good day, good day, good day, faithful viewer! I’m delighted to be speaking to you today as your most humble host/ess, Chance November. We have, of course, lately observed a historic day for our beloved show. Saturday, November 23, 2013 marked the 50 year anniversary of Doctor Who. Fifty years ago that day since our good Doctor ran away, and the show is just as bright and beautiful now as it was then. Across the globe on that fateful Saturday, Whovians young and old gathered around their telly screens, wrapped in scarves and noshing on jelly babies, ready to marvel at the delights of British science fiction. As for me, I was cuddled up at my best friend’s apartment, eating a grilled cheese sandwich and shaking off the after-effects of my Friday night. I was about to join millions of people in the biggest television event since the Moon landing
(You should kill us all on sight), and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
As we’ve seen for the past several weeks, the anticipation has been ramping up to fever pitch. Teasers, trailers, and the two mini-episodes all conspired to send us poor Whovians into a drooling frenzy. And now, at last, the anniversary has arrived. And at long last, my recap for it has arrived to your eyes.
Which presents me with a bit of a conundrum, faithful viewer. I want to remain true to my vow of “no spoilers,” even now that River Song has departed. However, there’s so much I want to say about this extravaganza of an episode, but virtually all of it falls under the heading of “spoilers.” I’m in a veritable fandom pickle.
Well, I’ll just start off with some plot exposition and see where that gets me, eh?
Out of the clear blue sky (quite literally), UNIT contacted the Doctor and Clara and had them both brought to Buckingham Palace, where they were greeted by none other than our new favorite head of UNIT, Kate Stewart. Kate has a few questions for the Doctor about a mysterious three-dimensional painting depicting the fall of Gallifrey, apparently created by none other than his erstwhile lover/fiancée/spouse, Queen Elizabeth I. Before you can say “Virgin Queen,” however, Buckingham Palace is overrun with (can you believe it?!) Zygons, bent on colonizing the Earth once again.
The Doctor has to figure out why it is that Good Queen Bess painted a picture of the Last Great Time War and stop the Zygons and humans from destroying each other, but of course, it can never be that straightforward for our Doctor. At the same time that all this is going on, the Doctor is contacted by two of his former selves: the Tenth Doctor (cue fannish screams), and a previously unheard-of regeneration. Called the War Doctor, this regeneration is the one that made the monumental decision that condemned Gallifrey and (seemingly) the Daleks to extinction. In his own time stream, he’s just about to push that fatal button. However, it seems that the button has some ideas of its own. Adopting the semblance of our beloved Rose Tyler (!!!), the Bad Wolf returns to convince the War Doctor not to destroy Gallifrey. And maybe–if the Doctors can work together–that decision needn’t be made at all.
And I’m afraid that’s as far as I can go, faithful viewer. Believe me, I have tossed and turned over how I can best pay tribute to this most incredible moment in Doctor Who history. But I want you to enjoy it for yourself, uninfluenced by the opinions of internet bloggers (even super-spiffy ones such as myself).
I’ll just leave you with this, faithful viewer: imagine the world fifty years ago. A lot has changed since then, obviously, and sometimes not for the better. But one thing has remained constant throughout that half-century (the lamentable 90s notwithstanding): Doctor Who. When Sydney and Verity sat down all those decades ago to hatch the idea of our beloved show, it astounds me to think that they didn’t know. They had no clue that their little children’s novelty of a show would live for fifty years and inspire generations of people, of all ages. In this age of Twitters and downloads, Doctor Who is stronger and better than ever it was in the age of black-and-white telly and vinyl records.
I know for a natural fact that the world would be poorer without Doctor Who, and thank goodness we won’t have to find out for sure.
So, faithful viewer, thank you for joining me for fifty years’ worth of Doctor Who adventures. And I hope you’ll still be with me for another fifty years, embarking on a while new series of high-flying fun.