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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

42 Comments

  1. Alex Antonijevic
    February 2, 2015 @ 12:20 am

    I really do love this. The "Russell THE Davies" bit at the end was a great way to end it.

    Reply

  2. David Anderson
    February 2, 2015 @ 1:24 am

    Tom Baker's cameo is really overdetermined, isn't it? He's the longest serving actor (in terms of years on television), the oldest surviving actor, but also the one actor whose performance most visibly hangs over the classic series.
    Also, one can't imagine the Shada answering phone joke working for any other actor, except perhaps Smith.

    That said, I do hope Davison, Baker, and McCoy knew about the cameo (and Night of the Doctor) before they happened.

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  3. ComMaxil
    February 2, 2015 @ 1:28 am

    “Quelle dommage, Davros!”

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  4. Seb Patrick
    February 2, 2015 @ 1:39 am

    I believe – although I could be wrong – that they didn't know about Night while planning Five(Ish), and McGann was originally going to have a bigger part in it, which was then dialled down when it became apparent he'd be off doing his own bit instead. And that the Baker cameo in Day came as a complete surprise to all of them upon broadcast.

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  5. Prole Hole
    February 2, 2015 @ 1:50 am

    For all the joys of the 50th Anniversary (and given it's impossible to keep all of the people happy all of the time, it went as well as anyone could have possibly expected) the inclusion of Russell THE Davies is for me the most fundamentally joyful moment of The Five-ish Doctors Reboot. He was noticeably absent from all the hoopla surrounding the anniversary, and perhaps rightly so as he'd moved on, but he's the reason we're still talking about the television series in the present tense and we all owe him an immense debt of gratitude. So to see his little inclusion here, still in the fold and quite happily taking the piss out of himself, is simply wonderful. Thanks Russell!

    Reply

  6. Lewis Christian
    February 2, 2015 @ 5:31 am

    Tom did announce, about a day or two before the 50th, that he would appear in the episode – but many people just brushed it off as him talking nonsense as usual. As for McGann, yeah, they didn't know but Peter Davison later admitted that it worked quite well with Fiveish because of the line "work permitting, obviously." In hindsight, that's perfect and almost feels planned as a cheeky nod to Night.

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  7. Jarl
    February 2, 2015 @ 5:50 am

    On a similar note, there's something perversely amusing about the fact that Sean Pertwee can't say what show he's going to be filming in America, presumably because this is a Steven Moffat production.

    Reply

    • S Blake
      November 9, 2015 @ 9:04 am

      I assumed (with the benefit of a couple of years of hindsight) that he was in fact referring to Gotham.

      Reply

  8. Michael Fuller
    February 2, 2015 @ 7:24 am

    Loved this from the second I saw it. In fact, I'm certain I've seen it more than "Day of the Doctor." The entire "F(ish) Doctors" Twitter tease was such fun. If anyone has ever seen Peter Davison's taped messages to Los Angeles Gallifrey convention (one year he missed it and the next he was there) will see them very similar to prequels. Davison's self-deprecating sense of humor is stamped all over this thing while the contributions of everyone else cannot be understated.

    Obviously, it is tempting to just list all the classic moments or even your favorites, so I will merely point out that the 3 Doctors present make a fine comedy team. Given it was Peter's script, it is kind of funny to let Baker and McCoy be like a tiny chorus of sanity (however slight that grip might be) against Davison's blind mania … most noticeable in that Davison believes he can fly the TARDIS in real life.

    Its hard not to take your point about the downright nastiness of fans and the double standards about the money everyone makes from Big Finish and convention appearances, etc, but I hate to think of this in that light. I only participate in limited fandom where the fans are friendly (here being one of them) and I can help (I used to be a Loose Cannon dubber long ago.)

    Sure, there was a vocal minority of fans who believed as you described, but I can't help but think as I watch this that all the participants just wanted in on the act. Even Steven Moffat gets some great stuff to do, which is clearly more fun than having to write the main show itself. So, is the spirit here one of cheapness or crassness, because I don't know that anyone made any money per se out of it? To me this is almost a metaphor … a bit like saying "Hey, all of us are stuck in the sodding Time Vortex … without Tom."

    My point is in there somewhere …

    Reply

  9. Katherine Sas
    February 2, 2015 @ 7:25 am

    Russell's cameo is pretty much my favorite thing, ever. What a good sport.

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  10. Ibu Profin
    February 2, 2015 @ 8:20 am

    I adore this, and almost considered purchasing the complete Matt Smith series on Blu-Ray just to have this. Ultimately, I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money on buying Series 5-7 again just to have this special, but I live in hope that it will one day be released again in a more affordable way.

    I've never really bought the argument that the previous Doctors couldn't have played a larger role in the anniversary year, though. Perhaps it would have been overkill in the special itself, but having his previous incarnations making brief cameos throughout the latter half of series 7 would have made for a nice arc leading up to the special.

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  11. Lewis Christian
    February 2, 2015 @ 8:47 am

    I do love the ultimate joke – that the old Doctors do appear after all, just hidden under sheets in the Undergallery. (Uber-nerds who have seen it a few times will spot that Matt says something different in that bit to what's in the episode, but shh we can pretend they actually were under there!)

    Reply

  12. BerserkRL
    February 2, 2015 @ 8:50 am

    Steven Moffat visibly wishing he was sitting in the chair from Terror of the Autons during the botched satellite link-up with One Direction during the BBC Three “afterparty.”

    I missed this. Is there a link?

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  13. Elizabeth Sandifer
    February 2, 2015 @ 9:13 am

    Reply

  14. Seeing_I
    February 2, 2015 @ 10:22 am

    Wow. I'd never seen that before. "How epic does it feel to have such a big fail?"

    That's kind of like how in the "K9 & Company" opening sequence you can spot the exact moment Liz Sladen decides to spend more time with her family (it's when she's drinking her nice glass of wine).

    Reply

  15. Michael Fuller
    February 2, 2015 @ 11:23 am

    It's like the minute someone said "HEY, I know …" that idea was doomed. As you say, "epic fail" … Still hilarious.

    Reply

  16. BerserkRL
    February 2, 2015 @ 11:39 am

    Wow, toward the end it's like the TARDIS materialising inside the TARDIS materialising inside the TARDIS ….

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  17. BerserkRL
    February 2, 2015 @ 11:44 am

    "The exterior shell of the TARDIS has drifted forwards in time …."

    Reply

  18. UrsulaL
    February 2, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

    Perhaps the thing to remember is not "Not All Fans," but rather "Yes, All Doctors."

    Because even if 99% of fans are lovely, it only takes one to really ruin an actor's day. And it's up to the other 99% not to be defensive that we're not like that, but rather supportive of the actors who can't know in advance which one fan is going to be the one on the attack.

    Reply

  19. Daibhid C
    February 2, 2015 @ 12:49 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  20. Daibhid C
    February 2, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

    I think that's Phil's point; that there are points to be made about nasty fans and that professional actors do, in fact, need to be paid for acting, but this isn't that, it's a bunch of ex-Doctors doing something just because it's fun.

    Oh, and talking of Twitter teases, Paul's teasers for Night were brilliant as well.
    https://twitter.com/pauljmcgann/status/387323627726589953

    Reply

  21. Daibhid C
    February 2, 2015 @ 12:54 pm

    Immediately rethinking "this isn't that", which clearly isn't what Phil's saying. Rather, that while this is born of that, it transcends it.

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  22. John Seavey
    February 2, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

    Oh my goodness, yes. Certainly I feel like I owe it to guests at a convention to be polite and understanding and respectful of their boundaries, because I don't know what the person in front of me was like and I don't know what they've had to put up with. I've never had a professional attendee be rude to me, and in fact I've seen some extraordinary displays of grace and charm (we have a Harlan Ellison story that was absolutely worth the price of attendance at the con as well as the plane tickets to get there) but I know enough about bad fan behavior to understand how they might feel like the fans are a bit much at times.

    Reply

  23. Chris Andersen
    February 2, 2015 @ 2:29 pm

    Back in the day everyone had a Harlan Ellison story.

    Reply

    • John Seavey
      January 18, 2017 @ 6:03 pm

      Well, in our case it was a Harlan story where he was witty and charming and very polite under possibly trying circumstances. We were attending a reading of his, and due to a mix-up we had no childcare and were forced to bring our five-year old along.

      She behaved generally well, but at one point after Harlan went up and down the aisles chatting with the audience, that apparently blurred the lines between “sit quietly” and “talk to people” enough that she jumped up and, before we could catch her, she ran to the front and told Harlan Ellison, legendary curmudgeon and poor tolerator of fools, “You’re silly!”

      Harlan sighed. “And all this time I thought I was profound.” And then he did his goldfish impression for her while we gathered her up and took her back to our seat.

      Reply

  24. Ozyman Jones
    February 2, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

    Apologies in advance, this might be a long one….

    Of course we all wanted the Twelve Doctors, or Thirteen, or whatever, but that was never going to happen in a real or successful way. Or in a ratings viable way. It happened for fans in the only ways possible; The E-Shorts novellas, The 50th Anniversary Novels republished, Prisoners of Time comic series across the whole year, The 11 Doctor Audio Specials, and Big Finish chimed in with Light at the End and a raft of other call-backs.

    My family watched Day of the Doctor together at the movies, ages 5, 13, 16 (all boys) my wife 39 and me (46), and then again on television the next day in 2D. It's the first Doctor Who episode my wife has ever watched twice, same for the 13 year old. They are the very definition of 'casual fans'. For the record, neither has seen the final of Series 8 yet, due to other commitments, and neither feel they are missing anything. But they would like to catch up before Series 9, if they can find the time. All (apart from the 5 yo) have watched Doctor Who on broadcast since the '05 comeback.

    No one but me has seen or made any attempt to engage with the other 50th media I listed above, despite it all being purchased at great expense and laid around the house like cocaine rock-star's house party at. That's it; just one of five in the family. Include in this list my mum and dad. Both in their 70s, and regular watchers of Doctor Who since mid Hartnell. Mum still loves it, and will watch repeats on the telly, dad gives it a once over on broadcast (probably just for old time's sake, and so he can have something to chat with me about). Neither of them, even though I raved about all the extras available, wanted anything to do with the old series celebration stuff.

    So one out of Seven. (There's a reference to some chick in a body suit there I think, from one of the many Trek things; could be wrong though)

    As a piece of modern broadcast Television, Day of the Doctor could not be anything other than what it was. Of the seven family members I've listed above, only one got goose bumps at the first utterance of the Curator. And had tears in his eyes through the whole scene. No one else in my immediate family even worked out who he was, at all. In fact the wife complained about the strange interlude, and asked 'who was that meant to be? It was, for them, simply a confusing break in the story.

    Next day, I got a call from mom asking if that old bloke at the end was Tom Baker. I confirmed it was and she shouted, 'I told you so' to my dad, who simply grunted in acknowledgement. Big impact there on a pair of avid viewers of the show for the last forty-eight years!

    I simply loved Five(ish) Doctors. Every reference, every nod, every…. thing. Especially the RTD epilogue, and the classic.vs.new-who incidental music gag. The self deprecating humour on display from all of the leads, including McGann, and how could you miss John Barrowman in your write up! The whining of the past doctors in the new set (turned it into a helicopter). And I was the only one in my family to watch it all (several times). The 16 year-old made it about halfway through, got distracted by his phone and wandered off.

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  25. Ozyman Jones
    February 2, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

    After all that, finally, my point: The Five(ish) Doctors exists because of the mutually dependent bond between the classic die-hard fans and the classic die-hard doctors. We need their input to keep our childhood memories alive, to keep us young… and they need us in whatever small way to pay the mortgage, put food on the table and keep working, to feel appreciated (between blockbuster movie projects, of course). And like many symbiotic species, they don't necessarily have to like each other, or even have anything much in common, but one would struggle to exist without the other.

    And so… as I don't post much; thank you Phil. Thank you for four years of something new and brilliant. I didn't think there was anything else to be said about Doctor Who, and you have proven that wrong, three times a week. I came on board a couple of months after the mini brew-ha over Celestial Toymaker post and have been reading with wrap attention ever since.

    And to all the brilliant commenters, those I agreed with and those I didn't, I have never read and interacted with a more involved, intelligent and erudite bunch over such a prolonged period. It's been an absolute pleasure.

    Reply

  26. Cousin Magog
    February 2, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

    "Already The Day of the Doctor tangibly had Eccleston’s absence hanging over it … in the obvious but totally ignored question of why the Moment apparently deemed the Doctor’s next incarnation inadequate for the task of preventing the Doctor from using it."

    I think it's a bit of a red herring in Day that the reason the Moment is showing the War Doctor his Christmas Carol future selves is because they're the men born out of the Time War. That's what he comes to believe is its point after the UNIT/Zygon treaty, that these men will be heroes if he goes ahead and pushes the button, but it isn't the Moment's purpose for involving Ten and Eleven at all.

    WAR DOCTOR: She didn't just show me any old future! She showed me exactly the future I needed to see!
    THE MOMENT: Now you're getting it.

    They were the two incarnations who happened to deal with Zygons and their stasis cube technology. It was showing them a "how," not a "why." Now the Ninth Doctor's omission is just because he's an incarnation like 12 and 17 and 45 and so on who didn't have anything to do with stasis cubes. If it was just "I need to show you what a post-Time War Doctor is like and the man you will become blah blah blah," it would be odd for the Moment to exclude the man he immediately turns into.

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  27. Glenn Reuben
    February 3, 2015 @ 12:14 am

    Obviously, having all Doctors in a central role would've been a bit much, but I would've been happier had Davison, Baker and McCoy appeared in cameo roles at the end (although I don't think a museum can have four curators, can it?).

    Then again, I do have issues with no McGann or Eccleston, plus some others, but I don't want to rant. I think the trouble is ranting appears to be the way that certain fans get noticed. I thought the 50th was okay, but not special enough. I certainly did enjoy a lot of moments from it though, so I'm not saying it was completely rubbish, as many often do. Just think there could have been more done.

    Reply

  28. Anton B
    February 3, 2015 @ 12:45 am

    I think the word is schadenfreude. The enjoyment of someone else's discomfort. Moffat's agony here was certainly the most hilarious event of the anniversary but that whole aftershow was a train wreck. All those poor actors attempting forced bonhomie at the bar in the background while being ritually humiliated and forced to participate in a rigged quiz that would proclaim K9 to be the best companion. It was like the worst convention ever. I seriously thought Janet Fielding and Bernard Cribbins might start a popular revolt and wrest the show out of the hands of whatever work-experience production assistants had been left carrying the can. Then One Direction happens. Fittingly, as whoever's was in charge of this 'aftershow' seemed to be under the impression that Dimensions in Time was the bar to aim for, it's like a vision of a Doctor Who Hell. A One Direction live link up that becomes a temporal recursive occlusion.

    The serious observation to be made here, I suppose, is that despite the success of the RTD revival, the Moffat continuation and the popular support for the anniversary itself, the BBC still don't quite know what to do with Doctor Who and often default to treating it like a slightly tipsy eccentric aunt who is likely to do something embarrasing and so is packed of into the kids party room at family get togethers.

    Eventually and inevitably the show will have another forced hiatus and I think Moffat here was squirming in horror at the vision of Christmas Future he suddenly found himself in.

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  29. Anton B
    February 3, 2015 @ 12:48 am

    Now I want to hear your Harlan Ellison story

    Reply

  30. Alan
    February 3, 2015 @ 1:08 am

    I had not thought of that — that Ten and Eleven were involved simply because they were the two Doctors working opposite ends of "the Zygon case," and thus, the only ones who could help War Doctor think of using the cubes. However I am still in love with my own pet theory: that the Moment really was Bad Wolf Rose reaching back in time to undo the end of the Time War, which also had the effect of imprinting the Doctor on Rose Tyler's face just hours before he regenerated into Nine.

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  31. Michael Fuller
    February 3, 2015 @ 4:28 am

    I don't really agree with the reading that "inherent ugliness … fuels this"

    To me, "For the Fans" is just as silly as the importance of "Sex Farm" being number 1 in Japan as a reason for Spinal Tap to reform. My reading here isn't just how silly actors and fans can be, but how silly Doctor Who has become to its more core cult audience. We are all, as Spinal Tap, "trapped in a state of arrested development."

    Just my opinion.

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  32. Michael Fuller
    February 3, 2015 @ 4:38 am

    Excellent.

    Reply

  33. Lewis Christian
    February 3, 2015 @ 6:00 am

    The Afterparty was the most misguided thing since Dimensions in Time. Truly awful to watch. Although there was, for me, one great highlight: seeing Jackie Lane in the montage of people sending messages. Considering how much she's distanced herself from the role, I found her little message to be so heartwarming and lovely. I kinda zoned out for the most of the rest of the show.

    Reply

  34. UrsulaL
    February 3, 2015 @ 6:44 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply

  35. Anton B
    February 3, 2015 @ 8:22 am

    Ah yes, Jackie Lane's contribution was lovely and totally made up for the cringingly misjudged reaction of (traditional Doctor Who nemesis) Graham Norton on his chat show around a year earlier, interviewing Matt Smith and Karen Gillan after a jaunt to the States and viewing their convention pics. Norton upon spotting, amongst a crowd of fans an impressively accurate Dodo cosplayer (red and black op-art mini dress and peaked cap), screaming "WHO'S THAT!?" and then doing his irritating "hyuk hyuk!" sneering laugh. I wish I could find a link, it'll be on Youtube somewhere, the worst bit is Smith and Gillan playing along, having no idea who the girl was meant to be either.

    Reply

  36. Matthew Blanchette
    February 3, 2015 @ 7:58 pm

    To be fair, it seems Smith and Gillan have rather short memories of their Comic Con experiences, since Smith didn't recognize a fan look-alike he'd met in San Diego when the look-alike popped up to sit in the Red Chair on Graham Norton that November.

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  37. Matthew Blanchette
    February 3, 2015 @ 7:59 pm

    Clever clever clever.

    Reply

  38. Daru
    February 6, 2015 @ 11:35 pm

    And to continue on the awfulness of Graham Norton, I listened to his radio show he presented from the 50th Anniversary celebrations at the London Excel. Sadly he sounded rather patronising and only half interested in the subject matter.

    Reply

    • S Blake
      November 9, 2015 @ 10:58 am

      I have come to regard Graham Norton as the single greatest villain in the history of Who. He’s never threatened to take over the earth or killed a companion or anything, but he started ruining the show on the night of the first episode in 2005 (his clueless whining brogue breaking in over what was supposed to be a tense scene where Rose is menaced by Autons in the basement) and, two Doctors later, his stupid animated little body danced across the screen at the climactic cliff-hanging conclusion of (I think) The Time Of Angels. It’s like there’s some kind of conspiracy between him and the BBC deliberately to fuck up broadcast of the show whenever they think they can get away with it and blame “technical problems”.

      Reply

  39. Daru
    February 6, 2015 @ 11:40 pm

    I adored this when it aired and I have watched it again and again since. A beautiful satire and love letter at the same time.

    Farewell to Outside the Government, you've given us many gifts.

    Reply

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