5.5 out of 10

Release date: 23rd November 2013

Director: Nick Hurran (It’s a Boy Girl Thing / Little Black Book / Virtual Sexuality / Girl’s Night / Remember Me?)

Cast: Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Jenna Coleman, Joanna Page, Jemma Redgrave with Tom Baker and Billie Piper

Featured extras: Christopher Eccleston, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davidson, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell

Writer: Steven Moffat



The 50th Anniversary of the first BBC broadcast of Doctor Who was celebrated by a one off cinematic event in 3D that was simultaneously released on the TV and on-demand (I think). So hence its inclusion as a film here on Britpic. Far less cinematic entries have made it on to our pages so we made an executive decision to include it.  Both myself, Britpic Dick and Joe Pesci II saw it (myself at the cinema and Joe at home in his lair).  Joe Pesci II is a long time WHO-ster (or Whoo-derphile), I am not but I rarely get around to seeing any TV shows. So for a Dr Who fans’ perspective read below (at the foot of the page). For a review of the ‘film’ as a standalone experience – carry on!

The plot as it goes sees the current Dr Who (MATT SMITH – CLONE) summoned to the National Gallery to look at a painting which appears to be that of his extinct planet Gallifrey from which some figures seem to have escaped. Meanwhile previous Dr Who (DAVID TENNANT – FRIGHT NIGHT) is to be found in Elizabethan England on the trail of a Zygon invasion. Even more meanwhile a third Dr Who (JOHN HURT – ALIEN) has decided to end the time war between the Daleks and the Time Lords once and for all but at what cost? That’s all I could fathom without help.

I haven’t seen any Dr Who episodes since the days of Peter Davidson and I kind of lost interest when Colin Baker took over. So it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten around to giving Dr Who any attention. I was curious to see how this ‘toe in the water’ approach to a ‘real’ Dr Who movie would work. On the whole I think it’s very good that they’ve made little concession towards non-fans. It’s refreshing to see a ‘spin-off’ that doesn’t try to win new fans but is more interested in rewarding it’s millions of followers.  I found elements of the humour very funny and I liked the chemistry between Smith and Tennant.  Also the cheap-er TV show special effects weren’t that bad. The 3D was way sharper than I’ve seen in the majority of large budget Holloywood behemoths.  The length of the scenes between each edit were shorter and it was a very lean cut with no space for pretty establishing shots. This Dr Who was all about forward momentum on the plot.

SPOILER: Much has been made about the cameos – which by now are no secret (only looking at the cast list below will reveal its secrets). But the film also does well out of a game supporting cast of lesser known and previously underused name actors like Jemma Redgrave (HOWARD’S END). John Hurt is good value as the oldest in this line of Doctors. Most of them play it broadly but moments of sadness and pathos still translate with some fans weaping into their popcorn audibly. Good on them. And the story sees a major page turned for the next 50 years. I enjoyed what I could follow but still needed to be briefed on what I couldn’t make head or tail of – which at times felt like Matrix levels worth of exposition and expansion. My fault for not being a fan. If this wasn’t the film to please fans then I really don’t know what would please them.

5.5 out of 10 – One for the followers is this. There is fun to had for the newbie but if this is for the Whooderphiles amongst you, if you aren’t then  please go/view with someone who is a fan, then they can explain what the bejesus is happening. I await a Dr Who movie with baited breath.


  • Matt Smith: Terminator 5, Lost River, Dr Who (TV), Clone
  • David Tennant: Broadchurch (TV), What We Did On Our Holiday, Postman Pat Movie (voice), Nativity 2, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), The Decoy Bride, Fright Night (2011), St Trinians 2, Glorious 39, Dr Who (TV), Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire, LA Without a Map
  • Jenna Coleman: Dr Who (TV), Waterloo Road (TV), Emmerdale (TV)
  • Joanna Page: Breathless (TV), Nativity 2, Gavin and Stacey (TV), Love Actually, Very Annie Mary
  • Jemma Redgrave: Lassie (2005), I’ll Be There, The Acid House, Bramwell (TV), Buddha Of Suburbia (TV), Howard’s End
  • John Hurt: Snowpiercer, Hercules (2014), Only Lovers Left Alive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,  Immortals (2011), Brighton Rock (2011),  Harry Potter 1,7 & 8, Melancholia,  New York I Love You, 44 Inch Chest, The Limits Of Control, V For Vendetta, Hellboy 1 & 2, Outlander, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Perfume, The Oxford Murders, The Skeleton Key, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,  The Proposition, Lost Souls, Contact, Night Train, You’re Dead, All The Little Animals, Love and Death On Long Island, WIld Bill (1995), Dead Man, Rob Roy, Second Best, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, Monolith, King Ralph, The Field, Scandal, White Mischief, Heaven’s Gate, The Elephant Man, 1984, Watership Down (voice), Midnight Express, Alien, The Naked Civil Servant, 10 Rillington Place, Little Malcolm
  • Tom Baker:  Little Britain (narrator) (TV),  Monarch Of The Glen (TV), Randall & Hopkirk Deceased (TV), Dungeons & Dragons, Medics (TV), Cluedo (TV), Blackadder 2 (TV), Dr Who (TV), The Golden Age of Sinbad, Nicholas and Alexandra
  • Billie Piper: Secret Diary of a Call Girl (TV), Spirit Trap, The Calcium Kid, Dr Who (TV)
  • Christopher Eccleston: Legend (2015), Fortitude (TV), Thor 2, Song For Marion, GI Joe, Dr Who (TV), 28 Days Later, The Others, Gone In 60 Seconds, Existenz, Elizabeth I, Jude, Our Friends In The North (TV), Shallow Grave, Cracker (TV), Anchoress, Let Him Have It
  • Paul McGann: Pressure (voice), Dr Who (TV), Luther (TV), Lesbian Vampire Killers, Gypo, Queen Of The Damned, My Kingdom, Downtime, The Three Musketeers (1994), Alien 3, Afraid Of The Dark, Paper Mask, Dealers, The Rainbow, Empire of the Sun, Withnail & I, The Monocled Mutineer
  • Sylvester McCoy: The Devil Rides Out, The Hobbit – Battle of the Five Armies, The Christmas Candle, The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, Highway To Hell (2012), Dr Who (TV), Jigsaw (TV)
  • Colin Baker: Dr Who (TV), The Brothers (TV)
  • Peter Davison: Law and Order (UK), The Last Detective (TV), At Home With The Braithwaites (TV), Parting Shots, Black Beauty (1994), All Creatures Great and Small (TV), Campion (TV), Dr Who (TV),  The Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy (TV)
  • Jon Pertwee: Carry On Columbus, Worzel Gummidge (TV), The Boys In Blue, One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, Dr Who (TV), The House that Dripped Blood, Carry On Screaming, No1 Of The Secret Service, Carry On Cowboy, Carry On Cleo, Ladies Who Do
  • Patrick Troughton: Inspector Morse (TV), The Two of Us (TV), Dr Who (TV), The Two Ronnies (TV), The Box of Delights (TV), The Omen, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, Scars of Dracula, The Viking Queen, The Gorgon, Jason and the Argonauts, Richard III, Hamlet
  • William Hartnell: Dr Who (TV), Heavens Above!, This Sporting Life, The Night We Dropped a Clanger, The Army Game (TV), The Mouse That Roared, Carry On Sergeant, Hell Drivers, Private’s Progress, The Pickwick Papers, The Magic Box, Brighton Rock, Odd Man Out, The Way Ahead



    Review by Dr. Whooderphile aka Matt Usher

    For what it’s worth (nothing) I think Britpic’s decision to include this episode of a TV series is incorrect, what with it being an episode of a TV series and not a film. Still, as episodes of TV series go, it’s pretty impressive, and a lot better than many of the films I’ve been treated to over the last eighteen months. Anyway….

    THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR is one of the best episodes the TV series has had since its return in 2005. The plot was fiendishly simple. Dr 11 is asked by Jemma Redgrave (playing the Doctor’s old boss’s daughter) to investigate a painting. There is a problem and a mystery attached. The mystery is what Elizabeth I has to do with it. The problem is that the painting used to have people in it. But they have escaped! It turns out that the ‘people’ in the paintings are in fact shape-shifting monsters called Zygons who have been hanging around in the paintings waiting for a good time to invade Earth. (They had a similar wheeze in the 70s which involved them dressing up as Scotsmen and sending the Loch Ness monster up the Thames – happy days indeed). In their natural state Zygons resemble pink bananas encrusted with hula hoop crisps. They are a very good villain. But they are not the big problem! Dr 11 falls into a time vortexy thing only to discover that Dr 10 is already dealing with them (albeit 400 years earlier), which he does in his own inimitable way and ends up marrying the Queen (thus nicely tying up with 2007 episode The Shakespeare Code). Meanwhile (well, not technically meanwhile obviously, but certainly in narrative terms) we find John Hurt as the War Doctor (hereafter Dr 8.5). There’s been a bit of a set-to between the Doctor’s folk (the Time Lords) and the evil Daleks, and it’s all got a bit out of hand. Followers of the 2005-13 (and beyond) TV series will know that this Time War has caused the last three Doctors no end of heartbreak and brooding misery. In this episode we see why. Sort of. It seems that Doctor 8.5 has nicked a machine which will wipe out all the Daleks. Yay! And all the Time Lords. Boo! So he’s a bit unhappy about what he’s gotta do. This inner turmoil is exacerbated by Billie Piper turning up as the conscience of the machine (like a pretty Jacob Marley). Somehow or other the time eddy wormhole thing that brought Drs 10 and 11 together throws Dr 8.5 in with them, and they have a bit of a chinwag about it all whilst dealing with the Zygon invasion. Eventually it turns out that the episode both rewrites and re-confirms important elements of the series’ recent mythology and everything ends more happily than it might have done.

    Apparently some people may be a little bewildered by all this. Well, you should do more thinking! This isn’t TV to sleep along with (and it is TV not cinema remember); you’re meant to keep your brain working. Although the episode is rich in Doctor Who references (past and future), the story itself, broadly speaking, can stand alone as an adventure about someone trying to make amends for doing the least wrong thing. But it’s all a lot more fun as an episode of the show, and viewed as a summary of where we’ve been and where we might end up.

    Whovian highlights abound. The black and white title sequence (an example perhaps of government-enforced BBC cutbacks?). The shot of the school and the sign for I M Forman’s yard (Doctor Who fans are easily pleased). The return of the Zygons. The return of Billie Piper (probably the script’s cleverest element – bringing back the actress who arguably made the show mainstream without interrupting her character’s story). The return of Tom Baker’s scarf. The return of Tom Baker (I cried). Rose and Dr 10 not reunited but in the same room! (I cried.) David Tennant and the bunny. John Hurt. The fact that John Hurt really is the Doctor (sort of). Dr 8.5 mistaking his successors for companions. The interplay between Matt Smith and David Tennant (not too jokey, and a worthy continuation of inter-Doctor collaborations). Gallifrey! Peter Capaldi’s angry eyes. Clara saving the day! Clara opens the door, delightfully reducing Dr 8.5 to the level of his replacements (‘but it should have been locked’). Thirteen Doctors all flying about. More broadly, the episode was beautifully written, looked gorgeous, and apparently the 3D element puts a lot of movies to shame. And, getting a bit esoteric now, the suggestion that the Doctor can regenerate back to previous bodies; and the glee with which Steven Moffat litters the script with lines from old episodes. And the wall in UNIT HQ with photos of Tegan, Kamelion and others.

    Perhaps the best thing which no-one seems to have noticed (what with Tennant and Hurt battling with their BAFTAs) is how good Matt Smith is. I know some have doubted him, and some have derided him, but he more than holds his own in this august company. It’s a shame he’s going…
    Not all was well of course, the final shot was a little off-kilter, and the plot threads took a little while to pull together, and the comedy non-conclusion to the Zygon invasion may have annoyed some. And, personally, I wasn’t a fan of Joanna Page’s Queen Elizabeth. And for god’s sake the sonic screwdriver is just a screwdriver. And it would have been nice if Doctors Davison, Baker (C), McCoy, McGann and Eccleston could have been fitted in somehow (mind you if the last-named is happier filming THOR then fair enough). But all told this was as fine a celebration of the series as we might have wished for; indeed, as the BBC might put it, it’s an iconic epic and great fun and augurs well for the new series (whenever that turns up) with Peter Capaldi.

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