No old Doctors for 'Doctor Who' 50th anniversary? Steven Moffat apparently nixes idea

Doctor Who returns this Saturday for the second half of its seventh series. Eight new episodes will air this spring, but they'll be followed in November by a massive 50th anniversary celebration. After all, it's very rarely that a series turns fifty years old, and you can expect the BBC's treatment of this event to be absolutely massive. A special is already planned and written, though the details of it remain very scarce, thanks to the stubborn secrecy of showrunner Steven Moffat. 

A prevalant fan theory -- perhaps more accurately described as a 'hope' -- was that the 50th anniversary special would see the return of actors who had played previous incarnations of the Doctor. Matt Smith is currently inhabiting the role in its eleventh incarnation, but there's hope that previous Doctors -- David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston at least -- would return. Moffat appeared to teasingly encourage these rumors at the outset, but now seems to have turned to just nixing them entirely. 

In a recent interview with Collider, Moffat spoke about the fact that bringing back previous Doctors would be in contrast to his forward-thinking vision of the series: "You always want to make it special and huge and big," he said. "One of the things that I'm concerned about this year is that the show must be seen to be going forward. It's all about the next 50 years, not about the last 50 years. If you start thinking it's all about nostalgia then you're finished. It's about moving forward. The Doctor is moving forward, as he always does. He wants to solve the mystery of Clara."

And then, the damning quote: "He's not thinking about all his previous incarnations and all his previous adventures. He's tinking about the future. That, for me, is important," Moffat said. "The show must never feel old. It must always feel brand new, and a 50th anniversary can play against that."

It certainly sounds like Moffat is rather earnestly attempting to dispel the rumors of a multiple-Doctor storyline. But, of course, his penchant for teasing fans with misinformation is infamous in the Doctor Who fandom at this point -- we might be deluding ourselves, but it's easy to imagine Moffat faking us out to surprise us with a David Tennant appearance later. 

We'll likely have to wait until November to find out. 

Doctor Who returns this Saturday with the episode "The Bells of Saint John" on BBC One in the UK and BBC America in the US. 

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Written by: mcpherson
Mar 28th, 2013, 11:17 am

Images courtesy of BBC One


Message Posted On Mar 28th, 2013, 9:41 pm
Fans don't watch the old episodes for nostalgia all the time. It's just because they're awesome (most of them anyway). It's not "history," but what sort of defines DW. Everything including the actors, writers etc. are what made the show last so long. It's disrespectful to both the fans and the people who worked on the series to not highlight them in some way. It's not the 3rd anniversary. Just the people behind new who being vein. If Moff's a "great" writer he could pull off something to acknowledge that he's not the only person who ever wrote for DW.
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Message Posted On Mar 28th, 2013, 4:47 pm
I totally disagree. It's bad enough Moffat and the New Who staff seem go out of their way trying to avoid Classic Who except when it suits them. Christ, there are fans who've never seen anything BEFORE Tennant, let alone Eccleston. Even mention "Genesis Of the Daleks" and they look at you with a stare. This 50th anniversary is a perfect opportunity to showcase the remaining living Doctors as well as give the new fans a proper education. If Moffat keeps pretending the first 30 years of Who doesn't exist, these newbie fans are being sorely misguided.

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Message Posted On Mar 28th, 2013, 4:04 pm

I agree. This new incarnation is a different animal, compared to the original series. They should make the 50th anniversary centred around something unique to this vision of Doctor Who. David Tennant and Ecclestion would be great, but is not necessary. leave previous doctors alone.

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