The 2013 specials were a number of television stories that were written and produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Like the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors, these specials are not considered to be part of a numbered season.

The two main stories were The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor, principally starring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald.

Overview Edit

The 2013 specials followed on from the final moments of The Name of the Doctor, in which Clara Oswald discovered the Doctor's greatest secret, a previously unknown incarnation.

The anniversary stories revolved around this incarnation, known as the War Doctor, and the final events of the Last Great Time War. The Christmas special followed on from Name by focusing on the Doctor's life on Trenzalore and resolving a great deal of conflicts and mysteries surrounding his lifetime, and the coming end of his life.

The specials also featured a number of the Doctor's regenerations, specifically those of the Eighth, War, and Eleventh Doctors. As such, the regenerations of all but the Second Doctor have now been depicted on-screen.

During the specials, the regeneration cycle introduced in the 1976 serial The Deadly Assassin was addressed. Before the specials aired, discussions and rumours about the War Doctor's true nature made it unclear whether or not the Doctor had truly undergone just ten regenerations up to Matt Smith's incarnation.

Furthermore, since the events of the two-part Series 4 finale in 2008, The Stolen Earth and Journey's End, where the Tenth Doctor circumvented a regeneration, it had been long-speculated whether or not this counted in the cycle.

The formal introduction of the War Doctor and the eventual depiction of his own regeneration into the Ninth Doctor meant the Doctor actually had regenerated more times than previously suggested. When the birth of the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor was also proven to have used up a regeneration, it signified all twelve regenerations in the cycle were exhausted. The Doctor was then bestowed a second regeneration cycle to bypass this limit.

The 2013 specials saw the end of Matt Smith's tenure as the Eleventh Doctor, and ended with his regeneration into the Twelfth, played by Peter Capaldi.

Celebrating the shows 50th anniversary, several of the specials also featured previous actors who had portrayed the Doctor. Paul McGann portrayed the Eighth Doctor on-screen for the first time since his initial portrayal in TV: Doctor Who, David Tennant returned as the Tenth Doctor, and all other former actors were seen through the use of archive footage. The War Doctor was also played by John Hurt.

Although Jenna Coleman returned as sole companion Clara Oswald, Billie Piper returned to the series, but portraying a representation of the Bad Wolf, rather than her regular character of companion Rose Tyler.

Tom Baker also played the role of the Curator, an enigmatic character who is a future incarnation of the Doctor.

Cast Edit

and introducing Peter Capaldi as the Doctor

Recurring Edit

Guest Edit

Television stories Edit

Mini-episodes Edit

Title Writer Director Notes
The Night of the DoctorSteven MoffatJohn HayesReappearance and regeneration of the Eighth Doctor.
Return of the Sisterhood of Karn and the planet Karn.
Chronological debut of the War Doctor.
The Last DaySteven MoffatJamie Stone Dalek invasion of Gallifrey.
The Fall of Arcadia is shown for the first time, leading into the events of the 50th anniversary special. The Doctor does not appear.

Special episodes Edit

Title Writer Director Notes
50th AnniversaryThe Day of the DoctorSteven MoffatNick HurranFirst full appearance of the War Doctor as well as a new sonic screwdriver model for his Doctor.
Reappearance of the Tenth Doctor, Kate Stewart, Daleks and the Zygons.
First appearance of Petronella Osgood and the General.
Debut of the Moment, played by Billie Piper.
Regeneration of the War Doctor into Ninth Doctor.
First appearance of the Twelfth Doctor, though not fully seen.
First time all firsthand incarnations of the Doctor at the time are shown together on-screen.
Gallifrey saved from destruction.
Tom Baker makes a cameo as the Curator.
Many references to the history of Doctor Who are made throughout the special.
ChristmasThe Time of the DoctorSteven MoffatJamie PayneReappearance of the cracks in time, the Silents and Daleks, as well as the Cybermen, including a wooden variant, Weeping Angels and Sontarans.
Gallifrey rediscovered.
Dorium Maldovar's prophecies and dilemma of who enacted the TARDIS explosion are resolved.
Origin of the Silence and fate of Gallifrey revealed.
Reappearance of Dave Oswald, now middle-aged and recast as James Buller.
First appearance of Clara's gran.
Reappearance of the General, though voice-only.
Debut and demise of Handles.
The Doctor reveals his regeneration cycle has run out.
Story spans 900 years from the Doctor's perspective.
Regeneration of the Eleventh Doctor.
The Doctor's regeneration cycle is restored.
Reappearance of Amy Pond as a hallucination.
Chronological debut of the Twelfth Doctor.

Related specials Edit

Alongside the continuation of Doctor Who itself, a number of specials were also made relating to the real world production of the Doctor Who universe.

Title Writer Director Notes
An Adventure in Space and Time Mark GatissTerry McDonoughDocudrama of William Hartnell's tenure as The Doctor.
The Five(ish) Doctors RebootPeter DavisonPeter DavisonParody episode starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy.

Adaptations and merchandising Edit

Home media Edit

DVD / Blu-ray Edit

Title Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor
The Day of the Doctor
The Night of the Doctor
The Last Day
1 × 77 min.
1 × 8 min.
1 × 3 min.
2 December 2013 4 December 2013 10 December 2013
Doctor Who: An Adventure in Space and Time
An Adventure in Space and Time
1 × 90 min. 2 December 2013 4 December 2013 27 May 2014
Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor
The Time of the Doctor
1 × 60 min. 20 January 2014 22 January 2014 4 March 2014
Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition
The Day of the Doctor
The Night of the Doctor
The Last Day
The Time of the Doctor
An Adventure in Space and Time
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot
1 × 77 min.
1 × 8 min.
1 × 3 min.
1 × 60 min.
1 × 90 min.
1 × 30 min.
8 September 2014 10 September 2014 TBA
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