Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty was a BBC Events Production that went out live from the BFI on BBC Three following the BBC One premiere of The Day of the Doctor. It involved cast members from the whole history of Doctor Who, from William Russell to John Hurt.

Infamously featuring a disastrously flawed live satellite hookup with the boy band One Direction in Los Angeles, the programme was widely derided by fans.[1][2]

The press were no less disapproving. Radio Times panned the show as "that embarrassing BBC3 interlude", saying "the treatment of the former companions was unforgivable" and noting that the 15-second delay on the interview with One Direction created a situation in which "the Moff had his head in hands in horror".[3] The Guardian likewise called it a "debacle".[4]

Main subject[edit | edit source]

The main reason for the gathering was to celebrate The Day of the Doctor, and as such the cast and crew of that episode were given pride of place on the interview couch. The people receiving the longest interviews were therefore Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman, John Hurt and Steven Moffat.

Also, the presenters made an effort to solicit opinions about the 50th anniversary special from "ordinary fans" who were gathered in what was described as a "social media zone". International fans from other countries were similarly asked to give their opinions on the episode.

Most questions to former companions were also skewed toward getting some comment about Day of the Doctor, and how it compared to stories in their era of the programme.

Former companions[edit | edit source]

Many actors who had previously played companions from both Doctor Who series were gathered but their treatment by presenters Zoe Ball and Rick Edwards was widely criticised. Many of the actors weren't given the chance to speak during the show, and Edwards had to push his way through in order to speak to specific guests. When attempting to interview Louise Jameson, Rick Edwards attempted to squeeze between her and Katy Manning, in the process nearly pushing the latter to the floor. He immediately apologised for this, stating “sorry, I’m sitting on you”. Manning later tweeted about the event. [5] Other actors were referred to only by their characters' names. Mark Gatiss considered their treatment of the classic series to be disrespectful.

One Direction failure[edit | edit source]

The boy band One Direction (who were also celebrating 23rd November to be 1D Day) also appeared via a live satellite link-up where they would ask questions about the show. Unfortunately, the band members hadn't actually seen The Day of the Doctor and so their questions were fairly inappropriate to the occasion.


Live link-up EPIC FAIL One Direction on Doctor Who Afterparty Live (BBC3, 23.11.13)

Technical difficulties with the satellite link-up

The main problem however was that the sound was delayed, creating a sound loop as those on each side of conversation tried to figure out what the other was saying. At one point, the loop became a wall of noise, and the link had to be severed.

This incident was recounted by Zoe Ball in a live Q&A with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and Steven Moffat, screened after theatrical showings of the Series 8 premiere, Deep Breath, on 23 August 2014, where she jokingly announced that the live link to One Direction in Los Angeles was up. Moffat laughed, saying that the fandom would never let that one go.

Additional topics covered[edit | edit source]

Another key focus for the episode was in promoting The Fiveish Doctors Reboot, allowing Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy some greater interview time.

People interviewed[edit | edit source]

In credit order — which, oddly, was alphabetised in order of first names — the guests who attended were:

People appearing by video[edit | edit source]

A number of Doctor Who alum specially recorded segments that were played into the live event, including:

In addition some British celebrities not directly associated with Doctor Who taped special inserts as well. Perhaps the highest profile ones were Graham Norton and the judges from Strictly Come Dancing.

Crew[edit | edit source]

The credits are ambiguous as to the producer and director. While it appears that Victoria Simpson is the piece's director, and Russell Minton its producer, the credits additionally have the following, mysterious entry:

Chris Chapman
Paul De Freitas

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The show featured a rare appearance by Jackie Lane, long retired from performing and public life.
  • During the post-show interviews with fans towards the beginning of the special, one fan describes it as "very moving". Likely due to the fan in question's moderate Japanese accent, Rick Edwards mishears this as "dirty movie".
  • Unlike the other companion actors, John Leeson actually appears in-character as K9. This is par for the course for him, likely due to him not being as recognisable in person as many of the others (due to only providing the voice of his companion), and can also be seen in, for example, The Weakest Link's Doctor Who special. In this particular broadcast, he provides various facts, figures, and statistics from the TV series' then-50-year history. In order for the fragile K9 prop to be able move around the floor, much of the running time is eaten up by time spent cleaning the floor of debris that may immobilise the prop's wheels.
  • The show implied that Jake Simmonds was a companion of the Doctor, something that is not usually asserted by fans or by reference works. This was the second time in 2013 that actor Andrew Hayden-Smith appeared on television because of his 2006 Doctor Who role. Earlier, he had appeared as Nicola Bryant's partner on Pointless Celebrities.
  • Also included in the list of companions by the show is Caitlin Blackwood. While her character is a companion and the actress appears several times throughout this period the actress herself is also rarely considered a companion by the fandom.
  • Matt Smith can be seen "flicking the V" at One Direction as soon as the live linkup starts. Though this can be interpreted as "V for victory", it can also be seen as a vulgar action.

Home video releases[edit | edit source]

A Home video release of this event is unlikely, due to the sheer volume of the "cast" and its major technical flaws. Any DVD/Blu-ray release would most likely have been with the 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition box-set, and no release of any kind has been announced.

External links[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

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