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The Day of the Doctor was the 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who. It was written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran and featured Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, Billie Piper as the Moment and John Hurt as the War Doctor.
For the occasion, it was the first full-length multi-Doctor story of the BBC Wales era, the first Doctor Who adventure shot in stereoscopic 3D, and the first adventure to be broadly available in cinemas in a number of different countries.
It aired at the same time around the globe, on 23 and 24 November 2013 on television, setting a record for the largest ever simulcast of a television drama. In all, it was viewable in some 94 countries and 1,500 theatres worldwide. Domestically, the British Broadcasting Corporation's 2013/14 Annual Report cited it as the most watched drama on the BBC in 2013, with 12.8 million television viewers, and an additional 3.2 million iPlayer requests. It also broke, or neared, viewing records in a number of other regions around the world. Because of its theatrical run and subsequently strong home media sales, it is the single adventure with the highest gross worldwide sales in the history of Doctor Who. The success of this release led to the series 8 premiere, Deep Breath, receiving a similar theatrical simulcast as it aired on television on 23 August 2014.
The episode featured the return of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and the appearance of John Hurt as a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor: the War Doctor, in what was the final chronological adventure for his portrayal of the Doctor. His only full-length adventure on screen introduced a new iteration of the Doctor's sonic screwdriver and a unique TARDIS control room predating those seen in Series 1.
Furthermore, the special depicted the War Doctor's regeneration into the Ninth Doctor, completing a missing link in the chain of incarnations that started when Christopher Eccleston debuted in the 2005 relaunch of the series, Rose. The process of resolving the regenerations issue was being enforced by executive producer Steven Moffat, as he wished to have a "complete set" in time for Matt Smith's upcoming final episode.[source needed] Moffat also chose to requisition actor Paul McGann for one more outing as the Eighth Doctor in a mini-episode production, The Night of the Doctor one week after production wrapped on the anniversary special, resulting in a second former Doctor returning to the screen as part of the festivities. McGann filmed his own regeneration into Hurt's version of the Doctor, cementing the lineage of all Doctors up to Smith's incarnation onward.
The Day of the Doctor provided a chance to reveal a missing element of the Last Great Time War that dramatically altered the outcome as viewers were previously led to believe. Instead of allowing Gallifrey to be destroyed, the Doctors were able to save it, giving the Eleventh Doctor a chance to shed his guilt from the outcome and begin a new mission to find his way home. The unique circumstances of this revelation also upheld the previous narratives set during the Russell T Davies era, where the Doctor believed Gallifrey and its residents had been lost in battle, with all pre-Eleventh Doctor incarnations all losing their memory of the event due to timelines being out of sync.
Amongst fans, the story was exceedingly popular. In a 2014 poll by Doctor Who Magazine, which ranked all of the Doctor Who television stories aired to date, The Day of the Doctor ranked as "DWM readers' favourite adventure of the first 50 years". (DWM 474)
Due to worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus in the year 2020, Emily Cook from Doctor Who Magazine proposed an idea to fans of a simulcast watch-along of the story worldwide on 21 March 2020 as a way to pass the time in self-isolation, adding that if this "Who at Home" concept gained enough popularity, she would arrange more in the following weeks. This watch-along would reignite #SaveTheDay. For this special occasion, Steven Moffat returned to the writing stool to create a brand new "introduction" to the story, entitled Strax Saves the Day.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Plot
- 3 Cast
- 4 Crew
- 5 References
- 6 Story notes
- 7 Continuity
- 8 Home release
- 9 External links
- 10 Footnotes
The Doctors embark on their greatest adventure in this 50th-anniversary special. In the 21st century, something terrible is awakening in London's National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space, an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion. All of reality is at stake as the Doctor's own dangerous past comes back to haunt him.
A police constable walks the beat by the Coal Hill School and passes by a sign advertising "I.M. Foreman, Scrap Merchant". Inside the school, Clara Oswald is giving a lesson. She ends on a quote by Marcus Aurelius: "Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one."
The school bell rings. As her students leave, a teacher runs into the classroom; he gives a confused look, wondering if she's well. Clara wonders why, to which the teacher tells her that her "doctor" called, and left an address. She grabs her helmet and hops on her motorbike. Exiting Shoreditch, Clara drives past a clock reading 5:16 p.m. and through a freeway tunnel. She reaches an open patch of road surrounded by grassland, where a lone police box is waiting for her.
Finally spotting the TARDIS, she rides her motorcycle straight through its open doors, closing them with a click of the fingers. The Eleventh Doctor, perusing a copy of Advanced Quantum Mechanics, welcomes Clara back with a huge hug. He tells her that they'll be spending a weekend in ancient Mesopotamia, followed by Cocktails on the moon. Unexpectedly, the TARDIS takes off without starting the engines. Startled, the Doctor opens the doors, finding a large claw has hooked the TARDIS; it's attached to a helicopter from UNIT.
At the Tower of London, Kate Stewart is sitting on a bench, eating and observing their ravens of death, which need a change of batteries from Malcolm. UNIT scientist Osgood rushes to Kate with her personal phone, stating that the ringtone was the TARDIS wheezing noise; it's the Doctor. Kate reminds Osgood to use her inhaler at the sound of her heavy panting before accepting the call. Kate tells the Doctor that they found the TARDIS in a field and are bringing it in; she inquires as to where he is. The Doctor holds the TARDIS phone up towards the helicopter, surprising and mortifying Kate. She apologises, telling the pilot to instead take the Doctor to the scene of the crime.
The sudden change in course makes the Doctor fall out of the door. Clara holds onto the Doctor's legs as he dangles. The phone bops his head as Kate wonders if he has hung up. Annoyed, the Doctor yells "Next time, would it kill you to KNOCK!?" Telling Kate that he'll have to put her on hold, the Doctor pulls himself up to put away the phone, making Clara lose her grip on him. She yells his name in concern. The Doctor holds onto the bottom of the TARDIS, whooping in excitement and fear.
The helicopter arrives at the museum, where it lands slowly to let the Doctor off. Clara smiles, knowing the Doctor enjoyed the near-death experience. Kate apologises, while the Doctor tries and fails at lecturing her. Kate explains that she is operating on orders from the throne. She hands him sealed orders from Queen Elizabeth I and takes them into the National Gallery for proof of her credentials. Kate asks Osgood what the cover story is this time. She responds that they're using Derren Brown again, saying he's been sent flowers as an apology.
As they walk, the Doctor explains his relationship with UNIT to Clara, who is sceptical of the Doctor ever having had an actual job; though not directly working with UNIT anymore, the Doctor is still on the payroll as he never resigned. They stop in front of an impossible painting, something that belongs "not in this time or place": an oil painting in 3-D. It depicts the fall of the Gallifreyan city of Arcadia on the last day of the Time War. Kate tells the Doctor that there is some controversy over the work's name. It is either named No More or Gallifrey Falls. The painting is a slice of frozen time, a form of Time Lord art.
The Doctor is visibly disturbed by the painting. Clara notices, asking what's wrong. With immense sadness filling his face, the Doctor grabs Clara's hand for comfort. He tells her that he's had many faces and lived many lives, but there is one life he has tried very hard to forget. There was a man who brought an end to the Time War, and to both the Time Lords and Daleks alike. And that man was him. This painting was on the day it happened; the final day of the Time War...
Flashback to the Last Day of the Last Great Time War...
As the Daleks ravage Arcadia, a family of Time Lords run in fear. There is little hope of survival. As children cry and the people scream, a soldier messages the High Council of Time Lords: Arcadia has fallen. He looks around and sees the Doctor's TARDIS. Then the elderly voice of the "War Doctor", the warrior incarnation of the Doctor, asks the soldier for his gun. The Doctor carves a message for both warring civilisations to see into a nearby wall: NO MORE. As Daleks prepare to exterminate the Time Lords, the Doctor's presence draws their attention away from the innocent people and leads them to the wall with the message. Suddenly, the Doctor's TARDIS crashes through the wall, demolishing several Daleks. The Doctor's escape from Arcadia is witnessed by one surviving Dalek of the attack, though it is bisected. It questions the meaning of "NO MORE", bellowing "Explain! Explain!" The nearby Time Lord soldier shoots the Dalek with his gun, and the slain Dalek erupts in flames.
The High Commanders gather in the War Room, planning their next moves, with the Eleventh General dismissing the High Council's upcoming plans as "they have already failed". They receive the Doctor's message, and the General is not pleased to learn of his presence, calling him a madman. A Time Lady rushes in to inform the War Council that there has been a breach in the Omega Arsenal in the Time Vaults.
The most feared and forbidden weapon in the universe is missing: The Moment. The Doctor has stolen it and intends to use it to end the Time War once and for all. The Time Lords have already used all of the previously forbidden weapons but dared not unleash this weapon in particular. It was said that the Moment was so advanced as to have developed a conscience, and could stand in judgement of the user. The General muses that only the Doctor would be mad enough to use such a weapon.
Footsteps can be seen leading away from the battle-scuffed frame of the TARDIS, which has been uncharacteristically abandoned by the Doctor. The sound of his voice issuing an ominous final warning is heard; "Time Lords of Gallifrey, Daleks of Skaro, I serve notice on you all. Too long I have stayed my hand. No more. Today you leave me no choice. Today, this war will end. No more. No more..." The Doctor's tired face comes into view as he strides across a desolate desert, a burlap sack over his shoulder.
He eventually enters a barn-like dwelling, where he uncovers a complicated mechanical box, covered in gears. The device ticks loudly as its clockwork-like parts rattle and clank. As the Doctor studies it, he cannot find a discernible trigger mechanism. While he puzzles over how to activate it — grumbling "Why is there never a big red button?" — he hears a rustling sound. He opens the door and calls out. A girl's voice behind him reassures him that it's "just a Wolf".
Startled, he turns around to see what appears to be Rose Tyler. He doesn't recognise her, as he doesn't meet her until his next incarnation. He grabs her arm and shoves her out the door, only for her to appear inside the barn again, sitting on the Moment. He tells her not to sit on it as it's not a chair, but the most dangerous weapon in the universe. She asks if the Doctor parked his TARDIS far away from the dwelling so that it would not witness what he was about to do. Not realising what she is, he orders her out and then burns his hand on the box. Impishly, she guides the Doctor to realise that she is the Moment's interface. She can hear the Doctor's thoughts, and has attempted to assume the form of a familiar figure from his past; however, the Moment gets the past and future mixed up, and so has chosen the form of the Bad Wolf to speak to him.
She laughs that the story of the Doctor's life is being between a girl and a box, referencing to his companions and the TARDIS. War-weary and bitter, the elderly Time Lord tells her to stop calling him "the Doctor". She states it's the name in his head. The Doctor tells her it shouldn't exist in his head anymore, as he's no longer worthy of the name. She replies that he will be the one to save the universe. He explains that the suffering of the universe is too great, and he must end it. He also intends to meet his death after using the Moment, not wishing to live through the bloodshed, but she decides that his fate and punishment will be to survive the activation and face the consequences.
Like a conscience, she challenges his words and actions, guiding him towards his future. He will destroy the Daleks, but he will also murder his own people, asking him how many children on Gallifrey will die, but he has no idea. After the Moment suggests that one day he will find a way to count them, the Doctor sits in contemplation. The Moment tells him that she's going to open a window in time to show him the man he will become. A time fissure opens - and a fez falls out, much to the mutual confusion of the Doctor and the Moment...
Back in the 21st century, Kate explains that Queen Elizabeth left the painting to prove that the orders do come from her. The Doctor breaks the seal and reads her words: "My dearest love: I hope the painting known as Gallifrey Falls will serve as proof that it is your Elizabeth that writes to you now. You will recall that you pledged yourself to the safety of my kingdom. In that capacity, I have appointed you Curator of the Under Gallery, where deadly danger to England is locked away. Should any disturbance occur within its walls, it is my wish that you should be summoned. Godspeed, gentle husband."
As Kate leads the Doctor and Clara away, a nearby UNIT scientist named McGillop receives a mysterious phone call. Befuddled, he stares at the painting, wondering why he should move it.
The Doctor and Clara approach another painting, which shows the figure of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Tenth Doctor. Clara sees this is proof the Doctor once knew her, having seen all his past lives in his time-stream. The Doctor states he knew Elizabeth I a long time ago, practically being a different man back then...
In England in 1562, the Tenth Doctor and Elizabeth I ride out of the TARDIS on horseback, the Doctor having proven that it really is bigger on the inside. She responds "the door isn't" bigger; it nearly took her head off. They share a picnic on a hill, where Elizabeth expresses concern that he has seen war. The Doctor confirms that it wasn't this face but he has indeed fought in battle. He then proposes marriage. When she joyfully accepts, the Doctor accuses her of being a Zygon shapeshifter that has replaced the real Elizabeth, as the real queen wouldn't accept marriage from a handsome stranger or be so nonchalant about the Doctor having a different face. He whips out a "device that goes ding" to prove that she is a shapeshifter, before realising that it was the horse they were riding.
They run for their lives, the Doctor dreads being an engaged man; "Oh, good work, Doctor. Nice one. The Virgin Queen? So much for history." They split up in the woods, but Elizabeth is accosted by the Zygon. The Doctor runs through the woods, even threatening a rabbit he mistakes for a Zygon before he is reunited with Elizabeth. However, a doppelganger of her appears, and he is unable to tell who is who as both speak as Elizabeth would. Suddenly another time fissure appears, with the Doctor noting anything can happen. A fez falls through, confusing the Doctor.
Back in the National Gallery, Kate welcomes the Eleventh Doctor and Clara to the Under Gallery, established by Elizabeth I to house dangerous art or things that could not be understood. The Doctor notices that the floor is covered in stone dust, and asks Osgood to analyse it with a triplicate report and lots of graphs. As they walk through the gallery, the Doctor spots a fez in a glass case and immediately dons it, much to the bemusement of Clara, who wonders if he can ever go past one without putting it on. The Doctor tells her that that's never going to happen.
Kate shows them more 3-D paintings, all landscapes, with the broken glass from their shattered frames covering the floor. The Doctor notes that the glass has been shattered from the inside, and Kate says that they all contained figures which are now missing. As they leave to investigate, another time fissure opens. Annoyed, the Doctor faintly recalls seeing the fissure before, before realising that the fez that had fallen through in 1562 was the fez he was now wearing. Delighted, he throws the fez into the fissure and follows it with a loud "Geronimo." Clara tries to follow, but Kate restrains her; UNIT doesn't need the only other person with access to the TARDIS's technology getting lost.
The Eleventh Doctor falls through the fissure and lands in front of the Tenth in the sixteenth century. Stunned, the Tenth Doctor dons the fez himself. The Eleventh pops up and gabbles excitedly about how skinny his predecessor is, which makes the Tenth realise who he is. They incredulously pull out their sonic screwdrivers and compare them, with the Tenth jokingly suggesting the Eleventh is compensating for something because of regeneration being a lottery. As they begin bickering, the time fissure increases in intensity. The Tenth Doctor orders the two Elizabeths to run away in opposite directions; both kiss him and flee. The Eleventh Doctor points out that his earlier self just kissed a Zygon, which has venom sacks in the tongue. The Tenth Doctor, rather annoyed, says he doesn't need the reminder.
Clara calls out from the fissure to the Eleventh Doctor, asking where he is. The Eleventh Doctor asks the Tenth when they are, and repeats it. Clara asks who the Doctor is speaking to, prompting both to say "myself" at the same time; both are amused that they spoke together. Clara asks if the Doctor can come back. Hypothesising that the fissure can go both ways, the Doctor tosses his fez in, but it fails to appear in Clara's time. At the end of the Time War, the War Doctor picks up the fez; he hears Kate explaining to Clara that the Doctor has met an earlier version of himself. Kate leaves, calling the office to bring her the Cromier file. As she exits the hall, a mysterious shadow looms...
Back in 1562, the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors are staring at the fissure. The Tenth states that since the Eleventh used to be him, he should remember what happened next; unfortunately the Eleventh has no idea. Shocked his successor can't remember this event, the Tenth Doctor asks why. The Eleventh counters its because the Tenth isn't paying attention well enough; he tells him to reverse the polarity of the fissure. Both aim their sonic screwdrivers at the fissure, but are getting no result. The Tenth Doctor tells the confused Eleventh that he's reversing the polarity, while the Eleventh is reversing it back; they're actually confusing the polarity. Suddenly, their tampering with the fissure results in something falling through.
Much to their shock, it's the War Doctor, who asks if they lost a fez. Both are horrified to see him. The War Doctor greets them and states that he's looking for his future self, prompting the Tenth Doctor to state that he's come to the right place. The War Doctor wonders who the two of them are, wondering if they are his future companions. Both the Eleventh and Tenth Doctors are shocked and insulted by the question; the War Doctor laughs that his companions keep getting younger. When the War Doctor asks to be pointed in the general direction of his future self, both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors pull out their sonic screwdrivers and turn them on. The War Doctor is stunned, asking several times if they are his future selves; he is especially unimpressed with the Eleventh Doctor. Seeing that he's found two of his future selves at once, the War Doctor wonders if he's going through a midlife crisis. As he walks towards them, his future selves brandish their screwdrivers threateningly. Scoffing, the War Doctor asks why they're pointing scientific instruments at him.
Suddenly, they are surrounded by the Queen's soldiers; who believe the Queen to have been bewitched by the Doctor, asking which of the trio is the man they seek. The War Doctor quips that today is their lucky day. The Tenth and Eleventh Doctors point their sonic screwdrivers in defence again, prompting the War Doctor to dryly joke if they're going to assemble a cabinet at them. Clara's voice sounds from the fissure, allowing the Doctors to convince the soldiers that she is "The Wicked Witch of the Well". Kate has, at that point, returned to Clara. The Queen returns to the group, implying that her human counterpart is dead. She has the trio of Doctors arrested and taken to the Tower of London with the Eleventh loudly hinting for her to take them there. The hint is picked up on by Kate, who takes Clara to the Black Archive to retrieve Jack Harkness' vortex manipulator.
The Doctors are thrown in a cell with a wooden door; the sonic is useless as it doesn't work on wood. The Tenth Doctor begins musing how a temporal paradox will start kicking up with three of them in the same room for a long time. The Eleventh works with a nail on the pillar in the room, stating it's their way out. Ignoring him, the Tenth Doctor asks why these three Doctors have been brought together; he and the Eleventh were surprised, but the War Doctor came to find them. The big question is why. The War Doctor sees the Moment, which gestures to keep quiet about it.
In the present, Osgood and McGillop are reading the results of the analysis of the stone dust. The dust is from materials not found in the structure of the building, but common in statues. Osgood realises that the statues must have been smashed, and suddenly understands why: the inhabitants of the paintings needed a hiding place. The Zygons reveal themselves from underneath the dust cloths covering what the humans had believed were statues. The aliens accost McGillop and corner Osgood. Osgood prays for the Doctor to save her, but instead of being killed, she is faced with her duplicate. The copy Osgood asks for her inhaler, annoyed she has had to copy a human with a defect. Having seen into Osgood's head, the Zygon says she wishes she copied her sister instead; Osgood thinks her sister is better than her. Osgood outsmarts the Zygon, noticing that it's standing on her scarf; she pulls it out from under the Zygon, knocking it over and allowing the real Osgood to flee.
Kate and Clara enter the Black Archive, housing the most dangerous alien tech recovered by UNIT. Its contents are so top secret that its staff have their memories modified every day; the guard has been there ten years, but always thinks it's his first day. Apparently, this has happened to Clara at least once, as she has already obtained the necessary clearance to enter the archive. They view the vortex manipulator, which was bequeathed to UNIT after one of Jack's many deaths. The Doctor has the code to fully reactivate it (not just the teleporter), but keeps it secret.
Kate adds that they keep the manipulator a secret from their allies. When Clara asks why, Kate indirectly references Back to the Future as an example. A scientist phones Kate, and she orders him to send a picture of some numerals, the activation code that the Eleventh Doctor carved into the wall of the cell in 1562 for them to find centuries later. Osgood and McGillop enter the Archive, to Clara's surprise. Kate says they're here because they disposed of the UNIT personnel, taking her true Zygon form. The Zygon tells its allies to replace Clara as well; however, Clara dons the manipulator and types in the code from Kate's phone; with a smirk, Clara vanishes.
In the Tower of London in 1562, the Eleventh Doctor scratches the activation code onto a wall in their cell, while the other two Doctors puzzle out how to escape. The War Doctor proposes an isolated sonic shift in the door molecules in order to disintegrate the door, but the Tenth Doctor rejects the idea, saying it would take centuries to calculate the necessary formula. The War Doctor starts bickering with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, chastising them for their shame of being "grown-up" by speaking like children. Subdued, they look at him darkly, reminding him of the day he ended the Time War. The War Doctor notices the feeling of dread on their faces when they look at him.
The Moment reappears, unseen and unheard by the other Doctors, and urges the War Doctor to ask his future selves the question that he needs to know: How many children died on Gallifrey that day. The Eleventh Doctor says, "I've absolutely no idea.", he says he's forgotten the events of that day. He then adds that he's so old that he can't even remember his proper age anymore; however, he guesses he's 1200 years old, putting the Time War 400 years in the past for him.
However, the Tenth Doctor angrily asks how the Eleventh could ever forget something as important as this particular number, and bitterly states that there were 2.47 billion children on the planet that day. The War Doctor exclaims in shock that he did count. Disturbed and furious by his successor's impassive nature, he asks him, "For once, I would like to know where I'm going." Vexed by this remark, the Eleventh Doctor coldly replies, "No, you really wouldn't!" The Tenth Doctor looks back at him, eyes wide with fear. The Moment explains to the War Doctor that the Tenth Doctor has become "the man who regrets" and the Eleventh "the man who forgets". They are the future of the Doctor, when he ends the Time War.
The Moment reminds the War Doctor that his sonic screwdriver, at the most basic level, is exactly the same device as the ones used by his counterparts: "Same software — different case". He realises that if he scans the door and implants the calculations as a permanent subroutine in the screwdriver, it will take hundreds of years to work out the formula necessary to disintegrate the door. The Tenth Doctor checks his sonic screwdriver, finding the calculation still going. The Eleventh checks his, finding the calculation has been completed.
They exuberantly congratulate themselves on their cleverness before Clara pushes open the door — which has been unlocked the entire time. Clara asks her Doctor if they are all him. The Eleventh Doctor reminds Clara of the time she went into his timeline, to which she barely remembers. She compliments the Tenth Doctor's suit; he thanks her. She then asks why neither of them tried to just open the door; one thing the Doctor retains in all his incarnations is his inability to do simple things. The Queen comes in, telling them that she left the door unlocked as a test. She takes them down to the Zygons' lair to show them their plan.
Osgood walks the halls of the Under Gallery, before discovering the real Kate trapped in a Zygon nest. Kate's body template is being used to refresh the image of her Zygon doppelganger. Osgood frees her, but Kate bemoans the fact that the Zygons now have control of the Black Archive. It means that they've just lost control of the planet to hostile aliens.
The Doctors and Clara follow the Queen to the lair, whereupon they discover that the Zygon homeworld was destroyed in the early days of the Time War, and so they have decided to take Earth as their new home. However, sixteenth century Earth is too primitive to be comfortable to the invading shapeshifters, so they intend to invade the more advanced future in order to establish their new homeworld. They, therefore, have translated themselves into the paintings using stasis cubes, which are the Time Lords' three-dimensional paintings. The Eleventh and Tenth Doctors explain to Clara that it works similar to cup-a-soup.
The Tenth Doctor berates the Zygon commander for doing a lousy job of replicating the real Queen Elizabeth, but she reveals (to his mortification) that she is the real Elizabeth. Having had numerous attempts on her life already, Elizabeth carries a hidden blade on her, which she used to slay her twin in the forest and take her place as Zygon commander. The Zygons thought humans would be too weak to do so, hence why Elizabeth had the advantage of surprise. Elizabeth calls on the Tenth Doctor to save England but first whisks him away to be married with his past and future selves as reluctant witnesses, and an enthusiastic Clara throwing confetti. The War Doctor wonders if there's a lot of kissing in the future, to which the Eleventh states "It does start to happen, yeah.." in a defeated tone. The Tenth Doctor tells Elizabeth that he will be back, but ultimately abandoned his marriage.
The Tenth Doctor heads back to his TARDIS, prepping for take off as the other two Doctors and Clara head inside. The War Doctor notes that the Tenth really let the control room go. The Eleventh Doctor recalls it as his "grunge phase", making the Tenth think he insulted the TARDIS and he begins soothing it. Suddenly, a flash of light changes the control room, turning it into the War Doctor's control room. Because of the presence of three incarnations of the Doctor, the control room is trying to compensate for the different time zones. Both the Tenth and the Eleventh Doctors are delighted to see the roundels, which they haven't seen in a while; however, neither of them knows what they actually are. The Eleventh Doctor stabilises the desktop, picking his current version; the Tenth Doctor remarks that he doesn't like it. Clara tells them that the Zygons have gotten into the Black Archive, prompting dark stares from them. "Okay. You've heard of it" Clara nervously says.
In the Black Archive, the Zygons note that the humans don't know what half the stuff there does, but they do; they can conquer the Earth in less than a day with what's stored there. Kate, Osgood and McGillop arrive, saying that they are not armed and thus not a threat. Kate tells her Zygon double that in the event that the Black Archive falls into the wrongs hands, a fail-safe was created. She voice activates a countdown to detonate a nuclear warhead beneath the Tower, which will destroy all of London in order to protect the planet from the Zygons; her double tries countermanding the order several times. The Kate Zygon fearful states that they just have to agree to live, implying she wishes to make a compromise. However, Kate refuses to negotiate, planning to destroy all of London just to be safe.
The Eleventh Doctor's voice crackles on via the space-time telegraph he had once given to her father, begging Kate not to detonate; Kate shuts off the device, not wishing to let the Doctor influence her. He tries to land, but the Tower of London had been made TARDIS-proof to prevent his interference; as he tells a confused Clara; "human stupidity plus alien technology. Trust me, it's an unbeatable combo." However, the War Doctor figures out a way to get in - the stasis cubes; they can just copy the Zygons and wait out in a painting until the time is right. The Eleventh Doctor calls McGillop in the past, and instructs him to bring the Gallifrey Falls painting to the Black Archive...
The real Osgood begs the Doctor to save them again, as the Doctors and Clara force their way out of the painting, having frozen themselves in it earlier. The Doctors now face the Fall of Arcadia in real time as it unfolds, and are immediately met with an attacking Dalek, which they repel with their sonic screwdrivers. It crashes through the glass of the painting and the Doctors emerge in a heroic fashion. Clara soon follows.
The three Doctors hand the Kates an ultimatum when they refuse to disarm the Archive's nuclear option: They trigger the memory modifiers to confuse everybody as to whether they are human or Zygon. Then, if they stop the detonation and create a peace treaty (which is sure to be incredibly fair, as the negotiators can't remember which side they're on), they will have their memories restored. Utterly confused over their identities, the two Kates stop the detonation in the nick of time and begin to negotiate the treaty. While the Osgoods figure out which of them is which, they decide to keep it to themselves to protect the treaty.
As they negotiate, Clara speaks to the War Doctor. She has figured out he hasn't used the Moment yet, explaining that "her" Doctor always talked about the day he wiped out the Time Lords; the pain of making that decision is in both the eyes of the Tenth and Eleventh, but not in the War Doctor's. She says that he would do anything to take it back, but the War Doctor remains convinced that his actions will save billions of lives in the future. Across the room, the War Doctor sees the form of the Bad Wolf once more. The moment to decide has come. He tells the interface he's ready, and Clara turns to see who he's talking to; when she turns back, he's vanished.
Returned to the barn on Gallifrey, the War Doctor stands in front of the Moment, which has simplified its interface by his request — the trigger mechanism is now a big red button for him to push. The Moment questions him once more, trying to convince him of his goodness. He still doesn't believe he is worthy of the name "Doctor", losing all hope for himself and his people. He believes that the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors are extraordinary men and that he has to commit this act to forge them into what they become. As the War Doctor goes to activate the Moment, the interface tells him that the wheezing sound the TARDIS makes brings hope to everyone who hears it. The War Doctor agrees that he believes it does and the Moment tells him that it brings hope to anyone, no matter how lost they are.
The War Doctor realises what she means a moment later as the sounds of two TARDISes fill the barn. The Tenth and Eleventh Doctors park the TARDISes and exit them. Clara tells the Eleventh that she was right about the War Doctor not having committed the act he was so ashamed of. The Tenth Doctor states that the Last Great Time War should be time locked; they shouldn't have been able to get here. The Eleventh counters that something must have let them through, so they can speak to their forgotten incarnation. The Moment, still unseen by all but the War Doctor, calls them clever. The War Doctor tells the two of them to go back to their lives and be the Doctor that he couldn't be and make it worth while.
Right as the War Doctor places his hand above the button, the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors tell him of how they pushed him down in their memories for years. They kept him a secret, even from themselves out of shame. They pretended he wasn't "the Doctor", when he was the Doctor more than they or any of their other incarnations could have been. The War Doctor was the Doctor on the day it was impossible to make the right decision. However, this time, he doesn't have to make this horrible choice alone; they place their hands over his at the moment, forgiving him and themselves. Having gained some peace from hearing his future selves call him "the Doctor", something he denied himself for years, the War Doctor tearfully thanks them .
Clara tearfully objects. She knew that "the Doctor" had activated the Moment and destroyed his home-world, but she had never imagined the Eleventh Doctor with his hand on the button. The reality of the Time War projects around them: children crying, innocents suffering. The Doctor could not find another way to end it all, but Clara believes in a different solution. She calls the past two Doctors the Warrior and the Hero, but this leads the Eleventh to wonder what he is. Clara asks if he truly has forgotten; he has, asking Clara to tell him what to do. "We have enough warriors. Any old idiot can be a hero. Be what you've always been. Be a Doctor." She asks him what the promise was when he chose to call himself the Doctor. The Tenth and War Doctors recite "Never cowardly or cruel. Never give up; never give in." The Moment ends the projection.
At that, a brilliant new idea descends on the room; the Eleventh Doctor says that he's had a long time to think about it — he's changed his mind! The intent of the Moment worked: the War Doctor saw the future he needed to see. Picking up on his future self's idea without explanation, the War Doctor exclaims that he could just kiss "Bad Wolf girl" right now, which catches the Tenth Doctor's attention, only for him to be distracted from it as he realises what his counterparts were getting at and agrees that it's a wonderful idea.
They have changed their minds about using the Moment, and the Eleventh Doctor disarms the device with his sonic screwdriver. Instead, they intend to freeze Gallifrey in a moment in time, slipped away in a pocket universe, the way the Zygons froze themselves into Time Lord art. When Gallifrey vanishes, the sphere of Dalek ships surrounding the planet and firing constantly will be exterminated in their own crossfire before they can cease firing, and the universe will believe that the two races destroyed each other.
On the last day of the Time War, another message from the Doctor appears before the High Command: GALLIFREY STANDS. The three Doctors race in their TARDISes towards Gallifrey and transmit to the War Room. Three transmissions, each showing a different Doctor, much to the General's dismay, appear. They explain their incredible plan to save Gallifrey. They will position themselves around the planet equidistantly, and freeze it — just like the stasis cubes, but to a whole planet and all the people on it. The General objects, saying that they'd be lost in another universe, frozen in a single moment with nothing, but the Doctors tell him the alternative is burning and they've seen that and don't want to again. The Eleventh Doctor also informs him that with this plan, the Time Lords will at least have hope, something they don't have now. The General is dumbfounded, he tells them that the idea is delusional, claiming that even if it was possible, the calculations alone would take centuries. The Eleventh and Tenth Doctors agree, saying it would take "hundreds and hundreds" of years, but they've had "a very long time" to think about it. In fact, he could say they've been working on it all their lives.....
At that, the voice of the First Doctor is heard contacting the War Council. Nine more police boxes fly around the planet, and all the past incarnations of the Doctor come together to save Gallifrey, all making contact with the Council. The General bemoans the idea that all twelve Doctors have arrived when three was bad enough. However, his count is one short. Androgar points out that all thirteen incarnations of the Doctor are present to save Gallifrey — a new incarnation from the Doctor's days yet to come is also on the way. A brief glimpse of this future Doctor shows a hand reaching for a lever in the console room, and a pair of piercing blue eyes watching the console monitor.
As the Daleks increase their attack upon seeing the thirteen TARDISes, the General realises that he has no choice and tells the Doctor to "do it." The thirteen Doctors prepare their TARDISes with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors exclaiming their catchphrases while the exasperated War Doctor goes with a simple "Gallifrey Stands." After a flash and a colossal explosion, space becomes empty and quiet as one damaged Dalek fighter pod goes spinning off.
Back in the National Gallery, the Tenth, Eleventh, and War Doctors muse on the ambiguity of whether their plan succeeded. The presence of the mysterious painting of the fall of Arcadia remains an enigma to the three Doctors. While they don't know if their plan worked, they agree that it was better to have failed having done the right thing than succeeding in doing the wrong. The War Doctor bids a fond farewell to his replacements, they return an equally fond farewell as they finally address him as "Doctor": a man fully worthy of the title, even if he will only know it briefly. Because the timelines are out of sync, the War Doctor and the Tenth Doctor won't be able to retain their memories of these events. They will forget them completely until they catch up to their eleventh incarnation. However, right now, the War Doctor is content and pleased that he can refer to himself as "Doctor" again. He gives Clara a farewell kiss and takes a moment to sort out his TARDIS out from the other two in the gallery.
As he pilots his TARDIS away, he suddenly sees his hands glowing with regeneration energy, and says that it makes sense, as his old body is "wearing a bit thin." After surviving the Time War, he is ultimately dying of old age. With his work done in the battle, the energy begins to overtake the War Doctor. He expresses one last desire that the change will leave him with "less conspicuous" ears this time. The War Doctor smiles peacefully as his next regeneration begins.
Acknowledging that he won't be able to remember the answer, the Tenth Doctor questions his successor as to "Where it is we're going that you don't wanna talk about." The Eleventh Doctor relents and reveals that they are destined to die on Trenzalore, in battle, with millions of lives lost. The Tenth Doctor says that's not how it's supposed to be, but the Eleventh Doctor tells him it is determined now. Preparing to leave, the Tenth Doctor shakes his successor's hand and says that he's glad his future is in good hands. He kisses Clara's hand, and with a smile, starts to step into his TARDIS. Before he does, he expresses his desire to change their final destination of Trenzalore, saying: "I don't want to go." As the TARDIS dematerialises, the Eleventh Doctor smiles and remarks "he always says that".
Clara asks the Doctor if he would like to sit and look at the painting for a little while. He smiles, asking how she knew. Clara kisses him on the cheek and tells him that she always knows — it's his sad old eyes. As she steps into the TARDIS, she mentions that an old man, possibly the Gallery's curator, was looking for him.
As the Doctor sits down and looks at the painting, he begins musing out loud that he would be a great curator. He says with a laugh that he could call himself "the Great Curator", retire and become the curator of this gallery. A deep voice affirms that he really might. The astonished Doctor looks over to see a very familiar face standing next to him. An old man who greatly resembles the Fourth Doctor. The Doctor studies the old man in wonderment, as he tells him that he never forgets a face, and the old man replies that he knows he doesn't and that he might find himself revisiting some of them in the future, "but just the old favourites, eh?"; the Doctor merely smiles and winks at the old man. The man then turns the Doctor's attention to the painting, explaining that he acquired it under "remarkable circumstances". He tells the Doctor that its two names are actually one: the true title of the painting is Gallifrey Falls No More.
The Doctor realises that he was successful, and Gallifrey was indeed saved. The mysterious man comments that he surely wouldn't know as he is merely a humble curator. The Doctor excitedly asks him if he knows where Gallifrey is, but he only cryptically reveals that it is simply "lost", and that the Doctor has a lot to do. The Doctor asks if that means that he is supposed to go looking for Gallifrey, but the Curator tells him that that decision is entirely up to him. He also muses that he and the Doctor might be the same man from different perspectives, sounding wistful about days having gone by, congratulating the Doctor on the new journey he is about to commence. As to whether or not he truly is an incarnation of the Doctor from the future, the Curator simply teases the thought, "Who knows, eh? Who... 'nose'?", and with a tap of his nose, he turns and walks away. The Eleventh Doctor concludes that he has a mission, the mission of a lifetime: he must find Gallifrey and return it and all its people to the universe.
Later, the Doctor speaks of his dreams, as he is seen to walk through the TARDIS console room. Clara would laugh at him when he said that he dreamed about where he was going, as he was always going nowhere. However, he says that he finally realises where he has been travelling all this time: home. He simply says that it has taken so many years and lifetimes to take the long way around.
As he exits the TARDIS in the dream, the Doctor joins his eleven past selves in gazing up at the magnificent planet in the sky, determined to find Gallifrey and save his home once and for all.
- The Doctor - Matt Smith, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston, John Hurt, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton, William Hartnell
- Clara - Jenna Coleman
- Rose - Billie Piper
- Tom - Tristan Beint
- Kate Stewart - Jemma Redgrave
- Osgood - Ingrid Oliver
- Time Lord soldier - Chris Finch
- Androgar - Peter De Jersey
- The General - Ken Bones
- Arcadia father - Philip Buck
- Time Lord - Sophie Morgan-Price
- Elizabeth I - Joanna Page
- Lord Bentham - Orlando James
- McGillop - Jonjo O'Neill
- Atkins - Tom Keller
- Zygon - Aidan Cook
- Zygon - Paul Kasey
- Voice of the Daleks & Zygons - Nicholas Briggs
- Dalek 1 - Barnaby Edwards
- Dalek 2 - Nicholas Pegg
- Voice over artist - John Guilor
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Faith Penhale|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- The Tenth Doctor says that there was 2,470,000,000 children on Gallifrey when the planet was supposedly destroyed.
- The War Doctor claims the Dalek army numbers 1,000,000,000,000,000.
- Jack Harkness' vortex manipulator was stored in the Black Archive of UNIT after one of his recent deaths. It later ended up in the possession of the Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald.
- The two boards containing photos of Clara's last visit to the Black Archive also showcase photos of previous associates of the Doctor: Susan Foreman, Captain Mike Yates alongside Sara Kingdom, Polly Wright, Dodo Chaplet, Zoe Heriot, Harry Sullivan alongside Sergeant Benton and Sarah Jane Smith, K-9 Mark III, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton, Ben Jackson, Jamie McCrimmon, Zoe Heriot alongside the Brigadier, Sergeant Benton alongside Leela, Vicki Pallister, Victoria Waterfield, Jo Grant alongside Sergeant Benton, Liz Shaw alongside the Brigadier, Romana II, Steven Taylor, Katarina, Romana I, Tegan Jovanka alongside Nyssa, Grace Holloway, Donna Noble, Amy Pond alongside Kate Stewart, Clara Oswald alongside Kate Stewart, Adric, Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, Kamelion, UNIT Captain Erisa Magambo alongside Rose Tyler, Wilfred Mott, Peri Brown, Brigadier Winifred Bambera alongside Ace, Martha Jones, Mickey Smith, Adam Mitchell, Lieutenant General Sanchez alongside Sarah Jane Smith, Rory Williams, Vislor Turlough, Melanie Bush, Jack Harkness, Craig Owens, and Kate Stewart alongside River Song.
- Kate's mobile phone has the TARDIS dematerialisation sound set as her ringtone when the Doctor calls.
- Clara is now a teacher at Coal Hill School, and she quotes Marcus Aurelius to her class.
- A bust of Albert Einstein can be seen in front of the Cyberman painting in the Under Gallery.
- Kate calls someone named Malcolm twice. Presumably, this is Malcolm Taylor.
- While confronting a rabbit which he briefly believes to be a Zygon in disguise, the Tenth Doctor says that he is 904-years-old. The Eleventh Doctor believes he is about 1200-years-old, which the War Doctor states is 400 years older than himself.
- The Doctor is mentioned to still be on the UNIT payroll.
- The War Doctor regenerates into the Ninth Doctor.
- The Eleventh Doctor uses the TARDIS console's friction contrafibulator to stabilise the control room desktop theme.
- The Time Lords can take "snapshots" of different events by freezing time and presenting them as 3D oil paintings with their stasis cubes.
References to the real world
- The Eleventh Doctor calls the Tenth Doctor "Dick Van Dyke" in a sly reference to his accent.
- The Tenth Doctor wears sandshoes.
- Red Bee Media produced a narrative trailer for this story featuring a short retrospective of the whole series. (DWMSE 38)
- Steven Moffat granted publication of part of his initial The Day of the Doctor draft scene featuring Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor in A Second Target for Tommy, an anthology to help raise money for Tommy Donbavand's medical costs associated with a tumour in his lung.
- UK: 12.8 million, 3.2 million iPlayer requests
- US: 2.8 million (the highest for the channel at the time)
- Canada: 1.7 million
Specific to theatrical presentation
Main article: Cinema Introduction (The Day of the Doctor)
- Two specially recorded scenes were shown before the special in its showing in cinemas. The first featured Dan Starkey as Commander Strax, accompanied by his Sontaran clone batch, lecturing the viewers on cinema etiquette. The second featured Matt Smith and David Tennant as the Eleventh and Tenth Doctors instructing viewers to put on their 3D glasses. The second ends with John Hurt's War Doctor suddenly appearing behind the two Doctors who turn towards him while he has his back to them as the feature starts.
Specific to the 3D version
- The episode was shot, broadcast and screened in cinemas in stereoscopic 3D. Despite confessing that he was not a big fan of 3D movies, writer and show runner Steven Moffat came up with the idea of shooting the episode in 3D and, despite his initial worries, found the 3D version to be "better" and "more satisfying" than the 2D version. Knowing that the vast majority of viewers would have watched it in 2D, director Nick Hurran made sure that his shooting style wasn't influenced "too much" by the episode's use of 3D. Nonetheless, Hurran meticulously researched the back-catalogue of 3D films in order to see what worked and what didn't. Steven Moffat believed that Hurran's research had led the director to view "every 3D film ever made". (DWM 468)
- The original Doctor Who logo was not only modified to appear in black and white; a 3D effect was added to suggest the logo moving towards the viewer.
- The 3D paintings are obviously more three-dimensional in the 3D version.
- As the Eleventh Doctor walks out of the TARDIS onto the cloud bearing his other selves at the very end of the story, the effect is considerably "more 3D" than viewing the 2D version would suggest.
- Mistika was used for the finishing of the stereo 3D work.
Common among all versions
- When pre-production on this special began, Jenna Coleman was the only cast member who was under contract to appear. As a result, Steven Moffat began working on a story which would have only her and tentatively named it The No Doctors, just in case no other Doctors were available.
- In the partial draft Doctor Who 50th Anniversary: The Time War, the Ninth Doctor was featured in the script in the part that ultimately was of the War Doctor. Following Christopher Eccleston declining to reprise the role, Moffat suggested another past Doctor instead, but was vetoed by the BBC, prompting him to create a new secret incarnation for the occasion.
- Talking about his refusal to return as the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston said,
He, however, received the script without the Ninth Doctor and featuring the War Doctor, and thought that it was "immaculate".
[W]hen I read the script, I felt that it was basically myself, Matt, and Dave riffing off the fact that we used to be the Doctors. I, personally, didn’t feel the narrative was strong enough, particularly for the Ninth Doctor, because I had taken quite a lot of abuse in my own country when I left. As the show was being celebrated, I was being abused in the press, and that was hard to take. And very confusing. So I looked at it and I thought, 'Is this really the way I want to come back?' And I decided it wasn’t.
- In a complete Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special draft, the War Doctor calls himself "the Renegade."
- Radio Times credits David Tennant as "The Tenth Doctor", John Hurt as "The Other Doctor" (matching marketing materials and merchandise for the incarnation prior to the episode's broadcast) and Billie Piper as "Rose Tyler". This is also reflected in the closing credits where Piper is credited as Rose, despite her playing the Moment in Rose's form.
- Jonjo O'Neill, who played McGillop, is erroneously credited as "McGuillop" in Radio Times.
- The Radio Times programme listing was accompanied by a small colour head-and-shoulders shot of the Eleventh Doctor and the Tenth Doctor in the wood, with the accompanying caption "Doctor Who / 7.50 p.m. / Matt Smith and David Tennant join forces in a tale celebrating 50 years of the show".
- The story is fronted by the version of the title sequence used on the original episode An Unearthly Child, modified to include a BBC logo, and slightly shortened. This marks the sequence's first use since Episode 4 of The Moonbase in 1967, approximately 47 years prior; as such, The Day of the Doctor is the only episode to use a previously retired title sequence, rather than use the current one or introduce a new one.
- Similar to The Two Doctors, the opening shot is in black and white, but quickly fades into colour.
- The TARDIS interior set floor was raised from its normal height during the filming of the special to help Jenna Coleman's stunt double ride Clara's motorbike into the TARDIS.
- The soundtrack playing while the Eleventh Doctor is hanging out of the TARDIS over London was first used in Aliens of London and World War Three. This is an orchestral re-recording of the piece, first heard on the series 1 and 2 soundtrack.
- This is the first episode since The Eleventh Hour to feature the theme tune's middle eight section in the closing titles.
- This is the final televised story to feature the Eleventh Doctor in a fez.
- The promise that the Doctors state is based on a passage from the Terrance Dicks reference book The Making of Doctor Who. Different parts of the passage have been quoted through different Doctor Who products. One of these is the 1999 Comic Relief special The Curse of Fatal Death, written by Moffat himself.
- The archived footage and recordings used during the "Save Gallifrey" scene for the different Doctors are as follows:
- First Doctor: footage from The Daleks: "The Dead Planet", newly recorded audio by John Guilor (DWMSE 38)
- Second Doctor: footage from The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Mind Robber - audio from The Seeds of Death (DWMSE 38)
- Third Doctor: flipped footage from Colony in Space - audio from The Green Death (DWMSE 38)
- Fourth Doctor: flipped footage from Planet of Evil (DWMSE 38) - audio from unidentified serial
- Fifth Doctor: footage from Frontios - audio from The Five Doctors (DWMSE 38)
- Sixth Doctor: footage and audio from Attack of the Cybermen (DWMSE 38)
- Seventh Doctor: flipped footage and audio from Battlefield, footage from Doctor Who (DWMSE 38)
- Eighth Doctor: footage from Doctor Who (DWMSE 38)
- Ninth Doctor: footage from Rose and The Parting of the Ways (DWMSE 38). Also footage from Aliens of London.
- The scene featuring the War Doctor's regeneration does not conclude with the emergence of the Ninth Doctor. It only shows hints of his face beginning to form, due to the absence of Christopher Eccleston after his decision not to reprise the role for the anniversary special. Steven Moffat later explained his reasons for cutting the scene short in an interview published in DWM 473:
It was one thing to include him among all the other archive Doctors, as they flew in to save the day — in fact, it would have been disgraceful to have left anyone out — but placing him in that scene might have given the impression he'd actually turned up for filming, which would have been crossing the line. Not taking part in the 50th was a difficult decision for Chris, taken after a lot of thought and with great courtesy, and not respecting his wishes would have been grossly unprofessional and disrespectful to a good man and a great Doctor. Number 9 may not have turned up for the celebrations, but there would have been no party without him.
- Similarly to The Five Doctors, the end credits list all the actors who have played the Doctor in the reverse order of their incarnations (with the exception of Peter Capaldi, who remained uncredited for his brief appearance). As a result, Matt Smith and David Tennant are listed first and second respectively, but Christopher Eccleston is credited above John Hurt. This marks the first time Eccleston is credited as playing "The Doctor" as during his season he was credited as "Doctor Who" (Hartnell had previously been credited as "The Doctor" at the end of TV: The Five Doctors after being credited as "Dr. Who" during his era).
- The photos of the Doctors used in the end credits are the same ones that appeared in TV: Nightmare in Silver with two additional pictures inserted to represent the Eleventh Doctor and the War Doctor.
- At some point, the script had posters of Peter Cushing movies and revealed that they were American adaptations based on the Doctor's companions accounts, but it was cancelled for budget reasons. (DWM 469, DWMSE 38)
- Actor John Guilor is credited as "Voice Over Artist" in the credits, although they do not say which role he voiced. Castingcallpro.com, DWM 520 and DWMSE 38 credit him as the voice of the First Doctor.
- The close-up of the Twelfth Doctor's face was shot on the same day Peter Capaldi shot his scene from TV: The Time of the Doctor, meaning that he was using Matt Smith's costume and TARDIS set. (DWMSE 38)
- Much more music was composed and recorded for the episode than was actually used, including original pieces for the scene where the Eleventh Doctor hangs from the TARDIS, and a theme for the Curator called "Song for Four". The production team elected instead to use legacy music from previous episodes of the revived series. Much of the unused music is included on the soundtrack release. The aforementioned "Song for Four" would go on to be reworked for use in The Time of the Doctor, retitled to "Snow over Trenzalore". The original unaltered piece was finally used in Deep Breath for the scene in which the Eleventh Doctor calls Clara.
- Writer Steven Moffat stated that he believed that the Doctor did not change his past about destroying Gallifrey, since it is "the story of what really happened that he's forgotten" and that "of course he never did that."
- The opening scenes mimic the original open to An Unearthly Child: the first shot shows a police officer going by a sign for 76 Totter's Lane, and the second shot is set at Coal Hill School as class dismisses. Clara is now a teacher at Coal Hill School. A sign shows that I. Chesterton is chairman of the school's Board of Governors, also showing that a W. Coburn is headmaster — an in-joke reference to Anthony Coburn, who wrote An Unearthly Child, and Waris Hussein, Doctor Who's original director.
- As Clara leaves the school, a clock can be seen to display the time as 5:16pm, the broadcast time of "An Unearthly Child".
- When Kate realises there are multiple Doctors, she asks for one of her father's files code-named Cromer, which is a reference to her father at first believing the anti-matter universe from The Three Doctors to be Cromer.
- The access code for Jack Harkness' vortex manipulator is "1716231163". This is a reference to the time (17:16) and date (23.11.63) that the episode An Unearthly Child first aired.
- Although not readable in the episode, the companion wallboard contains details about companions from multiple media sources, as could be seen on the prop at the Doctor Who Experience: Ace's full name is "Dorothy Gale McShane", Romana is from the House of Heartshaven, Romana II became Lady President, Barbara wrote a GCSE textbook called Journeys Through History: A Sourcebook for GCSE for the Associated Exam Board in 1985, and Harry Sullivan was a commissioned surgeon-lieutenant, who later worked for NATO and MI5.
- One Dalek fighter pod can be seen knocked away from the destruction of the Dalek fleet, alluding to the Dalek survivors of the Time War.
- When the Doctor and the Curator part, the wall features a pattern of "round things", very reminiscent of the Fourth Doctor's TARDIS.
- The shrouded statues were secretly portrayed by Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, as was revealed by The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. Although that's what "Reboot" shows, the scene is a different take of the one seen in the episode and DWMSE 38 credits members of the production crew instead.
- The special would pick up immediately after TV: The Name of the Doctor. The special instead takes place some time after the previous story.
- Billie Piper would reprise her role as Rose Tyler, and the Tenth Doctor's involvement would be during the events of Series 2. Billie Piper instead played The Moment's interface and the Tenth Doctor's involvement is set between The Waters of Mars and The End of Time.
- There is a basic hair continuity error in the scene where Elizabeth and her duplicate catch up with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors in the forest. As the two Elizabeths each kiss the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh's quiff inexplicably escapes from underneath the fez — mostly when he is out of focus — and then is magically back under the fez when he's in tighter shots.
- A similar hair error occurs with the Tenth Doctor when the War Doctor is exclaiming about the "Bad Wolf". After having his hair slicked down for the whole story, his hair suddenly stands on end in one shot with the Moment in the background, which inadvertently resembles the spiky hairstyle the Tenth Doctor wore in his final years.
- When the Tenth Doctor has been kissed by Elizabeth at their wedding, his collar is up in one shot, and down in the next.
- When the Tenth Doctor says "This is not a decision you will ever be able to live with!", as he walks away from the console, the floor is clearly misplaced. One section is above the other.
- A close-up of the screen of the Space-Time Telegraph shows that it refers to the Brigadier's last name as "Left-Bridge" Stewart.
- When all thirteen incarnations of the Doctor arrive to hide Gallifrey in a pocket universe, the Seventh Doctor first appears in his yellow pullover with question marks. When he appears again, his costume changes to the one he wore in the TV Movie and he is now in the Victorian parlour console room. When he appears for the third time, he goes back to wearing the pullover he originally wore in the television series. This emphasises that the archive footage used to generate his presence among the other Doctors has been pulled from asynchronous moments of his life, the early and late periods to be exact.
- It is clearly visible that all the archive-footage Doctors that talk (except the Ninth Doctor) are not speaking when their voices are heard. This is obviously because the audio (except for the First Doctor's) and the clips are not taken from the same episodes, every Doctor having to be shown controlling the TARDIS. At one point the First Doctor's dialogue (newly recorded by an impersonator for this story) is heard as we see an image of William Hartnell, but his lips are not moving at all.
- At the end of the special, when the three Doctors are in the museum, the Tenth Doctor asks what the painting is actually called. In that shot, the door to his TARDIS is open. In every shot after that, the door is closed.
- When Clara enters the Eleventh Doctor's TARDIS and shuts the door, as the Eleventh Doctor starts thinking aloud he could retire and be "the great curator", Jenna Coleman can still be seen moving around inside the police box prop through a gap between the doors for about a second.
- In the last scene of the special, where the Eleventh Doctor is walking out of the TARDIS onto the cloud with his other incarnations, the TARDIS door handle has been obviously removed.
- After the War Doctor's TARDIS ploughs down a group of Daleks in Arcadia and takes flight, the SFX incorrectly show it as the untarnished Eleventh Doctor's TARDIS complete with the St. John's Ambulance logo, when the practical War Doctor's TARDIS prop has been heavily battle-damaged.
- In addition to this, a later shot of the Eleventh Doctor's TARDIS flying through space is clearly a reuse of the same footage.
- Right after the three Doctors point their sonic screwdrivers towards the air in the Black Archive-scene, the War Doctor's arm is pointing straight upwards. In the very next shot, his arm is bending approximately 90 degrees.
- When the Eleventh Doctor says "we're going to freeze Gallifrey" to the War Council, Matt Smith's script can be seen on the TARDIS console. When asked about it, Moffat humorously explained that it is the recollections of the events by previous Doctors, written down to help their future self because of their memories getting out of sync. (DWM 489)
- As the Eleventh Doctor is about to drop down from the bottom of his TARDIS, the metal harnesses used to hold Matt Smith to the bottom of the police box prop are visible.
- Billie Piper's screen credit at the end identifies her as playing Rose, not the Moment, despite dialogue in her introductory scene directly indicating that Piper is not playing Rose.
- Clara is now a teacher at Coal Hill School. A sign shows that I. Chesterton is chairman of the school's Board of Governors. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
- Clara rides a motorbike into the TARDIS console room. A policeman from San Francisco previously rode a motorbike into the TARDIS. (TV: Doctor Who) The Tenth Doctor similarly rode a moped out of the TARDIS, (TV: The Idiot's Lantern) and the Eleventh Doctor did the same with a motorbike. (TV: The Bells of Saint John)
- The War Doctor comments that his companions keep getting younger, a sentiment that had been previously stated by Sarah Jane Smith. (TV: School Reunion)
- The Eleventh Doctor continues to wear Amy Pond's reading glasses. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan, The Snowmen, The Rings of Akhaten)
- Kate asks Osgood to tell Malcolm Taylor to change the batteries in the robotic ravens outside the Tower of London. (TV: Planet of the Dead) Kate previously made a seemingly-joking comment to Amy Pond about having "ravens of death". (TV: The Power of Three)
- The Eleventh Doctor again uses the phone on the outside of the TARDIS. (TV: The Bells of Saint John) It had previously not been a real phone. (TV: The Empty Child) He later tells Handles to remind him to rewire it back through the console, (TV: The Time of the Doctor) though he apparently never got round to doing so. (TV: Time Heist)
- Romana II said previously that paintings were done by computers on Gallifrey. (TV: City of Death)
- The Time Lords in the War Room mention that the High Council are holding an emergency session and that they have plans of their own. However, the General comments that the High Council's plans have "already failed". (TV: The End of Time)
- The War Doctor's statement, "No more", in relation to the Time War was also said by Dalek Caan after he saw the Daleks through all of time and space. (TV: Journey's End)
- Like the Doctor's TARDIS when it inhabited Idris, the Moment is confused between the past and the future. (TV: The Doctor's Wife)
- The Tenth Doctor marries Elizabeth I. (TV: The End of Time, The Beast Below, Amy's Choice, The Wedding of River Song) She later shows antagonism towards the Tenth Doctor in 1599, but, as this happened earlier in the Doctor's personal timeline, he had no idea why she hated him. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)
- When Clara exclaims that there are three Doctors present, "Kate" replies, "We have a precedent for that." (TV: The Three Doctors)
- When the Doctors contact the War Council to confirm they're ready to put Gallifrey into a pocket universe, the General complains, "I didn't know when I was well off. All twelve of them". This echoes Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's comment of, "Three of them, eh? I didn't know when I was well off." (TV: The Three Doctors)
- During the War in Heaven, Homunculette heard rumours that there were Gallifreys hidden in pocket universes. (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5) At least one of the Nine Gallifreys was moved into a bottle universe to escape destruction by the Enemy. (PROSE: Dead Romance)
- Gallifrey's war effort is led by the War Council, (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5, AUDIO: Body Politic) also called Gallifrey High Command. (PROSE: K9 and the Time Trap, K9 and the Zeta Rescue)
- When surrounded by Queen Elizabeth I's soldiers, the War Doctor asks the Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor if they were going to "assemble a cabinet at them". The phrase "build a cabinet" was previously used by River Song in relation to the sonic screwdriver, (TV: Day of the Moon) while the Ninth Doctor asked Jack Harkness if he'd "never had a lot of cabinets to put up" when Jack asked him about the sonic. (TV: The Doctor Dances)
- The Eleventh Doctor calls to Clara through a wormhole, referring to her as the "Wicked Witch of the Well". Hila Tacorien was previously referred to by this name due to the wormhole in Caliburn House. (TV: Hide)
- Kate encounters an alien which duplicates her appearance and impersonates her. This had previously happened when a Dæmon statue had taken her shape. (HOMEVID: Dæmos Rising)
- When the Tenth Doctor sees his eleventh incarnation's desktop theme, he says he doesn't like it. (TV: The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, Closing Time) The Fifth Doctor also disliked the Tenth Doctor "changing the desktop theme" when they accidentally ran their TARDISes into each other. (TV: Time Crash)
- Many alien artifacts are seen in the Black Archive, including River Song's red heels, (TV: The Time of Angels) Magna-Clamps, (TV: Army of Ghosts) the head of a Supreme Dalek, (TV: The Stolen Earth) a Dalek tommy gun, (TV: Evolution of the Daleks) the restraining chair from the Naismith mansion, (TV: The End of Time) the space-time telegraph, (TV: Terror of the Zygons) a sonic probe, (TV: The Girl Who Waited) the facemask of one of the Clockwork Droids, (TV: The Girl in the Fireplace) Amy Pond's pinwheel, (TV: The Eleventh Hour) a Sontaran blaster, (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem) and some TARDIS coral. (TV: The Runaway Bride)
- The promise the Doctor made is almost identical to the idea that Ace has of him as when she tries to maintain her identity she thinks of the Doctor as "impulsive, idealistic, ready to risk his life for a worthy cause... hates tyranny and oppression... never gives in... never gives up... believes in good and fights evil... though often caught up in violent situations, he is a man of peace. He is never cruel or cowardly." (PROSE: Timewyrm: Revelation) Later, John Smith made similar notes about being the Doctor. (PROSE: Human Nature)
- The Tenth Doctor, when returning to his own timeline, tells the Eleventh Doctor that he is glad his "future is in safe hands". (TV: The Five Doctors)
- The security protocol for the Black Archive involves a self-destruct triggered through nuclear warhead detonation at the sacrifice of all human life in the blast radius. A similar nuclear option against alien attack was developed by UNIT in the form of the Osterhagen Project and was also nearly activated. (TV: The Stolen Earth, Journey's End)
- When the Doctor calls from the TARDIS phone, his telephone number once again is 07700900461. (TV: The Stolen Earth)
- The Eleventh Doctor refers to his fate on Trenzalore. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- The Tenth Doctor, upon hearing of Trenzalore, says they need to take a different direction, proclaiming "I don't want to go." (TV: The End of Time)
- Prior to regenerating, the War Doctor comments that his body is "wearing a bit thin", repeating the line spoken by the First Doctor immediately prior to his own regeneration into the Second Doctor. (TV: The Tenth Planet) He then hopes that "the ears are a bit less conspicuous this time"; the Ninth Doctor makes a reference to the size of his ears when seeing his reflection. (TV: Rose)
- The War Doctor excitedly exclaims that he could kiss the "Bad Wolf girl", to which the Moment replies with, "that's definitely gonna happen." (TV: The Parting of the Ways)
- Androgar mentions "All Dalek fleets surrounding the planet now converging on the capital, but the sky trenches are holding." The Daleks managed to breach 400 sky trenches surrounding Arcadia, which was considered "the safest place on Gallifrey" by veteran Time Lord soldiers on duty at a city outpost, and until the final day of the Time War, nothing in history had managed to breach more than two sky trenches. (TV: The Last Day)
- The Twelfth Doctor would eventually find Gallifrey at the end of the universe, it having been somehow unfrozen. (TV: Hell Bent)
- The Day of the Doctor was released in the UK on Region 2 DVD, and Region B 3D Blu-ray on 2 December 2013. The Night of the Doctor and The Last Day were also included on both versions. A Region 1 DVD and a Region A Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD combo pack was released in the US on 10 December 2013.
- The 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition box set was released in the UK and Australia on DVD and Bluray, containing The Name of the Doctor, The Day of the Doctor, The Time of the Doctor, the minisodes The Night of the Doctor and The Last Day, and the 2013 docu-drama An Adventure in Space and Time. The set was released in the UK on 8 September 2014 and in Australia on 9 October 2014.
- The special was added to Netflix instant streaming in the US in September 2014. It is listed as the 15th episode of Series 7.
- Dassanayake Dion. Doctor Who anniversary special sets world record as millions tune in to Day of The Doctor. Sunday Express. Archived from the original on 25 November 2013. Retrieved on 27 November 3013.
- BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2013/14. BBC. July 2014. 60.
- Polls by DWM are statistically invalid, as they do not feature a random sample of people. Respondents choose to participate on their own initiative, and are made aware of the poll because they subscribe to or at least frequently buy DWM. Thus, the poll is clearly weighted towards Doctor Who fans who are also residents of the United Kingdom. The views reflected almost certainly do not represent the "casual" viewer of Doctor Who, non-English speaking fans, or other groups of fans who simply don't read or have access to DWM.
- The BBC iPlayer notes credit John Hurt's character as "the Other Doctor"
- Besides appearing as the Fourth Doctor in flashback footage, Baker also appears towards the end of the episode as an enigmatic character implied to be the Doctor but known as "the Curator". However, the credits only credit Baker as "the Doctor".
- Although Billie Piper is credited as playing "Rose", her character is in fact the Moment's projection of Bad Wolf.
- Redgrave also plays a Zygon impersonating Kate Stewart.
- Oliver also plays a Zygon impersonating Osgood.
- Page also plays a Zygon impersonating Elizabeth I.
- O'Neill also plays a Zygon impersonating McGillop.
- Darren Scott (24 November 2013). Steven Moffat celebrates a 'new chapter' for Doctor Who. doctorwho.tv. Retrieved on 7 December 2013. “Speaking about the brief appearance of the next actor to play the Doctor, Peter Capaldi, in the anniversary special, Moffat said: 'I love that he's getting so much credit for less than half his face for less than a second. Well done Capaldi.'”
- Doran, Sarah (3 June 2017). Bill's birth mother previously played a Time Lord in Doctor Who. Radio Times. Retrieved on 11 June 2017.
- DWMSE 38
- Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Episode: The Day of the Doctor. Milk VFX. Retrieved on 18 October 2018.
- Cameron K McEwan (5 September 2016). Doctor Who Experience Unveils Classic Fan-Favourite Monsters. Retrieved on 2 January 2019.
- Obverse Books: A Second Target for Tommy. Obverse Books (8 February 2018). Retrieved on 9 February 2018.
- The Doctor's Finest - A Look Back at 'The Day of the Doctor' - BBC America
- The Fan Show, Steven Moffat On Matt Smith's Era, Writing The 50th Anniversary & MORE!
- Steven Moffat interview