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The Day of the Doctor- A Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Theory Part 4…Not so Impossible?

Behind the scenes of "The Day of the Doctor." Photo: Credit to Telegraph Magazine
Behind the scenes of “The Day of the Doctor.”
Photo: Credit to Telegraph Magazine

The Impossible Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Theory Part 4

Typically, theories would be posted in Blog & Musings but today I decided to combine our blog with our highlighting column because what could be better than the official release of the much anticipated 50th anniversary trailers? Finally after months of waiting and waiting, two short trailers (one more a teaser) of the episode with ‘actual’ clips from the anniversary special have aired! I don’t know about anyone else but I was super excited to see the return of Rose and the Tenth Doctor back on screen. The trailers weren’t particularly telling and yet a part of me feels like they were actually telling and I have a lot to analyze as I take a closer look at the two trailers. But first, make sure to READ through the first three parts of the theory. Trust me; everything will make more sense if you do:




The Trailers

And now that you have finished reading my theories, make sure to re-watch the two trailers before continuing:

The Teaser

[et_lb_video video_url=”http://youtu.be/Mkq8pnvsnQg” css_class=””][/et_lb_video]

Extended Trailer

[et_lb_video video_url=”http://youtu.be/7z6FMCqYrBo” css_class=””][/et_lb_video]

A Christmas Carol Once More

The Three Doctors Photo: BBC
The Three Doctors
Photo: BBC

From the very beginning of this theory (when my ideas were still formulating in theoretical discussions with my sister), I always came back to one simple episode written by Steven Moffat, “A Christmas Carol.” In part one of my Doctor Who theory, I decided to call it impossible because everything about the theory just ‘seemed’ so impossible.  Still, I couldn’t help but see the elements again and again as I formulated my thoughts.

After watching all 3 trailers, my mind has begun to question whether the theory is so impossible after all. Allow me to clarify: reading Moffat’s latest interview with Telegraph Magazine came as a huge surprise because even he clearly seems to confirm a large part of what I have been saying all along regarding the Doctor facing his past, his present, and his future. He even goes back to what I have always considered the possibly most telling episode to watch and figure out what will happen in the special. He says (very oddly I might add):

SM:“It will feel at the beginning, like we get three different adventures with three different Doctors….And these connect to begin the same adventure. Very, very roughly, I suppose, and with apologies to Charles Dickens, it’s the A Christmas Carol structure – there’s the ghost of the past, the present, and the future.” – Steven Moffat

Source: http://tennantnews.blogspot.com/2013/11/scans-on-set-of-doctor-who-day-of-doctor.html

Wow! How can his words be mere coincidence at this point? Whatever turns out to be right and wrong in my ideas, one thing seems clear to me: the Doctor will be facing his past choices just as Kazran did in “A Christmas Carol,” a structure Moffat clearly likes as a writer. In my third post about this theory, I go even further into detail about the similar themes found in both Charles Dickens’ well known story and Doctor Who. So I ask, what changes will the Doctor face as he looks back at the choices he has made in all the different lives he has lived? Obviously, the Time War will play an enormous role.

The One Day

Again and again, I have reiterated this theme (the one day or as the Doctor says in trailer one: “one impossible day”) that Moffat brought up through the subtext and literal story of his sixth season Christmas special. Certainly, this tale of an old man saving his last day to be with his beloved could come back to the Doctor like I theorized. Rose HAS returned as seen in the trailer (though how and why and even in what form is still questionable). Will the Doctor(s) have one last day with Rose? Steven Moffat, in the Telegraph magazine continues to emphasize the importance of ‘the day.’ He says:

“It’s not just about honouring the past, though we do do that…how about the most important day of the Doctor’s life? The adventure that actually has an impact on him.” – Steven Moffat

Thinking more closely about the “one day” idea, I still want to emphasize that the “one day” theme will have a double meaning. The literal day will be about the Doctor facing himself just as Scrooge and Kazran both do which makes it his most important day because it is all about the Doctor rather than his companions or the latest adventure. The metaphorical day ‘could’ be about this one last day with Rose.  I still see that as a very strong possibility.

John Hurt’s Doctor

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

I want to take a closer analytical look at the trailers now. First, I want to consider John Hurt’s Doctor. At this point (based on the clips), the Hurt Doctor IS the Doctor. The Eleventh Doctor narrates:

“There’s one life I’ve tried very hard to forget.”

Why does he want to forget him? Perhaps this is part of the past he must face; perhaps this has everything to do with the Time War. Moffat says that the episode will begin with three different adventures with three different doctors. I believe that one of the adventures will be The Time War.

Daleks and The Time War? Photo: BBC
Daleks and The Time War?
Photo: BBC

Think about the synopsis:

“In 2013, 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.”

The ancient battle I speculate is the Time War and it will be up to the Doctors to end it. First, we have this image in the trailer of a war:

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Furthermore, don’t these figures here remind you of Time Lords?

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

It just makes perfect sense that the day the Doctor would never forget is the day he killed his own people out of necessity. John Hurt’s Doctor tells Rose:

“Great men are forged in fire.”

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

The trailer shows Rose as if she is listening (with her empathetic look).  And what an interesting line this actually is! Consider this description of the Doctor from “The Family of Blood:”

DOCTOR: “He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun….He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the center of time and can see the turn of the universe.”

The Doctor has already been compared to fire and ice (in “Hide” as well with the “sliver of ice in his heart”) but there always has to be a beginning. What made the Doctor the Doctor? What started the fire that is the Doctor that we now know? John Hurt’s Doctor will play a huge role in this I think. His Doctor continues to tell Rose:

WAR DOCTOR: “It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.”

Is he the lesser man? Is he the lesser Doctor in his eyes or even in the eyes of the eleventh doctor? Whatever the case, I think that all three Doctors will end the Time War together but they will forget. As the Eleventh Doctor claims:

DOCTOR: “I remember this…almost remember.”

Maybe (as just one theory for I always have many) the Doctor remembers ending the Time War but he doesn’t remember everything because he wasn’t meant to remember it all. Still, there is a part of him that ‘almost’ remembers. My best guess? This part of the trailer will connect to the Tenth Doctor as the adventures start to tie into one and connect them all into one whole: in other words, what he ‘almost’ remembers is what already happened in this adventure (just not his part in it that hasn’t happened yet).

First, Eleven will go back in time to Ten (as we see Queen Elizabeth in the background in an image I will show later), and then Hurt’s Doctor will find the two of them as they all do what must be done. As Rose says:

ROSE: “The moment is coming.”

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Followed by Hurt’s Doctor claiming: “I’m ready.”

The voiceover "I'm ready" is spoken over this clip in one of the trailers. Photo: BBC
The voiceover “I’m ready” is spoken over this clip in one of the trailers.
Photo: BBC

What is the red gem? Why will all three Doctors be surrounding it? Difficult to say at this point but as of now I think it likely to be the time lock, that the desert Hurt’s Doctor is in will be just outside of time; hence why he lives on as the last of the Timelords.

Bad Wolf

A large part of my theory has always centered on Bad Wolf. I theorized Rose would return in connection to Bad Wolf, that Rose was the woman in the shop that brought Clara and the Doctor together because Bad Wolf saw everything, she saw that this needed to happen all the way back in “The Parting of the Ways.” Is she still pulling the strings behind the scenes from back then? Take a look at this snapshot of Rose in the teaser trailer:

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Her eyes glow. She looks like Bad Wolf here but why? What is Rose’s story in all this outside of the ‘one day’ analogy? Certainly, she remains the most ambiguous character in the trailers. This must be for a reason. Moffat doesn’t want us to know just yet. Nevertheless, this is a peculiar and knowing Rose. She ‘knows’ that a big moment is coming but how? A part of me thinks she is there as a guide to the Doctor, to help him through this dark time sent perhaps by Bad Wolf. Is she the ghost figure of A Christmas Carol but more of the angelic figure? Not literally of course but the part that will help guide him as he looks to the future as a new and changed man. Rose always did make him better. I should also note that “the moment” could be part of the double meaning: that the “moment” coming will be when the Doctor must also lose Rose, lose that one last day.

Then there are Rose’s clothes. Take a look here:

rose looking up
Photo: BBC

Why do they look torn? Considering that there are three adventures and in the trailers she is with Hurt’s Doctor, I believe her clothes are torn because she has been brought into the Time War. Maybe Bad Wolf (her past self FROM “The Parting of the Ways) brings her present self into the story or maybe this is Bad Wolf and the energy is within her once more (but this time the Ninth Doctor can’t save her, thus ending his last day with Rose). Imaginably, there could be two different Roses in this story (the Bad Wolf in the past and then Rose in the present).  Additionally, because Rose has always been such a huge role in the Time War since season one when she claims that the time war ends,  perhaps she was being more literal than we assumed? Bad Wolf could see everything. Maybe she did have a larger role in ending the Time War for real and for good? Maybe this episode will FINALLY see the actual end of the Daleks, taking the show in a completely new direction. Maybe the Time War will be about the past AND the future.

To go more into detail, with Rose, there are several possibilities. I am convinced Bad Wolf has a large role to play but what Rose is this? She could be parallel universe Rose, a virtual manifestation of Rose created by Bad Wolf, Bad Wolf, season 4 Rose (she forgets too) and so many other possibilities. But if this is parallel universe Rose what happened to the human Time Lord? And how did she leave the parallel universe? Bad Wolf would have the power to do it, to pull her in in order to save the Doctor one last time. Rose always said she would never leave the Doctor. So maybe there are two Roses in this episode: 1) Bad Wolf from the past who saw all of time and space including this adventure, Clara, the leaf, etc. AND present day real Rose. I mean, this looks like real Rose:

Flirty wave at the Doctor or Doctors? Photo: BBC
Flirty wave at the Doctor or Doctors?
Photo: BBC

Maybe she is waving at all three here who look rather flabbergasted.

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Moffat would think it funny to watch Rose flirting with all three at the same time. He loves innuendo. I mean, just think of “The Doctor Dances” and Jack versus the Doctor. And speaking of “The Doctor Dances” (which was all about the Doctor “dancing” with Rose as a metaphor), it seems the special returns to this humor as Ten and Eleven compare sonic screwdrivers:

Notice Queen Elizabeth in the background. Photo: BBC
Notice Queen Elizabeth in the background.
Photo: BBC

Somehow, I think there will be some fun flirting going on or at least I hope so.

The Zygons

What will be their role as one of the foes of the special? In Classic Who, the Zygons could take on the form of someone else. I think based on the trailer that this plot will at least be in the present because it will connect to the Brigadier’s daughter Kate. Somehow, the two adventures (one in 1562 and then in the present day in London) will collide. The Zygons are part of the sinister plots of both stories. See this picture:

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Looks like two Kates to me. Conceivably, Bad Wolf could have seen how these two different adventures with two different Doctors would collide into one adventure and thus bring the three together to help them in this important “moment” of the Doctor.

The Past, the Present, and the Future

Hurt's Doctor and Rose looking at 'something' Photo: BBC
Hurt’s Doctor and Rose looking at ‘something’
Photo: BBC

Once again, the trailers reiterate that the Doctor must face his past, his present, and his future. The Tenth Doctor asks:

“Why are we all together? Why are we all here?”

Well why are they all there? More than just ending the Time War, the Doctor must face who he was to change who he will become. The promotional words say:

this november

The doctor will face

His darkest day

and his greatest threat

In between the final word of the promo, the Tenth Doctor even asks about his future self: “For once I would like to know where I’m going.”


But the Eleventh Doctor merely tells him in this picture: “No, you really wouldn’t.”

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

The trailer then ends on what he must face:


Yes, the Doctor must face himself. Interesting right, when one considers the structure of Charles Dickens’ tale of A Christmas Carol and then Moffat’s version also called “A Christmas Carol?” Like I said, maybe the Doctor will do more than face his choices and even change as Scrooge and Kazran both did but he will face the one last day with his beloved as foreshadowed in that Christmas special.

Tying it All Together

It is impossible to even try and predict everything that will happen in this momentous episode but it has certainly been fun trying!  Overall though what does my theory say exactly? Let me see if it I can sum it up with simple words:

Bad Wolf from “The Parting of the Ways” brought Clara to the Doctor through the leaf because she knew Clara needed to be there to save the Doctor. Bad Wolf was also the woman in the shop and the one who is orchestrating the reunion of these Three Doctors (there could be other surprises in store). She will bring them together to end the Time War and to guide them as the Doctor faces his past, present, and future, thus tying together the entire series in the past and what is yet to come. Because this is comparable to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the special must end with some sort of transformation as the Doctor heads in a new direction. Also, I theorize that there will be a metaphorical meaning about the Doctor’s one last “impossible” day with Rose. He will have to say goodbye to his beloved and move forward a new man. The Doctor will have to face himself, face his fears (like losing those he loves because he is kind of immortal), and do what needs to be done: end the time war, end the daleks as well:  forever.

One Last Possibility

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

I think most of us ‘think’ of Hurt’s Doctor as somewhere between the 8th and 9th Doctor (though conceivably he could be the 8th Doctor aged or something) but I have this nagging thought rambling around in my head: who is the future Doctor in this scenario and why does this ‘past’ Doctor seem to know Rose so well? What if he is the future in this Dickens scenario? Think about it. The tenth Doctor IS the past and the eleventh Doctor IS the present. So how can it be about two past selves? Doesn’t there need to be a future somehow? Unless, we are meant to see Eleven as the future to Ten’s present self who wants to know what the future holds (the most likely)…

Furthermore, what if this episode is indeed about The Time War in the past but also about how it will finally end in the future when reality starts to come apart at the seams? And THAT is the adventure Rose is a part of with this Doctor. Maybe Eleven remembers Hurt’s Doctor because he “almost” remembers this story from his past (Tennant’s Doctor).  Perhaps Rose seems vastly different because this is her future self who has experienced a great deal (maybe even some sorrow). Then the three adventures would become a past story (1562), a present story set in London, and a war in the distant future. Then, when reality falls apart, they must all come together to save time, change the Doctor’s future, and have his last day with Rose. It is definitely something to think about.


UPDATE: Make sure to continue reading this theory in Part 5 and the FINAL part  HERE along with an introduction to our new Column: Doctor Who Diaries.


What do you think will happen in the 50th anniversary special? Sound off below…



Read our blog posts, including Doctor Who Diaries HERE

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By on November 11th, 2013

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely site and works as a YA Librarian.

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