Steven Moffat had a version of the 50th Anniversary with NO Doctors at all

By Cameron K McEwan

In the second-part of an interview which began in the 500th issue of Doctor Who Magazine, show runner Steven Moffat has been talking all things Who!

And in a surprising turn of events, we discover, at various points, there were a number of different versions of the 50th Anniversary Special The Day of the Doctor in the writer’s mind.

Steven tells DWM: “The Name of the Doctor, the original version, ends with Matt’s Doctor walking into his time-stream after he’s kissed River, and I didn’t know what was going to come after that, but I knew that it’d leap us into the 50th, even though I didn’t know what the 50th was going to be.

At one point, I thought Matt’s Doctor was going to step into his time-stream... and wake up as Christopher Eccleston. The Moment, who wasn’t Billie Piper at that point, would say, ‘So what do you think?’ He’d say, ‘What do you mean? What do I think about what?’ She’d say, ‘That’s what would happen.’”


So, it was all a dream?

Older readers may remember a similar tactic used in iconic US drama Dallas in the 1980s when a whole season was rendered uncanonical by the revelation that it had all been a dream by one of the show’s leading characters.

Moffat informs DWM that he’s ‘never seen Dallas’ but goes on to reassure fans that this would have only been a temporary move with the Doctor reinstating the timeline as we know it, adding, “Matt and David would have turned up like the Ghosts of Christmas Future.”

But this wasn’t the only idea floating around the writer’s brain.

“There was another version – which was on paper for a while – where Matt’s Doctor walks into his time-stream and onto a battlefield, and finds Chris with the big, red button, about to press it...”

And we all know the Doctor LOVES a big red button!

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Steven also reveals that behind-the-scenes activities resulted in, at one point, no actors (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant or Matt Smith) contracted to play the Doctor. But, ever the genius, Moffat worked out a plot with none of the familiar faces as the Time Lord.

After the Doctor walked into his own Time Stream in The Name of the Doctor he would have deleted his own existence, leaving Clara (Jenna Coleman being the only actor under contract at that time) to save the day. The companion would recognise him in stories and movies, played by various famous actors, and this would enable her to regain her memory to bring him back.

“But the idea was that we’d have lots of people playing the Doctor. That version of the Anniversary Special existed in my head for about a day. That was just me being slightly hysterical, I think. Because I was hysterical.

But The Day of the Doctor worked out. I thought.”


For the full and fascinating interview, check out the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, issue 502, where Steven Moffat also discusses his favourite episodes from his era, leaving the post of showrunner and the day when David Tennant wasn't sure about starring in The Day of the Doctor. It’s a MUST read!

Doctor Who Magazine 502 is available from Thursday, July 28, 2016.

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