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Get ready for who's Who in TV spectacle

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DOCTOR Who is preparing for its greatest adventure yet in the 50th anniversary special, which is to materialise onto our screens later this month.

The special centres on 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.

For executive producer and writer Steven Moffat, getting to write for the 50th special, which will include Welsh actress Joanna Page as Queen Elizabeth I, was everything he dreamed as a young fan of the show.

"Since I was a little boy, the idea of writing a Doctor Who story at all was remarkable enough to me. But writing the 50th special was exciting and terrifying - everything that showbiz should be," he said.

He explained the story focuses on the most important thing that ever happened to the Doctor, and welcomes back the shape-shifting Zygons, which haven't been seen since the 1970s.

"The Zygons without question are a design classic. They are superb; brilliant from the voice, to the appearance. Essentially we've resurrected exactly the same Zygon as Tom Baker fought back in the '70s. They are beautiful, and it'll show that the special looks forward to the future of Doctor Who and also celebrates the legend."

The special also marks the return of David Tennant to the role of the Tenth Doctor, starring opposite the Eleventh, Matt Smith.

"You don't quite realise how these two men have become hard wired into your brain as the Doctor. Matt and David got on so well and their interaction on screen is a sublime double act," said Steven.

"Matt said to me, 'It's a bit like Laurel and Laurel. It's like Hardy didn't turn up.' They are absolutely great together."

Meanwhile, the current Doctor, Matt Smith, explained there wasn't any competitiveness between the different Doctors and companions.

"There's a funny bit in the script between the 10th and 11th Doctors comparing Sonics, so there's competitiveness in the story, but not off screen," he said.

"We just had a laugh and it was exciting to see David back in the pin-striped suit and Converse. John Hurt only has to move his eyes and he floors "you and Billie is Billie. I adore Billie, so we had a great time.

"Of course, there's always those moments in Doctor Who when you're going, 'Wow we're doing Doctor Who and there's David Tennant over there and John Hurt over there and Billie over there and there's a Redgrave over there.' There are a lot of those moments when you make this show.

"But I think the wonderful thing was there was great down time. I just enjoyed spending time with David and obviously for me as well, as I am about to leave the show, it was really interesting to talk to him about that experience and his experience on the show, because it is a very individual experience playing the Doctor. It was quite nice to go, 'What was that bit like for you?' and it was just sort of enlightening really."

At the end of the last series viewers were introduced to John Hurt as The Doctor, and he will be appearing alongside David Tennant and Matt Smith.

"With John Hurt we have serious acting royalty and that was the intent of John's character," explained Steven. "John is one of the most distinguished film stars of British origin, one of the most distinguished actors this country has produced and has now become part of Doctor Who mythology."

The Day Of The Doctor will also be the first time we see Doctor Who in proper 3D, something Steven Moffat thought about including in the plot.

"My first impulse was if we're going to do 3D, it had to be part of the plot," he said. "We actually have to make 3D part of the story and if at all possible, to try and make 3D a bit scary."

Smith said he is excited about watching it in 3D.

"The rigs for the cameras are much heavier and poor Joe, who is our wonderful cameraman, had a very tough time of it," he explains. "It was like having a six-year-old on your shoulder all day.

"I think it's good for a show like Doctor Who to be at the forefront of technology and that's what we've always been. It's always been at the front of the advancement in film and even with the wobbly sets, at least they were having a go and I think it's a good step forward."

Where will they be watching the episode on November 23? "I've got two impulses," admitted Steven. "One is to watch it at home with my friends, particularly friends who made the show. My other impulse is to go out and join the party. But it's a difficult one. When Matt and I watched The Eleventh Hour, we watched it many times before it went out.

"Then came the fateful day. Matt came round to my house, my parents and his parents were there to watch the episode go out and have our future decided.

"Everyone sat down, but Matt and I couldn't stay in the room. I might be watching it peering round my kitchen door with Matt."

"I might be watching it peering round my kitchen door with Matt" Steven Moffatt

GRAPHIC: Three incarnations of the Doctor - Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt - prepare to save the Three incarnations of the Doctor - Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt - prepare to save the universe yet again in the 50th anniversary special

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  • APA 6th ed.: Owen, Cathy (2013-11-08). Get ready for who's Who in TV spectacle. South Wales Echo p. 38.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Owen, Cathy. "Get ready for who's Who in TV spectacle." South Wales Echo [add city] 2013-11-08, 38. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Owen, Cathy. "Get ready for who's Who in TV spectacle." South Wales Echo, edition, sec., 2013-11-08
  • Turabian: Owen, Cathy. "Get ready for who's Who in TV spectacle." South Wales Echo, 2013-11-08, section, 38 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Get ready for who's Who in TV spectacle | url= | work=South Wales Echo | pages=38 | date=2013-11-08 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=3 March 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Get ready for who's Who in TV spectacle | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=3 March 2024}}</ref>
  • Title: Writing the 50th special was both exciting and very terrifying
  • Publication: Western Mail
  • Date: 2013-11-08