So you’ve watched The Day of the Doctor countless times, you’ve read all there is to read about it, and just to switch things up, you’ve watched The Night of the Doctor a million times, too. No matter what you do, it’s still ages until the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and you’re sick of pointing your sonic screwdriver at your door only for nothing to happen. (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.) What can a Whovian watch in the meantime? Fortunately, the BBC has got you covered.
Your first option is The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. In this BBC short, all the Classic Doctors want to get in on the 50th Anniversary action, but Doctor Who‘s evil overlord, Steven Moffat, keeps rudely ignoring their phone calls. Fed up, the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) collects his colleagues the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), and the three of them attempt to illegally sneak onto the 50th Anniversary set. Hijinks ensue. This spoof is a charming, heartwarming thirty minutes of Doctor Who shenanigans and features cameos from the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Peter Jackson, John Barrowman, Russell T. Davies, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Paul McGann, Georgia Moffett, and countless others from both Classic and New Who. You can watch it here on the BBC website, or at least you could at the time of this posting.
Then there’s An Adventure in Space and Time, which is quite a change in tone from the previous video: this is a serious docudrama about the beginnings of Doctor Who, written by Mark Gatiss. Although it’s centered around William Hartnell, the man who played the First Doctor, a good chunk of the movie is dedicated to the unlikely success story of Verity Lambert, one of the few female producers of that era, and Waris Hussein, the BBC’s first Indian director, who together helped make Doctor Who into the ratings juggernaut it is today. The drama makes you oddly nostalgic for 1963—when Verity told Waris “We’ll show the old guard” in reference to the old white men at the BBC, all I could think of was how sad it is that Doctor Who hasn’t had a female writer since 2007 and that the show has basically now reverted to the hands of old white men.
Along the same lines, I wish Gatiss had spent a touch more time on the creation of Doctor Who instead of the creation of the First Doctor (though I suppose given the general arc of Doctor Who of late, that’s par for the course), but all in all, it’s a docudrama well worth watching. Any Classic Who fan will enjoy this excellently-acted trip down memory lane—Hartnell, in particular, is a joy to watch—and any New Who fan will appreciate seeing how their favorite show came to be broadcast. Also, Hartnell clearly cared more about continuity than Moffat ever will, which I, at least, found hilarious. Watch it on BBC America if you’re in the States.
And hopefully that’ll hold you over until Christmas! See you all then!