Video: The Night of the Doctor mini-episode online

November 14th, 2013
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

The BBC sent shock waves through the stratosphere today by releasing a new mini-episode for the 50th anniversary!

The special adventure, written by Steven Moffat, will also be available to watch via the BBC Red Button in the run up to the world premiere of The Day of the Doctor. It serves as a prequel to the events of the landmark episode and features a Doctor facing a choice that will change the course of his life on the eve of his most terrible battle. Check it out then discuss the mind-blowing developments below…

The Day of the Doctor will be globally simulcast on 23rd November at 7:50pm GMT.

Share your 50th anniversary hopes and dreams in our dedicated discussion…

18 comments on this article
  1. ian
    November 14th, 2013 at 4.13pm | #1

    The name caan could it be …..

  2. JC
    November 14th, 2013 at 5.04pm | #2

    Wow, what a massive surprise that was. I didn’t read who was part of this mini-episode before I watched it and out he came, not only a great surprise in itself but also the answer to who John Hurt is.

    My only sadness is that he was in it for such a short amount of time. He could have been a massive returning part of the 50th Anniversary.

  3. joshrr
    November 14th, 2013 at 5.46pm | #3


    That was my predictable reaction when I found out. It was so wonderful to see Paul Again as his iconic role! We now know how the 8th Doctor died and how the War doctor came to be.
    I found it a fitting end to the 8th Doctor, he sacrificed himself to try and save someone he only met, even if she didn’t want his help. And I like the origin of the war Doctor, as the credits dubbed him.
    I’m impressed this managed to stay so secret, and I like the references to the 8th Doctors companions in the big Finish!
    This was a brilliant short episode, and a real treat to see Paul Mcgann as the Doctor once more! Hopefully, we might see him again in the 50th! It would make my day!

  4. Patrick
    November 14th, 2013 at 6.35pm | #4

    Can anyone verify if McGann is back for the Day of the Doctor or was it just for this prequel?

  5. JC
    November 14th, 2013 at 7.00pm | #5

    Just a prequel I’d imagine, since he regenerated into John Hurt

  6. Profzed
    November 14th, 2013 at 7.02pm | #6

    What a waste. Why didn’t Moffat just cast McGann instead of John Hurt. In these few minutes, McGann more than proved himself as a fantastic Doctor. Very cheaply produced too.

    Great to see McGann in the role, but this was awful.

  7. Katie
    November 14th, 2013 at 7.52pm | #7

    I loved McGann as Eight and was really sad to see him regenerate! (Rhyme unintended) I’m not quite sure why Moffat introduced Hurt when he could have had a great special with Eight, Ten and Eleven! Introducing a character we don’t know doesn’t really celebrate the 50 years of the show and I feel you could have used McGann, therefore pleasing fans while still telling a great story. Ill wait until the actual episode to see but hopefully Moffat has a good reason to introduce this War Doctor (who should be called a War Lord in my opinion.)

  8. Calli Arcale
    November 14th, 2013 at 8.43pm | #8

    WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! We DID get McGann!!!! This totally made my day. What a lovely surprise, and I am so impressed they kept a lid on it! I suppose it was like he was joking, where he got called on the Friday and was shooting this on the Monday. Even just for a few minutes, it was lovely. And I have a feeling we 8th Doctor fans will be rather glad he’s not in the 50th, as I rather suspect “the War Doctor” doesn’t come off in a very positive light…..

    So McGann got to do for Hurt what McCoy did for him. ;-) Show up just to get killed and regenerate. He did a great job, I thought, of setting up the storytelling environment in which the Time War exists, and the horror that would have led the Doctor to choose to discard everything he stood for and become a warrior.

    I would have *loved* to have seen more of McGann as the Doctor, but being realistic, it just wasn’t going to happen. This is a lovely treat; like the best treats, it leaves you wishing for more, and I think it leaves us with a good way to remember him. Now we know why the 8th had to die — and how the “War Doctor” emerged from his ashes.

    Also, it was great seeing the Sisterhood of Karn again. ;-) Gosh, I’ll have to go watch “The Brain of Morbius” again, even if it is one of the cheeziest of all Who stories.

  9. Clara Evans
    November 14th, 2013 at 9.39pm | #9

    @Katie I completely agree. The War Doctor should be called the War Lord, but it kind of sounds like something you would get from Lord of the Rings.

    There goes my theory of Hurt being an older McGann, but that scene does explain why their clothes are similar, he just didn’t change.

    I think MCGann did really well, and I approve more of his doctor through this than I did through the movie :-)

  10. Calli Arcale
    November 14th, 2013 at 11.28pm | #10

    @Clara Evans
    “War Lord” is already taken, though. The War Lord was the chief antagonist in “The War Games”, a renegade Time Lord who had given Gallifreyan technology to a warrior race that was using it to abduct humans from various conflicts and pit them against each other to study tactics and try to create the ultimate warriors. In the end, the Second Doctor had to reluctantly contact the Time Lords to ask them to intervene and capture the War Lord to put an end to the abuse and put the humans back where they belonged. Which, of course, led to them also capturing the Doctor and putting *him* on trial as well.

    The War Lord was executed for his crimes. The Doctor was sentenced to execution as well, but argued successfully to have his sentence commuted because of all the good he’d done when he’d intervened. So they sentenced him instead to forced regeneration and exile on Earth, which gave us the Third Doctor and UNIT. ;-)

    So alas, they really can’t call Hurt the War Lord.

  11. Clara Evans
    November 15th, 2013 at 6.38am | #11

    @Calli Arcale
    I never knew that :-)
    I try to learn as much as I can about the classics, and have bough some of the older ones, starting from the beginging, to see the history of what I am watching :-)
    I should check that episode out

  12. JC
    November 15th, 2013 at 7.56am | #12

    I know I won’t be able to call John Hurt the 9th Doctor, as I know the established 9-11 line from Eccleston to Smith too well.

    The 11th Doctor has said that what John Hurt did meant he didn’t consider that incarnation a Doctor, so I may just follow Moffat’s lead (for once) and call him The War Doctor.

    In that case, there would have been 11 Doctor and 1 War Doctor.

  13. Patrick
    November 15th, 2013 at 11.25am | #13

    I think quite possibly we may see Paul in the 50th perhaps in a flashback if not after Matt leaves at Christmas there is quite a break so maybe if we voice out loud we could see Paul as the Doctor again in a televised series and see his past adventures before last nights prequel.

  14. Calli Arcale
    November 15th, 2013 at 4.37pm | #14

    @Clara Evans

    It’s really good, but . . . long. It’s not just one episode. It’s an epic *ten-part* serial. So break it up and don’t try and watch it all at once.

  15. Macy
    November 15th, 2013 at 9.08pm | #15

    Did anyone else notice that the 8th doctor mentioned Charley from the audio adventures, when he said goodbye to his companions.

  16. Clara Evans
    November 15th, 2013 at 10.38pm | #16

    Yes, it is the first time companions from an audio drama have been acknowledged in an official episode.

    @Calli Arcale
    I watched some of the classics and I know how long they can be, but that’s half the fun! :-) But will take your advice and spread it out a bit. Tried to watch all of the lord of the rings movies in a row in one day once, it was a MASSIVE OVERLOAD! I don’t want the same thing to happen here :-P

  17. JC
    November 16th, 2013 at 9.47am | #17

    Yeah, I thought he noted the Companion/s from the Audio adventures and I didn’t like that. Yes, it makes them canon, but that also means you have to listen to the Big Finish Adventures and a lot of people won’t be interested, as I’m not.

    Still, it didn’t take away from how special it was to see the 8th Doctor on screen for the first time since 1996.

  18. Profzed
    November 16th, 2013 at 6.24pm | #18

    While the 8th mentioning the names of the companions from the audio dramas DOES make it official that he did indeed travel with companions by those names, it DOES NOT actually make any of the audio dramas canon.

    Anyone who wants to consider them canon, can go right ahead. Just as they can consider the novels canon.

    Officially, nothing other than what is on screen is considered canon.

    Saying that the 8th Doctor mentioning those names “is canon”, is the equivalent of saying that since all the other Doctors at one time or another spoke the names of their companions “on screen”, that then makes the novels/audios that THOSE companions were featured in, canon as well. But you see – it doesn’t.

    Again, since the 8th has now spoken those names “on screen”, it does make those companions canon. Just not their novel/audio adventures.

    - – - – -

    If the novels/audios “are canon”, then why doesn’t the 9th Doctor recall in “Dalek” that he experienced similar events in “Jubilee”? Why doesn’t the 10th Doctor recall having lived through similar experiences in “Spare Parts”.

    And especially this one: Why doesn’t the 10th Doctor recall that he lived pretty much THE EXACT SAME ADVENTURE of “Human Nature/Family of Blood” while in his 7th incarnation – in the novel, “Human Nature”?

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