How I Would Write A Doctor Who Anniversary Special


Let me just say that I have no experience writing a script, and I don’t think that I can write a better anniversary special than the ones that have already been produced. I have enjoyed the Doctor Who Anniversary Specials, and consider “The Day of The Doctor” to be the best episode of Doctor Who. Doctor Who just had it’s 51st Anniversary on November 23, 2014, and I thought what a perfect time to talk about some ideas that I think could make a future Doctor Who anniversary special memorable and quite amazing! Okay so let’s talk about what could improve a Doctor Who anniversary special!


Doctor Who is a unique show and due to tradition every time Doctor Who hits a milestone of being on the air for 10, 20, 30, and recently 51 years, we get to enjoy a special extended episode of Doctor Who!

Now because of past anniversary special episodes, fans have come to expect a multi-Doctor story with every new anniversary special. This is something I really quite enjoy to see because the Doctor can regenerate and time travel, so it seems plausible that he would meet other versions (past and future) of himself. This makes the show so unique from any other television show, and it also is fan service, but in the best way possible. In the 50th Anniversary Special, “The Day of The Doctor,” the then current Doctor, The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), met two past versions of himself The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and The War Doctor (John Hurt). The meeting of these three versions of the Doctor was so surreal and completely lived up to the hype! The great thing about the Doctor meeting different versions of himself is that because of the nature of regeneration you can have different personalities clashing. In the case of Eleven meeting Ten, they bickered with each other, but came to respect one another and were quite similar in some ways as well. The War Doctor however, despite being the youngest incarnation of the three of them, found Ten and Eleven to be quite childish, which made for some really hilarious scenes.

It’s inevitable that from this point on future anniversary specials will include a multi-Doctor story, because it’s what the fans love and also how can you not, the story is ripe with possibilities! Now this is where my ideas come in!


Multi-Doctor Meetings

The incumbent Doctor is Twelve (Peter Capaldi) and now that we know what his personality is like, I am dying to see him interact with other Doctors! Obviously I would love to see The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) interact with The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith, who has expressed interest in returning), because I think Twelve will kind of bicker with Eleven and maybe even find him childish, but I think that Twelve and Eleven will get along. Now unless David Tennant looks like he has aged too much, I would love to see him return as The Tenth Doctor, because he was so good in “The Day of The Doctor!” Also in the mix I would love to see David Bradley (who portrayed The First Doctor in the made for TV drama, An Adventure in Space and Time, which chronicled William Hartnell’s time on Doctor Who) and Paul McGann as The Eighth Doctor, because he deserves more screen time as the Doctor and he was awesome in “The Night of the Doctor,” so what better way than to have him show up in an anniversary special! Then I would introduce a new actor to play a future version of the Doctor that no one has seen before! Finally, I would bring back Captain Jack Harkness and Torchwood! Tying the anniversary episode’s plot into Torchwood and explaining why Torchwood is needed.

As for how the Doctors meet each other, I would have the incumbent Doctor get in touch with as many different versions of himself as he can and we see clips of each Doctor in a different predicament. I would have The Eleventh Doctor running on a ship that is about to explode, very akin to the beginning of “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe,” and The Tenth Doctor running from some alien threat and using his Sonic to save the day. I would have some of the other Doctors just sitting in their TARDISes, reading or being bored, as a nice contrast.

The Five Doctors (1)

The Plot of The Anniversary Special

Sometimes the explanation for why the Doctor meets different versions of himself in the context of the plot can be kind of silly, but the way it was explained in “The Day of The Doctor” made sense and worked for me. Now I am not really good with writing stories, but if I were to write an anniversary special I would try to come up with a convincing reason for why the Doctors are all together. My idea is to either bring the Doctors together to stop The Master/Mistress or The Valeyard (a character I find to be very interesting). Captain Jack has met and interacted with The Master before, so if he caught wind of The Master plotting something big, I could definitely see him returning and bringing back Torchwood and trying to get in touch with the Doctor.


A Surprise Regeneration

I understand that it’s difficult to cast actors and it be damn near impossible to keep it secret due to the the internet, cell phones, and social media, but The Doctor Who crew were able to film both The Eighth Doctor and War Doctor’s regenerations without anyone finding out about it. So you’re probably wondering ‘how would I incorporate a surprise regeneration into an anniversary episode?’ Well it’s simple really you just have some kind of moment where the future Doctor,( who I would have appear in the special and it wouldn’t be revealed which number Doctor he was) who is present and it just dawns on him what is about to happen! Now like I said I don’t know how to write a script, but I would have this future Doctor realize something saying something like “Of course, how could I have forgotten?!” and just immediately head for his TARDIS. Whoever the companion (in my scenario it is a female companion) is would be smart and perceptive enough to realize that there is something going on and would confront the future Doctor, leading to this exchange!

Companion: Doctor, where are you going, you only just got here.

the Doctor: *insert companion name here* (while smiling) you always were a perceptive one, weren’t you? I cannot tell you much, but I can tell you this, something is going to happen any moment now and I must be sure that I am not here when it does, do you understand? I know this doesn’t make much sense, but I assure you in a few moments it will. Now I must be off!

*the Doctor bids farewell to The First Doctor, The Eighth Doctor, The Tenth Doctor, The Eleventh Doctor, and The Twelfth Doctor*

the Doctor: Gentlemen it’s been an honor and a pleasure, but I must be going!

the Doctor runs into his TARDIS and it de-materializes. Suddenly, The Master/Valeyard shows up and tries to kill one of the past incarnations of the Doctor (hoping to change his timeline). The Twelfth Doctor (or whichever Doctor it is at that point) jumps in front of the group of Doctors (realizing that if one of them is killed and even regenerates it could alter his timeline forever) and is wounded very badly.

The companion begins to sob, holding the Doctor as he is beginning to regenerate, Eleven then tells the companion to step back as this regeneration will be quite powerful. The incumbent Doctor asks his companion and the other Doctors to carry him outside where it is revealed they are in an open field. The Doctor has a heart felt moment with his companion and promises her that no matter what happens he will always be the Doctor and tells his companion to stand back as he regenerates!

The Doctor finishes regenerating, falls on his knees and his body falls face down on the ground. The Doctors and the companion turn the Doctor’s body over to reveal it is none other than the future Doctor who had just left them! The companion realizes why the future Doctor left, because the current Doctor was about to regenerate into his incarnation! Everyone gasps as they realize what happened!

The newly regenerated Doctor wakes up and says “Why are you all staring at me like that?! Could you please stop, it’s very distracting!” Leading the companion to say this:

Companion: Doctor, you would understand if you were seeing this from our perspective!

The new Doctor: What do you mean?

Companion: *hands the Doctor a mirror from her purse* Here this should help.

The new Doctor: Oh my stars! I am one handsome devil aren’t I?! No, wait, there’s something else, Oh yes! I met this Doctor, but he disappeared! It all makes sense now! If I saw myself after I regenerated the consequences would have been disastrous!

This whole scenario is of course just hypothetical and most likely would never happen in an Anniversary Special. I just think that a surprise regeneration would be great and an anniversary special would be a great time to introduce a new Doctor! Even a cameo would be nice, it worked out perfectly for Capaldi’s Doctor, who made a brief cameo in “The Day of The Doctor” and has become one of the best scenes in all of Doctor Who!

Well this concludes the way I would tackle a Doctor Who Anniversary Special!

What say you? Do you like my ideas? How would you write a Doctor Who Anniversary Special? Whatever your thoughts let me know!


7 thoughts on “How I Would Write A Doctor Who Anniversary Special

  1. Great post. It might be an interesting idea to have a regeneration in an anniversary. Only problem is it might not be so good for the incumbent Doctor to have their last story overshadowed by the appearance of Matt Smith, David Tennant, Peter Capaldi, and the first Doctor. It could still work though and it would be a very bold thing to do. I too would love to see 11 and 12 meet. Apparently Capaldi and Smith have become quite friendly with each other. I reckon they would have a Troughton, Pertwee style dynamic. I doubt we will ever see the Valeyard again. I remember one fan theory was that the Valeyard was in fact Handy (the second David Tennant from Journey’s End). The theory went that Handy lived longer than he thought he would and outlived Rose and after she died he went mad with no one to look after him and he returns to our reality to steal the Doctors lives and he manages to steal one and regenerate into Michael Jayston. He would then leave and the Trial of a Time Lord would take place after which we would then have a final showdown with the Valeyard and the 12th Doctor. IMO that would have been a better story arc than Missy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I was thinking of that too, but I guess I just really liked the idea of a regeneration in an anniversary episode.

      Smith and Capaldi would be amazing together and I heard Matt Smith met Peter Capaldi for lunch, giving him some tips and advice, after Capaldi was cast as the Doctor.

      That’s an interesting theory! I agree, it makes sense why The Valeyard would be so dark.

      Thanks for reading!


      • Apparently Matt Smith said that after his first episode went out Peter Capaldi bumped into him in the street and told him he was an amazing Doctor. Matt said that really meant a lot to him so I think they might have known each other for years. Tennant and Capaldi also got along really well and Moffat said that Matt and David were like brothers they became so close during the filming of Day of the Doctor. So yeah all 3 of them would have brilliant chemistry together.

        I do like Handy as the Valeyard as that would bring Tennant and Capaldi on screen together again, but in a way unlike ever before where we have an oldie Doctor as a badguy Imagine how disturbing that would be for people who grew up with Tennant as their Doctor seeing him as the badguy.

        Only thing is it might be too dark though, you don’t want to go too far.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What fun. I wanted to say that I appreciate how you aim your posts so widely. You go out of your way to introduce concepts in Doctor Who to an audience who has never seen the show, but then you also talk directly to the seasoned Whovian who has many ideas of their own. Concerning sneaking a regeneration into an Anniversary show, I agree that it would be a heck of a great thing to pull off. I like the way you had worked it out, though, and I do think it could technically be done. And: I think we may get Valeyard-close in 12’s span, looking at the 50th and also this season’s flirtation with questionable morality. It may be a what-if, or an alternate reality–I don’t think Moffat would give us a one-way ticket there–but I’d be surprised if we didn’t get a lot darker at some point soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, I try my best to! I assume there are a lot of Doctor Who fans, but also that there are enough new fans who are just getting into it. I find it very difficult to explain things especially Doctor Who, without spoiling some things. It really restricts me, and it prevents me from giving my whole opinion.

      Thanks, I think so too. I just like the shock factor, that’s why I love Doctor Who, the twists and shocks can be so well done! Capaldi’s cameo was not spoiled for me, so when I saw it I had a “Holy S****! moment,” which just raised the quality of “The Day of The Doctor” for me.

      It’s just a matter of whether or not the writers and producers think it might take away a full final episode for whoever the Doctor is when we hit the next anniversary.

      I agree, I was getting Valeyard vibes from 12, especially in the 50th! He looked so angry, but having just re-watched “The Day of The Doctor,” I think Capaldi’s epic stare was more a look of determination and a “let’s get down to business” attitude, which is still pretty badass haha. Yes the questionable morality was such an interesting concept, because the truth is the Doctor can be ruthless at times, so I would say he is a good man, but one who sometimes definitely has questionable morals.

      I hope the show gets darker, because it makes the Doctor a more interesting character, and really allows the writers and the actor (Peter Capaldi) a chance to really take the character in a lot of different directions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can imagine how hard it is walking the line of spoilers/not spoiling things that have happened a while a go in the show. River, for example–I tried to set up “Impossible Astronaut” for my best friend, and did it so poorly she nearly nailed everything I was trying to not disclose. Blah! That’s why I’m not spoiler free in my blog. I just don’t have the skills to pull it off.

        I do feel that current episodes are often better not spoiled, but then we’re all mostly on a level playing field.

        As far as the darkness of the show, unless we’re going to torture companions some more it kind of requires that the Doctor himself become darker. Just look at the way the Beeb has marketed this season. “Am I a good man?” was the initial question that kicked the whole regeneration off. Thanks again for sharing your opinions. They’re fun and engaging.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow that must have been interesting lol.

        I can understand that I just don’t feel i can give my full opinion on something without spoiling it, so i give spoiler warnings.

        I agree and and the beeb did an amazing job marketing this season! I do think the Doctor will get darker, how interesting would it be if Twelve (Peter Capaldi) was responsible for Clara’s death, and it made him even more cold and dark!

        Thank you, I appreciate your comments and opinions as well!

        Liked by 1 person

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