After dreading The Day of the Doctor because of Steven Moffat’s highly variable writing, I have to say I was very happy with it. It’s a solid 8 out of 10 from me, which means it’s good. It was fun, and humourous, and not overwrought or full of false drama.
An Adventure In Space and Time is harder for me to rate. I know the history of that period fairly well. And I really know about how the role of the Doctor changed Hartnell, brought so much joy to him, and also how he struggled. And all that is captured so beautifully by the writing of Mark Gatiss and the acting of David Bradley.
So it’s hard for me to rate because I had to, literally, stop the vid at least seven times as I bawled uncontrollably. Seriously, I was a giant mess. Most of that crying was at the sweetness and kindness shown to Hartnell, and a bit was at those heartbreaking moments when you knew an ill and insecure man was about to be hurt.
In all honesty, I have never had any film affect me as deeply as this one. I typed the last paragraph and this one with tears in my eyes at the memory of it.
So, I think it may be a 9 or a 10 out of 10, but I’ll need to rewatch it first and I’m not sure I’m quite up to it again yet.
But I will rewatch both, because it’s become obvious I need to run through references and Easter Eggs for people. Not sure when I’ll get them done, though I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can.
Here’s just a couple…
In The Day of the Doctor, when the character of the Doctor is getting described, there is at least one quote from the 1972 book, “The Making of Doctor Who” by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke – “He is never cruel or cowardly.”
Also, the very start of An Adventure In Space and Time has Hartnell pulling up on Barnes Common on a dark and foggy night, and pausing to look at a real police box. In the very first Doctor Who book, “Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks,” David Whitaker tells a different version of how Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright meet the Doctor and Susan. And it all happens on Barnes Common, on a dark and foggy night.
The opening location from Adventure in Space and Time is also replicated for The Day of the Doctor. It’s not the same location (I thought it was but closer inspection showed houses in the background of the Hartnell scene), but they’ve gone for as close a match as possible. It’s way too close to be a coincidence.
There were many other references, of course, so I’ll get on it. But until I do, I’ll try to finish my edit of the Series Six Moffat’s Master Plan article within the next few days to hold you over.