*The following article contains spoilers for “Day of the Doctor”
So, at long last the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special “Day of the Doctor” has come and gone. And it was amazing. For Doctor Who fans, it was like The Avengers on a far smaller scale in that despite any predilection toward criticism you couldn’t help but gasp and delight, “OMG, that’s Matt Smith and David Tennant on-screen….together, the 10th and 11th Doctors taking on the Zygons!” Plus, John Hurt made for a perfectly gristled foil as the true original 9th Doctor, and even though it didn’t make a lick of sense [spoiler warning] they even worked in an extended cameo from Tom Baker as a retired version of the Doctor. In fact, all actors to play the Doctor to this point made appearances via archival footage from their old episodes while even Peter Capaldi showed up for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo even though his time on the show has yet to begin.
But what about Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy, the still-alive actors who played the 5th (1981-1984), 6th (1984-1986), and 7th Doctors (1986-1989) respectively? Yeah, they’re technically in the final scene of “Day of the Doctor,” but only from archival footage. If they managed to work in Tom Baker despite his considerably noticeable advanced age in relation to how he looked when he played the Doctor over 30 years ago, surely they could find something for Davison, Baker, and McCoy? Heck, when they did “The Five Doctors” special on the show’s 20th anniversary they managed to work in William Hartnell…even though he’d been dead for 8 years.
On top of that, “Five Doctors” also brought back multiple companions, such as the first ever companion Susan (Carole Ann Ford) and most popular companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen). Freakin’ “Day of the Doctor” didn’t even technically bring back Rose Tyler, casting Billie Piper in an entirely different role.
Again, “Day of the Doctor” was amazing, but if you are so inclined you could nitpick the lack of inclusion of more eras of the show’s history in the form of entirely new footage versus re-purposed archival footage. Davison, Baker, and McCoy have been ambassadors for the show for years at this point, particularly Baker who played the least popular Doctor ever but seems to have made himself the most available to conventions over the years. Surely, there must have been something for them to do?
As it turns out, there totally was. Much like the mini-episode prequel starring Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor regenerating into the (un-numbered?) William Hurt Doctor arrived with little warning so did a delightful half-hour feature entitled “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.” Written and directed by Peter Davison, “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot” features Davison, Baker, and McCoy all playing themselves as they lobby Steven Moffat and the BBC to be included in “Day of the Doctor.” It is…hilarious, although probably only if you really know your Doctor Who history.
Check out the trailer below:
You can view “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot” in its entirety at BBC.co.uk.
Basically, the majority of notable classic Doctor Who personalities as well as a couple of modern Doctor Who ones show up in cameos throughout the special. There are so many I dare not attempt to list but also because it plays better if you have no idea which person will show up next. “Day of the Doctor” had the burden of satisfying long-time fans while also not completely alienating relative newbies; “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot” is completely and utterly for the hardcore fans. There are countless in-jokes, including a clever sequence noting the difference between classic Who‘s minimalist incidental music in comparison to modern Who‘s sweeping, orchestral scores from composer Murray Gold. Plus, for those who have yet to experience the joy that is listening to one of Peter Davison’s DVD commentaries for any of the stories from his era (1981-1984) as the Doctor you are in for a treat as the man does self-effacing humor quite brilliantly.
So, tune in to see whether or not the three ignored Doctors managed to make their way into “Day of the Doctor.” You can view “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot” in its entirety at BBC.co.uk.