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I still don't get the whole "We got John Hurt" thing. Brilliant actor, but he could've been in any regular episode; to me, his presence did not make the episode any more special. His performance was good but his character is unnecessary to me when, all along, it could've been McGann.
With regards to Eccleston, he himself has never stated why he didn't want to do the 50th. I know he's quite private and can often (but not always) bristle at the subject in interviews, but all the revelations have so far come from Moffat, aside from earlier "never bathe in the same river twice" comments. I'd like to hear his own "uncensored" take on it. I want to know if he didn't like the story and if he would've done it had it been written differently.
Still wished we had a "four Doctors" story with McGann, Eccleston, Tennant and Smith...
3 months ago on Moffat on Why Hurt to Eccleston Regeneration Was So Short
@sontaran17 @DasManiac But he doesn't need to regenerate to do it. McGann could'be pulled it off, I'm sure.
5 months, 2 weeks ago on What if… the 8th Doctor was the War Doctor?
@Planet of the Deaf Sorry, but the show has had "real acting icons" in normal episodes, so that wouldn't make it so special for me. Hurt could've turned up in any normal episode as any other character and I'd be happy.
Also, why would it have been odd? Given the feedback from The Night of the Doctor, he's hardly "niche and unknown". And loads of people will know him from Withnail & I, plus other films.
@Kiler1995 Well, I just guessed it was 2013, so we'll say "the present day" for argument's sake. :)
@gunslinger19 Was he that fantastic? He was okay, but no, I don't believe a brand new Doctor is more interesting. We were going to get the Twelfth Doctor at the end of the year anyway, so that's where my interest was lying. And no, we only saw McGann on screen twice.
@JackArtaganMackenna You've got a point, and I'm sorry if my article showed any aspects of that.
@Amy the Consulting Commentator Were we all expecting McGann to return? I'm not sure what I was expecting before the special appeared but to be honest. For me, I think in this instance the safer course of action would've been best, and without bashing Moffat, I don't want to just agree and settle with whatever we get, because that seems what a lot of people are doing. Probably just me though.
@Notsosmartguy Yes, John Hurt's performance was very good, but in my opinion, he still didn't need to be there.
@The Living Angel @Gluben Well, I must admit I didn't see the point of having a secret Doctor when a Doctor who hasn't had a lot of screen time and would've been interesting to explore seems the more obvious option to me. Not trying to defend McGann on his behalf (he probably doesn't care either way), but it never appealed to me.
@Deus_Ex_Machina I always imagined that the off-screen Time War could've changed McGann into "that kind of guy". And that would've made an amazing bit of drama.
@Dalekium @Gluben I see what you mean with Tennant and Smith. I just like a bit of completion, especially after the First had only a minor role in The Three Doctors and the Fourth did in The Five Doctors. I thought this could've been an opportunity, at last, to show all relevant Doctors who haven't had a multi-Doctor story on-screen (Time Crash aside), without any glaring omissions, i.e. Eccleston. That's me being completist though!
@Amy the Consulting Commentator The thing with the hand could've just been left alone and unexplained. It didn't have to be addressed suddenly 5 years later. I just took it at the time as a little quirk that wouldn't really be explained - the Doctor didn't regenerate into a new form, therefore he's still the Tenth, and the Meta-Crisis Doctor is a separate entity, nothing to do with the limit.
I also thought it was the last Doctor's tomb and not the Eleventh, especially as he referenced the lives he hasn't lived yet. Eleven being stuck on Trenzalore for hundreds of years would still have worked but needn't have been related to his tomb. Sorry, I'm not explaining it very well!
@DalekSupreme1 @Gluben @Mr_Fiction Ah I see what you mean. Yes, sorry, that's a mistake on my part!
@awkward912 You're most welcome. I had always intended to write something based around the Eighth Doctor, but yours gave me the kick I needed!
@The Living Angel I think the whole approach of "Wow, we've got John Hurt as the Doctor, isn't that amazing?" is a bit contrived for me to be honest. I personally wouldn't have cast an actor with a huge profile as the Doctor just to attract audiences, even worldwide ones. Anyone who cares about Doctor Who will tune in regardless (maybe more so for McGann), and anyone who's new can be introduced to his Doctor and all the others anyway.
Then again, that's probably why I don't run the show!
@ICEFinn Fair enough! I wrote this really because nobody had written a proper article about it, but I don't expect everyone to agree with it. :)
@Brian Campbell1 I like that idea very much!
@Oodkind Admittedly, yes I did, although I still feel Nine would've worked in the episode. I'm working on an alternative script now, surprise surprise!
@Liana21 Those adventures could've happened at any point in the Doctor's timeline, after he had met Rose. She may have just not been in the pictures. Timey-wimey and all that.
@The Living Angel But why is John Hurt so special for the anniversary? A brilliant actor, of course, but Derek Jacobi was in a normal episode, as were Simon Callow, Ian McKellen (by voice), Bill Nighy etc. To me, the idea of an actor finally returning to the screen after all these years for 90 minutes instead of seven sounds infinitely more special. But there we are. :)
@JackArtaganMackenna I'd argue that other episodes like Blink or The Girl Who Waited were more inventive. Agree though about part of the story being changed; certainly some rewriting would've been necessary to make it work (which I'm planning to do!).
@JackArtaganMackenna I don't necessarily think it would've been redundant having another perspective; it could show the Doctor's gradually jaded and faded view of the War through the ages.
@DalekSupreme1 @Mr_Fiction I didn't really think anyone felt sorry for Eccleston. He had his reasons for not doing the special and that was that, although I'd love to hear his thoughts.
@Dalekium Thanks anyway! How would you have preferred it to go?
@MarlonJBonnici I agree with you about Eleven's swansong and the shoehorning in of the regenerations issue; I believe Moffat did that deliberately to get rid of the rule himself rather than let it play out naturally - a decision I didn't really like either.
@The_Eternal_Dalek The character of the Eighth Doctor would, I believe, have been so significantly scarred from the Time War that his youth would've died a long time ago.
@WiblyWoblyTimyWimyMOFFAT I found the Gallifrey plot fantastic, yes, but the Zygon plot just seemed a bit unneccessary, as was Ten's appearance - why have Ten there when Nine wasn't?
It wasn't terrible, just not amazing, to me anyway.
@thenicknielsen I've written such an article and submitted it to the site!
5 months, 3 weeks ago on What if… the Ninth Doctor was the War Doctor?
I also would've had the Moment turn into several of the Doctor's companions from his past, present and future instead of just Rose.
And the episode would've thus been around 90 minutes instead of 75, and Eight would've had longer on-screen, as would Nine.
...He then enters a room to find that he is facing all forms of Cybermen (similar to Asylum of the Daleks, it would feature all versions of them since the show began). He is back on Mondas before its destruction, and the Cybermen have opened portals to millions of points in history to attack and convert. He goes through several of these (entering comical situations and perhaps retconning certain events, e.g. giving the Master the Harold Saxon alias accidentally) before finding an escape portal to England, 1562, where he meets Ten and then Eleven, before Eight jumps in to join them. The Day of the Doctor could then work the Cybermen into it as well alongside the Zygons.
At the very end of the story, Eight goes off in his TARDIS, only to find a damaged Dalek has done an Emergency Temporal Shift into the TARDIS to escape Gallifrey being frozen. The Dalek is about to fire, but Eight uses the soldier's gun from Gallifrey to shoot the TARDIS console to destroy it, firing the Dalek out of the doors and sending it plummeting to Earth in Utah, 2012 to become the one in Dalek. The TARDIS crashes, almost in tatters, into London, 2005, with Eight having fallen out and crashed nearby. Near death, he regenerates into Nine. He then goes to Henrik's and steals the leather jacket etc. and investigates the Autons. This way, all Doctors in The Day of the Doctor are taken out of time just before they regenerate.
Would someone like to write a similar article entitled "What if...the Eighth Doctor was the War Doctor"? If not, I'd like to!
The way I would've done it would be to have McGann in the War Doctor role, as a heavily-damaged Eighth Doctor. I would then have tied The Night of the Doctor into The Day of the Doctor: he saves Cass by teleporting her off the ship and gets into his TARDIS but can't dematerialise in time and the ship still crashes. He is still alive but is then convinced by the Sisterhood of Karn to find and steal the Moment, rather than regenerate.
Ten and Eleven's plots would've been as normal but I would've also added a new sub-plot featuring Nine. This would be taken from just before Bad Wolf, i.e. he is in Kyoto, 1336 and is creating a distraction away from Rose and Jack by being chased by a group of Japanese warriors...