The Day of the Doctor – Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode – was broadcast in 94 countries at the same time as it aired on BBC One on Saturday night.
Doctor Who fans have praised the show as “epic” and “phenomenal”.
Featuring three Doctors – Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt – The Day of the Doctor delved deep into the character’s psyche over 75 minutes.
There were also cameos from former star Tom Baker, and Peter Capaldi, who replaces Smith later this year.
“It’s the most ambitious episode we’ve ever done,” said the show’s boss, Steven Moffat, ahead of the premiere.
Featuring three Doctors, The Day of the Doctor delved deep into the character’s psyche over 75 minutes
Opening with the show’s original credit sequence from 1963, the special featured the Daleks and the return of shape-shifting aliens the Zygons, who first appeared in 1975.
But the principal villain was potentially the Doctor himself.
Steve Moffat’s story played with the idea, introduced when the science-fiction show re-launched in 2005, that the Doctor was the “last of the Time Lords”.
It transpired that John Hurt’s version of the Doctor had taken the decision to commit mass genocide in order to halt a “Great Time War” – and the 75-minute episode saw him fighting to come to terms with that decision, aided by two future versions of himself.
Speaking immediately after the show ended, star Matt Smith said: “I think what’s really clever about it is that what he [Steve Moffat] has managed to do is change the mythology of the character – which, after 50 years, is an achievement.”
Aside from the emotional drama, the episode was filled with comedic moments – including a proposal, a marriage and “a machine that goes ding”.
The show was also crammed with special effects, leaping from modern London to the planet of Gallifrey and Elizabethan England.
“I don’t think it bears any resemblance to what we were doing,” said Carole Ann Ford, who starred in the very first episode 50 years ago.
Screened in 3D in more than 1,500 cinemas in 94 countries – from Russia to Ecuador – the episode attracted hundreds of fans in fancy dress, from bow ties to Dalek outfits.
A gala screening at the BFI in London was attended by Matt Smith, John Hurt, Steven Moffat and their co-star Jenna Coleman.
A raft of programmes to mark the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who has been announced by BBC.
A 75-minute special episode called The Day Of The Doctor will star the soon-to-leave Matt Smith and David Tennant.
Matt Smith said: “Hope you all enjoy. There’s lots more coming your way.”
Other highlights include a BBC2 lecture by Professor Brian Cox on the science behind the hit show and the drama An Adventure In Space and Time, written by Mark Gatiss.
The one-off programme stars David Bradley – known to millions for his role as Filch in the Harry Potter films – as William Hartnell, who played the first Doctor in 1963.
BBC 4 will introduce new audiences to William Hartnell, with a re-run of the first ever story. The four episodes are being shown in a restored format, not previously broadcast in the UK.
A raft of programmes will mark the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who
BBC 2’s flagship arts programme The Culture Show is to present Me, You and Doctor Who, with lifelong fan Matthew Sweet exploring the cultural significance of the BBC’s longest running TV drama.
A 90-minute documentary on BBC Radio 2 will ask “Who Is The Doctor?” – using newly-recorded interviews and exclusive archive material to find an answer.
For those less familiar with the show, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide will provide a handy primer.
Matt Smith has already started filming his final scenes as the Doctor, which are due to air in this year’s Christmas episode. His replacement, Peter Capaldi, was announced in August.
Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer on Doctor Who, said: “50 years has turned Doctor Who from a television show into a cultural landmark. Personally I can’t wait to see what it becomes after a hundred.”
CBBC will broadcast a show, 12 Again, bringing together stars to share their memories of Doctor Who.
They include the seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, Tommy Knight, who played Luke Smith in The Sarah Jane Adventures, Warwick Davis, who played Porridge in a Doctor Who episode and Louise Jameson, who was the fourth Doctor Tom Baker’s companion Leela.
Blue Peter is launching a competition giving viewers aged between six and 14 the opportunity to design a new gadget that will become part of the series and Matt Smith will appear on the Blue Peter sofa to answer viewers’ questions.
BBC 3 audiences will be encouraged to get involved and vote in Doctor Who: Monsters and Villains Weekend.
Peter Capaldi has been revealed as the 12th Doctor of BBC Sci-Fi series Doctor Who.
Peter Capaldi, 55, is replacing outgoing lead Matt Smith.
He is best known for his role as foul-mouthed spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in the BBC series The Thick of It.
“It’s so wonderful not to keep this secret any longer, but it’s been so fantastic,” Peter Capaldi said after the news was revealed on a live BBC One show.
The actor had been the bookmakers’ favorite to take on the role, with betting on him becoming the next Doctor suspended on Friday.
It is not the first time Peter Capaldi has appeared on the show – he played Roman merchant Caecilius in 2008 Doctor Who adventure The Fires of Pompeii.
At 55, Peter Capaldi is the same age as William Hartnell when he was cast in the role as the first Doctor in 1963.
Peter Capaldi has been revealed as the 12th Doctor of BBC Sci-Fi series Doctor Who
“Being asked to play the Doctor is an amazing privilege. Like the Doctor himself I find myself in a state of utter terror and delight. I can’t wait to get started,” he said.
Steven Moffat, the show’s lead writer and executive producer, said casting Peter Capaldi as the Doctor was an “incendiary combination”.
“One of the most talented actors of his generation is about to play the best part on television.”
Steve Moffat said Peter Capaldi had been cast after a secret audition at his house.
“We made a home video of [Peter Capaldi] being the doctor and I showed it around and everyone said <<yes, that’s the Doctor>>.”
Steve Moffat added the actor had “briefly flicked through my mind” the last time he was casting the role, but he did not think he was right for the part, however “now that moment has arrived”.
Peter Capaldi said he downloaded old Doctor Who scripts from the internet and practiced the lines in front of a mirror to prepare for the audition.
Outgoing Doctor Matt Smith welcomed Peter Capaldi’s casting, who pre-recorded a message for the new Time Lord.
“I wish my successor all the best and say good luck and good on you for getting it, because I know he’s both a huge fan of the show and a really nice guy,” Matt Smith said.
“The casting made me ready excited and as a fan I think it’s a canny choice. If I had to pick someone, I’d pick him because I think he’s great. I’m excited because I know what’s coming and he’s going to have a blast.”
Peter Capaldi will film his first scenes on the series this autumn.
Doctor Who’s 12th doctor will be revealed in a special live programme on Sunday, the BBC has announced.
The show, presented by Zoe Ball, will feature an interview with the new lead, as well as 11th Doctor Matt Smith and executive producer Steven Moffat.
“The decision is made and the time has come to reveal who’s taking over the Tardis,” Steven Moffat said.
“For the last of the Time Lords, the clock is striking twelve.”
Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor is on BBC One at 7 p.m. on August 4.
According to the official announcement, Zoe Ball “will unveil the 12th Doctor in the first ever interview in front of a live studio audience set against the backdrop of a swirling vortex, amongst Daleks and the Tardis”.
Matt Smith, who has played the Time Lord since 2010, announced in June that he would be bowing out in this year’s Christmas special.
The announcement sparked much speculation about who might take over, with Peter Capaldi, Ben Daniels, Rory Kinnear and Ben Whishaw among the bookies’ favorites.
Doctor Who marks its 50th anniversary on 23 November with a special episode, starring Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt as the Doctor.
Matt Smith is the 11th Doctor and he will depart in this year’s Christmas special
Billie Piper will return as Rose Tyler, while Jenna Coleman will continue as Clara Oswald.
The episode will also see the return of the Daleks and the Zygons.
Matt Smith is to leave his role in Doctor Who at the end of this year
Matt Smith is to leave his role in Doctor Who at the end of this year, the BBC has announced.
After four years as the Time Lord on Doctor Who, viewers will see Matt Smith’s Doctor regenerate in the 2013 Christmas special.
Matt Smith, 30, said working on the show had been “the most brilliant experience”.
Doctor Who marks its 50th anniversary in November with a special episode, which Matt Smith has already filmed.
Matt Smith’s “spectacular exit” was yet to be revealed and would be “kept tightly under wraps”.
He first stepped into the Tardis as the 11th Doctor in 2010. Taking over from David Tennant, he was the youngest actor to play the role of the Doctor.
Speaking after the announcement, Matt Smith said he was “incredibly proud” of what the show had achieved over the last four years under Steven Moffat, the show’s lead writer and executive producer.
Matt Smith also thanked fans around the world for their “truly remarkable” dedication to the show.
During his tenure, Matt Smith’s floppy-haired, bow tie-wearing Time Lord has fought enemies such as the Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels and the Silence.
His Doctor has shared his adventures with Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and most recently, Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman).
Referring to his time-travelling companions, Matt Smith said: “It’s been an honor to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the Tardis for a spell with ‘the ginger, the nose and the impossible one’. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go…”
Show runner Steven Moffat said: “Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me. The way he’d turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry – I just never knew what was coming next.
“The Doctor can be clown and hero – often at the same time – and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him – sometimes literally – his behavior was always worthy of the Doctor.”
Steven Moffat added: “Great actors always know when it’s time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break as we say goodbye to number 11. Thank you Matt – bow ties were never cooler.”
The announcement of Matt Smith’s exit is likely to spark months of fevered speculation about his replacement.
“Somewhere out there right now – all unknowing, just going about their business – is someone who’s about to become the Doctor,” Steven Moffat hinted.
“A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again. After 50 years, that’s still so exciting.”
Matt Smith’s first adventure in April 2010, the Eleventh Hour, saw his newly-regenerated Doctor crash his Tardis into the garden of a young Scottish girl who was later to become his new companion – Amy Pond.
In his most recent adventure, the Name of the Doctor – which aired two weeks ago – Matt Smith’s Time Lord visited his own grave on the planet Trenzalore.
In 2011, Matt Smith became the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role.
And he won the most popular male drama performance award at the National Television Awards in 2012.
Born in Northampton in 1982, Matt Smith studied drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia.
He made his TV debut in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman’s the Ruby in the Smoke, which starred former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper.
Matt Smith’s stage work has included stints with theatre companies such as the Royal Court and National Theatre. His West End debut was in Swimming With Sharks opposite Christian Slater.
During his time in Doctor Who, Matt Smith also appeared in TV films Christopherand His Kind, in which he played novelist Christopher Isherwood, and in Olympic rowing drama Bert and Dickie.
Doctor Who fans in the US are being urged to keep the plot of Saturday’s finale secret after DVDs of the series were sent out early in error.
It appears “a small number” of fans had been sent pre-ordered DVDs three weeks early.
The show’s producers asked those with the DVD not to reveal plot details which would ruin the “viewing pleasure” of others.
They promised footage of current Doctor Matt Smith with predecessor David Tennant “if everyone keeps the secret”.
“A small number of US Doctor Who fans have received their series seven part two DVD three weeks early,” BBC Worldwide said in a statement.
“We are asking fans who may have the discs not to divulge plot details so that fellow fans who have yet to see the episodes do not have their viewing pleasure ruined.”
The statement said BBC Worldwide was “currently investigating how this has happened”.
Doctor Who fans in the US are being urged to keep the plot of Saturday’s finale secret after DVDs of the series were sent out early in error
It added executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat had promised the special video featuring Matt Smith and David Tennant if the secret was kept.
Saturday’s episode of the BBC One show, The Name of the Doctor – written by Steven Moffat – comes ahead of a 50th anniversary 3D special, due to air on November 23.
David Tennant and Billie Piper, who played his on-screen companion Rose Tyler, are among those who will guest star.
David Tennant starred in Doctor Who from 2005 to 2010, while Billie Piper first appeared in 2005 opposite Christopher Eccleston, who played the ninth Doctor.
In May 2011, Steven Moffat criticized those “who call themselves fans” who revealed crucial plot lines ahead of transmission.
“You can imagine how much I hate them,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“I wish they could go and be fans of something else.”
He said it was “heartbreaking” when a fan, who had been invited to a press screening but asked not to give away spoilers, had posted the entire plot of two episodes on an internet forum “because you’re trying to tell stories and stories depend on surprise”.
“So to have some twit who came to a press launch, write up a story in the worst, most ham-fisted English you can imagine, and put it on the internet [is heartbreaking].”
The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was marked at Sunday night’s TV BAFTAs with a video montage while Jenna-Louise Coleman, who plays current assistant Clara Oswald, presented an award.
Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary script is under lock and key, programme’s boss Steven Moffat has said.
“One length I’ve gone to which is a really good security measure – I make sure I don’t get a script, because I will lose it,” said Steven Moffat, the show’s lead writer.
“I forbid people to hand me one. It’s on my computer under lock and key.”
Actor Matt Smith promised fans they “will not be disappointed” by the story.
“I read it and I clapped at the end. I think it’s hilarious, it’s epic and it’s vast,” he said at a Doctor Who series launch last week.
“It manages to pay homage to everything – and look forward.”
The first story of Doctor Who’s 2013 run, The Bells of Saint John, will be screened on Easter Saturday, March 30.
Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary script is under lock and key
Described by Steven Moffat as a “proper London thriller”, it sees the Doctor and new companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) battling an evil entity in the world’s Wi-Fi networks.Future episodes see the return of the Cybermen and old enemy the Ice Warriors, who last appeared during the Jon Pertwee era in 1974.
“It’s going to be the biggest and best and most inventive and most exciting year for the show,” Matt Smith said.
The 50th anniversary special, due to begin filming in April, will be broadcast in 3D around the show’s birthday in November.
The first ever episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child, with William Hartnell as the Doctor, was broadcast on 23 November 1963.