At this point, there have been so many rumors, denials, accusations, reversals, and un-reversals about who is or isn’t in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special that it feels like I’ve been reporting on the damn thing for five decades myself. With only a few days left until The Day of the Doctor premieres and provides definitive answers, you’d think there wouldn’t be much room for casting speculation at this point, but this the Doctor we’re talking about. Time is no barrier! And wouldn’t you know it, now one of the classic Doctors has sounded off at the eleventh hour, suggesting that perhaps — just perhaps — Steven Moffat and company might still have some surprises waiting for us.
The wily trickster in question is none other than Tom Baker, beloved by many for playing the be-scarfed Fourth Doctor from 1974 – 1981. The official word has been that The Day of the Doctor would feature only three incarnations of the Doctor: the most recent two — David Tennant and Matt Smith — and the mysterious Doctor played by John Hurt. That obviously leaves out all the surviving classic Doctor actors, which was controversial among both fans and the actors themselves. But then along comes Tom Baker, that cheeky bastard, and he tells The Huffington Post that “I am in the special. I’m not supposed to tell you that, but I tell you that very willingly and specifically; the BBC told me not to tell anybody but I’m telling you straightaway.”
Of course, he could just be yanking our respective chains. Hell, he could be yanking our chains at the request of executive producer Steven Moffat himself. As proven by the surprise appearance of Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor in last week’s Night of the Doctor minisode, those repeated denials and angry comments from former Doctors could all be part of the long game to disguise The Day of the Doctor’s surprises. And if so, that’d be awesome. It’s damned hard to keep a big secret under wraps when it comes to something as popular as Doctor Who, so kudos to them if they manage to leave us gobsmacked and bring in people we thought were going to be left out in the cold.
When asked to comment, the BBC said, “As with William Hartnell’s recent appearance in the last season finale, anything is possible in Doctor Who. But nothing is certain.” You didn’t expect a more concrete answer from them, did you?
But if the other surviving classic Doctors are indeed involved in the special, one of them was still playing the part of the snubbed with gusto as recently as two weeks ago. Speaking to Attractions Magazine, Sixth Doctor actor Colin Baker didn’t mince words:
If I told you my lips were sealed, you’d know that I was in it, but my lips are not sealed and I’m not in it.
I can say that Peter isn’t because I’ve seen him recently. And I can tell you that Sylvester isn’t, and neither is Paul. So none of us have been deemed worthy of inclusion in a programme that celebrates 50 years of a British television programme, of which I was in it for three. But no, we are surplus baggage.
Yikes. But then again, here we are a few weeks later and we now know that yes, technically Paul McGann isn’t in Day of the Doctor…but he was still involved in the overall celebration, via the minisode. So Baker could be just feigning outrage to keep us off the scent, and he could be telling the truth even if that truth doesn’t tell the whole story. Then again, he might just be honest and disappointed. If that’s the case, that’s a real shame, but we’ll all find out together come Saturday night.
Either way, we hate to leave things on such a bitter note, so here’s something to put a smile on your face. It’s the charming David Tennant, here to show off some of the special’s more cutting-edge props. They spared no expense.