Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Trailer So Good You’ll Forget It’s Fan-Made

By David Wharton | Published

Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary is a pretty big deal. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, you’ve got to respect a show that’s not only alive and kicking five decades later, but just as popular, if not more so, as it has been in any of those earlier decades. It’s no surprise that Who is a show that inspires really passion and excitement in its fans, and sometimes that passion collides with creativity and boom — something awesome is born. Case in point, the above trailer advertising Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special. It looks good enough to be straight from the BBC’s marketing department, but it’s instead a fan creation, a sleek and effective hybrid that mixes existing footage from the show with some clever CGI sleight-of-hand. (Click the 3D button to shut that feature off, unless you have a pair of 3D glasses lying around.)

How good is the trailer, which was uploaded to YouTube today by one “John Smith?” So good that many Who fans were convinced it was the genuine article, a bit of BBC production had snuck online, either legitimately or as a leak. So many people thought it was real that the folks at Doctor Who TV were barraged by excited fans until they broke the news that it is, in fact, just a very well-done fan trailer. Specifically, they say some of the footage used is from the episodes “The End of Time,” “The Rings of Akhaten,” and “Hide.” Getting mistaken for the real thing is pretty much the highest compliment you can get as a fan filmmaker, so kudos to John Smith, whoever you really are.

Part of the reason why this and a few other fan-made Who 50th anniversary videos have passed for the real deal is because the BBC still hasn’t really promoted the anniversary special as much as you’d expect for such a momentous occasion. I mean, maybe fans wouldn’t keep falling for these well-done amateur trailers if the BBC actually put out one of their own. We’re only a few months away from the damn thing, and with the exception of a few confirmed details like the involvement of David Tennant, Billie Piper, and John Hurt, the whole promotional front has been surprisingly quiet and low key. Who knows, maybe they’re waiting for Comic-Con next month to really kick the advertising campaign into full gear. The fans are excited about Doctor Who’s 50th; it’d be nice if it seemed like the BBC was too.

There are a few confirmed details we do know. In addition to the casting news above, we know the 50th anniversary episode will air on November 23. It will see the exit of Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, and presumably the introduction of whoever will play Number Twelve, unless they save that for the Christmas special. There will also be a TV movie exploring the creation of the show, An Adventure Through Space and Time, which stars Harry Potter’s David Bradley (Argus Filch) as First Doctor actor William Hartnell.

And now, just to wrap things up, here’s another excellent fan-made Who trailer. Let’s hope the real one measures up!