ByLewis Jefferies, writer at
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Lewis Jefferies

November 23, 1963: a day that changed science fiction forever. This is the day Doctor Who first whizzed onto our screens. Starting with the First Doctor in 1963 (played by William Hartnell), viewers across the world have been treated to a large selection of faces to take on the main lead as the Doctor. But how? Well, that's the power of Doctor Who. The Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, and has the ability to regenerate into a new body when his current one is badly injured or dying.

With that in mind, the Doctor has come face to face with himself multiple times, often joining together to fight as a small army. The first time this happened was in the classic story titled "The Three Doctors," where the First, Second and Third Doctors all came together for a tenth anniversary special. However, the last major multi-Doctor story took place in 2013, when the BBC series celebrated its 50th anniversary. This was a story that featured a cameo that was so secret, the showrunners had to smuggle the actor into the studio overnight.

From The Doctor To The Curator

'Doctor Who' [Credit: BBC]
'Doctor Who' [Credit: BBC]

The 50th Anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor" saw the Tenth (David Tennant) and Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) team up with their secret incarnation, the War Doctor (played by the late John Hurt). Every Doctor from has teamed up together to save their home planet, but the Tenth, Eleventh and War Doctor were the only ones who came face to face in this story.

On the other hand, when the Tenth and War Doctor exited the story, not only was the Doctor shocked, but the audience was even more shocked when a familiar face appeared: Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor. Baker returned to the science fiction series as the museum curator, standing alongside Matt Smith for what was quite an emotional scene.

Baker's special moment in "The Day of the Doctor" was so confidential he wasn't allowed to tell anyone, let alone being seen before filming. When the day arrived for Baker to go to Cardiff for filming, the BBC smuggled him to the Cardiff studios à la James Bond. During a newsletter published on his website, Baker explained what actually happened to keep his cameo top secret:

"So through the wintry darkness of April, I travelled to Cardiff where my scene was to be shot. My appearance in the Anniversary Special was to be a secret - a surprise for the fans - so we and the BBC decided that I shouldn’t stay in a hotel in Cardiff in case people guessed what I was there for, so I agreed to travel overnight under cover of darkness."

When the big screening of the anniversary special eventually came along, it appears keeping Baker's cameo confidential was totally worth it. Baker said he was "swamped with love" after his appearance, not just from people at the screening, but from people all around the globe.

Tom Baker Never Met Matt Smith Before Filming

'Doctor Who' [Credit: BBC]
'Doctor Who' [Credit: BBC]

A lot of actors and actresses meet up before filming a scene together. However, in Baker and Smith's case, they never met beforehand. Additionally, Baker said he never actually read the entire script for the big special episode.

"I had not read the script, the whole script I mean, which would have given me a clear picture of the story. Even when I was The Doctor I never read the whole script before rehearsals started: I just read, very carefully, my own scenes. It was not because I didn't care, not at all, it was because I felt it was none of my business what happened to other characters in the story when I wasn’t present. My job was to play the hero, the Doctor, as he reacted to events that affected him."

Not meeting the actor you're standing alongside in a huge scene may actually be a good thing. That way, at least you know you'll be in full shock mode when you look them directly in the eye. This same shock gave fans goosebumps when Baker appeared behind Smith in the museum.

Final Thoughts

It has been made clear that departing showrunner Steven Moffat loves multi-Doctor stories, as he's writing and producing one final adventure before he departs this Christmas. "Twice Upon A Time" will see the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) team up with the First Doctor, who will be portrayed by David Bradley. The Christmas Special will be Capaldi's final adventure before regenerating into the Thirteenth Doctor, who will be played by Jodie Whittaker, the show's first female Doctor.

What is your favorite moment from "The Day of the Doctor"? Sound off in the comments!

(Sources: Tom Baker)


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