January 27 saw us lose yet another legend when beloved actor Sir John Hurt passed away at the age of 77. Hurt played a number of iconic roles in his career, appearing in popular franchises such as #Alien and #HarryPotter, portraying the sad, true story of The Elephant Man, and voicing The Great Dragon in BBC's Merlin.
In more recent years, Hurt often singled out a particular role as one of his favorites. What was this role, you might ask?
The 'Doctor Who' War Doctor
A brand new, previously unmentioned Doctor slotting in between The Eighth and Ninth incarnations, Hurt played The Doctor who lived through the Time War, an often mentioned but little seen event that took place in between the Classic and revival series of #DoctorWho. First appearing in a cameo in the episode "The Name Of The Doctor," Hurt's War Doctor took center stage in "Day Of The Doctor," the show's 50th Anniversary special. Hurt made no secret of the fun he had working alongside David Tennant's Tenth Doctor, and The Eleventh Doctor, played by #MattSmith. Hurt said of the role:
"You have three people playing one person. It’s the holy trinity. The War Doctor is not as quicksilver as the Matt and Davids of this world because he comes from a very different place. He is a little stiller and more reflective — a little more world-weary."
Hurt also enjoyed the role due to the fact that he had free reign to do just about whatever he wanted with the role. Like any new Doctor, there was little preconceived notion about who he had to be, save for the fact that the events of the Time War had affected him. He was beholden to no one but the fans, who he had the utmost respect for, referring to them as charming and enjoying his stint as a trending topic on Twitter.
"I was suddenly — what do they call it? You start 'trending.' This is all new to me!"
The Voice Of A Legend
Hurt enjoyed playing the War Doctor so much that he agreed to reprise the role in a series of four Audio Drama box sets for Big Finish. The stories take place during the Time War, prior to the events of "Day Of The Doctor." Hurt is said to have enjoyed recording the stories, as a chance to perform without over exerting himself.
The final box set, titled Casualties Of War, will now be released posthumously, in February 2017.
Rest In Peace, John Hurt. You will live on forever through your work.