Doctor Who: 6 interesting moments from the 50th anniversary trailer

Feature Patrick Sproull 21 Oct 2013 - 05:13

Patrick asks the significance of six intriguing moments from Doctor Who's 50th anniversary trailer...

Rumours materialized on the internet over the weekend that the BBC were due to release a trailer for the forthcoming and hotly-anticipated Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. The scuttlebutt was silenced with a tweet that went something like this.

Still, when the trailer arrived on Saturday night, there was lots to love. It was a celebration of the last 50 years, glued together with gorgeous SFX and topped off with some vivid colour added to the show’s monochromatic years. And it teased The Day Of The Doctor a treat.

You can watch the trailer here, and stroke your chin over six of its most interesting moments, below...

The policeman from the opening of An Unearthly Child

The trailer began with an image now so recognisable to long-time fans that we knew what we were about to witness would be something glorious for aficionados of all ages. It’s apt to see the first person ever to be shown in the show is the first person to be shown in the trailer; it’s just a gleeful tip of the custodian helmet to the programme’s origins.


The meaning of the words ‘no more’

Steven Moffat (and the BBC) love being cryptic so it’s no surprise that there are a couple of arcane teasers in the new trailer. When the camera zoomed up from the frozen Fourth Doctor and his loose bag of jelly babies we passed a girder with the ominous, seemingly graffitied words “no more”. Is it a sly nod to fans’ frustration at having to wait for a trailer; ‘no more’ waiting? Or, far more likely, is it something far more obscure, something that may tie into The Day of the Doctor itself?


Sarah Jane peering into a crystal ball containing the Third Doctor and the Master (as played by Roger Delgado)

Didn’t a little bit of your heart ache when the late Elisabeth Sladen flashed up our screens as Sarah Jane. It was a fitting nod to the actress and a pleasing moment for the fans because we didn’t just have Sladen, we had Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado playing their respective parts inside the glass globe. Eagle-eyed readers will be able to spot the Third Doctor and the Master armed with épées over the TARDIS console, a neat homage to their infamous duel in The Sea Devils. Top the whole thing off with Big Ben towering over the vintage Daleks and the Cybermen (and a saucer) and you’ve got one helluva gratifying moment. Now see if you can spot the rogue Sea Devil in this scene.


Clara looking into the crystal ball

I like to think Clara looking into the crystal ball at the Third Doctor and the Master is an acknowledgement of Clara’s intervention in the Doctor’s life (she did, in The Name of the Doctor, step into the Doctor’s time-stream, consequently ending up in many moments of his life). Without reading too deeply into it, I believe that’s what it was intended to be construed as. I’m a Doctor Who fan and I’m meticulous: don’t shoot me.


The number 17162311

As delightful as it is to see the Eighth Doctor, an Ood, an Auton, Rose Tyler, the Tenth Doctor, the Sixth and Ninth Doctors’ arms all in the one scene I thought what was most interesting was the numbers displayed on a screen underneath Christopher Eccleston’s fist in the bottom right hand corner of the above picture. Add some punctuation and all becomes clear: 17:16 was the time the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast, on, that's right, 23/11, or the 23rd of November, 1963.


The Eleventh Doctor standing atop a tower with landmarks in the background

We finish off with a beautiful moment that is, surprisingly, barren compared to the cluttered assortment we had before (that is, by no means, a bad thing, it’s a Doctor Who twist on Where’s Wally?). I actually found this to be the most mysterious moment because it’s so empty. I can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background – a fascinating landmark they’ve used; aside from San Francisco's obvious significance as the setting for Doctor Who: The Movie, its only appearance in the show was in a novel published over a decade ago so it’s unlikely that’s why it is there. Could it make an appearance in The Day of the Doctor? – as well of the Shard (last seen in The Bells of Saint John) and some Gallifreyan symbols printed on the tower. There’s even a Dalek ship hidden behind that mountain in the bottom right corner. 

It's a lovely promo, and our good chum Blogtor Who has an exhaustive list of just what's been packed into it, here. As we Tweeted on Saturday night, though, wouldn't it now be best if the BBC didn't screen one second of footage from The Day Of The Doctor ahead of its broadcast? Especially if we're going to get treats like this instead...

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Like a Derek Riggs album cover circa 1984.

I'm glad we got this fun and cryptic and creative trailer instead of the rough and ready trailer shown at Comic Con.
I want to see it with as little foreknowledge as possible.

One of the first things I saw was the fob watch near Hartnell. It's probably just another nod to past adventures (like I'm sure 90% of the awesome trailer is) but what if it had some significance to The Day Of The Doctor?

How awesome would it be if that "question that must not be answered" was part of a huge 50 year chameleon arch. The Doctor looks into the fob watch, Clara asks "are you alright Doctor?", he reply's "Doctor? Doctor Who?". BAMN!

It's a dangerous thing, I've heard

This is how you do a trailer! You get everyone excited, it's incredibly creative and original and you do not spoil anything. TV programme and movie makers please take note!

Peter Davison echoing "lives" at 0:06. Paul McGann echoing "years" at 0:21. I wonder if we may see this trailer again in the coming days with different Doctors' voiceovers?

Who's the person with his back to us facing the tenth doctor?

I think I may be the only person largely underwhelmed with the trailer. But then I've only seen it on my smart phone and not big screen. Ultimately, despite all the references, I ended up more curious than excited. Lovely to see some of the older Doctors, shame that some of them got such a brief appearance.

John Hurt? Maybe?

"aside from San Francisco's obvious significance as the setting for Doctor Who: The Movie, its only appearance in the show was in a novel published over a decade ago so it’s unlikely that’s why it is there."
It does appear in Doctor Who: The Movie, albeit as stock footage.

I'm unsure - while it would make sense and seems to have his ammo belt over his shoulder, he just seems a little young (not that you can really gauge from behind).

I loved this. It's all the trailer I need.

Part of me doesn't want to see any footage at all from the Day of the Doctor, just to add to the mystique of it all.

But of course, when the BBC release the inevitable trailer, I'll be clamouring to watch it with all the rest!

"The day of the Doctor is over, I am the Valeyard."

Yeah, I agree with that. It was just a guess. I wonder if we'll ever know for sure?

Is it just me or is The Doctor standing on what resembles a giant head?

The figure facing 10 I think is an Auton

The rock face 11 is standing on , number 6's features?

I think it's supposed to be the massive head sculpture of Tom Baker seen in The Face of Evil.

I've watched it about eight times now (and, yes, I know there will be some people who will say 'eight?!? Is that all? Call yourself a Doctor Who fan! ~offt~') and I got shivers up and down my spine each time. Great teaser!

And I love that version of the theme tune.

The "no more" writing I think is just a response to the statement Matt Smith makes about war and peace right before it. Could be it is deeper than that, but that is what my immediate thought was when I watched it...three more times.

This is as exciting as The Red Wedding, folks.

Yes, the Face of Evil, of course.

Great trailer though-is it a trailer for the episode or the whole 50th shebang?

Is it just me or does this look like its been done for 3D? When can we see it in 3D!!?

I believe it's being broadcast in 3D in the UK. I know that here in Australia, we can go and see it in 3D at the cinema. Which is what my friends and I are doing :)

@PK-S: I suppose that "No more" is tied to the Doctor's silence and possibly even a hint that the Doctor feels like quitting himself, due to how every bad thing that has happened to him is in a way his own fault. This could be the story where he is inspired to finally stop running and to take more responsibility for his actions, instead of inspiring his enemies to become more powerful so that they may defeat him. If that is what the comments about "everything changing" is actually about, then there is something for me to look forward to. :)

I do find one thing rather interesting, I know Eccelston and Moffat have both declared 9 out and I know there's still the rumor of 8 popping up still floating around but did you notice that in "The Name of the Doctor" they didn't show either one of them, other than 9's back and 8's voice, and yet both are shown clearly in this trailer while 5,6,7 aren't? Just thought I'd make that observation. And also its interesting no John Hurt shots in the promo. Damn you Moffat and your deceptions and secrets

Could it be a nod to Captain Jack? So sad he won't be in the special. I feel like if war is happening then, Jack should totally be there. Even though sadly he won't....

Many theorize that it's the Brigade Leader from the Third Doctor story, "Inferno". The Brigade Leader was the Alternative Universe version of Nicolas Courtney's Brigadier character.

Is it significant that Clara's reflection is Sarah Jane? or is it just a mistake?

Here's a thought. Is there any link between the bobby and the TARDIS? The TARDIS disguised itself as a police box (in a scrap yard...?) and there is a very static faced bobby patrolling outside. Lot's of references to the first episode, so I wonder if SM is going to link closely the events from the first episode with those in the 50th anniversary.

There are no mistakes. I noticed the reflection too.

And so he spoke, and so he spoke
That lord of Gallifrey...


It does look like Nelson.

Whew, definitely more eagle-eyed fans than me... but I did try. All I could point out was "look there's Paul McGann and the back of Billie Piper's head, and a bunch of jelly babies" etc. The less obvious ones really escaped my attention. Well played Mr Moffat... "and that bloody magic leaf!"

Mount Rushmore or what is left of it.

"Somewhere in Time" perhaps? :¬)

Am I the only one to notice the reflection of someone who looks like Susan reflected in the crystal ball in the picture with Clara? I wouldn't have noticed it if it wasn't a still image.

As you can see the 11th doctor is standing on a rock, that looks like a face....

Some have speculated it to be a statue of the super-computer Xoanon, when it used the Fourth Doctor's likeness.

I think it's to maybe signify the fact that Clara's named after Elisabeth (Clara) Sladen. Either that, or Moffat's going to ruin Sarah-Jane by having one of Clara's lives having been Sarah-Jane. I'm going with the former.

I think it's some nice symbolism to show the most famous classic companion with the most recent. "My friends have always been the best of me."

Personally I think that the shadowy figure facing the Tenth Doctor (with his back to us) might be the John Hurt Doctor. At first I thought it was maybe Captain Jack but on closer inspection...

I'd like that too. Although they covered a lot of that ground in the 25th anniversary.

"No more". Clearly v significant: it appears in graffiti in the trailer, Rose speaks the line in Day of the Doctor, and John Hurt's Doctor says 'Doctor No More' in Night of the Doctor.

Here's my theory. Slotting in Hurt between McGann and Eccleston means that the Doctor will have had eleven, not ten, regenerations. Which means that when Matt Smith goes, he will have used up the full cycle of twelve. No more.

Moffat has said that the revelation of Hurt's identity will have repercussions into the future of the series. If my theory is correct it means that Capaldi's Doctor will be - until they somehow square it so as not to kill the franchise! - faced with his own mortality in a way that previous Doctors haven't been.

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