Doctor Who: Steven Moffat reveals scrapped ideas and behind-the-scenes secrets during mass fan rewatch

Around the world, fans tuned into the Day of the Doctor at the same time, and the anniversary special’s writer was on hand to give them new information

Paul McGann, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and John Hurt in a Day of the Doctor poster (BBC)

On Saturday 21st March, Doctor Who fans around the world did something special. Despite being trapped at home social distancing or in self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, at 7.00pm GMT they all tuned into 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor at the same time, reliving the highs of the 2013 special all over again.

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And joining them was former series showrunner (and Day of the Doctor screenwriter) Steven Moffat, who made a surprise return to Twitter after quitting the platform a few years ago in order to join in the conversation online.

Prior to the episode’s launch, Moffat had quickly penned a short introduction video full of in-jokes and callbacks and performed by former series star Dan Starkey, but his contribution didn’t stop there, regularly chiming in during the simultaneous watch to offer behind-the-scenes tidbits about The Day of the Doctor’s production.

This included a scrapped introductory speech, which Moffat subsequently shared, saying: “Long ago, on the lost world of Gallifrey, the planet of the Time Lords, there was a legend much loved by the children. It told of a great hero who who would return on their darkest day to save them all. But first he would have to save himself.”

And that wasn’t the only idea to hit the cutting room floor, with Moffat also noting another sequence or two that didn’t make the edit, as well as a few choice lines he regretted removing.

Largely, though, even all these years later Moffat said he was extremely happy with what he and the Doctor Who team managed to put together.

Though he did still have a regret or two about how it all came together.

And for fans of the unique minutiae of Doctor Who production, his entire commentary was a pretty unique gift.

By the end, the fans had been transported to a happier time, and Moffat himself was getting a little emotional. And with fans around the world coming together to celebrate something he created, can you blame him?

To check out Steven Moffat’s full, lengthy commentary to the episode (which we’ve only given a snapshot of here) check out his twitter account @StevenWMoffat while you can – though who knows? With everyone stuck at home, maybe this won’t be the last episode fans can convince him to lend his time to.

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Doctor Who returns to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021. Want to watch something tonight? Check out our TV listings