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Could that Peter Capaldi cameo in The Day of the Doctor be more significant than we realised?

Will The Twelfth Doctor's final episode finally shed some light on Peter Capaldi's first ever Doctor Who appearance?

Published: Tuesday, 18th April 2017 at 11:58 am

Four years ago fans were excited to get their first look at Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, with the incoming Time Lord’s eyes and hand glimpsed as all thirteen incarnations of the Doctor united to save their home planet of Gallifrey.


Ah, 2013 – good times.

But once the excitement had died down and Capaldi had settled into the role, questions began to be asked. At what point during the Twelfth Doctor’s timeline did he nip over to Gallifrey for the events of The Day of the Doctor? Would we ever see the day from his perspective in the series? Or would it just be something left hanging?

Head writer Steven Moffat seemed to hint in 2015 that the truth would come in series 9, but those episodes came and went with no answers – and with Capaldi’s last episodes in sight, that could’ve been that.

However, new rumours suggest that Moffat and Capaldi could be using their final episode on the series to finally answer the niggling query, with the Daily Mirror reporting that this year’s Christmas special will see the plot hole finally filled in – with some help from a former Doctor.

According to the report (which the BBC have refused to comment on to, the Christmas episode will see Harry Potter and Game of Thrones star David Bradley join the series as the First Doctor, the part originally played in the series in the 1960s by William Hartnell. Bradley previously played Hartnell in a Doctor Who making-of drama called Adventures in Space and Time, giving some pedigree to his casting, and if the rumours are true this episode would seeing his and Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor joining forces to save Gallifrey.

Specifically, the report claims that the pair would be teaming up for the moment we’ve already seen in the Day of the Doctor, where all 13 of the Doctor’s incarnations came together to freeze Gallifrey in moment of time to save it from the Time War. Given that we’ve already seen most of that storyline play out, we can only assume that (if the rumours are true) the episode will mainly explore the run-up to both Doctors’ return, perhaps explaining how they came together rather than focusing on their already-seen Day of the Doctor shenanigans.

Still, the rumours do have one interesting tidbit that plays directly into the events of the Day of the Doctor, with the reports ALSO claiming that Capaldi’s quick 2013 appearance will be revealed to be part of his Doctor’s final moments before he regenerates into his next incarnation, making Capaldi’s first appearance in the series also technically his last.

In other words, if these reports are true (which there’s no guarantee of at the moment), Doctor Who will be turning a minor plot hole into a glorious final outing for Peter Capaldi that delves into the show’s mythos, pays tribute to the legacy of the entire series and allows for an interesting, intimate story within a massive wider story. Eat your heart out, Rogue One.


Doctor Who continues on BBC1 on Saturdays at 7.20pm


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