Doctor Who fans around the world are uniting for a special, simultaneous rewatch of 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor – but before they do, former series showrunner Steven Moffat has created a very special introduction scene for them.
Starring ex-series star Dan Starkey as Strax, the Sontaran character who delivered similar introductions when the anniversary special played in cinemas in 2013, the new scene riffs on the coronavirus epidemic’s surprise toilet roll shortage, Sacha Dhawan’s new Master, the perils of 3D and even a few of the twists from Jodie Whittaker’s 2020 series finale The Timeless Children.
We’d say more, but…well, you’d be best to just go and watch the whole thing above before you start the Doctor Who view-in at 7.00pm GMT.
“It’s always a joy to revisit Strax,” Starkey told RadioTimes.com. “His love of heavy ordnance, perennial ill-temper and obliviousness to what’s actually going on are curiously reassuring in these turbulent times: he’s psychotic, but essentially well-meaning. What a joyous combination!”
And if you’re wondering why Strax is a toy in the footage, it could be because the entire skit was conceived, filmed and edited from separate homes in under 24 hours –or it’s because he ran afoul of the Master’s Plushie Compression Eliminator. Whatever you prefer.
“We are assembled to watch a brand-new version of The Day of the Doctor,” Strax says in the clip. “For the first time this anniversary special is available to audiences in groundbreaking 2D!”
Poking fun at The Day of the Doctor’s biggest moments and cameos (including the roles played by Tom Baker and Billie Piper), the developments of Doctor Who canon since 2013 and even the Morbius Doctors, the new clip is the perfect tonic for Whovians stuck in self-isolation, as well as for the people who actually put it together.
“It’s a strange time for everyone at the moment, but as a way of staving off cabin-fever, this really has been second to none,” Starkey told us, noting that alongside Moffat, co-star Neve McIntosh (who briefly reprises her role as Madame Vastra) and the simulcast’s originator Emily Cook it had been an interesting challenge to put the footage together.
“I replied to Emily’s tweet on Friday morning about joining the view-in, agreed to cobble something together by way of introduction via DM about an hour later; then no sooner am I firing up my camera and gathering props, then none other than Steven Moffat himself has written an actual script for us!
“I shot the footage this morning, and Emily and I have been firing emails at each other all day, tinkering with it to provide the finished piece. It’s been great to have such an unambiguously fun project to collaborate on, albeit remotely.”
Clearly, when Doctor Who fans work together they can achieve great things – specifically, getting an ex-Who showrunner to write some funny jokes and convincing actors to perform them at home – and in unusual times, we should take that as a comfort.
Now, you’re all prepped and ready to rewatch The Day of the Doctor. Time to #SaveTheDay once more!
Doctor Who returns to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021. If you want something to watch tonight, why not check out our TV guide?