I’m late to this party, because I’m been busy re-watching every aspect of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary. I’ve been a Doctor Who fan since 2007 – it’s not very long, of course, I know life-long Whovians who’ve been watching the series for over 30 years – but to me, it’s my favourite television show of all time. This year, Doctor Who celebrated its 50th anniversary with an amazing episode that had everything – the 10th and 11th doctors’ hilarious banter, John Hurt being snarky, a special “Bad Wolf” appearance, a Tom Baker/4th doctor cameo and best of all, an eye shot of the new 13th doctor (I was watching this in 3D in the cinemas and squealed when I saw Capaldi).
But, I think there’s a quiet little homage to the 50th that has been overlooked by all this hoo-ha, it’s Peter Davison’s awfully endearing The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. In this tribute/homage/parody, Davison plays a heightened version of himself who attempts to get involved in the Doctor Who 50th episode. Here’s my top favourite five(ish) moments from this brilliant one-off special.
5. John Barrowman’s “secret”
In this tribute, John Barrowman is revealed to have a secret life – one with a wife and two kids! This reminds me of his guest appearance Never Mind the Buzzcocks, where Simon Amstell mocks him for being secretly straight to make out with women (never forget). I kinda love this, making fun of Barrowman’s camp persona is pretty great.
4. Steven Moffat playing with Doctor Who dolls
Moffat doesn’t have the best reputation among Whovians today. He’s mainly been criticised for being terribly sexist, such as his portrayal of female characters and “playing God” with a 50-year-old series. I think Moffat in this tribute would honestly aggravate haters even more – he’s terribly aware of his position, yet is utterly unembarrassed by this “power” he has. I’m still ambivalent towards Moffat (he’s not the best, but I can think of far worse writers), but the scene of him playing with 10 and 11 dolls is kinda priceless.
3. ALL THE CAMEOS
So Peter Davison does have “contacts”, apart from the contact who has “a Scottish accent” and is “married to his daughter”. Speaking of cameos, my personal favourite is…
2. Ermahgad, it’s Paul McGann!
I’m crushing so hard on Paul McGann, it’s not even funny (he seems so sweet in interviews). I recently caught the Doctor Who 1996 TV movie, where the 8th Doctor makes his first (and sorta last – if not counting, the recent, brilliant mini-episode) appearance. It’s the best/worst thing ever all rolled into a glorious hour of TV fun – for example, Eric Roberts plays the Master. I don’t really know how to add on to this. BUT most importantly, McGann shows so much potential in the TV movie, it’s unfortunate we get so very little of him. As such, I’ve been listening to the 8th Doctor audio adventures and catching Luther too (I recommend both!). McGann just has a small part in this tribute, but it’s nice to see he’s included in the Doctor Who canon despite his short run.
1. Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy
It’s so cool to see three doctors hanging out and getting into mischief. Davison both wrote and directed this “reboot”, and any meta-commentary is hilariously brilliant. Both Baker & McCoy seem to be truly enjoying themselves by making fun of their largest post-Who projects (I’m A Celebrity and The Hobbit respectively). Also, they all fall asleep on the bus together in the end, it’s pretty adorable.
Bonus: they filmed part of this tribute in BBC headquarters (or its communications office, I think) which is where series 2-3 of The Thick of It was shot as well! Note the squeaky floors too, which was mentioned by one of the producers in a series 2 episode commentary (the one where Hugh sends a nasty email and blames it on Terri). It would have been amazing to include a Malcolm Tucker reference, but the tribute is jam-packed with spot-and-you’ll-miss comments that are well decent anyway.
This tribute is so very meta that it has to be real, which is what makes it so delightfully watchable. An essential viewing for every Doctor Who fan, The Five(ish) Doctor Reboot is absolutely entertaining, and serves plenty of laughs.