Head writer Steven Moffat explained why The Day of the Doctor will not just be a “parade of the greatest hits” and how he hopes that Doctor Who stays on the air for another fifty years.
“You’re going to get every kind of retrospective in the world when it comes to the 50th and you’re not going to be short. To make this show just a walk-down, just a tribute to the past, a backward glance, would be like one of those end of year shows: ‘That was the year that was! Look back and feel slightly old and sad.’ Don’t do that! Of course it’s a celebration of the legend of Doctor Who, but more importantly it’s ensuring there’s going to be a 100th anniversary.
He adds: “It’s a hugely important story to the Doctor. That was my mission statement. Very, very rarely in Doctor Who does a story matter to him very much at all. Obviously he runs around, defeats mutants, meets a space badger, saves a civilisation, causes epiphanies to happen to everyone he meets, rushes back to the TARDIS and forgets everything about it. If you asked him he might have a vague memory of the badger, and that’s it.
“My intent was to move it forward, to have a show that’s equally about the next fifty years of Doctor Who. Attaching the word fifty to anything… I almost tried to rip the logo off saying ‘Why is that good?! That show you’re watching is really old!’ Why is that a good thing to say? It’s about proving we’ve got many, many more stories to tell, and in a way, being able to say the story really starts here. People ask me how am I going to please the regular audience and I say I’m actually on a recruitment drive to get the people who’ve never watched it before to watch Doctor Who. That’s what matters. There are some people out there who’ve never watched it before, God help them. You want them to think, ‘Oh I’ve been missing out, I’m going to join in now.’
“If you’re going to celebrate Doctor Who, you’re celebrating the Doctor – well, why not tell his story? What’s it like for him? What’s it like being him, what defines him, what defines what he is? How do you make that might moment in his life? What would be the Doctor’s most important day, what would be the show that would change him as a person for ever, alter the course of his life?
“That’s what’s big enough to do for the 50th, rather than just a parade of the greatest hits. Never mind that space badger one; this is the adventure that he really remembers, and thinks, ‘That was the day everything changed.’”