Whenever things get hard in life, many Doctor Who fans look to the show for help and inspiration. The Doctor is a particularly inspiring character, always hopeful no matter what’s going on around them. And as many Whovians have some extra free time because of self-isolating due to the coronavirus, what a perfect time to rewatch some Doctor Who episodes. This rewatching started on Saturday, March 21, 2020, with a very special episode.
Fans, of course, love to rewatch Doctor Who. Yet this situation is about more than that. It’s about fans coming together and uniting as a fan base. It’s about community amidst isolation.
And that is a beautiful thing. Fans also have been treated to some extra content and behind the scenes information about the episodes they’ve been rewatching from people who worked on the show. So let’s get inside these special Doctor Who rewatches.
Reassurance in a ‘Doctor Who’ rewatch
The first episode that Doctor Who fans decided to rewatch was “The Day of the Doctor,” the 50th-anniversary special episode. This episode features the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors teaming up with their past selves to save Gallifrey, including the War Doctor, played by John Hurt. There’s also a cameo from the at the time new Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi. It’s a big episode, and had high ratings and good reviews from critics at the time it was aired.
This Doctor Who rewatch was organized by Doctor Who Magazine writer Emily Cook. She tweeted for fans to join her in watching the episode, using the hashtag #SaveTheDay. And fans weren’t the only ones to join in. Former showrunner Steven Moffat joined as well, even writing a scene to introduce the rewatch.
The scene features Strax, the lovable Sontaran who is friends with the Eleventh Doctor. The voice of Strax is done by Dan Starkey, and he told Radio Times about the experience. “It’s always a joy to revisit Strax,” Starkey said. “His love of heavy ordnance, perennial ill-temper, and obliviousness to what’s actually going on are curiously reassuring in these turbulent times.”
The return of ‘Rose’ and the Ninth Doctor with some behind-the-scenes information from Russell T. Davies
The next Doctor Who rewatch was of “Rose,” the episode that restarted the show in 2005. It took place on March 26, 2020, 15 years after the episode was first shown on TV. This episode follows Rose Tyler as she meets the Ninth Doctor and becomes his companion. Of course, there are sci-fi shenanigans and they have to defeat an alien that is making plastic such as store window mannequins come to life.
This Doctor Who rewatch was also organized by Doctor Who Magazine writer Emily Cook on Twitter. The hashtag for this rewatch was #TripOfALifetime. And joining fans on this trip of a lifetime was former showrunner, Russell T. Davies. He treated fans to not one but two new Doctor Who stories.
One details the Eighth Doctor regenerating into the Ninth. While the other tells what happens to the Nestene Consciousness after the events of the episode “Rose.” Davies also tweeted some behind the scenes information about the episode, such as the fact that a producer on the show wanted a scene of the Doctor overlooking London. Davies thought it didn’t fit the episode, but is now thinking the producer might have been right.
In difficult times, it’s nice to see people coming together, even over something as simple as a TV show such as Doctor Who. As Davies himself put it on Twitter, the BBC series is “a lovely, mad show binding us all together.”