Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special Just Got Special-er

By Kaitlin Thomas

Oct 02, 2013

In today's "all the screens, all the time" multimedia landscape, it's really freaking hard to avoid TV spoilers; if you even so much as glanced at Twitter or Facebook during Sunday evening's Breaking Bad series finale, you know what I'm talking about. And while there might be some producers/networks/shows out there who say, "F*ck you and your Christmas holiday" (yeah, I see you, Downton Abbey), that's just not the Doctor Who way. Much like BBC America did with the announcement of the Twelfth Doctor back in August, the network announced that it will air the show's upcoming 50th Anniversary Special, titled "The Day of the Doctor," at the same time it's airing live in the U.K. 

"Whoop-de-do," said the diehard Who fan who lives Brazil. But wait, diehard Who fan who lives in Brazil! There's more! Lest you worry that the Doctor doesn't care about the world outside the U.S. and the U.K., the special will be broadcast simultaneously around the globeRight now its scheduled to air in at least 75 different countries across six continents, and more are expected to sign on in the coming weeks. Don't ask me how we can achieve such precise televised coordination but not, like, world peace or something; at the very least, I'm guessing the Doctor had something to do with it. Also, don't ask me when the special will air in your time zone because I don't even know when it will air in my time zone. And I apologize to those of you who will have to rouse yourself from sleep for the festivities. But David Tennant and Billie Piper will be back, so it's kind of definitely worth it, no? 

For you U.S.-based Who fans, BBC America has also announced that it will hold select 3-D screenings of the special in theaters across the country, in addition to airing an entire week of dedicated Doctor Who programming in November. The lineup will include the new film An Adventure in Space and Time, as well as marathons and specials to be announced. 

And if you live across the pond, there will be an official celebration at London's ExCel convention center the weekend of the special that will feature appearances from cast members old and new, including Matt Smith and former Doctors Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, and Tom Baker.

All of which is to say that if "The Day of the Doctor" isn't already marked on your calendar, you might want to pencil it in now: Save the date for November 23, 2013. 

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  • Grumpyclown Oct 03, 2013

    Here is a list of countries taking part -

    The Day of the Doctor, the 50th Anniversary special of Doctor Who, will be simultaneous broadcast with the UK in the following countries:

    Germany (Fox), Finland (YLE), Poland (BBC Entertainment), Russia (Karousel and NKS)

    North America
    USA (BBC America), Canada (Space)

    Latin America (on BBC Entertainment and BBC HD)
    Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela

    Africa (on BBC Entertainment)
    Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania & Zanzibar, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Australia (ABC)

    Asia (on BBC Entertainment)

    Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand

    ( courtesy of )

  • JT_Kirk Oct 02, 2013

    Neat, I'm there!

  • ElisaDiaz Oct 02, 2013

    Awesome! I love that they thought about doing this globaly, although probably most of us will have to follow over the internet or something, but I'll stay up if needed! I just love that things happen everywhere at the same time. Or at the very least the same day or even just the same week!

  • sofaspud2 Oct 02, 2013

    I truly do not mean any offense, but DVRing will solve any problems regarding the special airing late at night; the more annoying factor relates to Tivo not changing the listing for the announcement of Doctor Boooo until the day before; this hinders programing the Tivo to record it.

    As a huge fan, and reviewer, of great Brit series, I would love to share a link to the oft-overlooked time-traveler series "Crime Traveller" (that is how they spell it.) It is on Region 1 DVD and even includes a cameo by the TARDIS.

  • ElisaDiaz Oct 02, 2013

    I am 1 hour ahead the UK time, so I don't have overnight issues. But cannot watch it if they don't make it available to me. Of course I can download it from the internet and watch it the day after, but how cool is it if it happens at the same time and I can even comment online with friends from around the globe? So this is good news, really!

  • sofaspud2 Oct 02, 2013

    I did not intend to indicate that it was not positive; I was just responding to the remark that it might be airing in the author's time zone in the middle of the night.

    I also think that immediate gratification is common (and not necessarily bad) in our times. Because you bring it up, I would like to point out that the "olden times" up to roughly 10 years ago in which a landline was the only widespread way for immediate communication was not so bad.

    I will never forget overhearing my first cell phone conversation around 1997; a fellow grocery shopper was loudly narrating his purchases. I do not understand the value of the other person not having to wait 15 minutes to literally learn that this man was buying Corn Flakes.

    The fact that some delay in communication itself is not so bad is particularly true considering that it seems that this special will be a retrospective and not have any announcements. I truly 100 percent do not intend any offense but am not sure of the urgency of sharing remarks such as Billie Piper's dress being a good color for her or even that seeing the older Doctors is exciting.

    Another word of wisdom from this Gen X "Gramps" is that with age comes wisdom in the form of realizing that waiting several hours to see if A won award B or even if Z won the presidency is not so bad.

    Even regarding the US federal government largely shutting down, I went to bed at my normal time confident that an online service would have a story waiting for me when I arose at my usual hour.

    Further, my real (as opposed to cyber) friends did not seem to unduly suffer regarding having to wait seven hours for my views on the subject.

    I will have long taken my perpetual dirt nap by then but can picture today's millenials, who may well live to be over 100, drooling in their tapioca and using the Twitter and Facebook of that generation to share all the details of the bodily functions and complaining about the policies whatever Kennedy great-grandchild who is president.

    For the sake of those of you who disagree with me, I will share that I ate linguine with pesto for lunch while watching a Tivoed episode of "My Three Sons." You now know more than even my closest friends will.

  • ElisaDiaz Oct 02, 2013

    It's not about urgency. It's about possibilities that technologically already exists not being taken advantage of. I own a regular mobile phone that I almost never carry with me and defenitely never answer in front of other people. But I have one, you know, because they exist, they are cheap and they might become handy.

    I followed some youtube broadcast from NASA, like the one with the Venus transit, and it was so great to be able to be there staring at that not-moving point with all those other people connected and chatting with 2 different people from other countries about what the reporters where discussing in the broadcast. It is NOT about urgency.

  • Muderboy Oct 02, 2013

    This is pretty cool and reminds me of younger days. When I was a Hollywood messenger I had to do something called a simultaneous delivery to Paramount Studios. I'm guessing it was an offer to multiple Producers, or some such. It was all coordinated by radio and each envelope had to be delivered at the exact same time. As I was driving across the Paramount lot I encountered several Klingons in full battle gear. I called it in but they weren't concerned with me, so I continued on my mission (This was in the mid-90's before 9/11 so they let us drive on the lots back then). Anyway, I made my delivery right on time, and you know what? The lady signed for it and tossed it into her in-basket--even after I told her of its particular nature. So much for simultaneousness, I guess...

  • sofaspud2 Oct 02, 2013

    That truly is interesting and reminds me of a friend in DC who had a friend who worked for one of the studio's libraries. She would copy the courtesy VHS tapes of the new theatrical releases and overnight them to my friend so that he would have them on the day of the release. He had a closetful of these illegal treasures.

    Please do not be offended, but I cannot resist asking if you had to circle a particular planet in search of the race of alien that you mentioned. :-)

  • beowulf579 Oct 02, 2013

    I'm kind of late to the Whoverse, but daaang....this thing is getting huge. I can get excited by Walking Dead and Doctor Who but a world wide simucast of a show is pretty interesting.

  • AriSky Oct 02, 2013

    OMG , screenings? -crosses fingers for her area-

  • rishabhpb Oct 02, 2013

    Agh, if only they had live 3D screenings in Canada :/

  • Grumpyclown Oct 03, 2013

    They might, the screenings havent been announced yet (locations or price etc), but as i understand it, 3D screening will be held around the world.
    Its also my understanding that the 3D screenings might not be limited to cinemas, but certain venues - however this might just be in the UK

  • sofaspud2 Oct 02, 2013

    Blame Canada; at least you got the Terrence and Phillip movie. :-)

  • rishabhpb Oct 03, 2013

    Agh, if only I was a fan of whatever that is so I could have watched that.

  • Super_Dooper Oct 02, 2013

    ...Oh I think this is old news? I thought this was announced like a month ago? Perhaps I am only thinking of myself and my own country though (Australia) but yeah, I kinda feel like I heard this already. Which is fine, I suppose... :D

  • No1Slayerette Oct 02, 2013

    Yeah, I definitely already read about this, and I'm pretty sure it was here on too, so it must have been a post by a user in the Doctor Who community or something. I think that most might have mentioned times too, so I'll see if I can find it...

  • No1Slayerette Oct 02, 2013

    Turns out grumpyclown was on the ball, I found this link, which he posted just over two months ago

    It states the episode will air, 'Saturday 23 November... at 7pm on BBC1, fans in LA would see it at 11am while viewers in Sydney would be watching it at 6am on Sunday.

  • thekaitling Oct 02, 2013

    It was announced in the States today. But I assume it's been in the works for awhile, so that's probable!

  • ElisaDiaz Oct 02, 2013

    I did too!

  • Carla-Wexler Oct 02, 2013

    Those hipsters....

    Is ok gurrl...I didn't know about this either, so at least somebody got something out of this article!