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DOCTOR WHO Minisode: The Night of the Doctor

Everybody knew this was probably how they’d explain it, but it doesn’t make it any less awesome! The first of a reported two Doctor Who minisodes which will set the scene for “The Day of the Doctor” on Saturday the 23rd shows us exactly how the John Hurt Doctor came to be, and did it with someone who hasn’t been onscreen as the character in 17 years.

That’s right, Paul McGann! The Eighth Doctor, who only appeared in the 1996 TV movie, is now officially part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, as he arrives aboard a crashing warship to save Cass, a young, naive pilot. He tries to take her aboard the TARDIS, but she hates Time Lords nearly as much as Daleks. I guess it makes sense, given how the two races have nearly torn the universe apart with their blasted Time War.

After the ship crashes on the planet Karn, the Sisterhood of Karn (references to “The Brain of Morbius“! I love it!) retrieve him from the wreckage and tells him they can make him regenerate into anything he wants through their elixir of life. The Doctor, who evidently wanted nothing to do with the Time War until now, knows that he is the only one who can stop it, but his anti-war stance makes that difficult. He elects to change into “a warrior” instead of the Doctor. He drinks the potion and his reflection is that of a young John Hurt, meaning Hurt was the War Doctor a very long time, given his current age and grizzledness.

Could this be any better?! It’s Paul McGann actually getting to be the Doctor on screen again. How marvelous! And he even references all the companions he’s had in spinoff material, which is a nice and particularly fannish touch. Plus, I think it’s genius to work in “The Brain of Morbius” to this, because in that story we see images of possible past or alternate Doctors. What better setting than that to show us the newest alternate?

If you hadn’t guessed, I’m super excited. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. ROADSIDE RICK says:

    Brilliant and tasteful! We both turned 50 this year and what a way to celebrate!

  2. Brendafrog says:

    Dear Paul, he’s still hot, hot, hot!

  3. Shonna says:

    Paul McGann was phenomenal! I would love it if they’d do some back-episodes involving him – he looks SO much better without the bad wig (MUCH better.) The bring me knitting bit was awesome. I think we may need more…oh yes, more. We don’t ask much, this fan-base, do we?
    Now…FIRST OF TWO?! *thud* You’ve made me swoon!!! When’s the second?!
    Thanks for making my night!

  4. John says:

    I think this short goes to show that Paul McGann might have been an interesting doctor.

  5. ComradeConCarne says:

    So this technically means that McGann didn’t use a regeneration when changing. It was the elixer that gave him the extra energy and oomph to become the Warrior. Yay!

  6. Razzy says:

    Just watched the minisode, and u have a gift on how u explained the whole episode, I felt like I was viewing it all over again, Really love ur enthusiasm. Great Job!

  7. dave says:

    How will they match this story i hope this is not the build up 2the end ov the doctor

  8. Matthew says:

    Wow, what a way to start the 50th celebrations off….seeing Mcgann again was truly shocking. Dude looks amazing considering he is 17 years older too

  9. RG says:

    They can always show him regenerating but hide his face and use a different actor. They did that for Colin Baker > Sylvester McCoy, and I’m sure they can do that even more gracefully now.

  10. Jo says:

    So now, the only regeneration scene we haven’t seen is Hurt to Eccleston (I’m assuming they’ll be showing Smith to Capaldi) but if it’s true about Eccleston not having been happy on the set he probably won’t be back! 🙁

  11. RRP says:

    Ohhh….awesome, simply awesome. All these years later, Paul McGann gets to pull a Sylvester McCoy. Closure! …and Morbius!

  12. goonsquid says:


  13. Anthony says:

    War Doctor = # 8.5? He could have transformed rather than regenerated?

  14. Stuckey says:

    I kind of always seen it as when River gave up her regens to save 11, it added to what was already there. So instead of only having 12 regens he would have ? because of River.

  15. TC says:

    Thanks for the spoiler image BEFORE THE VIDEO, jerks.

  16. RG says:

    Also, wasn’t the regeneration limit retconned to be a Gallifreyan population control law, not an actual biological fact?

  17. Bill Eaton says:

    The fact that the Doctor actually died and drank the elixer of life, allows the writers to extend the Doctor’s regenerations.

  18. Chelsea K says:

    I loved that they kept this secret so well. Seeing Paul McGann was an awesome and welcome surprise.

  19. N8 says:


    Allons-y to the 23rd!


  20. misosoup517 says:

    THIS MADE ME SO HAPPY!!!! I just wish they could have filmed a few seasons with McGann and Charlie. His are STILL my favorite audio stories……*sigh*

  21. RG says:

    Since Paul McGann specifically said that he wasn’t involved, that means there’s always a chance for Eccleston and even Harkness to show (Barrowman posted on Twitter that he was meeting with Moffatt about it, and then immediately said he was disappointed to announce that he wouldn’t be involved).

    Some people have said Eccleston wouldn’t be involved because he was shooting Thor 2, but Thor 2 was shot in the UK, so that’s not a real reason.

  22. Scott S says:

    Is this their way of getting past the twelve regenerations, start introducing alternate Doctors? With all the stuff he’s changed in his travels there should be tons of alternate Doctors out there.

  23. Amerasu says:

    Now I’m confused as to why the 11th Doctor remembers what happened during “The Day of the Doctor” and the 10th Doctor does not (unless the War Doctor’s memories were somehow wiped out when he regenerated as the 9th Doctor).

  24. Matt says:

    Great! I hope this shows people that have some doubt about an older doctor taking the roll on the 12th. Though, I would also love to see a pre time war mini series about the 8th. Like a 6 episode, epic, run.

  25. amysrevenge says:

    “…man or woman.”


  26. KevinCV says:

    Personally, the thing that made me ecstatic is the fact that Eight namechecks his companions from the Big Finish audios is what made it awesome. BIG FINISH IS CANON!!! XD

  27. Aj says:

    I LOVE that even in this age of constant announcements & leaks regarding the series, they still find a way to surprise us!

  28. SylkRode says:

    This does mean that Eccleston, whom we’ve all known as the Ninth Doctor, is actually the Tenth. That makes Smith Twelfth and Capraldi Thirteenth – could this mean the end? I dearly hope not!

  29. Morgan says:

    Oh god, if there are two, I hope the second has Hurt regenerating into Eccleston…
    I can dream.

  30. Damien says:

    His big finish audio adventures have been excellent. I’ve always wanted to see more of him.

  31. Laura D says:

    My brain exploded this morning. If this is a precursor to the awesomeness of the 50th…

  32. cristian says:

    loved it i hope wa see Paul McGann pop up again

  33. -Di. says:

    This was AMAZING!!! Paul McGann! I would love to see a few seasons of his Doctor. It’s possible!

  34. David Dawson says:

    I truly loved seeing Paul McGann in this minisode. His was the last face of the Doctor for so many years before the new series began. And unfortunately his one TV special wasn’t very special. This minisode is so much better to have as a final image of the 8th Doctor than we were given before. I wish they’d do a whole web series with the 8th Doctor so McGann can finally deliver a season or more of the Doctor he’s capable of being and we all deserve to see.

  35. Krissy Lenz says:

    4 minutes? Bring me knitting!

  36. Cherry Darlin says:

    I just imploded watching this! Although I am still hoping for an appearance by Eccleston, this is equally spectacular<3

  37. Oh this was so brilliant, I spilled my tea when I saw McGann, bravo to Moffatt and the crew for this, it is such a clever way to reference the classic doctors without it being too overt or obvious, too many catchphrases etc. I wasn’t sure about The Time War being referenced again but it’s already deepened the character of the Doctor, McGann through Smith (and Capaldi) so much, I can only imagine what Day of the Doctor will do.

  38. Lynn says:

    Seeing Paul McGann again makes me so happy, but also sad. I would love to see his tenure as the Doctor on screen! Please…?