Classic series actors likely not involved in Doctor Who 50th

As the Doctor Who 50th anniversary is currently filming, fans are anxious to learn more. David Tennant has already confirmed that he will be a part of the program while his predecessor Christopher Eccleston has confirmed that he will not. However, what about the Doctor of old? Many are hoping to see the surviving actors who have played the adventuring Time Lord Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann alongside the new versions of the Doctor, but it seems that is not to be, at least for Doctors 6-8.

Former Doctor Who stars Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann have revealed that they definitely won’t be appearing in the BBC sci-fi drama’s upcoming 50th anniversary episode, largely because they’re currently in the wrong hemisphere.

The anniversary special is being filmed in this country as we speak, but seeing as the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors are all in Australia attending sci-fi conventions at the moment, they won’t be able to take part. (via RadioTimes)

While this isn’t exactly definite word that the previous Doctors will not be seen in the special (perhaps CGi will be used), it isn’t a good sign for anyone looking for a proper celebration as we had back in 1983 when Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee returned to play the part.

Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, Doctor Who 5-8

Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, Doctor Who 5-8


The 50th anniversary is currently filming, as is evidenced by this image of David Tennant, Matt Smith and a Zygon that was leaked recently.


7 thoughts on “Classic series actors likely not involved in Doctor Who 50th

  1. It’s just a shame.

    Ironic too that I saw Moffat quoted as saying “this should be about a beginning, not about looking back” and then I read that the Daleks, Cybermen, and Zygons are all to be in this… so… sure seems like a lot of looking back to me! Just not looking back to those who paved the way before you.

    I get the difficulties with the Bakers (Tom & Colin) who look very different today than when they played the part… but McGann looks the same and even if he didn’t it would still work… and frankly, I think McCoy and Davison could work too… so the fact that none of the classic Doctors have even been asked… that’s shameful. Heck, even if they don’t want them in the special, they ought to at least talk to them and give an explanation or something instead of leaving them to twist in the wind while fan after fan after fan keeps asking them if they are going to be in it, so they can look sort of sad when they say “nobody has asked.”


  2. I know its too early to know but if Ten and Eleven are going to be the only Doctors in this special then ‘disappointed’ will be an understatement. I understand the whole “looking forward, not backward” and in fact I agree with it. But only having the current Doctors (well two of them) is sort of a slap in the face to the Classic era. I know they talk about how they’re going to incorporate Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee with the latest technology but its probably going to be archive clips of them and probably the other Doctors as well. The problem is that we’ve seen it before in other episodes (Next Doctor, Eleventh Hour, etc.).
    “Doctor Who 50th Anniversary: Celebrating the last 8 years.”

    I understand and approve of the whole new story thing. The Five Doctors was disappointing because the show crammed in as many old villains as they could BUT what makes The Five Doctors worth the watch is seeing Doctors new and old (except Tom that is but at least they showed unseen footage of him and Romana).

    In terms of the aged appearance, its science fiction. I’m sure Moffat can pull something out of his ass to explain the age difference. Besides he already did that in “Time Crash” so what’s the problem?

    At least get McGann back. 1) he’s barely aged since 1996 and 2) he f*cking deserves another on-screen appearance. Really they deserve another on-screen appearance. They deserve something better than Dimensions in Time. Also the Classic Doctors, apart from Paul, are in their 60s and 70s. They’re certainly not going to be in shape in 2023 for the next anniversary so why deny them the chance now.

    Its possible to craft a new story and have the Classic Doctors participate without going overboard with references. Hell it looks like Big Finish is going that route with only The Master making a re-appearance. Who wants to bet that the Big Finish 50th Anniversary special will top the BBC Wales one?


  3. Yeah… probably time for my re-cap of “how they could do it” on the classic Doctors…

    The deceased ones, unfortunately not a lot of options there… could re-cast like they did in 5 Doctors… or use old footage… or use voice-actors to mimic their voices and use CGI or something. You can’t ask them to be in it because (to parrot Monty Python) they have ceased to be.

    Tom Baker and Colin Baker are very much alive, but look nothing like themselves. They would be the hardest to wibbly-wobbly (I hate that but it applies here) around… but they are great voice actors and they are alive so it would be a shame not to give them some new lines and deal with it in CGI or something but give these actors some damn lines!

    Peter Davison, has been proven to work… he looks enough like himself that with an off-hand remark like in Time Crash it can work. New fans will not know, old fans will appreciate having him there.

    Sylvester McCoy… has aged pretty well actually, and was quite a bit older when he regenerated in that TV movie… so I honestly think he works with whatever explanation you give for Peter Davison.

    Paul McGann. Easy peasy. Not only has he aged well BUT it doesn’t even matter! We never saw his regeneration… he could be 100 and still come back because we have no idea what he looked like before becoming Eccleston.

    I’m disappointed Eccleston isn’t there… but if the rumors are true and it was his choice, then I’m fine with that. Tom Baker declined the 25th anniversary and has regretted that. Eccleston might regret it too one day, but at least he had an invite maybe.

    Working backwards then… I’ll be most disappointed not to see McGann. We’ve seen practically nothing of his Doctor, he seems like a good guy in real life, and seems more than amped to make an appearance. It will be a downright shame if he isn’t asked.

    I would be fine IF they only wanted 8-11 AND they talked to each of the living classic Doctors and explained why they weren’t invited and they do some kind of tribute to them within the show. While I want them to be there in the show… I can live with them not being there IF it is handled correctly.

    But yeah… just Tennant and Smith? I like both of those guys… but Smith is in it by default! So only getting one extra Doctor for the 50th? With all the “you won’t be disappointed” promises… how can we not be disappointed when they only asked the guys it was most convenient to ask?


    • I can see some scifi Moffat bullsh*t being used to explain Tom and Colin’s appearance and adding some humour to it. 6 will initially be horrified at his appearance but then claim that he gave him a certain an old wise authoritarian look. Its also worth noting that Tom was significantly aged when they did Dimensions in Time in ’93.
      McCoy actually had a interesting concept of having the old Doctors be in the special but playing different characters. Sorta like the Zagreus route but hopefully pulled off better. The Doctors have been pulled out time, stranded, stripped of their identities and given new ones. Then Moffat can write in more “Doctor Who?” lines and eventually the classic Doctors remember their identity.


      • I thought about one of those things… that IF they are too old to play the Doctor… they could be cast as other characters somehow integral to the story. In that way they could be part of the celebration and us old-timers can say “I know that guy, he played the Doctor” and the new fans will just see some other good actor playing a role. Basically, they don’t have to play the Doctor to be in the show… or if you wanted to be off-the-wall… you could have the Bakers playing defective clones of themselves… someone trying to make their own Doctor but got it wrong… that sounds horrible when I say it out loud, and yet there’s a nugget of a story in there somewhere I think.


  4. I just had a light-bulb moment… They don’t necessarily need to be past incarnations of the Doctor ripped from time… instead, they could be versions of the Doctor from different dimensions… and in those dimensions each represents a version of the Doctor that somehow avoided the dangers that caused “our” Doctor to regenerate… so they are still on that particular version. This means no explanation at all for how they look, since it would be how the Doctor would look if he was still on that regeneration. Even better… some of these Doctors might have still have similar experiences otherwise… and could perhaps help the Doctor in this dimension without breaking any laws of time since they wouldn’t be affecting their own timeline… but say (to use the current Clara mystery)… perhaps the Doctor of another dimension met a similar girl and already knows who she is and can help this Doctor out.


  5. Just because they’re in Australia at the moment doesn’t mean they can’t film later on, they’ve only just started making the special after all. I think it’s still early days – they probably only announced Tennant and the Zygons because their appearences were going to be leaked, so the BBC got in there first. I don’t think they’d reveal their whole hand so soon, there must be plenty they’re holding back as Tennant is quite a big thing to announce this early.

    There is no reason any of the previous Doctors can’t appear (regardless of what they look like), it’s their personality that counts. After all it’s a Saturday tea-time show for kids not Isaac Asimov.


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