The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot

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The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot
Left to right: former Doctor actors Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison
Written byPeter Davison
Directed byPeter Davison
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Executive producers
ProducerGeorgia Tennant
CinematographySimon Walton
  • Ceres Doyle
  • Jamie Pearson
Running time31 minutes
Original networkBBC Red Button
Original release23 November 2013 (2013-11-23)

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot is a 2013 comedy spoof and homage to the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. It appeared on the BBC Red Button service after the broadcast of "The Day of the Doctor",[1] the official 50th anniversary special.[2][3] The programme was written and directed by Peter Davison,[4] who stars alongside fellow former Doctor actors Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker and Paul McGann. It features appearances from then-stars of the show Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman as well as former stars David Tennant and John Barrowman. Additionally, then-Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat, his predecessor Russell T Davies and numerous others connected to the programme all appear as themselves in a more or less parodic manner.

The plot focuses on the fictionalised Davison, Baker and McCoy, who become disgruntled after discovering they haven't been invited to take part in the production of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. The trio become embroiled in misadventures as they attempt to sneak onto the set of the official Doctor Who 50th anniversary special.

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot was nominated for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form),[5] (along with "The Day of the Doctor", An Adventure in Space and Time, "The Name of the Doctor", and episodes of Game of Thrones and Orphan Black).


Davison, McCoy and Baker at the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend with the picket props that were used in the episode.

In a park, actors Sean Pertwee and Olivia Colman discuss their upcoming projects. However, both reveal that they have not received calls about appearing in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, with Colman complaining as she believes that she is "usually in everything".

On Christmas Day 2012, Fifth Doctor actor Peter Davison watches "The Snowmen" with his sons, Louis and Joel. They remark on the upcoming 50th anniversary special and speculate as to whether Davison will be invited to return or if it will simply feature the most recent two Doctors, David Tennant and Matt Smith. Davison has a dream where he is invited back and given special treatment, ending with a vision of Janet Fielding telling him that none of the old Doctors will be asked to return. Over the next couple of months, he, Sixth Doctor actor Colin Baker and Seventh Doctor actor Sylvester McCoy desperately await a call inviting them to star in the special. A disillusioned Davison attends a convention, where he is unrecognised by a hotel receptionist and asked by fans if he has heard about appearing in the episode. He calls Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat, who is more interested in playing with his action figures, and deletes his messages from Davison, as well as Baker and McCoy who have also called about appearing (McCoy mentions appearing in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Baker mentions doing I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!).

At another convention appearance, Davison, Baker and McCoy all eye Eighth Doctor actor Paul McGann suspiciously. They discuss inviting Fourth Doctor actor Tom Baker to help them get involved, but when they call him he is revealed to be stuck in the Time Vortex again. McGann, having received no Doctor Who news from his agent, says he wants in on their plans – "work permitting, obviously". After the convention, McCoy returns to New Zealand to continue filming The Hobbit, but decides to return to England after director Peter Jackson leaves him sitting around doing nothing. Davison's scheme is revealed to involve the three of them (McGann has work commitments) protesting with picket signs outside the BBC Television Centre in London. Meanwhile, back in New Zealand, McCoy's disappearance has ruined a scene with Ian McKellen, though McKellen himself says to Jackson that the scene might be "a slight improvement" without McCoy. In London, a passing John Barrowman informs the three actors that Doctor Who filming now takes place in Cardiff. Barrowman abandons his secret wife and children to drive the trio there, singing show tunes all the way and giving them each a copy of one of his CDs.

The former Doctors enter the Doctor Who Experience, steal their old costumes, and with the help of Tennant (Davison's son-in-law) are able to infiltrate Roath Lock and get onto the set of the 50th anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor". They are initially unsure how to proceed with getting in the special, but end up taking the place of the three Dalek operators after locking them in their room. After a close call with some security guards which leads to the trio having to hide back on the set, they manage to escape and catch a bus back to London. Davison receives a call and ignores it; it turns out to be former Doctor Who executive producer Russell T Davies asking for a part in Davison's project, as he has also been left out of the 50th anniversary celebrations.

In the coda, Moffat deletes the scene where the former Doctors play Daleks. However, when Moffat's editor reviews another scene, he sees the former Doctors evade the on-set security guards by hiding under shrouds in the undergallery set; the editor conceals this from Moffat, ensuring that the former Doctors appear in the special after all.


Most of the actors appear as themselves. The summary below lists their original connection to Doctor Who. This list features names in order of appearance

Jemma Redgrave appears in the final scene on the computer monitor with Smith and Coleman. John Hurt's voice can be heard through archive recordings from "The Day of the Doctor" with Smith and Tennant in the scene where Davison, Baker and McCoy arrive on set. Both are uncredited for these appearances.

Davison originally wrote a part for Tom Baker. As Baker failed to respond to his emails, Davison used the same clip of unfinished Doctor Who story Shada previously used in the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors to jokingly explain his absence.[8]


Ben Lawrence writing in The Telegraph gave the programme 4 stars (out of 5), describing it as "a sweet, often funny homage to the show," concluding that it "was both a satisfying in-joke for Whovians and a naughty dig at the neediness of actors."[3] Comparing the programme to the 50th anniversary special, Los Angeles Times Television Critic, Robert Lloyd, described it as "equally wonderful in its way".[2]

Home media[edit]

After months of speculation, on 23 July 2014 it was officially announced that The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot would be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 8 September 2014 alongside "The Name of the Doctor", "The Night of the Doctor", "The Day of the Doctor", "The Time of the Doctor" and An Adventure in Space and Time as part of the limited edition "50th Anniversary Collectors Edition" boxset.[9]

Proposed sequel[edit]

In June 2014, Paul McGann stated that production had begun on a sequel to the special. No release date, plot or cast details were offered.[10] However, in July, Colin Baker contradicted McGann's earlier statement by telling Flicks and the City: "All I know is when I last spoke to Peter [Davison], the reaction to Five-ish Doctors has been so positive that we discussed whether it was a good idea to do another one and we agreed that we didn’t want to do one that was a pale imitation of the first. That would be anti-climactic ... We have to come up with a really good idea first. There’s a couple of possibilities floating around, but nothing is set in stone. Clearly doing one about the 51st anniversary isn’t going to be interesting. It’s got to be about something else."[11] At a Doctor Who convention in March 2023, Sylvester McCoy stated that there were plans to make a sequel for the show's 60th anniversary, but that the BBC would not allow it.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot". BBC. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b Lloyd, Robert (23 November 2013). "Watch: 'The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot,' a starry 'Doctor Who' comedy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b Lawrence, Ben (24 November 2013). "The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  4. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (26 November 2013). "'Doctor Who': The inside story on 'The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  5. ^ "2014 Hugo Awards". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Lauren Kilcar",, Inc. Retrieved 20 Oct 2014
  7. ^ Webb, Claire (25 January 2013). "Frank Skinner on loving Merlin, never missing Doctor Who and hating The X Factor". Radio Times. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  8. ^ Atfield, Cameron (18 December 2013). "Doctor Who star Peter Davison coming to Brisbane". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary DVD Collection". Doctor Who TV. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  10. ^ Buchan, Lizzy (19 June 2014). "Paul McGann tells Cambridge Union Society Doctor Who producers 'missed a trick' by not casting a woman as the twelfth Time Lord". Cambridge News. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  11. ^ Gilbert, Jan (22 July 2014). "Colin Baker talks Five(ish) Doctors Sequel & Big Finish Audio Books". Flicks And The City. Retrieved 22 July 2014.

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