The Name of the Doctor
|239 – "The Name of the Doctor"|
|Doctor Who episode|
Official Poster from the BBC Website.
|Directed by||Saul Metzstein|
|Written by||Steven Moffat|
|Script editor||John Phillips|
|Produced by||Denise Paul
Marcus Wilson (series producer)
|Incidental music composer||Murray Gold|
|Originally broadcast||18 May 2013|
"The Name of the Doctor" is the thirteenth and final episode of the seventh series of the British science-fiction drama Doctor Who and was broadcast on 18 May 2013 . It was written by Steven Moffat and directed by Saul Metzstein. The episode was watched by 7.45 million viewers in the UK and received positive reviews from critics.
The episode stars Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara Oswald. It also features the return of Alex Kingston as River Song, Neve McIntosh as Madame Vastra, Dan Starkey as Commander Strax, Catrin Stewart as Jenny and Richard E. Grant as the Great Intelligence. The episode also features new monsters called the Whisper Men.
Mini-episodes and supplementary material
"She Said, He Said" is a mini-episode that acts as a prelude to "The Name of the Doctor", in which the Doctor and Clara each have a monologue about how little they know about each other and that they discovered each other's secret at Trenzalore. It was released on 11 May 2013BBC Red Button and online. Viewers using Red Button were able to access the prologue between 7:40 until midnight every evening, until "The Name of the Doctor" aired on 18 May 2013 .on
A second mini-episode, entitled "Clarence and the Whisper Men", depicts the imprisoned Victorian murderer Clarence DeMarco being threatened by the Whisper Men (whom he believes to be a figment of his deranged imagination) into learning a set of space-time coordinates - promising him, in return, a "long, full life", though one overshadowed by his fear of them.
Also released to promote the episode were three "Strax Field Reports", in the first of which, subtitled "The Name of the Doctor", Strax informed the Sontarans of a great battle predicted to occur and admitting suspicions that it had to do with the Doctor's greatest secret. He informed Sontar that the operation was called "The Name of the Doctor". In the second, subtitled "A Glorious Day Is Almost Upon Us...", Strax discussed a 'glorious day' in which death was likely. The final field report — "The Doctor's Greatest Secret" — discussed the cliffhanger, commenting that this new Doctor had the appearance of a warrior. This was the only field report released after the episode.
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In 1893, the Paternoster Gang (Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, and Commander Strax) are given information concerning the Doctor by Clarence DeMarco, in return for a stay on his execution. They use soporific drugs to hold a conference call between themselves, River Song’s consiousness is summoned from The Library, and Clara Oswald also enters the dream realm. Vastra repeats DeMarco's words: "The Doctor has a secret he will take to the grave, and it is discovered." During their conference, eyeless humanoids called Whisper Men attack the gang and kill Jenny; River wakes the others to save themselves.
Clara awakes in contemporary London to find the Doctor visiting. She tells him the events from the conference call; the Doctor, deeply shocked and disturbed, decides that he must go to Trenzalore, the planet holding his future grave, to save his friends. Not wanting to go there, the TARDIS resists the Doctor's efforts to land on Trenzalore, but they eventually arrive after the Doctor forces it into a crash landing. The planet is covered with tombstones, the result of a great war, while a future version of the TARDIS (having deteriorated and grown to enormous size) stands above the graveyard. The duo are attacked by Whisper Men. An echo of River, still telepathically linked to Clara but apparently unseen by the Doctor, helps direct the two to an escape route that leads to the giant TARDIS. Strax, Vastra, and Jenny (who is revived by Strax) are awakened by Whisper Men and meet their controller, the Great Intelligence, in the form of Dr. Simeon from "The Snowmen".
The Great Intelligence threatens to kill the Doctor's allies unless the Doctor says his name to unlock the TARDIS doors. The Doctor refuses, but as he speaks, River says the Doctor's name and unlocks the TARDIS. Inside, the Doctor reveals a pulsating column of light to be his timestream. The Great Intelligence enters it in order to undo the Doctor's past as revenge for all the defeats it has been dealt. The Doctor warns that this will prove fatal to the Intelligence, but it sees its own death as a peaceful release, while the Doctor will be forced to suffer. The Great Intelligence and its Whisper Men disappear into the timeline, and the positive effects of the Doctor's travels begin to be nullified by the Intelligence's interference. Jenny and Strax both disappear.
Clara recollects that she has helped the Doctor in other places in time and space ("Asylum of the Daleks" and "The Snowmen"). She enters the timestream to restore the Doctor's timeline. Clara falls through space and time and appears in adventures of the Doctor's previous incarnations.
The Doctor, Jenny, Strax, and the universe are restored to normal. The Doctor prepares to save Clara, revealing that he could hear, see, and even touch River all along, but did not out of pain. As River fades away, the Doctor enters the column of light to save Clara.
Clara lands in a cavernous tunnel where she sees several previous incarnations of the Doctor running past her. The Doctor calls out to her, informing her that she is caught in his timeline, which is now collapsing in on itself. He sends her the leaf that was responsible for her existence ("The Rings of Akhaten") to guide her to him. Reunited, the two spot another figure in the shadows which Clara does not recognise as the Doctor's. The Doctor explains it is another past incarnation of himself, but not "The Doctor". Clara suddenly collapses from exhaustion, and as the Doctor picks her up the stranger addresses him, defending unknown actions: "What I did, I did without choice... in the name of peace and sanity." The Doctor angrily replies "But not in the name of 'The Doctor'." As he carries Clara away, the stranger turns around to reveal an elderly bearded man (John Hurt); an on-screen caption identifies him as 'The Doctor'...
Imagery of the Doctor's prior incarnations is used during scenes in which Clara and the Great Intelligence interact with the Doctor. Footage of the First (from The Aztecs, with dialogue from The Web Planet), Second, Third (both from The Five Doctors), Fourth (The Invasion of Time), Fifth (Arc of Infinity), and Seventh (Dragonfire) Doctors was shown. Stunt doubles were used for some other brief appearances, including the Sixth Doctor walking past Clara while she is in a corridor. The Ninth Doctor can also be seen running past her in the Doctor's time stream. The opening scene also includes a representation of Susan Foreman and reference to the Doctor's original departure from Gallifrey (as a globed city, previously seen in "The Sound of Drums", and later seen destroyed in The End of Time).
The Great Intelligence says that the Doctor has been cruel several times, talking about the leader of the Sycorax (whom the Tenth Doctor kills in "The Christmas Invasion"), Solomon the trader (whom the Eleventh Doctor sent to his death in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"), the Daleks, and the Cybermen. The Great Intelligence also states that the Doctor will be known as the Valeyard before the end of his life. The Valeyard appeared in the 1986 serial The Trial of a Time Lord, where he is described as an amalgamation of the darker sides of the Doctor's nature, somewhere between his twelfth and final incarnations.
Lead writer Steven Moffat stated that he wanted to have a new monster in the finale, after the series had seen the reappearance of old monsters such as the Ice Warriors, Cybermen, and Daleks. The idea of the Whisper Men came from "the thought of stylish, whispering, almost faceless creatures" which seemed frightening and appropriate for "an episode that looks forward and back".
On 12 May 2013, a week before the official premiere of "The Name of The Doctor", it was announced that 210 Doctor Who fans in the United States had received their Blu-ray box set of the second half of the seventh series early due to a production error. After successfully requesting that they not reveal the plot, the BBC sent the recipients copies of an interview with the cast. Moffat later complimented the "210 of them, with the top secret episode in their grasp – and because we asked nicely, they didn’t breathe a word."
Broadcast and reception
"The Name of the Doctor" received overnight ratings of 5.46 million viewers on BBC One. When viewers who watched the episode later on were taken into account, the figure rose to 7.45 million, making Doctor Who the third most-watched programme of the week on BBC One. The episode received an Appreciation Index of 88.
The episode received positive reviews. Mark Snow of IGN gave the episode 9.1/10, praising the final conversation between the Doctor and River Song, as well as the revelation about Clara; however he noted that the Great Intelligence was "a little underwhelming" and "not very threatening", and that while the Whispermen impressed initially, they did not "[make] a great villain." Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph said that the episode was "even better" than the previous two. He noted that it was "momentous, moving and thrilling". However, he also noted that the episode had "a tad too much clunking exposition, the odd spot of creaky CGI and some unconvincing metaphors about soufflés and leaves." Despite this, he called it a "breathless, brilliant finale". Some advance coverage of the story assumed the Doctor's name would actually be revealed in the episode. The episode was nominated for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), along with The Day of the Doctor, An Adventure in Space and Time and The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.
As well as being released on DVD and Blu-ray in a box set alongside the rest of the Series 7 episodes on 28 October 2013, the episode was announced as being a part of a limited edition 50th Anniversary Collection on 23 July 2014. This special DVD and Blu-ray box set was released on 8 September 2014.
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- "FIRST LOOK: The Vigil and the Whispermen". 26 March 2013.
- "Steven Moffat on the Finale, New Monsters and More!". BBC. 27 April 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- Jones, Paul (3 May 2013). "Doctor Who finale prequel starring Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman to screen via BBC Red Button". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
- "Strax Field Report: The Name of the Doctor". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "Strax Field Report: A Glorious Day Is Almost Upon Us..." www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 18 May 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "Strax Field Report: The Doctor's Greatest Secret". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
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- Johnston, Rich (18 May 2013). "Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: The Name Of The Doctor". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
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- Golder, Dave (19 May 2013). "Doctor Who "The Name Of The Doctor" Overnight Ratings". SFX. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
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- "Name of the Doctor AI: 88". Doctor Who News Page. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Snow, Mike (18 May 2013). "Revelations, secrets and show-shaking twists". IGN.
- Hogan, Michael (18 May 2013). "Doctor Who: The Name of the Doctor, BBC One, review". The Telegraph.
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- "Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary DVD Collection". Doctor Who TV. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
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