If you haven’t got a chance to watch “The Night of the Doctor” yet, stop reading and go watch it. The prequel to the 50th anniversary was full of surprises, and you don’t want to be spoiled before you watch it. Said spoilers are coming in the next paragraph.
Steven Moffat talked to BBC about the secrets and some of the twists, most notably the return of Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. If you’ll remember, McGann said he’d heard nothing about being involved in the anniversary. That statement was in April and it could have been true then because his scenes weren’t shot until the very last moment. Moffat told the BBC Blog the following:
Well, we had our new ‘hidden mystery’ Doctor and I was thinking, what else can we do for our anniversary year… I thought… Why don’t we get Paul McGann in and regenerate him into John Hurt? I’d like to see that! I’d love to see that! And we had this possibility that we could do it as a surprise, so we got in touch with Paul who was dead keen and I’m delighted to say he was so happy to join in with the idea of keeping it secret. He was childishly excited about it!
Paul came along and shot it – it was the last two days of the shoot for the fiftieth, actually. He did a wonderful job. It was great! We designed a new costume for him based on his old one. Howard Burden did a fantastic job with that.
I’m amazed they kept it under wraps this whole time. It does make you wonder if any other stars who insisted they weren’t appearing will show up. I’m thinking about Christopher Eccleston (seeing the John Hurt regeneration would finally tie everything up) and John Barrowman in particular.
Be sure to read the rest of the BBC interview; it’s packed with lots of fun insights and information.