What was Steven Moffat’s most mind-bending, timey-wimey plot? Well according to the man himself, it’s not Blink and it’s not The Girl in the Fireplace. No, the most impossible story for viewers to track is…The Day of the Doctor.
Speaking about the complex nature of space and time during his tenure, Steven Moffat told The Fan Show – in the second part of a three-part interview covering his time as the Doctor Who head honcho – that he regards the feature-length 50th anniversary special, which starred Matt Smith, David Tenannt, John Hurt, Jenna Coleman and Billie Piper, as the most confounding of all his episodes.
“Day of the Doctor, and I can say this because I wrote it – in what order does that happen? Where do you start? Do you start with Matt Smith, do you start with John Hurt, do you start with Paul McGann – where do you start? What happens next?
“Now, that’s Doctor Who at its most accessible and multi-plex. That is Doctor Who as Doctor Who for anyone even if you’ve never seen it before. And yet, by far and away, it is the most complicated, timey-wimey Doctor Who story ever told.
“If you get it right, it works fine. If you don’t get it right, then I end up confusing people and that’s my bad.”
It’s no secret that the making of the triumphant anniversary episode was a fraught experience for Moffat – at one point it didn’t have any Doctor’s in it at all – and, despite his fondness for the episode, the overriding memory he has of it is basically pain.
“There wasn’t anything very enjoyable about doing [“The Day of the Doctor”]. I look back on it with great satisfaction—I think it’s a genuinely terrific episode of Doctor Who, I’ll just say that—but at the time… I was just upset. Everybody was cross with me, I remember that. Everybody was cross. Everybody.
“The script was late, so everybody was cross at me, and I’m saying ‘Guys! Who’s in it, who have you got!? Nonono, You tell me who you’ve got, under contract, to be in it, because I promised this year’s Olympics. Could you tell me who’s in this?’
“‘Jenna.’ And that was the list.
“So I’m doing, celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who… with Jenna. Who’s wonderful, and one of my personal favourites, but I don’t think that’s really gonna cut it!”
For more on Moffat’s alternative anniversary special and his back-up plan for Series 5 if David Tennant had stayed on another series, be sure to check out the full interview.