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Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special details

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Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special - Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt
Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, "The Day of the Doctor" - Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, joined by John Hurt ©2013 BBC

The BBC have confirmed some of the details on the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. It will be titled The Day of the Doctor echoing a Jon Pertwee Doctor story Day of the Daleks.

As previously rumored it will run to just 75 minutes (not including advert breaks). The main stars where known already, namely Matt Smith, David Tennant, John Hurt, Jenna Coleman and Billie Piper.

Doctor Who, 50th Anniversary – Official Details

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special - Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt

The centerpiece of BBC America celebrations of Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary will be the special anniversary episode, The Day of the Doctor, premiering on Saturday, November 23.

In addition to the episode title and iconic image revealed today, the BBC confirmed the anniversary special will be feature length with 75 minutes of adventure.

The Day of the Doctor stars Matt Smith (How to Catch a Monster), David Tennant (Broadchurch), Jenna Coleman (Dancing on the Edge), with Billie Piper (Secret Diary of a Call Girl) and John Hurt (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alien).

This is the first time David Tennant and Billie Piper have appeared in the series since their farewells in 2010.

The special will be a celebration for long-time fans and an opportunity for those new to the series to jump onboard. The Day of the Doctor premieres Saturday, November 23, 2013.

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special - John Hurt
Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, “The Day of the Doctor” – John Hurt and the additional Doctor! ©2013 BBC

Doctor Who, 50th Anniversary – Official UK Details

Each channel will be home to unique content, celebrating the wealth of history and talent from the last 50 years.

BBC Two will broadcast a number of new commissions, focusing on telling the story behind the show. For one night only, Professor Brian Cox will take an audience of celebrity guests and members of the public on a journey into the wonderful universe of the Doctor, from the lecture hall of the Royal Institution of Great Britain (1×60 minutes). Drawing on the latest theories, as well as 200 years of scientific discoveries and the genius of Einstein, Brian tries to answer the classic questions raised by the Doctor: Can you really travel in time? Does extra-terrestrial life exist in our galaxy? And how do you build something as fantastical as the TARDIS?

In an hour-long special, BBC Two’s flagship arts programme The Culture Show presents Me, You And Doctor Who (1×60 minutes), with lifelong fan Matthew Sweet exploring the cultural significance of the BBC’s longest running TV drama, arguing that it’s one of the most important cultural artefacts of modern Britain. Put simply, Doctor Who matters. He’ll examine how the show has become a cultural force in its own right and tell the stories of some of the unsung cultural heroes, who pioneered its innovative music, design and storytelling.

BBC Two wraps up its coverage with the previously announced An Adventure In Space And Time (1×90 minutes), which will tell the story of the genesis of Doctor Who and the many personalities involved. Written by Mark Gatiss, the drama stars David Bradley (the Harry Potter films); Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Identity), Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife) and Sacha Dhawan (History Boys, Last Tango In Halifax).

Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, says: “Fifty years has turned Doctor Who from a television show into a cultural landmark. Personally I can’t wait to see what it becomes after a hundred.”

There will also be programmes across CBBC with 12 Again (1×30 minutes) bringing together CBBC’s super-fan Chris Johnson, impressionist Jon Culshaw, Tommy Knight (Luke Smith), Warwick Davis (Porridge), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dan Starkey (Strax) Louise Jameson (Leela) and the seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, to share their memories of watching TV’s top Time Lord when they were young.

Blue Peter will launch an exciting new competition giving viewers aged between six and 14 the opportunity to design a new gadget that will become part of the iconic science fiction series. Two live Blue Peter specials will see presenters Barney, Lindsey and Radzi joined by aliens and monsters, with viewers challenging Matt Smith to answer their Doctor Who questions.

BBC Three will be home to several exciting entertainment commissions. Audiences will be encouraged to get involved and vote in Doctor Who: Monsters And Villains Weekend, as we countdown to the top Doctor Who monster. For those less familiar with the show, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide will introduce fans and viewers to a wealth of archive material and act as a guide to all things Who. A further exciting commission to be announced later this year will see the celebrations finish with a bang.

Danny Cohen, Director of BBC Television, says: “Doctor Who is a titan of British television and I’m incredibly proud to have it on the BBC. It’s an astonishing achievement for a drama to reach its 50th anniversary. I’d like to thank every person – on both sides of the camera – who has been involved with its creative journey over so many years.”

It’s not just TV where audiences will be able join in the celebrations; programming across Radio 2, Radio 1 and Radio 4 Extra will also mark the 50th.

BBC Radio 2 will ask Who Is The Doctor? in a 90-minute documentary featuring newly recorded interviews and exclusive archive material. The programme will look at the lasting appeal of Doctor Who and ask how much of its continued success can be attributed to its basic formula.

In The Blagger’s Guide To Doctor Who, David Quantick will give the iconic Doctor the blagger’s treatment. He’ll be finding out the answers to questions such as, why do Americans think Tom Baker is still Doctor Who? How many Doctors have there really been? Were the Daleks really named after an encyclopaedia?

Finally, Graham Norton will be broadcasting his weekly Radio 2 show live (Saturday 23 November, 10am) from the Doctor Who Celebration in London. In a special three-hour show, Graham will take a ride in the TARDIS and will also be chatting with some of the series’ stars and fans.

Music is a key part of Doctor Who, from the famous theme tune to soaring melodies, but the show has also inspired a whole new phenomenon – Time Lord Rock (TROCK). Radio 1 will look at this genre of music inspired by the Doctor and his journeys through space and time with a 60-minute documentary.

Meanwhile, Radio 4 Extra travels back to 1963 with a three-hour special programme, Who Made Who?, to look at the world that inspired the television series. Doctor Who may have come from other times, but his roots were very much in the present of 1960s Britain. This distinctive programme combines audio from the archive, new interviews and extracts from audio versions of Doctor Who. Additionally, the station will broadcast readings and dramas featuring the great Doctor.

There will also be special content across the official website bbc.co.uk/doctorwho and on BBC iPlayer.