Doctors and Tribble-ations: An Idea for a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special

Doctors and Tribble-ations: An Idea for a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special November 10, 2012

Doctor Who fans are looking forward to there being one or more special episodes in celebration of the show's 50th year. In the past there have been episodes like “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors” which brought back actors who played the Doctor previously to play the role as the Doctor encountered his past regenerations.

But with the actors who played the first few Doctors having passed away, and some of the others being significantly older now (and in some cases larger, too) it might be a challenge to get some of them to play the role.

But what if they took a different approach, like what Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did in the episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”? There, the characters from the new series time travel back into the time of the earlier series, and encounter and even interact with the characters from the original series in the episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.” But it is accomplished by digital editing, not by getting the actors to revisit the roles.

Here is a YouTube video that places the original and edited versions side by side, so that you can see what was done – and how well it works, and with what comical effect.

Couldn't you imagine the Eleventh Doctor – and perhaps the Tenth, Ninth, Eighth, Seventh, however many are willing and able to actually revisit the role – traveling back into old episodes (some of which would need to be colorized) and having to avoid changing the timeline of their own experience?

I think that could be lots of fun.

If you've never seen it, I highly recommend watching “The Trouble With Tribbles” and then “Trials and Tribble-ations.”

Doctor Who fans – and if you're out there listening, Doctor Who writers and producers – what do you think of this suggestion?

Here's a video about how it was done:


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  • Thanks James!

    I thought I’d caught all the DS9 episodes over the years – totally missed this one. I just watched it on Netflix; great fun!

  • Fred

    There are loads of great ideas. Loved the rumor I heard about doing the kennedy assassination titled ‘The Day Before’ which ofcourse took place the day before the first broadcast. Also here talk of an episode about Davros as a young man before the Daleks. There is also the idea of telling the story about how the doctor first left Galafrey and ended up on Earth. Looking forward very much to the Mark Gattis penned drama ‘Adventures in Time and Space’ to be broadcast the same night about how Dr Who got on tv in the first place.

  • SheldonCooper

    The episode is called “Trials and Tribble-ations”, there is no “Of”. Maybe next time you could do a modicum of research before sitting down to write something. I really hate all of the goddamn amateur writer wannabes on the internet.

    • I misremembered it, but since you were rude rather than polite, I think I will just leave it the way it is, whereas I would normally quickly correct an error when it is pointed out.

      • SheldonCooper

        Hey, if you want to leave it the way it is and continue to look like a moron, that’s up to you. Doesn’t bother me one way or the other. So leaving your article wrong out of spite really doesn’t hurt me at all. In fact, it rather makes me chuckle

        • I am happy when I can make a troll chuckle. They tend to seem humorlous and grumpy so much of the time.

          • SheldonCooper

            I’m not a troll, I just refuse to pander to a no-talent hack who can’t even bother to look something up if he’s unsure.

          • Your own research skills seem to leave something to be desired. If you aren’t sure whom you are addressing, why not look it up if you are unsure?

            If you think that you aren’t a troll, then you may need to look that up too…

          • Good job on the article. I found your idea rather interesting. Although I think I might prefer to see the actual actors with explanations why they are older and fatter.Oh and I find this entire argument rather ironic. Are you familiar with the TV character Sheldon Cooper?

          • I confess that I have not watched as much of The Big Bang Theory as I would like. I keep intending to borrow the DVDs from the library and watch from the beginning.

            Have you seen “Time Crash” where they do offer a little explanation of just that?

          • I have, it is one of my favorite Doctor Who shorts. Part of the reason why I think bringing back the actors who played the classic Doctors might work.

  • SixFan

    I disagree with the colorization notion. If the show were to take this approach and current Doctors traveled back into old episodes, I’d want them to appear in B&W in the B&W footage. I know it wouldn’t make any story sense, but it doesn’t have to. Its about respecting the original context of the material. 🙂

  • Dandru

    No, that would be a monumentally dumb idea.

    • And how would you characterize commenting on a post written in 2012, making a suggestion about the 50th anniversary, long after the 50th anniversary specials have all aired?