The Last Day

Story No. 2013 mini episode
Production Code 50th anniversary mini episode
Dates November 21, 2013

Written by Steven Moffat Directed by Jamie Stone
Executive Producers: Steven Moffat, Denise Paul.

Synopsis: Arcadia is the safest place on Gallifrey.


Gallifrey Falls... by Noe Geric 11/2/24

As the 50th anniversary of the show approached, Steven Moffat decided to tease the special The Day of the Doctor with two mini-episode that served as preludes to the 70-minutes epic multi-Doctors. While everyone remembers The Night of the Doctor for (briefly) bringing back Paul McGann as the eighth Doctor, The Last Day was that second story everyone has forgotten about. And why? Because it's incredibly blank. There's really nothing to say about it except that it's terribly directed. There's no surprise cameo, and we could've done without it.

So, we follow the action from a Gallifreyan soldier POV for the three-minute storyline. And then, Daleks suddenly invade Gallifrey. I really don't see the point of it, really... While the short Tardis Scenes in Series Five, Six and Seven served as short comic scenes or as little character development, The Last Day just shows how bad Doctor Who CGI can be. Of course the budget isn't the same for a short prequel than for a Special 50th anniversary, so why try to be ambitious? You can't have an army of convincing CGI Daleks floating towards Gallifrey without it looking cheap. It reminds me of the short Tardis Cam back in the 2000s. And even these weren't looking so amateurish.

And there's all that stuff about premonitions I didn't get. In not even five minutes, Moffat managed to over-complicate the story. The episode feels more like it was supposed to be released as a VR game than anything. You're actually part of the story but can't interact with it. The zoom on the soldier's screen looks like you're entering the game. That's the sort of thing I'll not be bothered not to have. It's incredibly forgettable. Was McGann too busy to film a second minisode in which we could see more of his TARDIS adventures even for three minutes?

The Last Day is something I've already seen twice, and I don't feel the need to rewatch again. We learn nothing. Actually, it managed to be boring in record time, and it's one of these bonus contents (the Continuity Announcements on the classic DVDs are another) that I don't understand why it was made in the first place. Short episodes can be better than that, even prequels! Look at the Tardis scene in Series Six, it's only six minutes but it's funny! Ho! And one of the Gallifreyan soldiers really looks like Bruce Willis. 1/10