Doctor Who: Looking Back at 47 Days #6 – Surprise Cameos

A few years ago, I did a series of 47 daily posts which all looked at different questions related to the revival series of Doctor Who, focusing on stuff I like about the show. I worked out a series of questions in advance and then picked one randomly for each day. I’ve decided to revisit the series to see how my opinions may or may not have changed, and to bring two of my daughters into the discussion, since they are both big fans and have recently finished watching the revival series.

Why 47?  It’s my favorite number.

Why Doctor Who?  It’s my favorite show.

Why the modern day Doctor Who only?  Simply because I remember it better.

Why are we looking back at this now? Because we’re on a 47 day countdown to November 23, the birthday of the show.

Check out Day #5 here

When I first did this, it was September 2016, which means we were in between the Christmas episodes The Husbands of River Song and The Return of Dr. Mysterio, and were yet to debut Peter Capaldi’s last season on the show. Jodie Whittaker was even further away. How has the passage of time, evolution of opinions, and three further seasons of the program impacted my opinions?

Today is Day #6, and our theme is…

Best Surprise Cameo

What’s a surprise cameo? Well, it’s right there in the name.

It’s an appearance by someone which is intended to the audience to come as a surprise. If they are spoiled by the internet, that’s okay. But if they are spoiled by the marketing–like John Simm turning up toward the end of Season 10–then it’s no longer a surprise.

Also, it has to be a cameo appearance–something brief in the context of the story, but notable. So John Simm wouldn’t have counted even if he had been a surprise, because that was not a cameo, but a full blown guest-starring role. Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor in Night of the Doctor doesn’t count either. Even though it was a bit of a cameo in the context of the whole 50th anniversary season, it was still a starring role in the actual story.

So what are some eligible possibilities?

• Rose in Partners in Crime
• Martha & Mickey in End of Time part 2 (plus Joan Redfern’s descendant, Captain Jack, Alonso, Jackie and Rose in the same story, although once we’d had Martha & Mickey, no one else was really a surprise anymore)
• Danny Boy, the Pirate Captain & his son in A Good Man Goes to War
• Amy & Rory in The Doctor, the Widow & the Wardrobe
• The Great Intelligence in The Bells of St. John
• The 12th Doctor in The Day of the Doctor,
• Amy Pond in The Time of the Doctor
• Matt Smith in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time (if you can count that)
• The 11th Doctor in Deep Breath
• Danny Pink in Last Christmas
• Clara Oswald in Heaven Sent
• The First Doctor in The Doctor Falls
• Clara again in Twice Upon a Time
• Captain Jack in Fugitive of the Judoon
• The Master in Ascension of the Cybermen (although seriously, was anyone actually surprised?)
• The Fugitive Doctor in The Timeless Children (although again, it was not that much of a surprise)

You might have noticed one conspicuous absence on this list. I’ve left it off because it was my choice last time, and it’s my choice again.

Tom Baker as the Curator, in The Day of the Doctor

I settled on this by thinking about which of these cameos would I be the saddest if it was somehow wasn’t there anymore. Certainly I’d be disappointed to lose Amy’s appearance in Time of the Doctor, or the 11th Doctor’s surprise phone call in Deep Breath. But seriously, there’s just nothing that was more special and opportune than having Tom Baker–the oldest living past-Doctor, and the longest serving one–come back for the party in the 50th Anniversary special.

And what a clever way of doing it! Is this the Fourth Doctor? Is this a future Doctor, looking like the Fourth Doctor? Is this another character all together? We can’t be sure, and it doesn’t matter. Tom Baker is back for a couple of minutes and absolutely killing it with Matt Smith.

What do my daughters say?

Johanna (16) picks the surprise appearance by Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows in Day of the Doctor. It made her gasp, and looking back she feels that there’s so much of his character summed up in those eyebrows.

Laurelle (14) also liked the appearance of the 12th Doctor–it made her very excited for the new Doctor who was coming, whereas beforehand she hadn’t been interested. But her actual pick for this is the same as mine–the Fourth Doctor / Curator. She thinks it’s cool to have an old Doctor show up for the special.

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