Well that was just Fantastic!
I'll admit that as we watched the Battle of Gallifrey become just another – admittedly epic looking – sci-fi battle I started to worry. That isn't what Doctor Who is. Then John Hurt was in a desert, talking to Bad Wolf Rose, being given the choice to destroy his people and the Daleks or not, and the only way to make that decision was to meet his future selves. Finally we were on the right track.
The Man Who Regrets and The Man Who Forgets. A brilliant way of describing Tennant and Smith's Doctors. But it didn't stop there. Hurt's old man Doctor just kept picking apart the differences between Old and New Whos. Calling them companions due to their age, wondering why they wave their screwdrivers at everything. The banter between the three was fantastic, especially between Smith and Tennant which immediately brought to mind the same repartee that Pertwee and Troughton had, which is the perfect Doctor relationship to model it after. Both Doctors were on the top of their game.
But that's ignoring John Hurt, who clearly stole the show. His acting was superb, and as I already said it was like a Classic Doctor met up with the New and him generally being a bit wound about their new ways, calling out their age. For someone who has just watched a decent amount of Old Who that really made me smile. I also can't help but think that this is a sneaky way of Moffat getting us used to how the Old Doctors did things for when we switch to Capaldi. I also love the fact that The Moment had him meet his future incarnations to help make his decision about burning Gallifrey, and of course they were against it, but he sees what that guilt has driven them to do and only solidifies his decision.
Coleman was at her best since Asylum of the Daleks, and for once in a multi-Doctor story the companion got a decent outing. Billie Piper did a really good job, immensely helped by the fact she wasn't Rose but a manifestation of Bad Wolf, sort of. Ten's reaction as War let that slip was priceless.
The little shoutouts like the classic opening titles and the first shot of a walking police man. Clara teaching at Susan's old school and Ian Chesterton is the principle. And of Course Tom Baker's little speech as a future Doctor that has worked out how to revisit 'some old favourites'. It was a perfectly done trip for the fans, but never enough to bog the story down.
All of the Doctors turning up to help with the hiding of Gallifrey was a wonderful fan moment, but maybe a step too far? How did they even know, not to mention the very thought of the Time War is mind boggling to One to Seven. The Capaldi cameo was grin-inducing, while the lack of Eccleston caused frown lines, even if you sort of see him during the regeneration. Amusingly those are the two that I can accept the most for being at Gallifrey. I guess The Moment is used to make Time Lock the War and make the Doctor believe he committed genocide to make it stick, and at the same time summon all the Doctors to make sure the plan works.
I also really want to know who recorded that line of dialogue for the First Doctor. It really sounded like Hartnell, but the word Gallifrey didn't exist back then. Amazing work!
So the future is laid out, Gallifrey is out there, and at Christmas the Doctor goes to Trenzalore where we know he dies and Capaldi takes over.