It was timey-wimey perfection.

The Fourth Doctor lectures the Eleventh Doctor.

The Fourth Doctor lectures the Eleventh Doctor.

The 50th anniversary episode for Doctor Who needed to be something special. Fifty years worth of fandom would need to be kept happy and in delivering The Day of The Doctor creator Steven Moffatt may have bent some rules but he is sure to have satisfied event the most strident Whovian.

Connecting the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) with the Eleventh (Matt Smith) and including/introducing the War Doctor (John Hurt) – in between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors – it paralleled the possible destruction of earth (this time at the hands of the Chief of U.N.I.T. to ward off invasion by the Zygons) with the Time War in which the Doctor destroyed his home planet Gallifrey to destroy the Daleks as they invaded. Paths crossed, wormholes opened and Tennant and Smith were together to address the Zygon issue, while Hurt wrestled with his conscience at the task ahead of him – kill many innocent Gallifreyans to defeat the Daleks, all the while goaded by the Interface to the Operating System of the device he would use to destroy the planet in the form of Rose/Bad Wolf (Billie Piper). Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) again joined her Doctor in this adventure though further fuelling the fire of her role as the Impossible Girl.

Moffat magically weaved together just the right amount of humour, pathos, tension (sometimes sliding between all three within a few sentences) and Doctor Who science fiction lore to deliver the ultimate scene featuring all thirteen doctors in their efforts to defeat the Daleks. Some marvellous hat-tips throughout the episode, from the original opening credits, to the Fourth Doctor’s (Tom Baker) scarf, to acknowledgements of the changing internals of the Tardis, to vision of all previous Doctors incorporated into the story – Hartnell to Eccleston, and even including a brief glimpse of incoming Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi.

There is a special moment Smith’s Doctor shares at the end with the Curator of the National Gallery that, in and of itself, is a delight. This 50th anniversary episode that will now build on the lore of the Doctor as he embarks on his 51st year in television in 2014 with few signs of slowing up.

If you’ve somehow missed it, you can catch The Day Of The Doctor here.

Now all that’s left for 2013 is to see the tumultuous end of the Eleventh Doctor (and welcome in the Twelfth)…