The legendary actor John Hurt passed away on Wednesday this week, and in this brief article, I will be looking back at his contribution to the universe of Doctor Who.
In 2013, which seems like a lifetime ago, plans were underway for the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who; The Day of the Doctor. However it is well reported that at one stage fairly close to the deadline, Steven Moffat hadn’t even signed any actors to be in it other than Jenna Coleman.
Of course we know that David Tennant reprised his role as the Tenth Doctor, and Christopher Eccleston in turn was due to return as the Ninth Doctor. However after a few meetings he decided that he would rather not return. Therefore Moffat knew that he wanted another Doctor to return, and that it would be a secret incarnation set between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors.
He also knew that in order for the surprise to make an impact to the average viewer, the actor playing the part would have to be a big name. Who could they have got bigger than John Hurt?
Hurt had stated that the only reason he accepted the role is because his family talked him around and told him that he had to do it.
And what a job he did. The War Doctor goes on an entire character arc in just one story. This was in no small part down to Hurt’s portrayal. He plays the Doctor as being very tired of the Time War, but is given a new lease of life by a glimpse at his future selves.
I think that John Hurt was an inspired choice to play the part. Doctor Who fans are notoriously hard to please, but you will find it very hard to find anyone who will fault his masterful performance.
It is with that final note that I remember John Hurt and pay my respects.