doctor who 50th anniversary

Sci-fi show is simulcast on TV and in movie theaters in 94 countries

LONDON — “The Day of the Doctor,” the special 50th anniversary episode of “Doctor Who,” attracted 10.2 million TV viewers in the U.K. on Saturday, which reps a 37.4% audience share.

The BBC sci-fi drama, which had a 75-minute running time, failed to match the preceding BBC show, “Strictly Come Dancing,” which peaked at 11.7 million. “The X Factor” on ITV was seen by 7.7 million.

“The Day of the Doctor” aired in 94 countries at the same time as it was shown on the BBC, and screened in 3D in more than 1,500 movie theaters in 94 countries. There was also a three-day “Doctor Who” event for fans at London’s ExCel center, which has attracted 8,000 visitors a day.

The special TV show starred three actors playing different generations of the Doctor — Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt — as well as a cameo from another Doctor, Tom Baker.

The episode, which was penned by Steven Moffat, centered on the Doctor’s decision to set off a deadly weapon that would destroy his fellow Time Lords in a bid to end the Great Time War.

The action moved between three locations and eras — the planet of Gallifrey, modern-day London, and Elizabethan England. The villains on Earth were the Zygons, shape-shifting aliens who first appeared in the show in 1975, while on Gallifrey, it was the Daleks, who were attacking the planet.

The episode contained numerous references to previous episodes. For example, it started at a London school that featured in the first ever episode in 1963.

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