BBC releases a mini-episode, The Night of the Doctor, which is the first in a loose trilogy building up to the Eleven Doctor’s regeneration and the show’s 50th anniversary special. The episode features Paul McGann – the Eighth Doctor who was only seen once in the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. In the episode, he is forced into an artificial regeneration, rendering himself into the War Doctor (John Hurt).
The episode receives over 2.5 million views within the week of its release. McGann’s reprise performance was met with acclaim; fans of the episode campaigned for the BBC to grant the Eighth Doctor his own spin-off series, with one petition on Change.org accumulating over 15,000 signatures.