There exists a mini-episode that acts as a prequel to the Name of the Doctor. In She Said, He Said, the Doctor and Clara present monologues about how little they knew of each other until they went to Trenzalore. In a second mini-episode called Clarence and the Whispermen, a Victorian murderer named Clarence DeMarco is threatened by the Whispermen into leaking a set of space-time co-ordinates. Also, there were three Strax field reports. These appeared on various DVD and Blue-Ray discs.
In 1893, Silurian detective Madame Vashtra (Neve McIntosh) and her human wife Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) obtain information about the Doctor (Matt Smith) from Victorian prisoner Clarence DeMarco (Michael Jenn). They use soporific drugs for a space-time conference call among themselves and Strax (Dan Starkey), River Song (Alex Kingston), and Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman). They learn that the secret the Doctor must take to the grave is discovered. Eyeless humanoids called Whispermen kidnap Vastra and Strax and kill Jenny. The Great intelligence (Richard E. Grant) tells Clara that the Doctor’s friends will die unless he goes to Trenzalore.
In the TARDIS, the Doctor and Clara travel to Trenzalore, where his future grave is located. The planet is covered in tombstones, with a huge future version of the TARDIS standing over them. They are attacked by Whispermen, but an echo of River Song shows the Doctor and Clara an escape route through the giant TARDIS. Strax, Vastra, and Jenny are awakened by Whispermen and meet the Great Intelligence, who threatens to kill them all unless the Doctor pronounces his own name to open the TARDIS doors. He refuses to speak, but River says the name and unlocks the doors. The Doctor’s glowing time-stream is inside. The Great Intelligence enters it to undo all the good the Doctor has done, which begins to disappear. Jenny and Strax vanish.
Clara remembers the Doctor telling her that she helped him in other times and places. She enters the time-stream to restore the timeline. Echoes of Clara appear throughout his lives. He enters as well, to save Clara. Reunited, they spot another figure in the shadows. He explains that this is the War Doctor (John Hurt), an incarnation of himself without the Doctor’s name, who existed during the Great Time War.
The episode contains many images from the series, and other scenes newly created, including a vision of Gallifrey. There are references to bad guys that the Doctor killed, and a mention of the Valeyard, who put the Sixth Doctor Colin Baker on trial and was revealed to be a manifestation of the Doctor’s darker side. Just before the episode was released to TV, a snafu released the Blu-Ray copy too soon, which included spoilers in the extras. The BBC asked the 210 fans who received it not to reveal the surprises, and they co-operated fully, although one newspaper did not. Steven Moffat was very appreciative. One wonders if such a thing could happen now. The episode received positive reviews. It was called the best episode of the season and possibly the best ever, though the Whispermen were considered kind of underwhelming as villains. It was nominated for the 2014 Hugo Award.
This was the first episode to use colourised footage of black and white film from the Sixties, and the first depiction of the Doctor prior to stealing the TARDIS. The War Doctor (John Hurt) was created because Christopher Eccleston declined to appear in the 50th Anniversary Special. He was supposed to be the War Doctor because the Eighth Doctor Paul McGann was not considered war material. Too pretty, I guess. This is the final part of the story of River Song—more or less. She would actually appear later in The Husbands of River Song. The Doctor might not have invited Clara to be a companion if she had not appeared mysteriously in his life in the Dalek Asylum and Victorian London, but she would not have appeared so if she were not to be a companion.
The Doctor thought he might retire and take up beekeeping like Sherlock Holmes. The War Doctor is not regarded as a real Doctor because he broke the Doctor’s promise. In the scene in which the First Doctor steals the TARDIS with his granddaughter Susan Foreman, Clara is there to point out the one he should steal because, though it is in bad shape, he will have more fun. It is not a blue police-box at the time. When a TARDIS decays, its outside expands. Clara has lived thousands of lives throughout the Doctor’s history. Some of the Doctors noticed her, some did not. The Name of the Doctor, followed by the Day of the Doctor, followed by the Time of the Doctor, make up a kind of trilogy celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.