Back in 1989, Doctor Who died an awkward silent death on TV. A new series was planned with returning monsters and a new companion, but the program just dispeared. In 1996, a TV Movie closed the era of the Seventh Doctor Who played by Sylvester McCoy and introduced an Eighth Doctor who would echo some of the program’s past while paving the way for a big bright future. Unfortunately, that did not happen as the project was less successful than was hoped for.
Since then, there have been comic strips, original novels and Paul McGann has played the Doctor in over 60 audio adventures released by Big Finish, earning him the rank of one of the most popular of the ‘classic’ Doctors. When the program returned in 2005 it was still a bit unclear if it was connected to the previous 1963-1989, 1996 one. As the years progressed the connection between the two was cemented several times over. Yet… the Eighth Doctor remains the only incarnation to not have a regeneration story.
That’s right, due to the fact that the Ninth Doctor’s beginnings are off-screen previous to 2005’s Rose, fans have never gotten a final adventure for the Eighth Doctor. Now, there are some rumblings that situation may change.
I’ve got it on very good authority that eighth Doctor Paul McGann has filmed something for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary, but haven’t been able to verify exactly what.
Indeed, there are two particularly exciting possibilities, and it could actually be both. Or neither.
So, for one thing, I’ve heard repeated, low-level talk that all of the Doctors* will make some kind of appearance in the main 50th episode. I’m not taking it for granted, but if it did happen, this may have required some new filming from McGann.
Or maybe it didn’t, because… well, I was first told months and months and months ago of one way that old Doctors would appear in the episode that wouldn’t require any new filming on their part or the use of any old footage. More on that later at a later time, I think…
Concerning another McGann prospect – and this is the more interesting possibility, I think – I did, some time ago, get a tip-off that the actor will appear in a minisode prologue to the 50th special, and that this little film would feature his regeneration into John Hurt’s form. The idea, I heard, was for this to drop sometime in early November, either on TV, in cinemas or on the BBC website. Or all of the above.
At the time, I was sceptical, but more information has come to light recently which firms up McGann’s involvement in… something. And that something could very well be the minisode.
I’ll keep digging.
Alongside Colin Baker, Paul McGann is one of the Doctors most deserving more attention and respect. Sadly, since the TV Movie he has had no communication from the BBC, Russell T Davies or Steven Moffat. It would be so rewarding to see McGann finally get some recognition.
Retrospective on the 1996 TV Movie
It would also be interesting to see the connection between the Eighth and Unknown Doctor played by John Hurt.