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The eighth Doctor Who


The 1996 Doctor Who tv movie was made for American television, and obviously designed to appeal to that market. It was enjoyable in a very superficial way, but did not compare with the wit and imagination of the original British TV series, nor even with the quality sci-fi offerings that America has produced recently - Babylon 5 and The X Files. Perhaps the biggest fault of the Doctor Who movie was that it was trying too hard to be Doctor Who, which resulted in it becoming far too bogged down with series continuity, which must have been confusing and off-putting for the new American audience - and yet for all that, it failed to treat this continuity with any attention to accuracy. It was used gratuitously and without thought, as if the appearance of jelly babies or mention of the Eye of Harmony were there just to justify the film calling itself Doctor Who. Ironically, the original series was at its best when it largely ignored the past and concentrated on telling stories (Season 7, the Tom Baker era, etc.) rather than retreading old ground (most of the eighties episodes). Nevertheless, the movie achieved very good ratings in Britain, perhaps because the name Doctor Who still generates some affection here - and the nineties did seem to be the decade of nostalgia. The greater proportion of Doctor Who fans went wild with excitement when the film was first shown - it was the best thing since sliced bread, and gushing praise was continually heaped upon it. They were of course just desperately trying to convince themselves that Doctor Who was back, without worrying too much what it was like. We need quality Doctor Who, not merely quantity. There were good things about the movie. The production values were superb, and the direction was good. It attempted to present itself as a direct continuation of the original series, and even featured Sylvester McCoy reprising his role as the seventh Doctor before handing over to his successor. The best aspect of the whole thing was the casting of Paul McGann, who gave a promising performance as the Doctor. When one considers the limited material he was given to work with, it's clear that he might have made a very good Doctor had he been cast in the series proper. Five years later, McGann reprised the part in a series of audio plays, but in the meantime, his version of the Doctor had generated various spin-offs novels and comic strips. So the eighth Doctor Who lived on - and in 2013, as part of the show's fiftieth anniversary celebrations, we finally got to see his final moments in a special mini-episode.

Adventures of the eighth Doctor Who