The Faces of the Doctor

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    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    observations on the Paul McGann era are likely to be limited

    @phaseshift – and now, for one night only…

    (I think that was RTD’s line).

    I hope he does get some screen-time in the 50th.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @nick @scaryb

    Yes – I’ve always thought it was better to have one topic which may stop and start on occasion than what would be seven topics which would probably never restart. People can back and forth in whichever way they feel.

    Having a Doctor a month has kept the thread something to develop in the long months but I don’t think it prevents anyone chipping in. The main problem in that relatively few people may actually remember some of these periods. We may see more comments coming forth in September when we reach the AG years, and Christopher Ecclestone.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    and now, for one night only…

    Ha – that does sound like RTD. Alternatively, he was the Face of the Doctor for 9 long years in alternative media (and some may argue continues to be the Doctor). Like Sylvester (show cancelled on his watch/kept the show alive while cancelled), he exists in two states simultaneously!

    I’m hoping to have a couple of goodies for August.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    It’s funny that when the BBC is faced with a technology innovation, the Doctor is often wheeled out to help them, even if he’s not particularly popular “in-house” at the time.

    The spearhead releases of content on VHS and DVD formats were Doctor heavy, and in 2001 when the BBC was addressing this “internet thingy” and wondering what to do with it, a rejected pilot from Radio 4 was picked up and turned into the first Web Cast series by BBCi. Step back into the fray Mr. McCoy.

    Death comes to Time is a bit of a curio. The audio work is great, the animation based on the art of Lee Sullivan more than a little basic and reflects internet capacities of the time.

    As well as McCoy you have Sophie Aldred as Ace, Nicholas Courtney turns up as the Brig, and names like Kevin Eldon, Jon Culshaw, Jaqueline Pearce, Stephen Fry, John Sessions and Anthony Head all contribute.

    The first episode (At the Temple of the Fourth, 27mins) is embedded, links below for the other 4 parts (of varying length).

    Part 2: Planet of Blood (36 minutes)

    Part 3: The Child (31 minutes)
    Part 4: No Child of Earth (38 minutes)
    Part 5: Death Comes to Time (44 minutes)

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    If that lot doesn’t fill your day, and you just need more opinion and discussion about the faces to date, can I recommend “Splendid Chaps” (this may appeal to @janetteb and our other Oz correspondents).

    They are a series of free downloads celebrating the Doctors and all things Doctorish recorded at various venues around Australia. I’ve only heard of a couple of the contributors, but they are genuinely entertaining. They usually have a 35 minutes on a Doctor (up now to McCoy) and then a general discussion on a topic that covers the entire run (I’m waiting for the discussion on “Religion” that goes with the McCoy series to be uploaded next week).

    If you fancy trying one, have a go at Four/Comedy which was recorded at the Melbourne Comedy festival, or Six/Clothes.

    All are pretty good though, and @jimthefish and other fans of novelisations may find the special on “Who and Books” as fascinating as I did.

    Craig @craig

    And just before we get to McCoy, BBC America sticks up for Colin Baker

    Anonymous @

    @craig – thanks for that.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many people being so circumspect, so careful, in what they say in their talking head moments.  🙂

    What that clip does well, though, is to place the 6th Doctor firmly in his era – ‘bold leadership’, fitness crazes, brash personalities, ‘big businesss’ etc.  And we get a Brian Blessed roar!

    And Colin Baker still comes across as an insufferable something-or-other.

    Craig @craig

    @Shazzbot Yes, when I said “sticks up for” what I really meant was “doesn’t deride”.

    It’s interesting that the 6th Doctor is basically positioned as the Maggie Thatcher Doctor.

    The horror!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @craig and @Shazzbot – it certainly was a ‘there’s got to be something positive we can say about the Sixth Doctor’, wasn’t it?

    I particularly enjoyed Marcus Wilson’s ‘very bold decision.’ Bold – but stupid. 🙂

    I did wonder what on earth they were going to show for the Sixth Doctor’s story; the Moff wisely chose Vengeance on Varos, which at least has the advantage that you can talk about the writing and the idea behind the story. And Nabil Shaban, who gives a great performance.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    For the Eighth month, we consider the Eighth Doctor played briefly on screen by Paul McGann. Your thoughts on him, and any of his predecessors are welcome.

    Alas – the BBC AI report on the movie is not available. Viewing figures were 9.3 million with an AI of 77.

    Those watching “Talons” in our recent retrospective will have the DVD of the movie in the Regenerations Box set. Those wishing to access it elsewhere may be interested in the Netflix free months trial for which you’d have access to the movie and others. Or try here in short chunks.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    “Who am I? WHO…AM…I?!”

    The Eighth Doctor goes through an identity crisis in the Movie. Ironic.

    Paul McGann. The Eighth Doctor. The one from “The Movie”. The mistake that shows “those Damn Americans can’t be trusted with Doctor Who”.

    To be honest – that’s often the reaction any discussion on McGann gets. Such is the reputation of his single screen outing, and some pretty crude assumptions, it can be difficult to separate the reality from fiction. To separate the Face and his performance from a multitude of other issues that surround it.

    I remember being cautiously excited by the prospect of the Doctors return. I may not have been if the full story of its 5 year tale of Development Hell had been known (skip down to the production notes in this well researched TARDIS wiki entry). What we did know was that the main creatives were Philip Segal (Brit abroad Doctor Who fan), Brit Writer Matthew Jacobs (who had visited the set of The Gunfighters as a boy, as his father was appearing in it), Brit Director Geoffrey Sax, and with an Executive Producer from BBC Enterprises to oversee things on behalf of the rights holders interests.

    Clan McGann were pretty well known as versatile actors. Paul in particular had a wide range of well known work, that were very different in style so he didn’t seem pigeon holed. I was delighted by the announcement.

    Byronesque object of desire? Or “looking like a great big ponce” (Lucie Miller)

    After watching it, I read the reviews, the fanzines, and the early internet talkboards. Personally I’d winced at all the “Daleks killed the Master on Skaro and handed his remains to the Doctor” stuff. Had my Jaw dropped (in stunned disbelief) at the half human reveal and had begun to seriously upgrade Ainley as the Master after seeing Eric Roberts (Roberts has described his own performance as “cartoon terrible”). None of those were the main talking point though. Can you guess what was?

    The Doctor had kissed a Lady, which was officially A BAD THING. My god, the drivel written about that was incredible. It looks so innocent these days. In addition, the early internet action was as insanely creative in trying to pick faults as it is today. My favourite being “Since when has the Doctor rode around on a motorbike?”.

    Let’s look at the positive though. The Seventh Doctor gets a regeneration! Sylvester thinks that may have been a mistake (for an initial story) these days, but I don’t think any story in this format was ever in danger of progressing to a series. So hurrah to him for doing it, and he was splendid. I loved the TARDIS redesign as old sexy sets the desktop to Gothic Steampunk. Some of the direction is great. I thought McGann himself was the best thing about it though. Regeneration stories can be tricky, but he races through post regenerative memory loss and gradual recovery with a balance of whimsy and growing confidence (although there were a couple of OTT moments where he was asked by Sax to “amp it up”). It also contains a fair few callouts to the old series in the same way Series 7 has (the Bike scene written as a tribute to Pertwee, whose memory the film is dedicated to, as he died shortly before it was completed).

    With an audience of over nine-million in the UK and AI rating of 77 (easily better than the last years of the BG era), if it had gone to a series, I’m pretty sure the BBC would have supported it. While I would have welcomed Doctor Eight, I didn’t think much of Segals vision of what he wanted for the show. A peculiar mixture of high budget restagings of old stories (Tomb of the Cybermen and The Gunfighters were two identified) and odd new concepts such as parallel universe “Spider Daleks”.

    Maybe it would have been great? The things that annoy fans don’t seem to trouble the bigger “lump” of people referred to as casual viewers. Take out the couple of fan-baity things, and what do you have? A Regeneration tale, which although drawing on too many established tropes of 90s US TV, is slightly more adept than stories like Time and the Rani and The Twin Dilemma. I certainly find it easier to revisit than those monstrosities.

    Poor Eight. Few will champion him as their favourite Doctor. Time was too short. No schoolkids really grew up with him as “their” screen Doctor. Rather than evidence of automatic US failure though, I’d see the tale more of a cautionary one of transferring a property to Co-production status and, in new territory, assuming a change in tone and direction is necessary based on some pretty vague evidence. Such as assuming the “Spock effect” (that an audience wouldn’t identify with an alien character, so let’s make him half human) still held true in the 90s as when it was “established” in the 60s.

    It’s a tale that may resonate with RTD now. So adept in the revival of Doctor Who in 2005, just consider the results of (cough) Miracle Day (spit). Similar issues, similar results.

    I’d love to see McGann get some more screen time as the Doctor. I stated in our audio adventures thread early in the year that an appearance in the 50th would be a treat for me. For all the faults of the film, his feels like a performance that would easily fit in with the AG Doctors. His tangent off-topic at the end of this clip, and his absolute glee about his new shoes just feels very Doctorish.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    The Eighth Doctor. Possibly inspiring Murray Gold a decade and a bit later.

    Paul McGann, like Sylvester before him, seemed to be the Doctor for a long time, as the comics started a successful run as the BBC continued it’s cold war on fans/put a series which was in danger of eating itself out of its misery* (Delete according to taste) by refusing to renew the licence for Virgin to publish Doctor Who novels. BBC in-house publishing continued the adventures of the Eighth, with additional new stories for old Doctors. I find them a mxed bag again, but some familiar names from the old Virgin range started to crop up. Rereading a few to review Eights period it struck me that they haven’t aged as badly as the Virgin novels.

    What’s interesting is that for one appearance, both comics and books do capture a lot of what his only appearance on screen was all about, and then develop it in individual ways. I think he certainly made an impression. In concepts, the writers seemed to seize on that kiss and play with the notion. Companions who actually lust after the Doctor, while he remains cheerfully unaware of the effect he’s having – that really started here. Other concepts, like the Doctor creating semi-sentient computer code to do his bidding, and foreshadowings of a great “Time War” that would consume Gallifrey actually started in the late nineties/early naughties in book form.

    Before the decision was made to bring the show back, Big Finish approached McGann about adding to their old Doctors audio range. He threw himself into them with apparent gusto. Collecting them can be an expensive hobby, but his main audio series have been broadcast on Radio 7, BBC4xtra. Just after Christmas, it’s a rare treat. More Doctor Who is always welcome.

    In these, I think he gives a good account of what his Doctor could be. It’s like the movie, in that he’s whimsical, passionate, and occasionally very funny. It’s also complimented by him being maddening, not afraid to lie to his companions, and all manner of new quirks. Audio plays are not to everyone’s taste, but his are some of the best things Big Finish have produced in my opinion. A hybrid of the BG era informed with more of an AG philosophy in structure and scope. Not every story is a winner, but that’s always been the case.

    He’s been aided by a fantastic companion in the last few series by Sheridan Smith as “Lucie Miller”. A remarkable story with a tragic end.

    So – after the 50th and after we’ve seen Eleven regenerate in the Christmas special, it’s hopeful that the radio will be blessed with the return of the Eighth Doctor in the short “Dark Eyes” series. Lucie is gone, and the Doctor has boasted to the Daleks about his early opportunity to destroy them and the Time Lords intention to wipe them out at birth, confessing “I wish I’d done it” and it all seems to be going to a bad place. Bring on the makeover!

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – there is much to commend in your two posts about McGann, but my immediate thought is in relation to your last photo … are those the same ‘Library’ steps?  And why is McGann wearing 9’s leather jacket?  And his hair is shorter?  Is this a publicity photo for the ‘Dark Eyes’ audio series?

    Right then, off to digest the real meat of your posts and provide suitable comment … 🙂

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    Hooray Paul McGann!  Now that I’ve caught up (sort of) with the retrospective [I’ve missed out the Beast Below as I really didn’t like that episode], I can finally get round to re-viewing the movie.  Mind you, the 41 second clip posted by @phaseshift is enough to put anyone off.  We’ll see.

    @Shazzbot, it is interesting that McGann is wearing Nine’s jacket.  I remember the BBC Radio 7 (as it was) blurb when Eight’s audio series was relaunched to tie in with Ten’s tv series.  It said something along the lines of the series would take us up to the Time War where he will regenerate into Christopher Ecclestone’s Doctor.  Certainly the casting of Sheridan Smith (who was great) as a companion seemed to indicate this.  Didn’t RTD say that the regenerated Ten’s accent was influenced by Nine hanging around with Rose?  Ergo Eight hanging around with the ‘Northern’ Lucie Miller begat Nine’s accent.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @shazzbot @chickenelly

    It’s similar in style to Nines coat, but is a bit longer to reflect some elements of Eights old coat in leather form. As @chickenelly said, this range of dramas were intended to dovetail into the new series. The change of look had to go through BBC approvals.

    @chickenelly – I always meant to ask – did you manage to get over your difficulties with the last series of audio adventures?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Oh, God. It’s actually worse than I remember.

    I’m halfway through part 6, and I’m not sure I’m gonna make it. 😕

    chickenelly @chickenelly


    I’m presuming you mean the masterpiece that is the movie.  Still not watched it yet.  I’ve already given it a try twice and was disappointed both times.  Third time lucky?

    @phaseshift.  I managed to salvage most of the recordings but am missing about three from the last audio series.  What I did listen to I enjoyed but haven’t heard the last two episodes yet – however I do know what happens at the end of that double parter.  As there seemed to be some kind of running story throughout the series I have plans to get hold of the missing episodes first, then given them a proper listen.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @chickenelly. I do indeed mean the masterpiece that is the movie. Which do you fancy as a metaphor? The Doctor gets dipped in plastic or the Doctor gets half his brain taken over by the Cybermen?

    Sort of made it, though by Part 7 I was basically listening to the dialogue and flicking back to watch only occasionally. It really was worse than I remembered – I think at the time, I was so pleased to have any Who back at all, I forgave it a lot. But now we have the programme back on air I can recognise that:- the movie is dire.

    Positives: nice TARDIS set, good regeneration scene. As @phaseshift says, some of the direction is great and Paul McGann gives a cracker of a performance – there are many good scenes in there. But the overall structure is very generic 1990’s US television – and it really doesn’t fit with the ‘man and his time machine’ format that is Doctor Who. They needed some invading aliens. Or reprise the very first episode and have the Doctor accidentally take Grace and Chang Lee to another planet, and the problem is getting back.

    But what you’ve got is Eric Roberts in a pair of green contact lenses. And he is bloody awful (disclaimer: I’ve seen him be very good in other stuff he’s done. But here, he’s awful).

    Yes, it is a cautionary tale of the co-producers deciding they know best what will work for the States. And in the process, destroying what makes the show work.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @Bluespeakpip. “Yes, it is a cautionary tale of the co-producers deciding they know best what will work for the States. And in the process, destroying what makes the show work.”

    I think that sums up the problem with the film perfectly. When it came out I was bitterly disappointed. (I just can’t bring myself to watch it again because it is not Doctor Who and tramples upon everything that for me at least Doctor Who is.) At the time I believed that the film had killed any hope of a future revival of Doctor Who. When I first heard about Nu-Who I wasn’t interested. I had no intention of even watching, until reading the Guardian review. (Bless you Guardian..)

    I have always felt sorry for McGann who did his best and delivered a Doctor that has survived even transcended the original source. I guess this is in part because of his work for Big Finish which I have not had the opportunity to listen to. He has earned his place in the Tardis.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    and it really doesn’t fit with the ‘man and his time machine’ format that is Doctor Who.

    Well congratulations on making it through. Just consider in the preceding months I’ve sat through Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani and I consider this the easiest of the three to revisit! When three regeneration tales make you misty eyed for Castrovalva you have to conclude that new regeneration tales are a bit trickier than most, and why I consider Eleventh Hour the best.

    Yes, it’s pretty obvious (even if it wasn’t established fact) that Jon Pertwee was Segals Doctor. It does show through that he saw it more as “the action adventure” series, with scenes like the motorbike chase, and callouts like the lifting of clothes in the hospital (with 11 that almost makes the Doctor a hospital locker kleptomaniac).

    I think it probably did inform the next generation on some elements that worked and some that didn’t, and how the show would return in 2005. There was some fairly detailed profiling of reaction to this “pilot” that was never released because it was outside the BBChome remit at the time (and hence was done by its commercial arm). It couldn’t return as a cheapo B-grade episodic drama was pretty much established in the feedback from this experiment. The bits and pieces that crept onto the early internet through leaks clearly said, in terms of duration, “A bit more like X-Files”. To which you could apply say Star Trek, Buffy, Farscape, or even going back in time The Avengers or The Prisoner in the UK. A duration that they tried in the Davison era, but made the mistake of switching day/timeslot at the same time, which would have confused matters.

    The film really does feel so of its time though. Millennial angst – how very mid 90s.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    As a Babylon 5 fan of some note in these parts, I think you’d like the Eighth in novels and audio work beyond the Movie.

    J. Michael Straczynski really drew on his love of Brit sci-fi for that series. Blake’s 7 for the adversarial dialogue, the liberator look of the Drahzi sundog. He equated the idea of the TechnoMage to The Doctor, and if you watch their manipulative appearance in series 2, or Galen in Excalibur, you can see the impish humour and being one step ahead of things from the McCoy period. It really is funny how these ideas go round and round. Eight is a bit of a TechnoMage in that regard.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Just consider in the preceding months I’ve sat through Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani and I consider this the easiest of the three to revisit!

    Let me just say that if we ever, ever decide to rewatch either Twin Dilemma or Time and the Rani, I will not be joining in. I remember Twin Dilemma quite well, thank you, after only one viewing. And not for good reasons. 😈

    It does seem that you should never let the Doctor near a hospital unless you want your employees to be going home in their scrubs, doesn’t it? That the Doctor’s a thieving git is generally played either for laughs – or downgraded by pointing out that he does save the world a lot. Having your clothes/wallet/remote control nicked or your cash point broken into is a small price to pay.

    Having rewatched, it does seem clear that RTD analysed this movie (and the feedback) very carefully; and Steven Moffat seems to have done the same. You can see the things they’ve carried over – the Companion being the viewpoint character, for example. And the things they’ve learnt from. All three AG ‘regeneration’ stories (if you include Rose) have invading aliens. Lots of invading aliens, and often with big spaceships as well. All three second episodes have used the TARDIS to travel through time and space. Hello, I’m the Doctor. And I keep Earth from getting invaded. And then I travel in time and space.

    While in the movie, the Doctor had brought the problem with him. He wasn’t protecting the Earth – he’d accidentally endangered it in the first place. That’s what aliens do. But, since he’s half-human on his Mum’s side, he’s going to try and stop it.


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Just to introduce this clip – Doctor Who at 40 – Doctor Eight.

    Just before this was filmed the BBC had announced the Doctor would be returning. Paul McGann turns up to talk about the film and his audio work. He is bombarded with questions about his role in a show returning that he knows nothing about. I think he makes a good stab at a response. It features McCoy, talking heads like Barry Letts, Lalla Ward and others talking (and this is a clear warning to @bluesqueakpip) about who the next Doctor should be (in 2003). 🙂

    HTPBDET @htpbdet


    Well congratulations on making it through. Just consider in the preceding months I’ve sat through Twin Dilemma and Time and the Rani and I consider this the easiest of the three to revisit! When three regeneration tales make you misty eyed for Castrovalva you have to conclude that new regeneration tales are a bit trickier than most, and why I consider Eleventh Hour the best

    You deserve a medal… I just can’t watch Twin Dilemma…

    Power of the Daleks and Spearhead from Space were quite remarkable regeneration stories I thought and I confess to a soft-spot for Christmas Invasion too.

    But I think Eleventh Hour really deserves a place with Power and Spearhead because, like them, it boldly establishes an entirely new approach and heralds a new era and a new potentially fascinating incarnation.

    Twin Dilemma does that too – but in a completely wrong-headed way!

    It is interesting seeing them all laid out together in the Regeneration Box Set. Revelatory almost.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – thanks for the DW @40 clip.  From a purely technical PoV (because y’all do the real stuff so much better than me), I noticed that two of the ‘Whovians’ interviewed were dressed as the 6th Doctor.  C Baker fans are out there!

    But – and this is where I always thought I should have gone to work in continuity – I was perplexed why they switched the talking heads from right to left between showing them in subsequent clips .  For example, when we first see one Whovian his left arm is in a cast.  In his next two TH moments, it’s his right arm.

    @bluesqueakpip (and everyone else brave enough to (re-)watch McGann’s outing):  can I just say that from the very brief bits included above, and all of your descriptions, I’m not motivated to seek it out.  I agree with the one Whovian TH who said in the DW @40 clip:  ‘You just don’t hand Doctor Who to the Americans!’  It’s such an utterly British show that Americanisations – the complete and total differences to how Americans make and watch TV and movies – can only wreck it.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Notice that for a long time the Half-Human thing was never overtly challenged in AG Who, perhaps in some kind of dark BBC conspiracy.

    It was only properly debunked in ‘Journey’s End’, in which the Meta-crisis Dr (now clothed) chats to Donna:

    DR: ‘Oh, you are kidding me! No way! One heart. I’ve got one heart! This body has got only one heart!’

    DONNA: ‘Like you’re human?’

    DR: ‘Oh, that’s disgusting. ‘

    DONNA: ‘Oi!’

    DR: ‘Oi!’

    DONNA: ‘Stop it!’

    DR: ‘No, wait, I’m part Time Lord, part human. (Ironically) Well isn’t that wizard?’

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @phaseshift – the only thing that’s certain is that I know nothing. And I will watch whatever I get. No Paul McGann? I’ll just sigh, and enjoy watching John Hurt.

    Frankly, if the Eleventh Doctor regenerates into a tin dog, you’d probably hear me saying: “Tin dog? Well, that could be interesting”.


    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift Just noticed your post on 5th July about the Doctor Who pinball.

    Good news, you don’t need to win the lottery or move to a bigger house in order to play it! There’s a site dedicated to “virtual” re-creations of classic pinball tables called They’ve been around for a while, it was 2004(ish) when I first came across it.

    You can browse the site without the need to register however you will need to become a member in order to download anything. Membership is free as are the tables. Installation is easy but can be a bit fiddly as there are multiple programs you need to install (nothing dangerous and/or malicious just things like Visual Basic files). Once the main program(s) is installed all you need then is to download tables and ROM’s and then spend a few hours battering the hell out your keyboards Shift keys 🙂

    If it’s something that interests you and you need any further info/help just let me know.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Many thanks for that link to, I think I may spend a happy couple of hours over the weekend exploring that. You actually reminded me that we haven’t explored a general “Gaming” forum yet, which was something I considered back when we launched the Music thread. Something to ponder on we consider the show getting more “interactive”.

    With out uncanny sense of timing, can I ask if you have ever served in the role of Sheriff in any capacity? And possibly been mistaken for one another (or at least our theories) by a Guardian Blog writer?

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    The reason I did the intro to the last clip tangents into @pedant s excellent blogpost on trolling. Man – he can drive some fans nuts.

    He is polite and enthusiastic with fans at conventions, but he’s honest in that it has become something he does. He doesn’t always get “fandom” and he really is a target for trolls. He can be genuinely hilarious with some of the hyperbole that surrounds discussion of the series and still remains stunned that he is currently appearing on stamps and coins.

    I’m really glad he annoys those people. I don’t expect Tom to be his own fan. I don’t begrudge him not choosing to watch himself, in his prime, at the “Robots of Death” screening. Some do. I don’t expect the best actor to be a fan of the show, but I want the best actor in the role. If you demand a fan in the role, as some do, you look a bit laughable.

    Here he is being interviewed in NZ this year. Yes, that is Sylvester in the background.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift — funny you should mention gaming. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a blogpost on Who’s chequered history with computer games but was going to leave it until this weekend’s excitement dies down. But a gaming thread sounds like an excellent idea to me…

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    It was something I was mulling on, and I think would really be worth exploring in an intial blogpost. I think it may be good with a launch blog and a general forum, like the Music, Film, etc that we have. One idea I had for a communal play was one of the free adventure games (Blood of the Cybermen or Shadows of the Vastra Nerada) over a weekend before the 50th (and we have a couple of weeks opportunity based on projections of old showings).

    Take-up may not be magnificent, but to touch on that world, and launch a general thread may be beneficiial in the long run?

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift — a communal play is a good idea too. You’re right, it will be quite niche but I think it might be nice to add gaming to our non-Who-related threads…

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    I’ve just watched the first 30 minutes of the McGann movie.  Eee gads it’s dreadful, but oddly I’m enjoying its awfulness as we’ve got AG Who to cling to.  Both McCoy and McGann are the only good things in it so far.  Eric Roberts is, as rightly mentioned above, bloody terrible.

    Observations though:

    1) I’d totally forgotten how heavily influenced it was by Terminator 2.  For example: juvenile delinquent is on the run; the Tardis appearing in a back alley like Arnold Schwarzenegger; that metamorphic water effect (but on the cheap so it hasn’t aged well).

    2) Well ahead of its time having a Chinese kid in it.  Nowadays Hollywood crowbar an Asian actor in stuff to appeal to the Chinese market.

    Hang on, has the BBC got its eye on the Chinese market for Who.  Does this mean the next Doctor is going to be Ken Hom?

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift  In answer to your queries:- nope, not a Sherriff and this is the only site I’ve ever contributed to.

    As for being mistaken for each other I do bear a passing resemblance to The Master i.e salt ‘n’ pepper hair, owner of a fetching, if sinister looking goatee but as yet I have no plans to take over the world/universe/multiverse but there’s plenty of time for that 🙂

    Craig @craig

    The Seventh Doctor revisited

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Many thanks for uploading that special on the 7th Doctor.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @phaseshift and @jimthefish You two better watch out the Topic Nazi!

    @craig nice prog about Sylvester (and kudos to Ace beating up a dalek (which begs the question – why don’t more people tackle daleks by just whacking off the eyestalks?!)) ) As someone else said – the way Kate O’Mara takes off Mel completely destroys Bonnie’s characterisation, there’s really no way back for BL after that. (Thank you, thank you Kate!); But isn’t Sylvester just lovely!

    interview with McGann (thanks @phaseshift ) is interesting – is he dropping hints when he says about resolving the “Eccleston” issue and emphasising last minute casting?! (And isn’t there something about looking upwards and left when you’re replying to a question suggests you could be lying?! or is it to the right?  He does it a lot when on the subject of what he knows about the anniversary)

    Am with @chickenelly

    I’ve just watched the first 30 minutes of the McGann movie.  Eee gads it’s dreadful, but oddly I’m enjoying its awfulness as we’ve got AG Who to cling to

    I watched it for the first time only a few months ago (it came in the DVD package with Talons) – as you say, it would be too depressing if |Dr Who had ended there.  I think the direction and the script are both just dull film-making-by-numbers for the most part, and we can only hope that any future Dr Who movie maker will see the mistakes made and understand why it’s better not to compromise the key elements that have worked for 50 years.

    I think my loudest groan (apart from the half-human thing) was the Frankenstein monster/Terminator scene of crashing down the morgue door. (I confess to shouting “noooooo!” at the screen). Give me an overused sonic any day!  Even given that he’s just regenerated so could have strange powers coursing through him etc, it’s just not Doctor-ish.  The design of the TARDIS was pretty good, the reimagining radical but exciting. And the lighting was nicely dark!

    I also thought both McCoy and McGann transcended the plodding script and managed to be convincingly their own Doctors in spite of it.  They are the only reasons for watching, but even they can’t do anything to redeem it as a whole, even in hindsight.  Without them it would be completely unwatchable, whether as a dedicated Whovian or  a neutral.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @scaryb – yes, there are a lot of ‘tells’ when McGann reaches the 50th Anniversary question, aren’t there? Whether he’s in it or not, he knows more than he’s letting on; even if all he knew at the interview was that he was on pencil for possible filming.

    And now I come to think of it, in the David-and-Matt interview released after the finale, David said (about being a Doctor) ‘somebody we can’t mention seems a little bemused by it all’. After the John Hurt reveal, I was presuming they meant Hurt – but that ‘a little bemused’ would also fit McGann perfectly. Bless him. 🙂

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb @bluesqueakpip – Now, shouldn’t Paul McGann be a better actor than that?  I’m becoming so cynical that I wonder why he didn’t ‘act’ his way out of those questions; if his intention was to create suspicion in the minds of viewers.

    Or, maybe he was ‘squeee’-ing so loud inside at being part of the 50th that he just couldn’t contain himself?!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @Shazzbot – quite probably the latter. If I’d been spending the last sixteen years wondering why I was getting regular ‘Guest of Honour’ gigs on the Convention circuit as a result of one six week job, I’d be cheering inside. As he says in the interview, the other guys had to put so much more work in; at least he’s now finally, officially appearing on the BBC produced programme playing The Eighth Doctor.

    And also, in the interview, he’s firstly not playing a part – which makes a difference; and secondly he  does mention that he’s very jetlagged.

    But yes, you cynical soul, perhaps he was thinking inside ‘and now I’m going to act as if I’m lying! Ha! See all those Internet boards light up with speculation! Take that, fans!’


    ScaryB @scaryb

    So @bluesqueakpip – you’re basically saying it’s a choice between Hurt and McGann for the next (ie 12th (or is it 13th!)?) Dr? Or is that for the 50th do you mean.  Either is obv fine by me but I may have to go and lie down shortly just at the thought of it!

    Optimism’s great! 😀

    @Shazzbot – shouldn’t McGann be better actor than that? Well maybe, but it’s usually different for actors (esp shy ones, which McGann apparently is) when they’re being interviewed as themselves with no script or character to hide behind

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @scaryb – The Smith/Tennant interview was specifically about the 50th.

    Though it would be incredibly funny if we find out tomorrow that the next Doctor really is John Hurt…

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip @scaryb – I just re-watched that McGann interview, and the same thought occurred to me as in the first viewing – he didn’t bring up Withnail & I.  In the sense that, he was once probably most known for that amongst ‘fans’ and now it’s for being the 8th Doctor.  Yes, I know the interview was in the context of the NZ DW convention, but still, surely Paul McGann understands how an actor can become so well known for a single iconic character he’s played – it’s happened to him twice.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @Shazzbot – Withnail & I was a film. The ‘movie’ wasn’t a movie. As Paul McGann quite correctly says, it was a TV pilot.

    Yes, you often become well known through some iconic film role. That’s normal; that’s understood.

    But you don’t normally become even better known for your role in a TV pilot that didn’t get picked up. It must feel extremely weird; your role was officially a ‘failure’ (didn’t get picked up) but everybody knows you as that ‘failure’.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @scaryb @bluesqueakpip @shazzbot

    To put that interview into some perspective, I think it’s wise to remember some of the reporting that arose around it. A couple of days beforehand McCoy, Baker and McGann were in Australia being interviewed, and Sylvesters comments were reported thusly:

    I’d suggest it was really out of character for McCoy, all that “the fans demand it” stuff, and the usual action surrounded it.

    Baker was very clear that “we’re out of the country how can we be in it when they’re filming it.”

    They didn’t repeat those comments two days later in the New Zealand interview you hear in the background, and I think it was left to McGann to offer an olive branch, by saying “Hey – we don’t know”.

    I think the initial comments were a ruse to clearly demonstrate they weren’t in it that caused (what should have been predictable) “outrage”. This may be just wishful thinking, but I suspect they are in it, in one form or another, and the route is through what Paul doesn’t talk about here, which is the audio work for Big Finish. They are all getting together to record a 50th anniversary special of their own (Baker I, Davison, Baker II, McCoy and McGann). It would be massively easy to record some new high quality dialogue for the TV special and insert it post production into the TV version. Illustrated by “Pictures” perhaps.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – I remember saying when that Aussie interview was originally posted here, that there was a bit of ‘they do protest too much, don’t they?’  I didn’t realise the NZ interview followed on its heels that closely.  But if so, you are right; it does appear that someone has had a stern word with them in the interim.

    In fact, on my second viewing of the McGann NZ interview, I was more than ever distracted by Sylvester McCoy’s voice in the background.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I suspect they are in it, in one form or another,

    @phaseshift – for most of the older Doctors, audio would be the way to go. We counted them in, and we counted them out. We know how old they looked when they regenerated. The obvious age difference would need some kind of ‘Dalek ageing ray’ or ‘effect of two TARDIS’s colliding’ explanation. Voice-overs won’t be such a problem, and would permit new dialogue instead of having to reuse old footage.

    But Paul McGann is the one remaining Doctor (now, is he BG? or is he the Interregnum Doctor?) who can appear on screen without any ‘ageing’ explanation. We never saw him regenerate – so, like McCoy’s Seventh Doctor when he regenerated, he could have spent long enough in that regeneration to look, say, sixteen human years older than he did at first.  🙂

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Just in case you think I’m a bit mad, SherriffFatman is a Guardian commentator and Dan misattributed a theory of his to me. We later started to have ideas pretty much at the same time. It was all fun exchanges. Here he is on a retrospective blog “holding a grudge” with a sense of humour. He got a recommend from me. When we had a similar idea on the news blog yesterday I thought “is history repeating”.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    I agree with you on McGann perhaps having the potential for a physical appearance in the 50th. One thing that struck me was that there is no audio adventure for Eight to follow Dark Eyes (which was commercially released last year). Instead McGann is “going back in time” with occasional releases with an earlier assistant Charley (India Fisher).

    Highly speculative, but it does occur to me that Big Finish may have been informed of potential chronology changes and decided to see how things play out. Nick Briggs (voice of almost everything in TV) is a Big Cheese at Big Finish, so getting voice work done undercover would be really easy.

    For me, it would be fantastic. In Name of the Doctor, you have the visual representation of the iconic Doctors “look”, and in the 50th hear them. I think it would really work.

    I can imagine Big Finish going “oooooohhhh” at the prospect of Doctor Hurt though. They’ve probably already explored the possibility of a range of stuff – “Memoirs of the lost Doctor” to compliment their range, like the Michael Jayston Valeyard stuff (He jests at scars being particularly good).

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