Doctor Who – The Movie

51J2ZUPFuYLTransporting the remains of the Master, Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor is diverted to San Francisco in 1999. Regenerating in the form of Paul McGann, the Doctor gains a new companion in heart surgeon Dr Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) and must stop the Master from destroying the world.

Out of the ashes of the behemoth which was the institution we all loved came this certainly different version with its very Americanized feel to it.  I could spend this whole post moaning about the deficiencies of this film and for those of you that love to read a good whinge, you won’t be disappointed but there are some good points to be taken from this attempted TV pilot.

Any attempt to resurrect, or should I say regenerate (notice my razor-sharp punnery there?) this show was always going to be an admirable venture to undertake, no matter what the outcome.  The problem being that the changes were too much to fast.  The highly stylised production values disregarded all of the history, not to mention atmosphere of the show which the long term fans were comfortable with.

A higher budget can be a curse as much as it is a boon, the good news is that Eric ‘Best of the Best’ Roberts is cast to play a wonderfully hammy and a bit loony Master which of course helps bridge over to the new series in which John Simm plays a more manically unhinged adaptation.  Roberts complements Paul McGann’s Doctor wonderfully.

It’ s always great to see the Doctor returning to his roots and with the inclusion of Sylvester McCoy and also a return to the more traditional styling of outfit for the Doctor.  Being just regenerated we get the usual intense and quirky feeling to the character which is just one of the many points on which to speculate over how a new series would have gone had the viewing figures and critics given this the thumbs up.

Everything else about the production feels a bit underwhelming, the story feels contrived and has the usual heavy-handed metaphors which today’s TV seems to excel at, the supporting cast seem a bit weak, although companion Grace seemed fairly promising.  The ‘comedy’ was predictable fare and the lack of any underlying subtle themes was disappointing if not unexpected.

It may seem I’m having a jibe at American TV here, I’m really not, or maybe I am a bit.  It’s just that all the changes are very jarring and totally alien to what veterans of the show were used to and after such a long time off air the lack of nostalgia and sometimes plain contradictions of Doctor Who mythology is always going to grate…severely.

Still, years after the original backlash some fans now appreciate the movie more since the new show has placated us viewers somewhat, as retrospectively there are subtle nods from the new series which  makes it nice retrospective viewing as well as a nice bridging continuity wise.  A relaunch and a new audience are always going to be a challenge and for all its faults, this is canon and fun as long as not much is expected of it.

Having taken a step back and looking at it now, It is interesting to speculate where it could have gone with both characters.  Overall despite the flaws I confess upon rare occasion I do love the B-movie cheesiness of it all, the ending is completely standard and rather disappointing but all in all for any fan – like it or not – you have to watch it to be a completest and it is a good excuse to watch even more Who and wonder after all these years how would the 8th Doctor have evolved.

If you wonder where the seventh Doctor review is..I posted it below, earlier today in case you missed it.

17 Replies to “Doctor Who – The Movie”

  1. What I did not like about McGann’s Doctor is that he would tell people what they will be doing in the future. He is playing with people’s future (in my opinion) and this is against what the Doctor stands for.

    McGann, as you say, is more like the first and third Doctor, and after watching “Night of the Doctor” I think McGann would have been a great Doctor. In that five minute show, you see how he has changed into the grittiness and how Ecclestone was similar to him. Although that Minisode does raise some very curious questions. I would have liked to have seen how he panned out. I wonder if he was asked to do the new series. After all, Eccles-cake is a Hollywood actor so they can’t say that was the reason he didn’t take it on.

    It has been many a year since I have watched this though, and I really should watch it again,


    1. I wonder if McGann’s telling people that was a residual problem to do with regeneration and not a normal thing that would have happened…or rather if the writer woefully misunderstood the character.

      I haven’t seen the minisode yet..I am waiting until Friday so I can build up to the Big One…it’s great to have that bridging of incarnations to make the story complete. It is such a great time to be getting involved, I envy people who are just discovering this whole universe. Yeah watch it again and every other episode will seem so much better!


      1. It could well have been a glitch with his regeneration. The Doctor is not normally that careless.

        There was an interview with Jenna Coleman yesterday morning, and the only thing she was allowed to say about it was that there was Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt. So she spoke about the sadness of “The Fall of the Eleventh” – The Christmas Special and that she is finding working with Peter Capaldi great.


        1. That is good news…I do like the fact that the show carries on irregardless of the demise of its central character. The lack of any clues just makes the whole event even more exciting.


  2. I liked Paul McGann and I always felt he deserved a bigger crack at the part. He was the best and most authentic doctor since Tom Baker, and so I was delighted to see him appear in the six-minute film this week. Surely they’ll give him some sort of series now? I’d have preferred him to have helmed the show instead of Christopher Ecclestone back in 2005, but alas, it wasn’t to be…


    1. I haven’t seen the six minute film or anything yet…I am biding my time for the weekend, although I’m yet to determine what time it will be on BBC America…I will learn to work the TV one day. It would have been a great idea for McGann to do that…I wonder what the fans wanted…for me I tried to avoid any spoilers before it came on. At least he has the audio books to star in.


  3. Hmmm, you know I’m not a fan, but I’m a blog fan of your site! Lol
    So how can one not say something, right? Lol Well, how’s things? 🙂 Hope your world’s not getting too cold? If so head for the pub and have a pint! 🙂 Stay warm, hugs Paula xxx


    1. My local pub these days is a good mile and a half away these days but that is not to much of a problem as I love a good walk. It is cold though so the trade off is beer at home…I’m clever like that! I was getting a bit Doctor obsessed so I shall be cramming all my Who posts into a couple of days and be doing other stuff that may interest you as well! Keep cool yourself though as I believe that is how it is these days but I could be wrong…xxx


      1. Oh no, your right! It’s hot in Perth where I live. Soon it will get like a furnace!! Lol. I used to hate walking but not now, I really enjoy it. So funny about Dr Who. 🙂 I just wasn’t a fan.
        Life’s been crazy so I blog when I can. Hugs and have a great week. Paula xxx


        1. It’s always good to see a new post from you whenever you have one…me being an avid if slow catcherer upper of blogs lately. Hot it was -8 celcius earlier here…I envy you and your toes. Have a great week yourself and then some! xx


  4. Funnily enough this is one of the few ‘Whos’ I have a memory of, probably because it was technically the most recent one I watched pre-that-baddie-from-28-days-later revival. I remember finding it highly enjoyable at the time. But then again a quick bit of maths has revealed that at the time I would have been 10 and a complete muppet taste-wise. I even liked Batman & Robin on release. *shudder*. Good stuff as always champ.


    1. ‘pre-that-baddie-from-28-days-later’, not only a line that amused me but more words that make my comment seem longer ha! Yeah you were a bit tasteless then it would appear but then you got good and all these great films were sent in my general direction and that pleases me more than a mistrustful ghost. And then there was The Room.


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