Sunday, November 10, 2013

50 Years of Who - Are You Any Good at Setting Alarm Clocks?

In 1996, after a seven year absence, Doctor Who returned to TV. In the seven years since the BBC put the series on hiatus, there had been numerous attempts to revive the series with varying degrees of fidelity to the source. I recall reading about a rumoured production that was to star Denzel Washington, for instance.

But producer Philip Segal would be the man to finally get a Doctor Who project off the ground as a TV movie produced by Universal Television for the Fox Channel in the US, with the BBC co-producing and showing the film in the UK. Rather than rebooting the franchise, Segal was adamant that it be a continuation of the classic series, a fact assured by Sylvester McCoy's return as the Seventh Doctor in the early minutes of the film. But this was also made as pilot for a proposed US-made television series, so it had the nearly impossible task of being made for long-time fans and first-time viewers. The result, it must be said, did not entirely work. It relied on mystifying continuity but also contained several changes to that continuity. It was a servant of two masters and therefore truly satisfied neither.

It had things that did work, chief among them some solid effects work and the wonderful performance of Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. In the clip below we get a very good idea of what an ongoing TV series with this Doctor and his companion, Grace, would have been like. It's a real shame that, to date, this is McGann's only on-screen appearance in the role.

If anybody out there is curious to experience more of the Eighth Doctor, I wholeheartedly recommend the fantastic audio plays he's been doing for over ten years for Big Finish Productions.

See you soon for more of 50 years of Who!

No comments: