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The Eighth Doctor:
Paul McGann

The eighth Doctor holds the unfortunate distinction of being the Doctor with the least screen time of them all.

He only appeared in the Doctor Who TV movie, which aired in May of 1996 in both the US and the UK.

This first new Doctor in several years was in some ways a very traditional Doctor -- his costume was the first in several regenerations to have the Edwardian feel of the earlier Doctors.

Gone were the garish colors and the overuse of question marks which the Doctor had started wearing in the early 80s, and which had grown progressively worse as the decade wore on.

McGann's Doctor had the quirky behavior and abrupt mood changes of the fourth Doctor, combined with an almost child-like enthusiasm at times.

However, two major changes to the Doctor's character and the traditions of the original series were introduced in the TV movie, both of which were very controversial amongst fans at the time. The first was the kiss between the Doctor and his "companion" for the story, Grace.

This element of the Doctor's character has been continued in the new series with both the ninth Doctor and the tenth Doctor showing romantic interest in their companion Rose Tyler.

I was very opposed to the idea of the Doctor being sexually attracted to a human back in 1996, and I still think it's more interesting to have the Doctor oblivious to human sexuality. However, it has been handled reasonably well so far in the modern series, so I consider the second major change to the Doctor's character introduced in the TV movie to be the bigger problem.

The second controversy from the TVM was the revelation that the Doctor was apparently half human. I am far from being the only fan who disliked this unnecessary "Spockification" of the Doctor, and I'm glad they've ignored it (so far at least) in the new series.

Despite his brief on-screen tenure, the eighth Doctor went on to do several years' worth of adventures in the BBC Books 8th Doctor novels, as well as the excellent Big Finish audio dramas, which still are ongoing.

These non-televised adventures fortunately gave Paul McGann the chance to really do justice to the part.

Look below for photos and sound clips of Paul McGann as the eighth Doctor. More coming in the future:



A publicity still modeled on a famous shot of the first Doctor in the Dalek Master Plan



Another publicity shot of him in costume

   

Publicity shot of Paul McGann in costume

The rough cut of the opening theme, as previewed at a Doctor Who convention. I was given the file by the person who recorded it there, some time before the TV movie aired. Unfortunately, I no longer remember which convention it was for sure, but I *think* it was at Visions in Chicago.

The transmitted version of the opening theme, complete with pre-titles narration by Paul McGann in character

The transmitted version of the closing theme

 



The Eighth Doctor immediately after regenerating


The Doctor experiencing post-regeneration trauma and memory loss
 

The Doctor in costume from the episode
 

This page was originally created on Sunday, March 4, 1996

 

 

 

   
     

The TARDIS Databanks recommends these easy, Plain English computer basics courses.
The lessons are recorded by someone who's been a die-hard Doctor Who fan since the days when computers were the size of refrigerators and had giant spinning tape wheels (like the Master's TARDIS in The Time Monster for example :).

He likes to sneak lots of Doctor Who references into his easy video basic computer training courses -- little easter eggs to give Doctor Who fans a smile while his lessons make you more skilled and confident with your computer.

Both Microsoft Windows basics course and Apple Mac basics course are available.
Try them and see what you think.

 


All opinions are my own.
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