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
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
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
the tenth Doctor showing
romantic interest in their companion Rose Tyler.
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: