Doctor Who Blog

50 Glorious Years: Episode 34 - 1996

Finally in January 1996, the long wait was confirmed to be over - Doctor Who was back! Paul McGann was the 8th Doctor! And it was coming back on BBC1 and, something that is perhaps still hard to believe, network television in the US! Yes, it turned out to be for one-night only on television in May of 1996 (with the filming of the story done for the first and so far only time in Canada - the same country that would be the first to broadcast it), but the TV Movie provided so much more than one tv movie could provide in 90 minutes. Obviously there was now a brand new Doctor for the franchise, for the books, comic strips and in a few years time, the audios. But more than that, it signified that Doctor Who had survived “death” - or as most people call it in television terms, cancellation. The TV Movie burst the bubble of frustration that had existed in fandom after the series had ceased production in 1989. Even though the TV Movie did not do well enough in the US for more Doctor Who tv movies to be made for Fox and Universal, it proved that the show could be a mainstream hit again in the UK - something that should not be taken for granted after the poor ratings the series endured after the 1985 hiatus, and years of BBC brand-damaging its own property. If Doctor Who could come back successfully in the UK once after it’s cancellation, it could happen again. Despite the disappointment that no new tv movies were immediately forthcoming and this would turn out to be the only new proper television story for the show in the 1990’s, the future was definitely brighter after 1996 than it had been in the years before it.

Oh, and Paul McGann rocked as the Doctor.

17 Comments...

Yes Paul McGann was pretty good as “a” Doctor but in my opinion he was not one of “THE” Doctors. Perhaps if he had done more televised adventures my opinion would have changed but I found the movie not all that good. And since there was only 1 movie, and if I was in charge, I would have categorized this with the Peter Cushing movies and declared Christopher Eccleston the 8th Doctor back when the series returned in 2005.

Posted by Doug Grandy  on  10/02  at  01:03 PM

Doug, your comment makes me go, “HUH?!?!” The Peter Cushing movies were not canon. You may not have liked the 1996 movie, but it is 100% canon…regardless of “your” opinion! Additionally, Paul McGann really solidified his role as the Doctor with the Big Finish audios.  I suggest you go and have a listen to some of them. He is an excellent Doctor.
I’m very thankful you weren’t in charge of the show when it returned in 2005.

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