The Eighth Doctor Who Needs His Own Limited Series Already
Doctor Who’s been on telly for an awfully long time, with a carousel of talent behind the camera and new faces stepping into the titular role constantly whirling away. However, the show had a huge hiccup following some issues with the sixth and seventh Doctor tenures. That’s before America took a crack at it, leading us to the TV movie starring Paul McGann, and while he was wonderful, it was the nail in the coffin that led Doctor Who to go stagnant on TV until 2005 with now-returning Christopher Eccleston, a gem in his own right – and that’s not just because I’m northern.
But in that gap between 1996 and 2005, a new player stepped onto the scene: Big Finish. It brought Doctor Who back. It just wasn’t in the way that anybody really expected. What it did was bring back older Doctors with audiobooks, leading to a return from the seventh, sixth, and fifth, but ol’ Paul McGann got his shot in 2003 in a special one-off, before the show’s triumphant return with plastic, old 2000s CGI Mickey. He then returned four years later for his own main run, The Eighth Doctor Adventures.
In it, Paul McGann showed just why he was cast – not that he wasn’t fantastic in the TV movie – bringing his own flair and charisma, finally slipping into the shoes and getting a chance to be more than a one-off blip in Doctor Who’s history. He’s still going, all these years later, and that dedication even landed him a regeneration scene under Steven Moffat. He got his live-action return for the 50th anniversary, and it was spectacular because all of that range that we’d seen in the interim between 1996 and that pivotal moment was on display like never before. After that, he went back to the audiobooks. They’re absolutely great, but it’s high time Paul McGann got his due as the Doctor in live-action, and what better way than a collaboration between Big Finish and the BBC to get it right in a limited run format to tie us over until the main show returns?
Doctor Who isn’t like Star Wars in that showrunners, comic book writers, authors, directors, or whoever else have to find those little unexplored spots to add to the main characters. The Doctor is often deceptive about their actual age, or they go away on a whim for hundreds of years before acting as they’d never actually left, slipping in and out of people’s lives willy nilly. That’s what a limited series could play with – a short amount of episodes, say six or seven, that are written in conjunction with Big Finish, who knows the character in and out, filmed by the BBC. It could explore a wealth of things, but to keep it different enough from the main show, it should be a long-running story that’s told in parts more akin to Classic Who than New Who. One singular narrative rather than the monster of the week formula with 45 minutes to play around with.
This could see him pitted against the Master, teaming up with another Doctor, or even just doing his own thing in a story that isn’t particularly a major event in regard to fan favorites returning. It could just be Paul McGann being the Doctor for a few weeks on the old moving picture box, strutting about, monologuing, and fighting baddies. He’s more than earned that. Most Doctors now have multiple seasons under their belt, novelizations, comic books, audiobooks, games – the whole thirteen yards. Paul McGann is as much a Doctor as any of the others, but he’s never been the main star of the show, and that’s an upsetting reality that needs to be rectified. He could more than dominate the silver screen with his presence, and if fans can rally behind new actors stepping into the shoes of this long-running character, why wouldn’t they be excited for more Doctor Who even if it’s an older face?
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James Troughton is a writer at TheGamer. He’s worked at the Nintendo-based site Switchaboo and newspaper TheCourierOnline and can be found on Twitter @JDTroughton.
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