In 1996 the Doctor was back - and it was about time. BBC co-produced a ninety-minute TV movie with American backing, introducing Paul McGann as the Doctor.
Arguably the biggest name to play the Doctor, Paul McGann came from a background of hugely popular films such as Withnail and I and prestigious series like The Monacled Mutineer. A close friend of Sylvester McCoy, McGann took some persuading before accepting the role but revelled in playing the Eighth Doctor once he arrived on the Vancouver set.
Producer Philip Segal was keen to return the Doctor to his roots, giving McGann a costume more in keeping with the earlier Doctors, breathtakingly beautiful new TARDIS interior and a large supply of jelly babies.
McGann faced a familiar enemy for his one and only TV outing. Played with equal measures of menace and camp humour by Hollywood star Eric Roberts, the Master unsuccessfully attempted to steal the Doctor’s remaining regenerations.
The TV Movie was popular in the UK, where it was watched by a satisfying nine million viewers, but was less successful in the US, where everyone opted to watch Roseanne instead. Tentative plans for a follow-on series were not pursued by Fox.
However in 2003 the Controller of BBC One Lorraine Heggesey announced that the show would be coming back to Saturday evenings...
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