Thursday, March 24, 2011

Doctor Who: The Movie

In the middle of what Doctor Who fans have come to know as "The Wilderness Year" (the period from 1989 when the original series ended to 2005 when it returned) came this glimmer of hope. The BBC had gone into a co-production arrangement with Universal Television in an attempt to re-launch the good Doctor in the US on the Fox Network. So how did this strange clash of cultures fare?
There is a lot to like about Doctor Who: The Movie. Paul McGann, in what turned out to be his only outing at the eighth Doctor, is excellent. In the short screen time he had he makes the role his own. Daphne Ashbrook as the companion, Dr Grace Holloway, is also good and a blueprint for future companions (no tripping unconvincingly and screaming at anything that moves here) and Eric Roberts hams it up as The Master. The production values are amazing (and the TARDIS interior has never looked so good!) but the production's biggest let down is the script. It attempts to please two masters (the long time viewer and new ones) and fails miserably at both. Still, it was good to have the Doctor back, even if it was only for one night.
There is an interesting post-script to the movie. In 2000 the producer Philip David Segal published a book entitled Doctor Who: Regeneration describing the long and tortured process of bringing Doctor Who back which makes for very interesting reading. While Hurstville LMG doesn't hold a copy of this book, if you're interested in reading it the library can get it for you on inter-library loan. Just ask the staff for more details.

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