Today is the 20th anniversary of the (in)famous Doctor Who TV movie. It was a British/American co-production that the powers-that-be hoped would jumpstart a brand new Doctor Who series in America. Of course, things didn’t happen that way; it would be another nine years before our favorite Time Lord would permanently return to television (nine-year wait for the Ninth Doctor, I just realized that), but it was still a memorable venture into the Whoniverse.
“Oh, yeah, sure, memorable for saying the Doctor is half-human. Memorable for being the first time we see the Doctor kiss his companion. Memorable for Eric Roberts’ terrible performance as the Master.”
Okay, first of all, I will go on the record as saying I actually liked Eric Roberts as the Master. He was sly, scheming, maniacal–everything a good Master is supposed to be. Granted, he was no Roger Delgado (my favorite Master), but I still think he carried off the role and generally did a good job. Honestly, sometimes I think most of the grief Roberts was getting came from the fact they had the audacity to cast an American as the Master. The horror.
As for the half-human thing…yeah, I got nothing on that one. Neither does the show, apparently, because it was the first and the last time the Doctor was described as being half-human (although Steven Moffat alluded to it in season 9). And it’s important to note that Paul McGann was against the Doctor’s having a romantic relationship with the companion and protested very loudly, even purposely messing up the kiss scene!
But think of all of the wonderful Big Finish audio adventures that never would have existed if there hadn’t been a TV movie! We may never have gotten to enjoy Paul McGann as the Doctor! There never would have been this regeneration scene (which happens to be one of my favorites)!
Happy birthday, Eighth Doctor. We may not have gotten enough of you on our screens, but we love you anyway.