The Curse of FenricBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 13 July 2004 - Reviewed by Paul Clarke

‘The Curse of Fenric’ is an unusual story in that the version most widely accepted by Doctor Who fans is not the version originally broadcast. Whereas extended versions of both ‘Silver Nemesis’ and ‘Battlefield’ have been released on video, neither really gained anything that was missing from the original broadcast version; ‘The Curse of Fenric’ however benefited enormously from the few extra minutes of material incorporated into the video release. More recently, the original televised version has been released on DVD, but with an impressive extra in the form of an even longer cut that has been fully reedited and includes even more footage than the previous video release. The actual story isn’t significantly altered, but both extended versions flow more smoothly than the comparatively truncated original, with the extended DVD version apparently closest to the vision of director Nicholas Mallett. None of which is massively important here, except in that it is the extended DVD release that I have watched on this occasion, which doesn’t significantly affect this review but might be of interest to the more curious reader.

Anyway, turning to ‘The Curse of Fenric’ itself, it is a story that is more difficult for me to review than might be expected. As with any Doctor Who story often described by fans of the series as a classic, there is very little that hasn’t been said about ‘The Curse of Fenric’. Partly this is because it can retrospectively be seen as the archetypal Cartmel story, the culmination of all the finest qualities that he strove to bring to the series during his tenure as script-editor and because it arguably had a far greater impact on the New Adventures than more obvious candidates such as ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. My reasoning for this is that here we see the Doctor at his most manipulative, as he uses Ace as a pawn in a game that started long ago with an ancient evil from the dawn of time. It also sees Ace starting to grow up and develop as a character, more so than any previous story, as she confronts her feelings for her Mother, has her faith in the Doctor shattered and also starts to obviously become aware of her sexuality. ‘The Curse of Fenric’ also seems to be aimed at an older audience than that which Doctor Whois traditionally perceived to have aimed for, with doses of horror including vampires, corpses, and chemical warfare. ‘The Curse of Fenric’ is a grim and gritty story in which almost every supporting character dies and puts Ace through emotional hell. Finally, ‘The Curse of Fenric’ is also riddled with subtext, much of which writer Ian Briggs discusses in the DVD extra Shattering the Chains, and which generally concerns sex and faith. Most of this is obvious, such as the “seductive” appeal of Jean and Phyllis and Ace’s later distraction of the guard, Wainwright’s wrestling with his faith, Sorin’s faith in the Russian Revolution, and Ace’s faith in the Doctor, some less so; I’d never made the connection for example between Doctor Judson’s physical disability and Alan Turing’s homosexuality. For fans who dislike such blatant subtext in Doctor Who, ‘The Curse of Fenric’ is probably an especially bad example of all that was wrong with the Cartmel era, but for better or for worse, it signposts the direction in which Doctor Who would go in the New Adventures more clearly than any other story from the period, as a whole new generation of young writers would bring their politics and opinions to the good Doctor’s adventures. 

An exploration of the subtext within ‘The Curse of Fenric’ should not detract from appreciation of the story at its most basic level however; it is a very good slice of Doctor Who, which for the most part has aged extremely well. The plot is well structured so that suspense builds throughout the first half of the story, as questions are raised about the mission of the Russian commandoes, Commander Millington’s agenda, and the significance of the Viking curse. Once what was originally the cliffhanger to Episode Two is reached, the story shifts gear; once the Haemovores emerge onto land the remainder of the story is a fast-paced thriller, with explanations coming thick and fast as both Fenric’s and the Doctor’s plans become clear. This structure works highly effectively; there are no reprieves once the Haemovores attack as the Doctor and Ace find themselves facing threat after threat as the endgame draws near and bystanders die one by one. 

Crucial to the success of this plot is the characterisation, which allows the actions of the supporting characters, the dangers they face, and their deaths, carry real impact. The Rev. Mr. Wainwright is a case in point; he’s a tortured soul desperate to believe in the essential goodness of humanity but increasingly unable to do so against the backdrop of World War II. The scene in which he reads from the Bible is crucial to his character as it illustrates his crumbling faith far more effectively than the taunts of Jean and Phyllis, but all of this would just be so much subtext were it not for the fact that Wainwright is thoroughly likeable. The massively underrated Nicholas Parsons conveys Wainwright’s uncertainty and fear very convincingly; his bravery in facing his terror is admirable and it makes the fact that his faith ultimately proves too weak to save his life all the more poignant. Basically, all of Briggs’ characters are human; Mrs. Hardaker is an old battleaxe whose strict attitude towards her charges automatically predisposes any young (or just liberal!) members of the audience to dislike her. She throws words like sin around very easily, and shows an unshakable faith in the “good book” whilst Wainwright expresses doubt about the morality of war, which is the blind faith of somebody who unthinkingly follows doctrine rather than attempting to understand what it is they actually believe in. Janet Henfrey captures all of this perfectly, looking and sounding every inch the strict governess, and yet when Jean and Phyllis actually kill her, we briefly get to see her smiling and relaxing as she listens to music rather than the severe and apparently cold person that she has been portrayed at up until that point. Which is important, because it means she isn’t just another corpse to boost the story’s body count in a way that possibly appeals to fans that think that ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ is “adult”, it means that she is a human victim whose death feels like a loss. 

Perception of death is very important in ‘The Curse of Fenric’. The Russian commandoes, Sorin included, are prepared to kill to succeed in their mission, but again Briggs and director Nicholas Mallett make sure that the deaths that they cause are not lightly forgotten. The home guard soldiers killed on the beach are laughing and joking as they go out on patrol and Prozorov is deeply troubled at having killed them; it doesn’t make it any easier to excuse the actions of him and his fellows, but it does explore the horrors of war in a quiet way that is rare in Doctor Who on television. Sorin is a particularly interesting character in this respect, because of what he believes in and what he does, and the way Ace responds to him. Some fans have expressed a serious misgiving about the fact that Ace is attracted to a man that embraces a regime that killed millions of people; I think this misses the point however. It’s very easy to think of Stalin and forget that originally, the Russian Revolution succeeded because Lenin had the support of many of the ordinary people. It is easy, but foolish I think to dismiss such people as “evil” out of hand; we don’t know why Sorin has such faith in the Revolution and we don’t know whether or not he is aware of the atrocities that Stalin was committing at this time. Because we don’t know these things, and because Sorin is portrayed as a man prepared to kill for what he sees as the greater good, the character becomes more powerful because the script encourages us, largely via Ace, to see him as a person and grow to like him. He is portrayed as a man of conviction and courage and Tomek Bork brings a warmth and charisma to the role, all of which helps to create conflict in the viewer. In a story in which the principle villain is “pure evil”, such muddying of moral waters makes for fascinating characterisation.

A rather less likeable character is Alfred Lynch’s Commander Millington. Like Sorin, Millington is a man prepared to kill for what he thinks is the greater good, but unlike Sorin these actions are harder to justify. Juxtaposed with Wainwright’s angst at the thought of British bombs falling on German cities and killing German children is Millington’s willingness to use a chemical weapon on a Russian city at such time as they cease to be Britain’s allies, a stance that he explains by telling the Doctor, “It could end the war”. Millington is a man who has stared too long into the abyss, whose obsession with tapping into the Nazi psyche has made him a monster; his speech about the men trapped behind a bulkhead on a burning ship is terrifying, not because it is impossible to understand, but because he uses it to excuse the deaths of the two Russians sealed in the mine shaft with the haemovores. The men who died on board the ship might well have been sacrificed to save the rest of the crew, but there is plenty of time to save let the Russians out before the haemovores reach the end of the tunnel. The deaths of the crewmen on board his old ship is uncomfortable too; there may be logic behind it but it is given an all too human perspective shortly afterwards in the shape of Kathleen Dudman’s grief over the news of her husband Frank’s death. 

‘The Curse of Fenric’ is also notable for the characterisation of the regulars; this is Ace’s best story, as she grows up noticeably, and Aldred puts in her first real decent performance. Her concern for the baby is convincing, and she manages to convey fury at the Doctor when she realises that he knows what is going on. Ace thus works as somebody to whom the audience can relate for the first time, and she gets some nice scenes; critics of the Cartmel era often dismiss her faux pasover the fact that Kathleen is married as a just another piece of the social commentary that they argue unnecessarily clutters the era, but whatever else it may be it is also a nice reminder of the period in which ‘The Curse of Fenric’ is set. I wouldn’t give a second thought to the possibility that Kathleen might be single mother any more than Ace does, but it is a reminder that this is set in an era when it was a real stigma that people were ashamed of. Having said of all this in praise of both actress and character, the scene in which Ace distracts the guard is woefully overrated; it is a self-conscious and self-satisfied piece of dialogue that doesn’t really convince and is delivered in a horribly unnatural manner by Aldred. Nevertheless, considering how bad Ace’s dialogue was in Briggs’ previous ‘Dragonfire’, her only truly appalling line here is “Who do you think you are, armpit?”

And finally there is the Doctor. ‘The Curse of Fenric’ shows the Doctor at his most manipulative, as he plays a game of chess (both literally and metaphorically) with an ancient and powerful foe, in which people die. It is often suggested that his actions here are less damning than those in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’; certainly he doesn’t destroy any planets here, but many people fall along the wayside and whilst it can be argued that he tries to save as many people as possible as he battles Fenric, I should like to point out that there is no reason given why after their last encounter he couldn’t simply have taken the flask that he trapped Fenric in and dumped it in a black hole like he did with the Fendahl skull. In addition to which, the Doctor’s psychological abuse of Ace reaches its peak here, as he destroys her faith in him to defeat Fenric, reducing her to tears; he clearly regrets his actions afterwards as he tries to reassure her that he didn’t mean it when he called her an emotional cripple and told Fenric to kill her, but personally I’d never trust him again. None of which is a problem however, since I like this darker aspect of the Doctor, one that would reach new heights in the New Adventures. I also find it rather amusing that the chess move with which he confuses Fenric is utterly illegal, which means that he won last time by cheating… McCoy’s acting is very good here, even during his “evil from the dawn of time” speech, when he has to convey anger, something that he often has trouble with. McCoy’s Doctor broods throughout, creating the impression that he is weighed down by the choices he hasmade and is forced to make, and it works beautifully. 

Overall, ‘The Curse of Fenric’ is a story in which everything comes together. Mark Ayers’ atmospheric score is crucial to the mood of the piece and has aged very well. Nicholas Mallett does a superb job of directing, and he manages to get the best from his actors, all of whom give excellent performances, with the exceptions of Joann Kenny as Jean and Joanne Bell as Phyllis, both of whom are fine until their characters turn into vampires after which they become a bit hammy, albeit not enough to seriously compromise the production. The sets mesh perfectly with some stunning location work. The special edition benefits ‘The Curse of Fenric’ even more, as it is given a spit and polish and little details like the stakes carried by Sorin can be seen in context for the same time. Andrew Cartmel’s approach to Doctor Who reached its zenith here; ironically, only one story later, it would all come to an end…

FILTER: - Television - Seventh Doctor - Series 26

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Tuesday, 13 July 2004 - Reviewed by Gilmore Williams

Now I’m going to be controversial with this one, as many will know that this is one of my favourites.

The TVM is Doctor Who with the budget it deserves, and in fact a lot more. Even the new TV series will not have a budget to match this. The effects, even though nearly eight years old, stand up to scrutiny today. The plot does make sense of a kind but the story is fast paced and does not allow you to think to carefully about the flaws. I always just allow the film to carry me through in great fun.

The Movie begins with the voice over provided by Paul McGann that sets the scene for the 7th Doctor to be carrying the Master’s remains. Full marks must be given to Philip Segal for using the Doctor Who theme, it’s very effective, and the roaring build up to the title appearing gives me shivers even now. Sylvester McCoy puts in a fine performance in the little he is given to do. The scene in the TARDIS is wonderfully relaxed and has a nice atmosphere to it. The TARDIS interior is incredible, the console stretching into the ceiling is far more effective, if anything it’s perhaps a little too large, and there is a slight lack of scale involved. The Master has now formed into a jelly like mass that later becomes more reptilian, this too is effective though not explained.

As we know the Doctor is shot and taken to the hospital where he is rushed into treatment. On the way in the ambulance we are treated to Chang Lee filling out the Doctor’s name as “John Smith”. Another of Philip Segal’s nods to the past, in many ways he has got a little carried away with this, the bowl of jelly babies in the TARDIS, and the over emphasis placed on the Doctor’s reading of The Time Machine. None of this detracts from the film but could have been more subtle I think. The Doctor goes in for treatment to have the bullets removed and X-rays taken showing his hearts, a nice piece of continuity. Grace is called and it is her putting a probe into the Doctor’s body that eventually kills him. I have never really cared for the scene in the operating theatre as I find it rather graphic and just a little distressing, and the story could do with it being reduced in content. The Doctor eventually is taken to the morgue where he is later to regenerate. This is where the direction of this story is done so well, the Master’s evil possession of a human body is mixed with the regeneration of the Doctor. Also the inter-cut scenes of the Doctor awaking and Frankenstein coming to life are well done and a good touch to the story. At last – Paul McGann is the Doctor! Some would say that the film should have started with him, in many ways it was good to see the seventh Doctor out, in retrospect I’m not sure the future of the series under fox would have been different in either case. 

And the film really does become worth watching for Paul McGann’s first and apparently only time out as the Doctor. He puts in an excellent performance slipping easily into the role and establishing his own character in the short screen time available. Everything is right about this Doctor, the personality, the looks, the costume, all works so well together. Initially the Doctor wanders the hospital in a daze although I have never understood where he is, it appears to be an abandoned part of the hospital – I wish we had beds lying around like that in the NHS!

The story picks up again the next day, the Doctor searches through lockers at one point pulling out a scarf – another of Segal’s moments. This scene is also effectively combined with the less innocent searching of the Doctor’s stolen possessions by Chang Lee, who gains access to the TARDIS. The Doctor meanwhile settles upon his clothing and goes to the hospital where he meets Grace and eventually goes to her house. The scenes in the house are McGann’s best, his Doctor at rest and his interaction with Grace help define his character in the time available. The joy of life shown by the Doctor in the outdoor scenes is too very well done and then there is the kiss. Actually done very well, this slots well into the film and does not interrupt the flow, as Doctor Who goes this should really feel like it cuts across the gain, and yet it doesn’t. McGann’s Doctor carries it off well and it is very chaste and acceptable. The Doctor is now half human, and again, I find this acceptable even though I had always been under the impression that unless told otherwise, he was fully alien. But the calm of the story starts to fall away and the action theme starts to settle in. There is the memorable glass scene which I can never forget because as an eleven year old it was so effective. The “By midnight tonight this planet will be pulled inside out” line is delivered perfectly and with excellent gravitas.

When the Doctor and Grace are trying to escape the Master and Lee there is the confrontation with the policeman. At this moment the Doctor manages to get the gun off him but unlike so many American heroes he threatens to turn the gun upon himself. One can only thank that this was done, as the Doctor threatening someone innocent with a gun would have been a far greater transgression than the kiss. The motor bike sequence is completely unnecessary but is still fun but this rather makes the film into action, which Doctor Who is not really about in that way. In the Institute forTechnological and Advanced Research (How many times have I seen this film?) we get more of the friendly banter between Grace and the Doctor as they fit into the crowd while trying to steal the chip. At his point was another new development for the Doctor, the ability for him to be able to sense someone’s future, the point of this is unclear and just seems to be there to make the Doctor appear more alien.

The last part of the film takes place in the TARDIS. At this point I mention the Master and Chang Lee. Eric Roberts plays the Master, and he is given the opportunity to play the Master his way. This Master is not another Delgado clone, and really that seems a more realistic idea, I like the Roberts’ Master but he should have lost the coat because the Terminator idea falls in too much with the motorbike chase making it appear like a copy. The dialogue for the Master is very over the top and the delivery of the lines clearly shows that Roberts was having far too much fun doing the part. This new Master seems to relish death and generally having rather a lot of fun making his way through the film. I don’t mind this, but I can see why others dislike it. The character of Chang Lee never really leaves much impression as an individual and seems to follow along with the Master until the ending. At no point is he even bothered by his friends getting killed at the beginning of the film which is more than a little odd.

The final scenes set in the TARDIS are effective as the Master attempts to take the Doctor’s lives (somehow…) and the final battle between him and the Doctor over the eye of harmony are very well done. The Doctor does offer the Master his hand, not much but it is inkeeping with his character. The only part of this film that I have never really managed to swallow is the idea of the TARDIS bringing Lee and Grace back to life. The film would be better served by them not actually dying but only being stunned as they were in the novelisation. At the end of the film Lee leaves and the Doctor kisses Grace goodbye, gratuitous maybe but it is a warmer and more realistic departing of two characters than in many other Doctor Who stories. And then it’s all over, too soon the eighth Doctor comes to an end, we would have to wait years before audios were to appear, books were written but never the same as being on TV. The movie was more than most could expect, it actually feeds into continuity unlike more other proposals, and it did keep the flame alight, as Segal put it, for that night, because without it we would probably never have seen the merchandise we see now, the books, CDs and probably not even the new series. And as a last note, the thump on the console to get the TARDIS to start - that counts for a lot, this isn’t the perfect starship enterprise, it’s Doctor Who!

FILTER: - Television - Eighth Doctor

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Tuesday, 13 July 2004 - Reviewed by Kathryn Young

It was 1996 and the Beeb had sold Doctor Who to the Americans. No don’t start to cry. It turned out pretty ok for all concerned. Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor dies and Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor is born. In the story he battles to save himself and the Earth from the Master (yes there wasn’t all that much plot but that never stopped Doctor Who before so be quiet).

It was lovely…

I remember when it came out. I think I might have wept a bit. That poncy bloke with the long hair didn’t grab me at all (forgive me, I was young, foolish and had never read an EDA). I missed Sylvester as the Doctor like the dickens and the idea of having an American Master was just too scary to contemplate. However, I found that just like green alien slime from the Earth’s core, this story grows on you (but fortunately doesn’t turn you into a hideous slavering monster).

The Beginning Sequence: Now no matter what you may think of the rest of the movie, the first three minutes of the film did have a certain allure…

For one there was Paul McGann’s accent: I once had a boss who was a Scousy (from Liverpool) and he had a lovely way of speaking – ‘Youwngiee. Geart hinto dat barr n peurr maei a vodka an doon gi mei ani gip’ - so there must be a little something in me that just loves Paul’s knockdown: Liverpool meets RADA accent. And Paul is so serious about it all. By the time he got through to the ‘it was a request they never should have granted’ bit from the introduction I was in stitches.

Then there was the music: Someone was asking what stupid silly small thing makes Doctor Who spesh for you. And I have to admit I used to have a total wobbly every time I heard the seventh Doc ‘turn table techno’ (and I still do). However this music is much more dramatic and serious. Even now after eight years I am still going – ‘yes yes yes – Doctor Who is back and he is going to kick Dalek butt’ before I remember that that was all along time ago and sadly it never happened. But this music is the sort of stuff that gets men across the Delaware. 

All in all it was a great beginning. The only down side I think was that they hired the chipmunks to voice the Daleks, but it is good to see Alvin and the gang getting some work.

Next we come to good old Syl:

Sylvester McCoy looks like a complete tosser in this movie? Now I love Sylvester and have my axe always handy for those namby pamby little cowards who think it is cool to pick on the little fellow with the silly jumper, but I am going to do a Janet Fielding and say: ‘Whart was thart on hs haird?. Thairt haire kut dowes nowt soot heim’. However there was a trade off in the fact that finally Syl was free of John Nathan Turner and his John Nathan Turneresque views on fashion: So no question mark jumper. 

But Sylvester does play an integral part in this movie. He came from England – all the way across the Atlantic – to fall into some bin bags and die so that Paul McGann could take over the mantle. And, seriously folks – it was a lovely gesture. If ever there was a testament to how much Doctor Who means to people, it is a plucky little Scottish git traveling five thousand miles to ‘do what he thought was right’ by Doctor Who. And that also makes this film spesh.

The Companions:

I admit I never really warmed to Grace. Yes she looked good in that blue dress and she has nice taste in music, but she seemed so boring – the cardigan of companions if you like. She wasn’t popping out all over the place (and I don’t mean out to the shop) like Peri, she wasn’t totally obnoxious like Tegan, she wasn’t a total wierdo like Turlough, she just ‘was’. I can theorise it would be a very hard brief for an American actor to get lumbered with the job of being the Doctor’s companion. Because of the unique origins of Doctor Who the whole concept might seem very alien (if you will pardon the pun) to your average American Daphne who has grown up on a diet of Leave it to Beaver and The A Team…

‘So there is this guy who travels the universe in a phone booth accompanied by chicks who have a propensity to scream and sprain their ankle a lot… and every planet he visits looks like a quarry.’

She must have wondered ‘now how exactly do I play this one’? If the series had continued I can just imagine the poor woman asking the director ‘so how do I react to the giant space frog again?’ However the upshot of this is she just tends to act totally bemused as she tries to cope with this bizarre Englishman who has inserted himself and about thirty years of baggage and in jokes into her life. The look on her face after the Doctor has done his ‘these shoes, they fit perfectly’ spiel is worthy of any good cartoon character and almost does a Tom Baker ‘lets break the fourth wall’ - and that bit alone makes the film worth while. But when she is not playing ‘oh dear this is all too much, I need a couple of asprin and a good lie down’ she might surprise you… 

Chang Lee. Finally someone to make Nyssa’s acting look credible (even good). And even now I still have an abiding hatred for his cod awful jacket. His performance in this movie is a living testament as to why drama school is a good thing.

Anthony Ainley he is not:

‘My name is not Honey’ – wow. No offence to Eric, but he was just odd. Maybe it was the script – ‘I must have the Doctor’s body, I need to explain the plot – right now’. Maybe it was the high heels. Maybe it was the leather outfit: I have never ever seen a paramedic dressed as Neo from the Matrix. All the ones I have seen have stethoscopes and comfy clothes. And this annoyed me. Here we have this guy who looks like he has escaped from (insert suitable dark tv show or movie) and no one in the story notices a thing. I realise he has to be a bit menacing, but Anthony Ainley managed to do it with a few laughs and all while wearing crushed velvet pantaloons. Why does this guy have to go the full bondage? But to be fair Eric does some seriously evil smiling and just like Jack Nicholson at the Oscars he wears his sunglasses in inappropriate places.


I cannot believe they named the ambulance man whose body the Master nicks Bruce. I am sorry, but you cannot have a character in a serious drama (or even a sci fi) called Bruce. It is soo Monty Python territory. I reckon Eric hated it as well – first chance he gets he explicitly states he ‘is not Bruce’.

These shoes… They fit perfectly

There is a theory in drama. All you need is one really good bit and people will remember that, forget the crap bits and go away raving. Actually that is not really a theory. I just made it up. However it is true. Whenever I think about this movie I always remember the park scene. People complain that McGann was ‘The Doctor Lite’ - the diet cola of Doctors, and so forth, but you can’t always be a planet destroying sad sack can you? Sometimes you have to take pleasure in the little things that make being the Doctor so much fun, ie Shoes and having it off with Lalla behind the catering van during the filming of City of Death... that sort of thing.

And that brings us to Paul McGann…

I am going to say I thought he was wonderful. But then again I would probably watch a half hour show of Paul McGann reading the newspaper. I think McGann was as gobsmacked as everyone else was when he landed the role. He is not – erm – anything like any Doctor we had had before. When you think that here is a Scousy boy with a shaved head dressed up as a Victorian ponce with a long haired wig, even if you don’t agree with his interpretation of the Doc, you have to say that this boy can act. 

The Puzzling Bits…

Get that boy to an optometrist:

Every so often in the movie we see things from the ‘Doctor’s perspective’. Now either that guy was totally smashed for the whole movie or he has a serious eye problem. It looked as if he was seeing the world from the bottom of a vodka bottle. People would lurch in and out of his line of sight with an alarming randomness. No wonder he couldn’t pilot the TARDIS all those years – HE COULD’T SEE THE BLIKNIN BUTTONS! Judging by this film it is a wonder he could even find the door. But this does explain why the poor boy was so skittish for half of the movie. You wold be a bit worried if everyone was coming towards you like zombies from a bad Hammer horror movie too!

Fanwank carried to the ludicrous:

Where did he get the jelly babies from? I realise this is an important bit of total fanwank for the British creators, but not only did the sudden appearance of a bag of jelly babies have no relevance to an unsuspecting American public, it made no sense. The man did not even have shoes! How did he acquire a bag of anachronistic sweets? Did he pop out to the sweet shop before or after he realised he had medical probe inserted into his chest? Any why didn’t he notice that probe before anyway. I really think I would pick up on a piece of ‘primitive wiring’ stuck in my chest – right away! Are sweet shops even open at nine PM on New Years Eve in San Francisco? Did he make Grace stop off at a Seven Eleven on the way home to pick some up? 

San Francisco was awfully flat. I swear remember reading something about hills in Tales of the City?


If I had one chance to go back in time… I’d go back and do something to Rosanne Barr. Not that I have anything against her personally, but every time I watch this movie I am saddened at what might have been. The pilot was never picked up because it went up against a very emotional episode of Rosanne and failed to get the ratings it needed. It would have strange. It would have been different. For some it would have never been as good as the old series. But it sadly did not ever get a chance to ‘be’ anything. 

The DVD bit:

The DVD I have has some groovy extras. There are some interviews with Syl being his normal diplomatic self and trying to explain it all for the unsuspecting American public – there’s this bloke and he travels through time and space in a big blue box… no really… it’s good’. 

There is also a great interview with Paul McGann saying how he wouldn’t go near a Doctor Who convention even if you super glued him to a Dalek, cos the fans are just too scary (just what had Syl been telling him, from what I heard Syl was the driving force behind that pool party). 

Sometimes I wonder about McGann. Here is this big Scousy dude terrified of a bunch of people who like to dress up like the Doctor and discuss telesnaps…. Ummm, how bad did you think it was going to get? Fortunately now he does do the odd convention and will continue to do them as, so far, no one has leapt on him yet and frightened him off (Actually I think they just took him out for afternoon tea and fed him cinnamon buns). 

The bloke who does this commentary has the wit of Oscar Wilde’s turnip (but not the interesting turnip shaped like a thingy). 

Why this movie is important:

Simply for the fact that if you pick up an Eighth Doctor Adventure story you will see Paul McGann’s face slathered across it. A lot of people will say that the Eighth Doctor is a literary creation, but I reckon it would be nice to see the bloke who inspired it all – eh?

‘These shoes… they fit perfectly’

And besides, he is a lovely Doctor.

FILTER: - Television - Eighth Doctor