Having thoroughly enjoyed the return of the 5th Doctor in ‘Time Crash’, I celebrated the almost-New-Year by watching the 7th and 8th Doctors in ‘The TV Movie‘. I can’t help but appreciate the camp humour and Hollywood-style entertainment delivered in this extended slice of fun. I know, from the audio adventures, that Paul McGann certainly has what it takes to make a great Time Lord.
I watched the full uncut version on this occasion, for the first time since the original release in 1996. The full cut contains some more bullets and a morbid final scream from the dying 7th Doctor, on the operating table, but I fail to understand what all the fuss was about and why the TV censors chose to enforce the changes. The TV Movie contains many of the elements of the series to come – like the Doctor’s encouragable name dropping, the moments of passionate romance, and even the hand-in-hand run with Grace that mirrors the 9th Doctor and Rose running across the bridge in ‘Rose‘. The Master continues to use and dispose of anyone assisting – or obstructing – him with customary indifference… Mrs Saxon should feel relieved she didn’t go the way of Bruce’s wife.
Certain elements necessitate the interests of a fan boy to make any sense… You can forgive the half-human element if you accept the line when the Doctor tells Grace he could choose to change his species upon regeneration and that the 7th Doctor had drifted far enough from humanity to want to make an enforced return to something less otherworldly. It was he who chose to give up his Time Lord existence within the pages of ‘Human Nature‘, while the 8th Doctor would later become completely human in the New Adventure novels of the BBC. On the other hand, parts make complete sense and don’t need excuse now that Russell has delivered three seasons. The TARDIS restoring Chang Lee and Grace to life closely resembles the restoration of Captain Jack by ‘Bad Wolf’ Rose and the miraculous return of the Doctor in ‘Last of the Time Lords‘ – so, why not… Nothing out of the ordinary there.
Flawed at heart and a failed pilot, The TV Movie nevertheless delivers a hefty dose of high entertainment, complete with a breathtaking TARDIS makeover and a fine new Doctor. I can but hope that Russell T Davies will do the right thing and give us a televised glimpse of the 8th Doctor and the role he played in the Time War. I’m sure Paul McGann would relish finally having the chance to tread the boards as the Time Lord again and get the chance, at last, to continue the tradition of taking part in the regeneration sequence. No need for Chris to participate – now that we have a recognizable regeneration special effect, we just need the 8th Doctor to make some great sacrifice and suffer a mortal injury… then mid-regeneration, cut back to the 10th Doctor recounting the tale to Donna (or Martha… or whoever!).