Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: The TV Movie

In the Doctor Who television movie, the seventh Doctor is forced to land in San Francisco when the Master takes over the TARDIS. And then the Doctor is shot and then he dies and then he regenerates (into a rather fantastic new incarnation) and then everything is weird and then what. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch the Doctor Who television movie.

WELL, THAT WAS STRANGE. Before I lapse into my List To End All Lists, I wanted to talk a bit about this movie as a whole. I don’t think it’s very good, all said, but I didn’t hate it. You know, had this been given a good script and not been full of so many glaring abnormalities or horrific lines, I don’t think it would have been very far from any old Doctor Who holiday special. In fact, it sort of felt like that for me, that I was just watching an old special that was just…poorly written? No, seriously, most of this script was pretty darn awful.

But I have to say, before I split this review up, that Paul McGann is the Doctor, and there wasn’t a single moment of his portrayal that wasn’t an indicator that he was meant to play the eight incarnation of this iconic character. If there’s anything here to redeem this slight abomination, it’s him. I know so many of us saw this movie for the first time on Saturday and I loved the moment when McGann made the comment about his shoes fitting and it felt like a hundred of us simultaneously went, “OH MY GOD, THIS IS THE DOCTOR.” And that was a beautiful, beautiful thing.

So, starting off on this positive note, let me launch into a list of other things that I enjoyed about this particular movie.


  • For being filmed in Vancouver, I have to say that I was impressed with how San Francisco this all felt. (I have a nitpick about this very thing, but I’ll get to that later.) And despite that I’ve only lived here in the bay for eight months, the locations were ambiguous enough for me to notice that they weren’t glaring mistakes, but also characteristic enough to make me believe this was San Francisco we were seeing.
  • Paul McGann. PAUL MCGANN! I don’t need to say anything more.
  • I love that it’s clear this is a continuation of the series, instead of a reboot, because we here in America are big fans of ruining absolutely everything in our own uniquely imperialistic way. So, while there is a whole lot of awful, I loved that this is the eighth Doctor, I love that Sylvester McCoy starts things off, I love the expectation of knowledge present in a great deal of the story, and I love how many things that are staples of Doctor Who are left unexplained to anyone who may have come to this movie with zero knowledge as to what this is all about. I think that’s why this all feels like a special instead of a wholly separate entity.
  • THE DOCTOR IS STILL BRITISH. Am I a douche because I would feel slightly betrayed if a Doctor was chosen and the actor or actress wasn’t British? I DON’T EVEN LIVE IN GREAT BRITAIN.
  • Ugh, the Doctor’s choice of wardrobe in this movie is ~stunning.~ It’s weird and completely anachronistic and yet EVERY SECOND OF IT WORKS.
  • The theme music was rather great, too!
  • I actually like that the movie opens with a reference to the Daleks, but then doesn’t ever address them again. I don’t feel like you should ever start with the Daleks if you’re going to introduce someone new to Doctor Who.
  • Ok, it’s weird, and I do have complaints about it, but I kind of like the design of the TARDIS in the movie. It is MUCH bigger than usual on the inside and has….lots of rooms? Like, holy shit, it has so many fucking rooms. Which is kind of neat to be able to see? I know the Eleventh Doctor spoke openly in “The Eleventh Hour” about the existence of a swimming pool in the TARDIS, so clearly other Doctors know just how large the TARDIS is on the inside. Basically, I think I’ve always wanted to see more of the TARDIS, so despite the other shit I didn’t like about the TARDIS, I appreciated the chance to see so much more of it.
  • I like the idea that sometimes the Doctor just sits in the TARDIS and reads. Seriously.
  • PAUL MCGANN. Ugh, I cannot praise him enough and I cannot wait to start listening to the Big Finnish audio plays with him in them. I JUST WANT MORE OF THE EIGHTH DOCTOR, OK?

Well, I have to do it, and you better buckle in. This is going to be lengthy.


  • I know I’m the millionth to say it, but Eric Roberts as the Master……NO. NOPE. NOT AT ALL. NOT INTO IT, NOT EVEN FOR ONE SECOND. And since when could Time Lords turn into goo and possess people? UGH. NO.
  • No one ever, in the history of everything, would keep a diary LISTING THEIR AGE ON THE COVER. I know that’s supposed to be a clever nod to the longevity of the series and how long the Doctor’s been around, but it’s so laughably bad.
  • Chang Lee. Perhaps the most confusing character to ever grace film? Why was his face so giddy half the time? And who seriously believes another person based entirely on BAGS OF GOLD DUST. Like, if someone offered me a bag of gold dust, I would laugh in their face because WHO CARRIES AROUND BAGS OF GOLD DUST. No, but seriously, I do not understand his character or the way he is portrayed AT ALL.
  • “Where we’re taking him, he better be rich.” WHO SAYS THAT KIND OF SHIT IN AN AMBULANCE.
  • What kind of person stays in a relationship with someone who is a surgeon, yet the mere act of being called in to work to save someone’s life IS WORTHY OF BREAKING UP WITH THEM. Like, if you decided to be my boyfriend (hhhhhaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy), but you hated people who spent more than an hour on the computer a day….WHY WOULD YOU EVEN GET INVOLVED WITH ME. THAT’S WHAT I DO.
  • On that note, what kind of surgery ward allows you to play classical music very loudly during a procedure?
  • At no point does it ever seem to be acknowledged that Dr. Grace ACTUALLY KILLED THE SEVENTH DOCTOR. It wasn’t just a “mistake.” She killed him! Why is no one on the staff at all aware of this????
  • San Francisco is very white, sure, but even this movie goes JUST A BIT TOO FAR in terms of displaying it as nothing but white people who are rich and go to galas. Oh, and then there are gangs with guns who shoot at people all willy nilly in Chinatown? What?
  • I didn’t like the regeneration scene. Sorry!
  • I don’t like “Get-On-My-Knees-And-Yell-To-The-Heavens” scenes. Not even the Doctor can pull those off.
  • When Grace was dialing for an ambulance to come pick her and the Doctor up, I commented, “NO ONE DIALS THE PHONE THAT FAST.” I’m sticking to that.
  • Watching Chang Lee and the Master realize they were in an ambulance MANY, MANY MINUTES AFTER THEY FIRST GOT INTO IT WAS SO RIDICULOUS. I almost felt like whomever wrote that part realized it, too. “Oh, hey, they’re in an ambulance, I can use that to get them out of the traffic jam!” AND THEN THEY WROTE THAT PROCESS INTO THE FUCKING SCRIPT. Oh my god.
  • “No family, no gangs….ONLY DEATH.” Literally the worst written line in the history of every language ever.
  • I have to repeat myself. We watched Grace kill the seventh Doctor because she couldn’t deal with a wire camera. And then the Eighth Doctor assigns her to re-wire the TARDIS. FYI, THAT IS AN AWFUL IDEA.
  • Hey, nanogenes! Nice of you to show up in a brilliant dues ex machina to bring back Chang and Grace.
  • No, really, the entire closing 15 minutes of this movie MAKE NO SENSE TO ME. Where was the Master hiding his Time Lord outfit????????
  • How on earth did the Doctor basically romance Grace? I’M ALL FOR EXPLORING THE DOCTOR’S SEXUALITY, but there was LITERALLY no exposition for their relationship. They were just…making out? The end?

A last note unrelated to all of this: Time Lords have twelve regenerations available? Is this canon??? So that would mean we have….two more Doctors left before the end of the show forever?

Anyway, next Monday, I’ll be reviewing the very first serial of Doctor Who, “An Unearthly Child.” And tomorrow, I start Avatar: The Last Airbender. Excite!!!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Classic Who, Doctor Who and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

273 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: The TV Movie

  1. Stephen_M says:

    Oops, sorry, think I just double posted, any chance a mod could delete the second one? Sooooory

  2. Sea says:

    <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  3. FlameRaven says:

    As I understand it, Time Lords were stated to have only 12 regenerations, but this was some kind of limit imposed by the Time Lords when they were around, and they didn't seem all that opposed to breaking it for their own purposes even then. At least, I've seen one mention of a Time Lord being brought back after his limit of regenerations for their own purposes.

    It seems to be generally agreed-on though that they are likely to completely ignore this limit for New Who, and that it was put in place originally because NO ONE expected the show to continue for the 40+ years that it did. They'll probably explain it away with "Oh, well, Time Lords aren't around anymore, their rules don't apply" and we'll get like Doctor 15 or 20 or whatever and no one will complain.

    • E.L.S.O.S. says:

      It better not be that hand-wavey! I was always under the impression that you were born a Gallifrian (Gallifreian?) but you had to go to the academy to become a Time Lord. And if this is some sort of Time Lord 'rule' it's a kind of weird and shitty one. If Time Lords can regenerate infinitely, then why did they pick 12 as the limit? And what happens if you tried to regenerate a 14th time? Would they be all, 'LOL srry! We murder you nows!'

      Now I think that the 12 regenerations rule is going to be broken, but I want a dramatic rule breaking that makes more sense then saying that the rule doesn't apply anymore!

      • allonsy10 says:

        I would think that they'd be like exiled or there'd be some punishment. Dunno about killing them, but I don' think that its completely ludicrous to think that they would just think that's the best length of time for some reason.

      • RJM says:

        I read a story on where the 12 regeneration was imposed because if you tried to come back more than that, things started to go wrong, like your entire head turning into a giant eyeball. I immediately adopted it as my personal canon. (Dammit, what was the author's pseud? Pencil something.)

    • Avit says:

      A race of immortal beings? No wonder they put the regen limit in place. Although I guess if the Doctor goes on being the Last of the Time Lords, overpopulation won't really be a problem. Won't even he eventually run out of brain space to store all those memories, though? Or will he simply overwrite the older files as he runs out of space? Truly, a question for the seekers of immortality to ponder.

    • Stephanie says:

      In the SJA, Eleven makes a mention that he can regenerate 500 times. This caused a huge uproar that they changed canon in a throwoff line in a spin off. There's really no way they're limiting it to 12 Doctors, though.

      • Zac says:

        actually RTD claimed he was joking with that one.
        and the master actually used up his regenerations around the time of the 3rd doctor. but on at least one occasion he made a deal for more. Regenerations are pretty loose in Who

    • Matt says:

      What everyone forgets about this supposedly fixed regeneration limit is that the story which introduced it was actually all about finding ways around it. Eric Roberts' Master is, depending on how you calculate it, at least the 14th incarnation, with Simm being the 16th, and possibly even higher.

    • NotTheSauce says:

      So in the original series it was said the Doctor can regenerate 12 times, meaning we can have 13 versions of the Doctor before they deal with it somehow. I want them to address this in a non-handwavey way; and it's already set up – in one old episode, the Master reaches his 13th incarnation, and is expected to die, but he cheats somehow (magic, or aliens, or something; I can't quite remember). It made him a bad person somehow, at the time, but I'm sure that's fixable.
      If they could roll with the continuity and make sure they don't let the doctor stop (because OH GOD NO MORE NU WHO) but at least address it, I would be happy 😀

  4. Parzival says:

    A couple notes –

    The whole "900 year diary" thing is, to be fair, a direct reference to the Second Doctor's 500 Year Diary from the 60s.

    As for the Doctor's regenerations, yes, Time Lords do only get 12 regenerations under ordinary circumstances, but the Master is at least four bodies past his final life, and was offered a whole new regeneration cycle by the Time Lords in exchange for doing their bidding. So it's a rule that can definitely be broken.

    As for the movie, I have to say, with McGann's sensational performance and the beautiful cinematography and generally excellent direction, it's very, very watchable. The incoherent, poorly written script keeps it from being GOOD, but it's not too difficult to sit through.

    • Mary Sue says:

      My brain canon says that regenerations were a finite resource parceled out by the Time Lords. So now that there's just the one Time Lord, he gets all the regenerations.

  5. Sparkie says:

    I don't know if there are any Big Finnish Audio plays…maybe try Swedish ones?

  6. Radagast says:

    "A last note unrelated to all of this: Time Lords have twelve regenerations available? Is this canon??? So that would mean we have….two more Doctors left before the end of the show forever?"

    It's touched on in a couple previous stories, but the understandin is it's a limit imposed by the TImelords on themselves.

    Given there are no more Timelords to enforce that limit, I think we'll be OK.

    • Yeah, I think they mentioned something on Sarah Jane about the lack of time lords means the no one will enforce the rule and the doctor can live forever.

  7. Oh god, I'm logged in now. Fuck yeah. All that aside,I am so happy you enjoyed the Eighth Doctor. He's siriusly my favorite. My boyfriend is all big into 4, but 8 is awesome.


  8. nextboy says:

    marklistens?? Yes! I’ve only heard Paul mcgann’s but some of them are brilliant. I’d list some favourites but that might be spoilers now! Excited by this

  9. Bilbo-sama says:

    Derp, I meant 953. Me pay attention gud. :/

    • GrrSong says:

      It's generally accepted, I think, that the Doctor is somewhat uncertain about how old he is. From the word of Moffat himself!

  10. GrrSong says:

    Indeed, the 12 regenerations thing is canon – it was established back in the days of Four. But there are ways to circumvent it apparently. Just look at the Master. The Time Lords seemed to be able to grant extra lives and stuff somehow. So who knows how many more live the Doctor will have!

    It's also unclear if the regeneration that created Handy actually counts as one of his regenerations or not. Only time will tell…

    The theme music is based on the so called "middle eight" part of the theme, which is more usually heard in the end credits of various series.

  11. liliaeth says:


    Uhm I might have to rewatch the movie, and this might be the cleaning woman in me talking, but unless there's an evacuation going on, chances are you'd just ignore whatever the hell's going on and hope to get your work done so you can go home…. (that and hoping that people won't walk through your work while you're still dealing with a wet floor. Nothing's more annoying than that. )

  12. My boyfriend was watching 4 the other night, and he was in his 400's I think. But given the current Doctor is only supposed to be 905 years old… I dunno.

    I think that the show runners need to address this shit. It always confuses me.

    • Bilbo-sama says:

      It was either RTD or Moffat who said that the Doctor is not sure how old he is anymore so he decided to start at 900.

      Either that or he's deflating his real age on purpose.

  13. Albion19 says:



  14. NyssaOfTraken says:

    The interesting thing about the 12 regenerations thing is that the very first story to mention this is all about *breaking* that limit.

  15. ldwy says:

    I watched the first episode of Avatar today to get ready! So excited!!

  16. Oh shit… why aren't there edit buttons?

    • Albion19 says:

      Because I replied to you.

      I've been dying to mention that matter for weeks but spoilers :\

    • Openattheclose says:

      No worries. I fixed it for you.

      • echinodermata says:

        Have you seen ATLA? Are you going to get spoiled by reported comments? (Also mod comment-editing remains creepy to me)

        • Openattheclose says:

          I'll be following along with Mark. I'm not too worried about being spoiled, but I am worried about being able to tell what is and isn't a spoiler, so hopefully people will be vigilant with the report button.

          (I don't like to do it, but since the OP asked for an edit, I thought it was better than making them lose their whole post)

  17. jackiep says:

    Ah, the 13 lives thing. First introduced in The Deadly Assassin and often referenced since. Also resulted in a bit of a brain bender in another serial (I won't name it, much more fun if you come across it without anticipating this one) which implied either that there were at least 5 Doctors before what was clearly the first one (from The Three Doctors etc., etc.) or else the Doctor was making it up (equally possible).

    From time to time, it was variously suggested that this was either a) an absolute limit beyond which there was no appeal of b) a limit imposed by the Time Lords who could choose under special circumstances to tinker with it (e.g. offering somebody a whole new regeneration cycle, presumably of 13 more lives).

    So that fact that we're now on Doctor 11 (or 12 if David Tennant's comment that technically he seems to have been both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors is taken in any way seriously) this limit (so long away when Doctor 4 was on the scene) might become a plot point. But then it was handwaved away in the Sarah Jane Adventures, so your guess is as good as mine.

    Ah yes, the Movie. I threw a foam brick at my tv screen when it was first aired, I was so disappointed. We were promised Doctor Who on a big budget. What we got was a strange hybrid of something which might almost be a bad episode of Doctor Who where at least half of those involved in the script really didn't get it at all and tried to make it a conventional quirky alien gets the girl movie. But then considering the abominable plot options which the earlier drafts of the script tried, we got off lightly (The Doctor being the secret son of Rassillon? Seriously?????).

    The two Doctors involved (Seven alas but brief and Eight when he started to get his marbles together) were great, but oh dear the rest… Strangely Eric Roberts was at his best when he was the grammar police and when he (over)dressed for the occasion.

    You need to see more of Seven, may I recommend The Curse of Fenric? He had a shaky first season but then really started to do things with the part which was very good, despite the no budget and some dodgy scripts. Failing that, try Ghostlight so we can all enjoy the keysmashes along with you.

  18. NyssaOfTraken says:

    Mark mentioned the theme arrangement, so I thought this audio link might be of interest. It's a fan made mix of all the theme arrangements from An Unearthly Child to The End of Time.

  19. NB2000 says:

    I may have forgotten to come up with a comment for this so it's time to improvise.

    So, that was the first time I'd rewatched that movie in a while and…yeah I'd forgotten just how stupid a lot of it is. Eight and that TARDIS set are pretty much the only redeeming things about it. It really is amazing how spot on Paul McGann is, his one and only appearance and he's pretty much perfect. I've said it before and this won't be the last time but it's seriously unfair that he only got this one, cheesey mess of a movie.

    This TARDIS interior is tied with Eleven's for my favourite. The big steampunk arches over the console (which I totally believe were the inspiration for the fake TARDIS set in The Lodger) and the completely random, but so pretty, Gothic staircase and windows in the Eye of Harmony room (all the better for posing dramatically on). That said, the portrayal of the TARDIS itself fills me with so much dismay. STOP OPENING DOORS FOR CHANG LEE! He believes what the Master is telling him, clearly not someone that should be trusted near the power source of a machine that could rip the universe apart. Just saying.

    Something I hadn't thought of until this liveblog. Back in the Last of the Time Lords comments we were talking about how bad an idea it would have been to have the Master stay on the TARDIS after what he'd done to it (and that she'd have just screwed with him the whole time). After seeing him mess about with her power source in this movie I'm now even more convinced that there's no way he'd last more than a few hours before conveniently falling out of the doors into space.

    • NB2000 says:

      At no point does it ever seem to be acknowledged that Dr. Grace ACTUALLY KILLED THE SEVENTH DOCTOR. It wasn’t just a “mistake.” She killed him! Why is no one on the staff at all aware of this????

      Good god THIS! Grace gets away with killing the Doctor, Chang Lee not only gets away with helping the Master he actually gets to walk away with bags of gold. What is going on here? Neither of them get called out on their screw ups.

      Basically, I'll just repeat my last comment from the liveblog: what a cheesey, crack-filled mess. Eight you deserved better.

      ETA: Read the whole post before commenting next time NB! Yay for the "An Unearthly Child" review! finally a Classic serial I've seen! I've skipped the posts for the others because I'm trying to make myself watch them all in order (not very successfully if I'm honest). But this one I've seen! I can join in! Yay!

  20. echinodermata says:

    I think this movie is mostly fun and ridiculous. If you ignore the plot (granted it's a big if), and you accept the Master as one of the most camp villains ever written, then it's easy enough to embrace. I love Eight's enthusiasm for life, and his general energy, and his clothes, and his hair, and pretty much everything about him, even if he sometimes acts creepy. Time Lords: never down with human etiquette. I think Grace is a cheesy and obvious character, but I like her anyway. I love how in awe she is when she realized he has two hearts. I love that she's ready to run around with a stranger. I love her gown even if it is ridiculous.

    When you accept the movie as cheese, then the weird Master snake thing is something to laugh at, and the bad effects are amusing, and the lack of logic and sense of the plot is funny. I think the look of the TARDIS interior right at the beginning sets up the fact that this movie is not meant to be anything but cheese. And it's Doctor Who, so that's fine. Perhaps I wouldn't be saying that if at some point I had to think this would be the last Doctor Who I would ever get, but in the context of watching this movie as another part of classic Who, I think it's a rather endearing movie, if poorly written.

    All that being said, Asian people are restaurant owners and gang members, and kill the Doctor, and stupidly plot with the Master and be generally poorly written. And then die. And come back to life in a total ass-pull. I had cringed at the beginning of the movie with the gang, but was willing to hold my reservations given that Lee seemed to be a main character, but he's also a badly written character who doesn't really do much except act as a plot device, so. Not impressed.

    And yet, I've seen worse, and this movie clearly looks dated, so it's easier for me to write it off as laziness and ignorance and bad writing combining in a way to give a pretty bad impression to me, rather than me RAGING at the world.

    All in all, I love Eight and I really do wish for McGann to come back to Who in a multi-Doctor story sometime. And I'm glad he's been acknowledged in new Who because even if the movie isn't popular, he's quite an awesome Doctor.

    AVATAR TOMORROW! So excited! I have to admit I was a little grumpyface when Sherlock meant ATLA was going to be delayed.

  21. If you have the DVD, they have Paul McGann;s screen test where they sorta get out the whole half human thing and then say he's the Master's brother… which I can be happy that they did not do.

    And the tailor made perfect companion… Grace. She's just so… perfect. It's like an older Rose. I have come to terms with Grace, but she still irks my nerves sometimes.

    And… I AGREE about how 7 dies. Worst Doctor death ever. They had McCoy, they could have done something fantastic… but a gang shooting? Great way to make it American, Fox.

  22. slharrop says:


    Seriously, this is true truth and intensely bugged me, because yes, Doctor #7 definitely had more survival instinct than any other five doctors put together. I adored the calculating S.o.B. right down to his red question mark handled umbrella.

  23. NB2000 says:

    (although Rose has three direct-cause entries against her name so still leads the all time ‘more trouble than they’re worth’ chart)

    The Parting of the Ways, The Stolen Earth…I'm drawing a blank what was the third one?

  24. Stephen_M says:

    Oh and one little confession… this movie, as silly as it is, does bring a tear to the eye once, just once. This is more-or-less a direct result of New Who making such a big deal about the best ship in the universe but… the moment when Grace jump starts the TARDIS and we hear the engines wheeze back into life does get me. As if she’d ever let him down…

  25. thefireandthehearth says:


    Anyway, back to the movie! I'll admit, it's sort of fun in it's campy way. Paul McGann makes every second he's on screen bearable, even when he's in stupid bondage gear. (Obligatory "Bring Back McGann for a Mult-Doctor Storyline NAO, Moffat!" comment) I love the look of the TARDIS; the slightly steam-punk/retro style works for the Doctor, and I remember being a little sad when it wasn't at all like that in "Rose". But it grates on my teeth a little that they killed this badass-

    <img src=""&gt;
    (did you know that's actually a CMOA for both the character and the actor? McCoy hadn't known the explosion was going to be so big- he'd been told they were going to add it with special effects afterword. But something went wrong! So McCoy, epic human being and well-versed in pyrotechnics, did an actual unflinching walk, knowing they couldn't afford a second take.)

    -off in such a silly way. Why wouldn't he check BEFORE stepping out of the TARDIS? Argh. And why did no one address the fact that Grace killed him?

    The Master just… awful. Even more awful than Crispy!Master, and Crispy was fairly irritating. Where was that suave, insane man we'd come to know and love? Grace was really, really annoying, and Lee was just… sort of there to be show that San Fransisco wasn't all white? IDK. I tend to think that the TARDIS didn't really like him, but was suffering from the script. There's really no other explanation. Poor thing couldn't have been having a fun time

    The gold dust thing- you get to learn something about Old!Who! Gold is/was one of the Cybermen's biggest weaknesses. Can't remember if that carried over to the NuWho, but now you know.

    Like I said, I kind of love this movie, but it could have been so much better. And you have to remember, you're looking at it through the eyes of someone who knows that after the movie, the show will come back (and quite awesomely). Back in the day, people genuinely thought this might be the last of Doctor Who. Imagine the movie as the finale to the show and it takes a sad turn.

    But ATLA! Tomorrow! I can't wait to see your reactions.

    • Kaybee42 says:

      Seven is such a fucking bad ass. So much love for him!! (And Ace too 😀 Ace was mezzin!)

    • GrrSong says:

      Which serial is that gif from? I want to see more classic who, and that looks like a good one to see Seven in!

      • thefireandthehearth says:

        It's part of Seven's Season 25 run, called "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy". To be honest, it's nowhere near Seven's best story, though it is fairly entertaining. If you want a really good Seven story, I'd suggest "Remembrance of the Daleks", which really, really awesome. Terrifying Daleks, the Doctor being his amazing and manipulative self, and it heavily features one of my favorite companions, Ace, kicking so much ass. I believe it can be watched here.

  26. Anon says:

    Paul McGann is my favorite Doctor after the tie that is Nine/Ten, and that has nothing to do with this movie. I love Paul McGann because of the Big Finish audio plays, well worth checking out they are really well done. The first one is called Storm Warning and it's pretty good, there's quite a few of them now and it's great trying to pick out the actor's who've later made an appearance in the show itself.

  27. who_cares86 says:

    Listening to Storm Warning again. McGann totally captivates with just his voice. Only problem with audio-plays is that it's just sound which makes it harder to really follow the story. Especially if like me English isn't your first language.

    And Mark you totally need to watch more classic who you haven't even started scratching the surface. Also the two Sarah Jane Adventures stories that actually have the Doctor in them. I mean how can you say no to more David Tennant and Matt Smith.

  28. Mary Sue says:

    On that note, what kind of surgery ward allows you to play classical music very loudly during a procedure?

    That is ridiculous. Most of the surgeons I work with prefer classic rock while they do procedures.

    (It's really common, actually. 'Helps them concentrate', they say.)

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      There was an anesthetist when I was doing my surgery rotation that had an eclectic mix of music that I enjoyed except when Katy Perry or Ke$ha would pop up.

      • Scarecrow says:

        I also understand it helps breaks the tension? They're already doing a hell of an amazing terrifying job, and I'd imagine a deathly silence would only make it more tense!

        • Hotaru_hime says:

          Well, everyone talks anyway, but when it gets to a point where everyone has to shut up and focus, yeah, the music helps.

      • Mary Sue says:

        Yeah, I'm just in Logistics so I only hear it as I walk around. They blast their music like crazy in my hospital.

  29. Tauriel_ says:

    There are two things that make this atrocity bearable:

    1. Paul "THESE SHOES!!!" McGann <3
    2. The TARDIS interior

    There are many people who complain that John Simm's Master was too camp and over-the-top – this might be true, but he's still miles and miles above Eric Roberts' Master. "I always drezzzzz for the occazhun." Ugh.

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      That "I always dress for the occasion" was the only bit where I actually liked the Master, but I've always been fond of Gallifreyan robes.
      I'm a sucker for ridiculous clothes.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        Actually I was referring to the incredibly OTT performance… 😛 Compared to that, John Simm's dance to Scissor Sisters in TLOTTL was a textbook example of subtle acting… 😛

  30. gsj says:

    i think a good rule for determining whether or not something is canon in DW is, "yes, until somebody else writes something that directly contradicts it."

  31. Scarecrow says:

    RE: Watching An Unearthly Child. I'd REALLY recommend watching the next two serials afterwards as well. They're all released in a set together and really, you can see why, as it works very well to watch all three in succession.

    • jackiep says:

      However if watching the DVD, don't get confused between the unaired pilot (which is actually first on the dvd) with the actually aired pilot. They did a pilot first and it wasn't quite right, so they amended it. It's interesting to see the changes, but might cause confusion if watched first!

  32. Maddi says:

    Eight is My Doctor, terrible script or no. I just love McGann's joie de vivre and he really acts the shit out of what he's given. And you should hear him in the Big Finish audios! I love, love love love him in those.

  33. Tauriel_ says:

    Sorry, double post, my earlier one didn't display at first, but now it's back…

    What's up with these comments?

  34. xghostproof says:

    I just wanted to make this comment for the sake of sharing my lulz. Around the net I kept seeing all these people saying that Eric Roberts should play Snow from THG, and it just sort of seemed random. I now have to wonder how many people made that comment from seeing him as the Master with those snake eyes, since Snow's eyes are supposedly snakelike. I don't even know if it was a serious fancasting, but now just thinking about it cracks me up.

    Other than that random bit, I thought the movie was hilariously bad at most points, but sl;dkbfdpg I LOVE Eight. I really want to check out some of the Big Finish stuff McGann's done because I really need more Eight.

    • Off topic BUT NO ERIC ROBERTS AS SNOW. I'm on team Bill Nighy and find Eric Roberts absolutely appalling.

      Sorry. But you should check out the audio plays. It fills the void.

  35. fakehepburn says:

    "A last note unrelated to all of this: Time Lords have twelve regenerations available? Is this canon??? So that would mean we have….two more Doctors left before the end of the show forever?"

    Sorry, this whole bit just gave me massive flashbacks to your review for "Rose," when you were like "Wait, so the Doctor's an alien???"

    But yeah, one original body + 12 regenerations, total of 13 Doctors.
    But this show has lasted for almost fifty years, you straight up know they'll find some way around that rule. Wibbly-wobbly, after all.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      HAHA, it's kind of precious that I still know so little about the Whoniverse.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Honestly, I think the whole fandom knows little about Whoinverse. For every fact one person knows, there's probably something else that contradicts it elsewhere. This movie is proof; "The Doctor's an alien?!?". "Nah, only half."

      • Hotaru_hime says:

        I don't think anyone knows a whole lot about the Whoniverse… a lot of it is contradictory.

  36. drippingmercury says:

    The medical fail bugs me so much! And I really hate how 7 kept waking up on the operating table and Grace never even put down her scalpel. As soon as his eyes flutter shut she's right back in there to slice him open. WHAT THE FUCK, if he's conscious and speaking and saying STOP, can't you STOP and maybe get some medical history, a name, anything?!

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      Seriously!!! He's not even properly anesthetized, he's contaminated the OR, he wants to communicate some shit, no one knows anything about this guy and if he's claiming to not be human then maybe he's a psych patient and could be on medication that would seriously interact with whatever you're giving him!!
      I was screaming, screaming, screaming at this! I will never like Grace Holloway because she is shit at being a doctor. Who goes to an opera when they're on call!?!

  37. ThreeBooks says:

    "I think the Master raided the Doctor's closet for those Time Lord robes….which would raise the question of why the Doctor has them."

    …Rule 34.

  38. Patrick says:

    If you start a Mark Listens, then you should totally listen to the Dresden Files audiobooks, whether or not you end up reading the books for MarkReads. Because they are read by James Marsters, and he is totally awesome. Sadly, he does not read them as Spike, but don't let that discourage you.


    Ok, done with Capslock.

    • ThreeBooks says:


      wait I'm not even going to hint because if it is who I think it is then NO SPOILERS ARE ALLOWED

      markspoils, away!

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Slightly OT, but if Mark ever does a "Mark Listens" blog, then he totally needs to listen to the HP audiobooks read by Stephen Fry, because they're the best thing ever. Seriously. Much better than films.

      • Christian says:


      • sabra_n says:

        Jim Dale is no slouch himself in that department. As far as blogging goes, though? I love HP as much as the next fangirl, but Mark is already rereading the books – there's no need for a third runthrough when there are so many other books out there.

    • Plummy says:


  39. I <3 McGann and Eight will always be <i>my Doctor because this movie was my introduction to the universe of Doctor Who.

    Other than the preprogrammed Who-knowledge that just somehow seeps into the mind of every British child I guess.

    And as bad as this movie was? When I saw it on tv, I just turned 12 years old and just didn't notice/care about the utter ham Roberts came out with or that it was a tad nonsensical that Seven would step out of the TARDIS and get randomly shot in a gang war. It was amazing. I told all my friends about it at school, even though none of them were that interested.

    And then NOTHING. For years. Until Chris Ecclescake shows up as Nine. Paul McGann as Eight was enough to convince me to tune into the New Who after nearly ten years of there being no Who on tv. That's the impact he had on me.

  40. giddyant says:

    Eight is forever my favourite. He's just so giddy and taken with life and the world, oh he's adorable (and it's heartbreaking that he will be the doctor that ends the time war). Even though this film makes me cringe so hard in places, I can't help having a soft spot for it. Mark, if you do end up listening to the Big Finish audios, perhaps start with Shada. It's a stand alone one and has no bearing on the Eighth Doctor story arc. It was originally written for the Fourth Doctor by Douglas Adams (who was the script editor and one of the main writers of City of Death) but strikes put paid to the filming of it. Funny, scary, features Oliver Wood from Harry Potter. So, quality!

    • And it has Romona. What is not to love? THey do have some sort of cartoon to go along with it, but I found it a bit distracting at times. AND DOUGLAS ADAMS. Amazing.

  41. RJM says:

    What always amuses me about the movie is that if you go by the TARDIS bringing Jack back so that he can't die anymore , that means that Grace and Chang Lee can't die EITHER.

  42. OMFG Mark, your "hhhhaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy" just made me fall out of my chair laughing.

    Just finished watching on YouTube and I had MANY THOUGHTS. The beginning of the movie had me flailing around and being upset, but toward the end I just gave up and rolled with it. Took it for what it was, as it were. Anyway.

    – Random Chinese gang war/gunfight????? Why? And Chang Lee (SERIOUSLY, CHANG LEE, ARE YOU KIDDING) is like completely unfazed when his buddies get shot. He's like "Oh, shit. Well, better check on this guy and call him an ambulance." And then like, no one mentions the DEAD BODIES IN THE ALLEY?
    – Chang just sticks around at the hospital to wait to hear about the Doctor. He wasn't set up to be the kind of character who cares that much. Don't buy it.
    – Just… just… everything in the hospital. Everything was just wrong. "Hey, our X-ray might be fucked up? OH WELL, CUT HIM OPEN."
    – On the note of the music, though, surgeons TOTALLY listen to music while they operate. Only accurate thing I came away with.

    Okay, after that I just sort of gave up and chuckled my way through it. SO AWKWARD. But still enjoyable on some level.

    • Oh God, I have to add that the hospital chairman or whoever he was LIT AN XRAY ON FIRE. WITH A LIGHTER. AND THREW IT IN THE TRASH. IN A HOSPITAL. WHAT.

    • Hotaru_hime says:

      The whole hospital stuff just made me want to punch everyone involved in this in the face (with the except of McGann, because, omg, so cute) for sheer inaccuracy. I mean, everything was wrong. EVERYTHING.

  43. Angie says:

    Oh this movie. I haven't re-watched it myself, but the three primary things I can think of right now are:
    1) Sylvester McCoy is wonderful.
    2) The TARDIS looks pretty neat. You know what I would LOVE? A whole episode set INSIDE the TARDIS itself.
    3) Paul McGann is wonderful, too. Love him.


    • anobium says:

      There have been a few episodes in the old series set entirely inside the TARDIS. The ones that come to mind were all written in a hurry because they were an episode short, though, and a lot of people don't like them.

      Although – in one of them you get to see the TARDIS swimming pool. (And the alien monster invading the TARDIS trips over a deckchair while it's chasing the Doctor.)

  44. Bilbo-sama says:

    I listened to Scherzo once. It was the most mind-screwy thing I have ever heard and I am amazed that the Doctor Who Reference Guide managed to make a coherent summary of it.

    You have been warned.

  45. anobium says:

    No, seriously, most of this script was pretty darn awful.

    It is. It really is. On the other hand, it's a lot better than the scripts they threw out before they got to this one. And the writer was dealing with Executive Meddling from about five different sets of executives, all pulling in different directions.

    After reading the behind-the-scenes how-it-was-made books, I can't get too worked up about how bad the TVM is, because it really could have been So Much Worse.

    And since when could Time Lords turn into goo and possess people?

    Shortly after I first saw the TVM, I was struck by an inspiration: So many things in the movie make much more sense if this isn't really the Master, but is instead a goo-alien pretending to be the Master so that the Doctor will take his "remains" back to Gallifrey and he can steal Time Lord secrets or something.

    It explains why he isn't properly awesome, it explains why he has all these goo-powers the Master never had before, and the snake eyes. It can explain why the Daleks are involved (there's an old-Who story in which they plot to infiltrate Gallifrey with a fake Doctor, so perhaps this is another of their schemes). It can be used to wave away the half-human thing, since he delivers all the exposition about that, and if he's not really a Time Lord maybe he just got it wrong. (I speculated that the only Time Lord he'd had a chance to study before was the real Master, when he was preparing his impersonation, and he thought the Doctor wasn't a full Time Lord because the Doctor's eyes are different from the Master's – when in fact it's the Master who wasn't a full Time Lord at that point in the series because of all the mucking about he'd done to extend his life.)

  46. Ashley says:

    I too love the steampunk TARDIS. And yes, the TARDIS is waaaaaaaayyyy bigger on the inside than nuWho lets us see with their budget. In fact, in the 4th Doctor story "The Invasion of Time" and the first 5th Doctor serial, "Castrovalva", we actually see at least some attempts at corridors and rooms inside of it. But the movie made it pretty, with wood and brass and candles and books. ^.^

    I don't think Roberts!Master is all that bad. I think in an interview for the extras on the movie dvd he said he was a fan of the show. And what's wrong with a little camp? He wasn't as campy as most people think.

    But yeah, the script and the dialogue were mostly bad. But it was better than I thought on a second viewing. But my niece and I loved the shoes bit anyways. That was indeed pure Doctor.

    Gotta love the Doctor reading "The Time Machine"….though if I recall, it wasn't as long of a book as that edition seems to be. But then it was a prop with a title, so, eh.

    The Doctor's friends seem to be the ones that always get him killed (Grace, Rose, Gramps), don't they?

  47. justapalindrome says:

    The whole 12 regenerations, 13 lives thing was imposed by the Time Lords and isn't based in their biology. In an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures 11 is actually asked how many times he can regenerate and responds with, like, 457 regenerations or something equally random haha. I'm pretty sure it just means a lot or basically an unlimited amount.

    Honestly though, be grateful we got a semi-cannon movie because in the original script The Doctor and The Master were related and the Doctor was half human and he was searching for grandfather or something. It was nuts.

  48. Donald G says:

    The twelve regenerations/thirteen lives things predates the Paul McGann movie by 20 years, so those disputing the limit 'cos they don't want to accept the movie are on very shaky ground.

    Well, "ninety lives has a Time Lord", the Doctor once quipped, and quickly claimed to have used up something like 103… but he was clearly being facetious… or was he?

  49. sophpoph says:

    This movie was hilariously, wonderfully terrible. The WHO AM I?! scene had my sister and I in tears of laughter. Fantastic. I fell in love with Eight so much that I downloaded the first season of his audio plays straight away. I've listened to the first story (2 episodes). They're like normal episodes of the show except that having to rely on voices alone can be difficult because it can be tricky to distinguish characters and scene changes. Glad you'll start listening too though!

  50. grlgoddess says:


    Your boyfriend just left you/turned out to be a total douche, and your boss turned out to be an immoral douche causing you to quit your job, THIS IS THE MOST IDEAL TIME TO TRAVEL WITH THE DOCTOR AND YOU SAY NO?!?!

  51. TimeCat says:

    In agreement here. Eight might actually be one of my favourite Doctors, based on the audios and the novels (which… okay, in both categories there are only a few gems in sort of mud of mediocrity, but those gems are really fucking good. Also there is Fitz Kreiner.)

  52. Tilja says:

    And THIS is what happens when you allow the US to take over a Britsh production. And they are talking about coproducing Doctor Who together now as a way to cope with the budgetary problems. I WANT TO DIE!!!

    PS: The whole number of regenerations thing was changed last year in SJA, when the Doctor visited Sarah Jane Smith and, upon being asked how many times he could regenerate, he answered that it was "unlimited". That dealt with the whole canon fix that said there could only be 13 regenerations possible. We've got Doctor Who for a long time to come… Unless the US decides to RUIN IT!

    • sabra_n says:

      Why on earth would the U.S. ruin it?

      • Tilja says:

        Because it's what the US does: when faced with something not conventionally American, tear it up and throw it away. Doctor Who is glaringly British and people in the US general audience don't relate to it unless it has a clearly established and hard tried US marketing plot with no deviations from their standards of convenience. If the US funds the show, it'll want everything to be toned down the their parameters. I LOVE Doctor Who because IT ISN'T American. If it becomes part of the Hollywood destructive path, I'm out.

  53. sabra_n says:


    …Yeah, that's pretty much all I remember about this movie.

  54. hilarius11 says:

    Yes, 12 regenerations is canon, but apparently Stephen Moffat has stated that it will be circumvented somehow. I think they (being those in the BBC who figure out how to do this) are going to make it work. And besides, who among us is going to complain about there being more than 12 regenerations? "Uhh…excuse me…I'm all for more Doctor Who and all, but there are only supposed to be 12…." Yeah…we're all gonna stand up and say that…

  55. NyssaOfTraken says:

    Chris `Ecclestone` is the new Peter `Davidson`, isn't it? The Doctor Who typo that won't go away. :p

  56. Melody says:

    You mentioned wanting to see more of the TARDIS. May I present a link to some truly awesome fanart, A Partial Map of Your TARDIS (Subject to Change), for your viewing enjoyment?

  57. Starsea28 says:


    Thank you, Mark, this made my day.

  58. Starsea28 says:

    he guy was possibly the most calculating and generally hard-edged version of the Doctor there has ever been (albeit trapped in just about the worst episodes as well, get the extended universe stuff for 7 in his full glory)

    What? The first season, yes, but his last season has some fantastic episodes.

    • Stephen_M says:

      See while I agree with all of that and really like McCoy's Doctor I'd also say that his TV tenure was beset by problems on all sides.

      Season 24 was just a mess and, oddly, only got better once Ace turned up (funny that). The overall theme and mood of the show had swung waaaay too far to the light and fluffy side of the dial, Mel was around and Pip & Jane Baker were involved *shudder*.

      25 and 26 though took a major turn for the better and ended up delivering one of my all time favourite episodes in Rememberence as well as some other crackers. Watching them back recently though it's kinda obvious that the production team isn't quite capable of delivering on the lofty ambitions. Battlefield and Ghost Light in particular feel like they needed a lot more money and script development respectively. The whole era is also badly hurt by the Cartmel Masterplan never being finished owing to a bad case of series hiatus (note not cancelled, Who has never been officialy cancelled…) and all those little hints that were dropped never getting fleshed out. What's left is some great episodes (Rememberence, Ghost Light, Fenric) and some that could have been great but didn't quite make it.

      Actually watching 7's stuff back now I'm struck by just how similar in many respects it is to New Who. You could certainly take several of the scripts from that era, tidy them up a bit and film them today. But I stand by what I said, to see 7 at his absolute best get into the extended universe material, the TV episodes tend to be compromised by budget, time and an overall story arc that was never finished.

  59. Joeldi says:

    Plenty of surgeons play music while they operate dude.

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