He may have only appeared on-screen twice in sixteen years, but Eighth Doctor Paul McGann still has a special place in Whovian’s hearts. After Steven Moffat treated us to the return of the Eighth Doctor in The Night of the Doctor, fans are demanding more. A petition today has reached just over 15,000 signatures, asking show runner Steven Moffat to consider giving the Eighth Doctor his own series.
In a recent interview, Paul McGann confirmed that he would consider another appearance, saying “It’s like with the mini-episode, if they send you the script and it’s good, then you’ll do it.”
Despite having previously appeared in a single joint British-American-Canadian production, Doctor Who:The Movie in 1996, fans have clearly not forgotten the Eighth Doctor. The made-for-television movie was an attempt to relaunch Doctor Who in the UK and abroad, but despite good ratings in the UK, the disappointing US ratings caused the series to be shelved again. Paul had given permission for his likeness to be used in BBC Books’ Eighth Doctor Adventures book series and the weekly Doctor Who Magazine comic strip continuing his character’s adventures. As a result, the Eighth Doctor kept the Doctor Who universe afloat during another nine-year hiatus, remaining the current Doctor in all the new Doctor Who spin-off media, including audio books, radio plays and an animated webcast, until until the show re-launched with Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston in 2005.
The mini-episode and prequel to the 50th Anniversary special, The Night of the Doctor shows the previously unseen last moments of the Eighth Doctor and his regeneration into John Hurt’s War Doctor. In the opening moments he attempts to rescue a pilot, Cass, whose spacecraft is crashing into the planet Karn. When Cass realises that the Doctor is a Time Lord, she refuses his aid, ignoring his claims that he has never taken part in the devastating Time War. The Doctor refuses to abandon her and both are killed when the ship crashes.
On the planet Karn, the Doctor is taken in by the Sisterhood of Karn, who revive him temporarily so he can regenerate.
And here he is at last, the man to end it all.
The Sisterhood convince the Doctor that he must take action and end the Time War, offering him various potions that will regenerate him into a form of his choice. The Doctor asks for a potion that will turn him into “a warrior”. He utters his last words ‘physician, heal thyself‘. His regeneration into John Hurt’s War Doctor shows a much younger John Hurt, who utters the words ‘Doctor no more‘.
If there is one thing that The Night of the Doctor, which succeeded in melting the internet, proved, it is that Paul McGann still has it, and his brief appearance as the Doctor sixteen years ago still resonates with fans. There are many possibilities that could be explored, including the Eighth Doctor Adventures with the several companions he named before his death, Charley, C’rizz, Lucie, Tamsin and Molly. But Cass’s reaction in The Night of the Doctor when she learns that she is being rescued by a Timelord was intriguing.
“I’m not part of the war,” answers the Doctor” I swear to you, I never was.”
“You’re a Timelord”
“Yes I’m a Timelord but Im one of the nice ones”
“Get away from me!”
“Well look on the bright side, I’m not a Dalek!”
“Who can tell the difference any more?”
Why would Cass rather die than be rescued by a Timelord? Much about the Time War will be revealed in tonight’s The Day of the Doctor, but we have a feeling there is a great deal more we can learn about the Eighth Doctor. And Paul McGann deserves more screen time. So lets’ show our support for the Doctor who kept the Whoniverse alive.
Watch The Night of the Doctor