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Published on November 8th, 2011 | by Andrew Reynolds

Whatever Happened to McGann’s TARDIS?

We all have our opinions on the ill- fated 1996 TV Movie Doctor Who: ‘Sylvester McCoy deserved better!’ ‘The plot was a hackneyed cut and paste job of sci-fi clichés, Doctor Who mythology and tedious Y2K gubbins.’ ‘ERIC ROBERTS!’

What can’t be denied is that a lot of good came from it too – the Big Finish Eighth Doctor audio adventures, the renewed interest in Doctor Who as a viable product (9 million of us sat and watched it on BBC 1) and, of course, the TARDIS interior.

Like bow ties on a 900 odd year-old resident of Gallifrey – it shouldn’t work.

The iconographic melding of H.G. Wells and steampunk was so on the nose the Doctor might as well have been travelling around in an old grandfather clock (judging by how many other clock references there are in the movie, it was probably considered at some point) but somehow its clever design work and fusty arcane look sold the flawed concept.

That interior is one of my favourite TARDIS designs.

And now, its currently being fawned over by life long Doctor Who fan, writer and producer Paul J. Salamoff who was practically given it through a friend of a friend.

While talking about the time he spent chatting with legendary director Steven Spielberg (who was once involved with what became the 1996 TV Movie) while producing a video for the The Adventures of Tintin video game Salamoff – speaking to Science Fiction Zone – said:

“I produced a movie called Cemetery Gates and the boyfriend of the make-up artist’ on the movie owned the prop company that had the TARDIS console. He was looking to get rid of it and so he sold it to me for next to nothing.”

I actually hate him… not only does he own that console which cost him next to nothing but the movie has nothing to do with The Smiths either!

To make matters worse/geekier Salamoff lives down the street from Daphne Ashbook, who played Grace in the 1996 Movie:

“I told her, ‘Any time you want to come down and relive the memories you are more than welcome to’.”

My inner eleven year-old is currently doing the mental equivalent of tugging at my sleeve while pointing towards a shop window demanding to have it and the incumbent lifestyle such set design promises… Alas…

For more on Salamoff’s career, his life long love of Doctor Who and his work on an upcoming bio-comic based on Doctor Who head over to Science Fiction Zone.

(With thanks to Gareth)

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About the Author

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Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.




5 Responses to Whatever Happened to McGann’s TARDIS?

  1. avatar Andy Corbie says:

    Great to learn that it’s in one piece and being enjoyed. I had assumed it was trashed after the TV movie, and was no more. Best Tardis interior ever: It was a ship, a home,a library. A truly believable environment for a disenfranchised Time Lord to spend time in.

  2. avatar Rick Lundeen says:

    A lot of folks dump on the TV movie–and there are a couple good reasons, (half human? and Eric Roberts) but people were also very up in arms about the dreaded kiss “Oh no!” yet these days, it’s happening each season.

    No, the TV movie did bridge a quite sizable gap between 1989 and 2005 in many ways, including going to film, bigger budget, cool and different Tardis and an excellent 8th Doctor. And lets face it, McCoy never had it better!

  3. avatar ChrisL says:

    I’ve never had a consistent opinion of this much maligned movie. Some days I can watch it and enjoy it for what it is, but at other times it will have me raging at the way they played fast & loose with the legend and whole mythology of the show.

    However one thing that never changes is my love for the TARDIS interior! It is so sumptuous, classy, and manages to feel cozy despite the size of the place. It remains my favourite of all the designs we’ve seen so far.
    In addition, Paul McGann looks fabulous as the 8th Doctor and is most definitely my favourite of all the ‘audio Doctors’. Obviously whenever I listen to his audio adventures, or read any of the novels written about the 8th Doctor, my image of both him & his TARDIS is based entirely on the one portrayed in the movie and so I am grateful to the movie for this… such a shame then that the movie, when all is said and done, is pretty naff.

  4. avatar ck says:

    No matter what flaws the movie has the Tardis interior/console set is simply wonderful and so is McGann himself.

  5. avatar Daisy says:

    Paul McGann made a lovely Doctor, and remains one of my favorites. Yes, the story was problematic, but it was a good bridge between the Old and the New. Doctor Seven got his regeneration scene, something which several Doctors were cheated on, I even liked the Master (not one of my favorite characters). But the companions didn’t inspire me (too much like Tegan and Adric again), the half-human thing made no sense. and why the heck did the Master appear as a slug? But I was willing to overlook all of that because the Doctor was so blasted GOOD! It took him to dislodge Tom Baker from my head as the only truly definetive Doctor.

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