Opinion Dark Eye

Published on July 10th, 2012 | by Alasdair Shaw

The Doctor’s New Coat

It’s back and it’s about time.

Will we ever stop using that phrase in Paul McGann articles? Probably not, although this time we’re referring to his coat rather than the actor himself.

It’s been nearly two years now since fans at the Armageddon Pop Culture Expo in New Zealand in 2010 were shown Paul McGann in his Doctor’s new outfit, complete with Weta designed Sonic Screwdriver.

And since then? Nothing.

Well nothing official at any rate. It’s turned up in in ‘The Doctor and I‘ by Paul Hanley and Shawn Van Briesen. Myself and Jim Wilkins had our own idea about why the costume came into use and just how the 9th Doctor would feel about that. And Jesse Lax drew a beautiful rendition of the eighth Doctor starting to regenerate for Dangling Threads.

None of these were official though and to be honest I think we were all starting to worry that this costume might never appear anywhere apart from New Zealand. That was until Big Finish released the cover to Dark Eyes, the upcoming box set starring Paul McGann; Dark Eyes.

But that’s not the only note worthy thing about this particular box set. Let’s just have a look at the description for the first part.

Part One. The Great War - The Doctor is heading to ‘the edge’ and beyond. But the Time Lords have other ideas. On Earth, during the First World War, Molly O’Sullivan works hard as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nursing assistant. How can her destiny be bound up with that of the Doctor’s?

The Great War? Now they’re probably referring to the First World War, that up until 1939 was known as The Great War, but what if we’re being misdirected? When we last saw the Doctor at the end of ‘To the Death’ he was in a much darker place than we’ve ever seen the Eighth Doctor, in fact there was more than a passing resemblance to the Ninth. That along with the direct involvement of the Time Lords, the Daleks turning up in part four and the Doctor heading for ‘the edge’ hints that maybe, just maybe, we’re finally going to see The Last Great Time War.

Or I’m reading far too much into things and we’re just in for a ripping War story.

Either way I’ll be along for the journey.

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About the Author

Alasdair Shaw dabbled in Who throughout the 80s, but didn’t really get into it properly until 1989. His sense of timing has not improved over the years. He’s a third generation Who fan as well as a father of two. His wife has a bad feeling about those two facts. When not working as a lab technician or writing for Kasterborous Alasdair runs the Doctor Who Reprint Society for which he writes In Print and Dangling Threads. He’s a big fan of the Valeyard, but that’s neither here nor there. He has never worked for UNIT and is not related to Dr Liz Shaw.




15 Responses to The Doctor’s New Coat

  1. Paddy says:

    Unfortunately I believe Big Finish’s license means they’re not allowed to do anything regarding the Time War. It would breach their whole “referencing the new series” clause.

    Doesn’t mean this isn’t going to be a great release, though. I love what they’ve done with the Eighth Doctor stories, especially the last couple of series.

  2. Alasdair Shaw says:

    Yet they’ve broken that clause before; the 9th Doctor had a fleeting Cameo in the Kingmaker.

    Mind you, this would be on a slightly larger scale….

    • Paddy says:

      I think – or at least, I guess – that the Kingmaker mention (Which I thought was a really nice touch) was a clever workaround the clause rather than breaking it. They just said “a northern chap with big ears”, or something along those lines – never specifically said he was the Doctor, although it clearly is, and since no dialogue is heard (although did you notice the guy playing Richard in that play REALLY sounds like Eccleston and even uses the “Ho-ho, FanTASTIC!” line) it gets them around it. Whereas doing the whole Time War would be a much bigger deal, as you say.

      Also, it’s actually explicitly mentioned in the FAQ on the Big Finish site.

      “Will you be featuring the Time War in any of your forthcoming plays?
      No. We are unable to feature the Time War in any of our stories for the reasons given in the previous answer.

      Relevant part of the previous answer: “Anything connected to the new series – even characters who are no longer featured – cannot be used by us in a Big Finish Doctor Who production.”

      ——————————————————————————–

  3. Matthew says:

    “Dark Eyes” won’t be the Time War. Even assuming they could make a special deal with the BBC, nothing fits–the cover, the title, etc.

    Sad to say, neither Big Finish nor AudioGo could ever make a truly satisfying Time War series without one rather incredible coup–a vocal cameo from Christopher Eccleston. Booking Timothy Dalton is one thing, booking Eccleston is a different animal. An impersonator just wouldn’t quite cut it.

    I would love it if they do it, but I suspect a graphic novel is a more likely route for them to eventually go.

    • Alasdair Shaw says:

      Depends on the length of the cameo.

      I seem to recall Jon Culshaw cropping up as the 4th Doctor at one point briefly.

  4. Alasdair Shaw says:

    A good point.

    However I’m hopeful that things may change. After all was Davros not denied to Big Finish for a while after being used previously?

    Yet he was free to be used in The Curse of Davros earlier this year.

    Hope spring eternal.

  5. Paddy says:

    Very true. I believe we have RTD to thank for that one, by which I mean Davros coming back – I seem to recall reading somewhere that Nick Briggs had spoken to RTD and he’d let them do it. That may all be something I made up in my head.

    Funnily enough I met Terry Molloy around the time that was all going on, such a nice man (and his homemade jam is fantastic) – it was a shame to see a man who so clearly enjoyed playing Davros not being allowed to do it on copyright grounds.

    The other question with a Time War audio series is – given what’s assumed about the Time War – would you want the Eighth Doctor’s regeneration to be done on audio? I really can’t decide.

    • Alasdair Shaw says:

      While audio wouldn’t be ideal it would be better than no regeneration at all.

      And if not audio then where? In a EDA: Time War series? A comic mini series?

      We’re never going to see the regeneration on the show and I still don’t know how I feel about that.

      • Paddy says:

        Agreed.

        I would certainly rather it was on audio than in a comic (as the plan originally was in 2005).

        I guess I still just hold out the smallest glimmer of hope that we’ll see it on TV some day. I know all the reasons why it almost certainly won’t happen… but somehow, if it was done on an audio, I’d be listening to it with a sense of sadness knowing that this meant it was never going to happen on TV.

        • Alasdair Shaw says:

          Time can be rewritten.

          After all the 6th Doctor met the Brig for the first time twice.

          Another thing to bear in mind is that the 8th Doctor effectively has three continuities; books, audio and comics. who’s to say which one is canon within the series and that if he regenerated in one medium that another version couldn’t regenerate on screen?

  6. Paddy says:

    Very interesting! I didn’t know that 6th Doctor fact. Which two times?

    I’ve never been clear whether the 8th Doctor mediums are all one canon or not, I generally tend to think of it as one… I doubt their respective writers saw them that way though, which is probably what counts.

    So in fact this could turn out to be the only Doctor for whom we get three or four completely different regenerations, and we all get to debate over which was best / which one counts.

    Obviously not, but imagine how much fun that would be. I love a good regeneration scene, me.

  7. stlshawn says:

    This is fascinating stuff. I love hearing different ideas on what’s going on with the audio series and how it all fits into the series canon.

    I, for one, must be the voice of descent (sp) on the outfit. I preferred the green coat and the long hair. There’s so many of us out here who could not wear our hair long for various reasons (1- we look silly 2- we have a real job 3- our wives would run away screaming, etc).

    Although i am excited that they have done so much with the eight Doctor (he’s my favorite thanks to the audios), I liked the old outfit and the sometimes comic references to his jacket and his hair.

    But time marches on.

  8. Carn says:

    Can’t say I’m fond of the 8th Doctor. I’ve listened to some of the audios but he just don’t click with me. A friend of mine is quite happy for the new audios though and I’ll probably borrow them to listen to when I need something to listen while I draw.

  9. Carn says:

    By the way despite my previous comment I still consider the 8th Doctor the ONLY past Doctor I’d want to see in a multi-Doctor story. Said it in a previous topic a while ago how I’d like an 11th Doctor tale that has flashbacks to the Time War and shows new footage of McGann with narration by Smith as he remembers. While McGann’s certainly not a fave of mine I do think he deserves some more TV time. That TV movie was simply not enough.

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