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Published on May 22nd, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Paul McGann Loses It with Steven Moffat!

Paul McGann has been making a lot of noises lately indicating that he would be happy to return to Doctor Who for the show’s 50th anniversary. Many fans have backed him, but so far there has been no action – none that we’re aware of.

The following GIF image (found on Tumblr) illustrates how angry Paul McGann – the Eighth Doctor – might feel about this.

Paul McGann loses it with Steven Moffat

It is, of course, just a bit of CGI-based fun. The look on McGann’s face is brilliant though, isn’t it?

(Thanks to Brian Terranova!)


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

61 Responses to Paul McGann Loses It with Steven Moffat!

  1. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    One word: Brilliant!

  2. avatar lozzer says:

    Love it!!! Fingers crossed his absence (albeit a second of his character flashing by in a blur) in the series finale, might mean we have a special treat everyone’s keeping under wraps. To be honest, the only thing I want from the 50th is to see Doctor 8 in newly recorded material – well… that and a good story.

    • avatar johnnybear says:

      With Moffat in charge we’ve no chance of McGann coming back or a good story I’m afraid!

      • Out of RTD and Moffat, the Moff was always the most likely to use McGann.

        • avatar lozzer says:

          I saw RTD in Tesco today – I should have asked him what he thought of John Hurt… Actually, I’d never bother anyone in a real situation – I was tempted though lol.

      • Curious as to why you say that.

      • I agree, johnnybear. The special will likely be just as much of a jumbled, incoherent mess as “Name of the Doctor” was.

        • avatar bobdole8006 says:

          I love it when people say that. I really do. Name was one of the best rated episodes since Tom Baker piloted the TARDIS in the 70s. Granted I’ve grown to hate Mof-fatass as much as the next guy, but the series 7 finale is NOT one of the episodes worth a rant. Name was hardly jumbled. It took place sometime after the Doctor sent River packing to the library, and every event within the episode happened in a linear progression. Doctor Who is notorious for being incoherent, actually, and I’d be worried if I could suddenly understand everything being said. That would mean we were slipping into another Collin Baker era and we DON’T need that again.

          The 50th, with or without McGann’s help, will be brilliant.

  3. avatar Geoff says:

    Yea Johnny, why can’t Moffat pull his finger out of his arse and create a great anniversary story like, erm…The Five Doctors! Not that it wasn’t fun but great story telling?

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      The Five Doctors wasn’t a story, it was JNT’s shopping list, albeit, a well-acted and reasonably enjoyable shopping list. Uncle Tewwance did the best he could with the instructions he was given from on high.

  4. avatar John Shandler says:

    BRING BACK 8!!!

  5. avatar Connor says:

    I’m sorry but Mcgann had his chance as the Doctor and he blew it! That movie was atrociously awful!

    • How did McGann blow it? He was easily the best thing about the TVM. The scriptwriter, director and US networks blew it – in the UK nearly 9 million tuned in.

      So I’m sorry but you’re way wrong with your assertion.

      • avatar John Shandler says:

        McGann was easily the best Doctor. He nailed it completely in a plotless mess. The movie did have some great dialogue and the BEST(!!!!!) TARDIS ever, but whoever wrote the actual ‘story’- shame on you!!!

        • avatar Guy Grist says:

          It was Matthew Jacobs.

      • avatar STLShawn says:

        If you ever doubt McG’s ability to portray an incredible Doctor,,,,, listen to the audios.

        I had a bad VHS copy of the movie for years, and never really thought much more about the 8th until I began listening to Big Finish audios. It was amazing. Now, he is definitively my favorite doctor.

        • avatar STLShawn says:

          I never did directly comment.
          In my opinion, the biggest issue with the movie was it should have been a pilot. It should have been shorter, not had a regeneration, and been about an hour long. It suffered the same as a LOT of entertainment of that era (especially sci-fi/fantasy of the 90′s),,,, they didn’t know if they wanted to be “Twin Peaks”, “x files”, or some 90′s Spielberg-esq semi fantastical whimsical affair. Keep in mind, this was before even Buffy, XFiles was the “gold standard” and if you watch old XFiles DVD’s, you cant help but wonder why we watched. I mean it’s OK, but, would not go over today.

          It was a sign of the times,,,, a lull in sci-fi/fantasy. Star Trek TNG had imploded, Jar Jar Binks was not yet released onto the public, and there was no Harry Potter. It was an age of Pokémon and bad sitcoms.

          • avatar Mat Garcia says:

            There was a Harry Potter, except I believe the movie was called Troll ;)

      • avatar Rob C says:

        McGann continues to do an EXTREMELY good job as part of the Big Finish Audio Drama Doctor Who line.

    • avatar lozzer says:

      I honestly think he could have eclipsed Tom Baker in popularity terms – his performance was outstanding in the TV movie.

    • This sounds like a case of monkey-see. I’ve spoken with people who slag on the movie, and say the most awful things about it – and the 8th Doctor.

      Then you come to find out they’ve never even seen the film. People hate it because someone else said THEY hated it, or that it was bad.

      The film isn’t that bad. People gripe about it because it changed things they didn’t want changed, and fans of a property get to a point where they feel THEY own it, and have a right to determine what is or is not in it.

      It’s better than a lot of the TV stories I’ve seen (Lookin’ at you, Kroll), and McGann’s portrayal has always been great.

      It’s funny to me – fans forgive a great many of Who’s sins, but so many of them seem unwilling to do so with the movie. Despite the fact that it’s no better or worse than many average stories throughout the history of the show.

      • Good point, I’ve always wondered why some fans are so hard on the TV movie. There have been worse shows in the NuWho series. Love and Monsters comes to mind and that one where they are trapped in the hotel as well as a few others. The TV movie was never meant to stand on it’s own so it’s too bad the series didn’t continue. I think it would have been fantastic and I draw this conclusion from what I’ve read and heard from inteviews about what Segel and McGann had for ideas for directions to take the Doctor.

    • Wrong, wrong, and wrong.As others have pointed out, McGann’s performance was superb, and was HIGHLY praised by fans, even those who didn’t like the TV movie itself.

  6. avatar authorman94 says:

    I thought it was odd McGann’s Doctor was glimpsed only very briefly, but to be fair, how many people outside of McGann fans and Doctor Who fans know McGann played the Doctor? And while Steven Moffat has said he loved Paul McGann in the TV Movie, he does know very few people are unaware of his Doctor. Not to mention that we only saw David Tennant briefly as well, and he’s turning up in the 50th, so fingers crossed for McGann making a suprise reappearance. That said, it’s more than likely just wishful thinking on my part.

    I’ve got say thought, that is an awesome gif.

  7. avatar Dan Hallett says:

    Personally I very much still think we will see McGann in the 50th.

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      Me too.

  8. avatar Bob James says:

    I had posted within another topic of this forum, in an attempt to console a fellow McGann fan, the gist of what authorman94 stated above. It’s got to be clever going in introducing classic Doctors (though for me, Paul resides somewhere inbetween the classic and new Who’s), to newer viewers. For all of us here who go way back, having been fans of the original run, we have no need of introductions. But RTD,, and now Steven Moffat understand that for a good portion of the viewing audience, and in the interest of not confusing potential new viewers, the process of educating this newer group has to be done gradually and carefully. It’s why we never saw a regeneration of the Eighth Doctor into the Ninth, as that might have been a potential source of confusion for any new viewer. Now, I think the audience at large is much more aware that there were many other Doctors, before Christopher Eccleston, and due to the brevity of his Eccleston’s tenure, before David Tennant. Especially in this 50th Anniversary year, a viewer now has virtually no reason to not be very aware that there have been ten Doctors before Matt Smith. There would be no better time than now, or barring that, in the near future, to bring McGann aboard, if not in the anniversary episode, perhaps in Series 8. Audiences would understand it now, having seen two regenerations, and now being familiar with the concept of regeneration. So, yes, I too, still am very hopeful that we will see the Eighth Doctor at some point in the near future. Of all the previous Doctors, Paul is still the most physically capable of reprising the role, as he appears to be aging quite well, and his appearance can be accounted for, as we never saw quite how long his eighth life span went on.

    • That potential to confuse viewers didn’t stop Moffat from inserting all of those past-Doctor scenes in “The Name of the Doctor”, so this argument really doesn’t hold a lot of weight in the light of that. And considering all the nods we’ve gotten to the classic Doctors in the show, especially since Moffat took over, the argument never did wash.

      I have a suspicion that the choice to exclude previous Doctor’s came from higher-up than Moffat.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        This was, as I noted above, the best time to bring in the classic Doctors, and the Eighth Doctor. This is the 50th Anniversary year, and the shows history is on vast display. Anytime sooner, especially during Series One might have muddled things. As I said, the process had to be careful and gradual, but it was undertaken, most notably by Time Crash. They started with flashback montages here and there, and led right up to Davison making his appearance. As for the decision of inclusion or non-inclusion of previous Doctors being a “higher up” decision, I highly doubt that. RTD and Moffat may have waited for creative reasons, and allowing time for the relaunch to gain traction, but eleven Doctors mean that much more merchandise, and I doubt that the BBC minds the additional revenue.

  9. We 8th Doctor fans have endured so many rumors over the years of Paul McGann reprising his role as the 8th Doctor only to be let down again and again. I fear the same will happen during the 50th. Hard to get ones hopes up at this point. If it does happen I will be thrilled beyond belief but if the “barely even there” images we saw in the season finale and the BAFTA DW tribute are any indication of how important Moffat thinks #8 is then all hope is already gone.

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      I thought you were boycotting the last few episodes of series 7 ?

      • My kids watched it and told me all about it and I’ve seen the online screen catches of the 8th and certainly read enough since the finale aired to know everything that happened.

  10. avatar Louis says:

    Yes, I would really like to see McGann back as the 8th Doctor at some point in a proper story, but to be fair…Steven Moffat hasn’t exactly snubbed his nose at McGann or his Doctor. Whenever there is a montage of all the Doctors (like in “The Eleventh Hour”) McGann is included. It was quick, but someone dressed as the 8th Doctor does appear at the beginning of “The Name of the Doctor”. It may not be as much as we like, but it is there.

  11. avatar dr jon says:

    Let’s hope dr 8 is in the 50th, if not I hope they use him in another story in the new series at some point as he deserve’s more than one tv movie.

  12. avatar vortexter says:

    I was always amazed at RTD saying that they couldn’t have brought Paul back for series one as it would have been suicide to reintroduce an old series Doctor. They went for a new Doctor and that failed massively (not Ecclestone’s performance but then having to re-launch a new Doctor after only one series). I would say that Paul stepped effortlessly into the role and shone throughout the TV movie and still does in the Bug Finish range. I am hoping we will see him in the anniversary episode as a surprise.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      I don’t believe for a moment that RTD expected or knew that Eccleston was going to bolt after only one series. I think that became the case somewhere along the way in the production of the first series. Eccleston’s apparent problems with upper management must have arisen during production. RTD damage managed quite well, and we got David Tennant. And perhaps a standing lesson for Moffat or future showrunners to more carefully vet the actor they choose to play the role. Doctor Who isn’t just another “gig”, and I don’t think that even registered with Eccleston.

    • Failed massively? How can you possibly say it failed when the show brought in Tennant and hit the ground running? Nothing about that was a failure, let alone a massive one.

    • What? “failed massively”? There was no failure. The second series was commissioned two days after Rose was broadcast (imagine that these days!).

      I would say your memory is pretty hazy about what happened in 2005. This should help: Ultimate Regeneration: The Incredible Resurrection Of Doctor Who

      • avatar vortexter says:

        Um…I was there, I was watching. Failed massively refers to Ecclestone walking through an entire series after realising he didn’t want to be there and the production crew trying rather vocally to pretend that it was there plan to have him regenerate at the end of series one from the beginning. I suggest you read ‘Regeneration’ the book that describes the making of the TV movie and look at the audition lists. There you will see Chris Ecclestone on a shortlist who suggest he wouldn’t mind commiting to a 3 or 4 year run if chosen for the role.
        Hope this helps.
        I don’t know what they did to Ecclestone during those heady/dizzy days but Ecclestone is still in shock I would say and damaged by the experience.
        Imagine if they had picked McGann, Already established in the role and commited. We would have a real run for this sadly neglected incarnation of the Doctor.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          As I said above, I would cite damage management rather than “massive failure” as to what took place. What went down bred controversy, and I think RTD and his team handled things well. I also recall that a “BBC source” let the information on the regeneration out early, spoiling what would have been, no doubt, a bit of a shock and surprise. And as David Tennant seemed to escape without being traumatized by what amounted to much the same production team and management, I’m sure the Eccleston situation was a two way street. But as Christian noted above, the BBC would not have so readily commissioned a Series 2, if a “massive failure” had taken place. Although, come to think of it, a portion of contributors to this very forum consider the last few series to be a massive failure, and the BBC does, at least up to this point, keep commissioning a next series. Maybe it all depends on one’s definition of the term “massive failure”.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            Or in the direct terminology used above, something that “failed massively”. The use of “massive failure” was my slight rearrangement of that terminology.

        • avatar More of a fan than u clearly says:

          Nob. He didnt fail – Dr Who is still on the TV!

  13. avatar Geoff says:

    I fear we will never see 8 again but I can understand and appreciate why, and I’m a fan who likes 8 as it goes. The thing is Doctor Who is watched by about 8m DWM has a circulation of about 750k I think, maybe a bit less. So let’s say of the total audience no more than 750k are people like us, to quote DWM “the sort of people who know what Pat Gorman looks like” and more importantly who Paul McGann is. The remaining 7.2m people who watch the show simply won’t know or care about a guy who played the Doctor 15 years ago for one night only. Working him in, in a way that makes sense to a normal viewer is hard, not like just dropping William Hartnell into The Name if The Doctor for a few seconds.
    Like you all I’d love to see McGann back, see how he regenerated but if I was making the show I’d remember my other 7m viewers and leave it well alone.
    I’m old enough to remember the era when entertaining a broad audience went out of the window in favour of keeping a few thousand nerds (and I include myself!) happy, it wasn’t pretty and it cost the then Doctor (who I thought was bloody good) his job.
    I feel for Steven Moffat because I think he knows all this and it’s probably why he holds back on his inner fan instincts, but it’s probably just as well for all of us that he does.

    • I very strongly disagree and will refer you to an above post by Bob James. Even NuWho fans know at this point that there were 10 other Doctors before Smith. They know about regeneration. If Moffat is as clever as so many think he could write something brilliant for the character of the 8th Doctor. The issue is NOT that it would be too confusing and alienate too many fans…the issue is HE has to WANT to bring the 8th back and that doesn’t seem to be something he WANTS to do. Certainly bringing back 8 isn’t going to be anymore confusing than bringing in John Hurt to play some form of the Doctor that none of us know about. I certainly don’t buy this “bringing back the 8th Doctor will just be too confusing for the majority of DW fans today”. That is hogwash and doesn’t give much credit to the majority of the fan’s intelligence.

    • avatar Bill Waldrow says:

      You forget that Elizabeth Sladen was reintroduced seamlessly, as was K9.

  14. avatar Cosmic says:

    My boyfriend is responsible for this gif! Source:

    • Excellent, thanks for sharing, Cosmic!

    • avatar Bob James says:

      That was awesome. I even wondered at first if it was real and done as an inside joke send-up.

  15. avatar Francis Cave says:

    To me its simple, just have McGann appear and have a line or two explain that he is the eighth doctor.

    We never saw him regenerate into the ninth so his appearance now isn’t an issue.

    Its not like the new series hasnt made it clear that there have been previous Doctors.

    We don’t need (and shouldnt have) reams and reams of dialogue explaining about his appearance, its the eighth and there he is.

    For the casual viewer they will say “oh that’s apparently the eighth doctor” and while fans will of course explode with joy.

    What’s the problem??

    Lets say in something like Eastenders, someones dad who has been referrred to but not seen for years (or maybe never seen at all) suddenly turns up. Will all the viewers stare in shock or just accept it? I think the latter…..

  16. avatar Howard Railton says:

    It is a great shame if McGann isn’t in it. McCoy would also have done it, not looking too, dissimilar but, alas, it looks as though they’re not wanted. I even feel sorry for Bernard Cribbins, for goodness sake. What Moffat’s doing with Tenant is all well and good, Tenant’s always been there for Who but this doesn’t look like it’s remotely about celebrating 50 years, more just the last six and making Hurt’s Doctor into a horrid villain that will besmirch the character with some vile crime or other, which to Moffat is somehow about looking to ‘the future’ not ‘the past’, when as any idiot can see, 50 years should be about celebrating the past.

  17. avatar Geoff says:

    I take your point @segee and i know it could be done but I think it won’t be for the reasons I gave. I don’t think it would be confusing for fans, my point was it would be confusing or irrelevant for the other 7m viewers, or casual fans opposed to people like us who write in things like this.

  18. I wouldn’t completely rule out McGanns participation in the specials. Maybe it’s even more secret than the Hurt doctor was. Maybe we see McGann regenerate into John Hurt or something. Maybe letting us know about the Hurt doctor now is part of a smokescreen to keep secret that the 8th doctor is in the specials.I refuse to be disappointed until I’ve seen the special and it is disappointing.

  19. avatar vortexter says:

    Although the 50th special is officially ‘in the can’, it’s interesting to know that the ending for the Name of the Doctor’ was only recently filmed and inserted in. So although Paul and co were in Australia while it filmed we could still have a great surprise and see them yet. The costumes are ready at least!.

    • But @heikoDellbruck and vortexter Moffat has already said that there are no classic Doctors in the 50th so that gives me the impression that McGann won’t be in the 50th. Maybe they have something else planned for McGann. I’ve heard rumors on twitter that he might be doing some webisodes but those are just rumors and given the past history of rumors about McGann returning I am not holding my breath.

      • avatar zarbisupremo says:

        Can you quote what Moffat said about no classic Doctors being in the special ? Just for the benefit of those who may have missed it.

      • avatar Euan Morgan says:

        Moffat has said that he has lied for months!

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Even Paul himself has said they have a good deal of time to add additional filming to the anniversary special. He said something along the lines of being called up on a Friday to go to work the following Monday, that that’s the nature of the business. The real point is, and Moffat has fed into this, all we know about the anniversary episode is what has been revealed because it filmed on location. Moffat resolutely stated that he’s saying nothing else about who is and who isn’t involved in what was shot in studio. So we may yet be in for some surprises. We can speculate and lament all we want, but we simply won’t know until we actually view the special.

  20. avatar vortexter says:

    ‘The Doctor lies’ Catherine, and so does Moffatt! I think the special is centred around the Timewar and that gives me hope McGann will feature somehow. I’m with you and agree we need to see the 8th Dr back on screen. There was no hint of the previous Doctors would feature in the season finale and we were pleasantly surprised.

  21. avatar Anthony Mckenzie says:

    For the 50th bring all Doctors who can come back into it there still time!!! There really needs to be a change in the whole programme! the Moffatt years are not working out well!

    • avatar zarbisupremo says:

      Well, stop watching if you don’t like it.

  22. avatar The 2.5th Doctor says:

    Ironic Now. He had already filmed his scenes.

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