Published on December 13th, 2013 | by Nick Kitchen

Fans and Cast on Paul McGann’s 50th Anniversary Return

The positive reactions to Paul McGann’s triumphant return in The Night of the Doctor minisode have been tremendous and are still going, even though now we’re a few weeks past the 50th special! Whether we’re discussing petitions for a McGann spinoff or just general fan reactions to his return, the consensus seems to be the same: WE WANT MORE PAUL MCGANN!

Flicks in the City had the chance to speak with several former Doctor Who cast members (including Paul McGann), as well as showrunner Steven Moffat, and several fans at the Doctor Who Celebration held during the 50th Anniversary weekend. Check out the video below:

Do you agree with Paul that the former Doctors can always come back? Or do you think TNOTD was the perfect capstone to the Eighth Doctor’s time on screen?


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About the Author


“That’s bacon! Are you trying to poison me?” And from that line on, I’ve been unable to stop watching, reading, musing about the Doctor. As a recent transplant to the Whoniverse, I’ve been trying to soak up as much Who-related knowledge as possible. That journey has taken me from the Tenth Planet to the Fields of Trenzalore and gently set me at the edge of my seat for what’s next. It’s an honor to be here and I plan to bring a unique perspective. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey alongside me.

19 Responses to Fans and Cast on Paul McGann’s 50th Anniversary Return

  1. avatar TonyS says:

    I really enjoyed the Night of the Doctor (more than the Day of the Doctor if I am honest) and it was a fine celebration of the 50th anniversary. Paul McGann was peerless in it. I think returns by past Doctors should be used sparingly though. Even if those returns do come in a spin off rather than the main programme. Keep it for special occasions. 23rd November each year perhaps…

  2. avatar TonyS says:

    That last sentence was a joke by the way!

  3. avatar Terrorlentil says:

    A McGann spin-off? Here’s the issue as I see it: Tennant and Smith, no matter how off-the-cuff their conversation, did moot the idea of a 10th/11th episode/spin-off/series during filming of Day of the Doctor. The Moff immediately poured cold water on the idea, rightly noting that the Capaldi era would hardly be best served by having the previous incarnations hanging around reminding us all how good they were/are.

    How is this different from the issues surrounding McGann? Of course the talent involved could overcome the timey-wimey issues. Of course they’d be able to resolve the ‘we all know how it ends’ conundrum. They may even be able to prolong the series beyond McGann’s eventual departure by casting someone who looks like a young John Hurt.

    But this is the BBC’s flagship drama, and no matter how temptingly lucrative a prospect in the short term, surely someone would point out that the more you expand a story, the greater the danger of diluting it. In my head, McGann’s spin-off is a great series. I have the feeling that’s probably where it should stay.

  4. avatar Joyce says:

    Old Doctors can return, just needs the right script/story. Paul McGann would be a perfect guest Doctor. Moffat loves the timey-wimey nonsense so why not make use of it. Not every year perhaps but now and then…it worked for me with the Two Doctors (not the best script but Pat was great). Better than endless Dalek stories that go nowhere surely…

  5. avatar A Gordon-Farleigh says:

    McGann ‘Lost Doctor’ episodes, screened outside the regular season? Absolutely! In a trice! Boffo! Whaddayawait’nfor?

    Seriously… this would be something for fans to treasure. You do know it’s what they’ve always (since ’96) wanted, right? Run it over 13 weeks in the spring, following the regular Capaldi autumn season. Heck! Give him an Easter Special too.

    If you aren’t yet convinced Mr. Moffatt, just ask your audience & act on it! Enuff sed.

    • avatar David F says:

      I can’t agree. Every good story idea should be invested in the main Doctor Who series. The BBC should give as large a budget to the main series as it can, and invest everything else in other programmes without needlessly inflating the Doctor Who brand.

      It would totally undermine the main series and current Doctor. It would be pointless. The show is the ongoing story of the Doctor. It’s (in essence) the linear story of someone’s life. Why on earth would you go back to earlier in his life? His eighth Doctor isn’t a separate person. It’s still the same man.

      It would give a thrill to a minority of viewers while baffling everyone else (and yes, however it might seem on forums, the McGann cult is very much in the minority, as much as everyone likes him).

      Multi-Doctor stories are a fun indulgence around the time of anniversaries, but the rest of the time they’d just get in the way.

  6. avatar authorman94 says:

    I definitely would like to see McGann again, but while his own series would be a tantalising idea, I’d rather have another multi-Doctor episode down the line teaming him up with Capaldi and possibly Christopher Eccleston? I dunno, but I would like to see more of McGann on the screen another time, just don’t do it so quickly after The Day of the Doctor is my only thing.

  7. avatar Lozzer says:

    In a couple of years it would be nice to have a two Doctor story, and rather than have them meet, maybe have Capadli’s Doctor remember a previous adventure or connection to his current adventure. A Doctor light story for Capaldi that isn’t light on Doctors…

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Now there’s an idea…

  8. avatar Nath Kyle says:

    Just a thought…BBC make Top Gear episodes that release straight to DVD. Why not have a few “Lost Episodes” (Tongue firmly in cheek) that are Eighth Doctor Adventures. It would be easy money for them and would please many of us Whovians. Any thoughts?

  9. avatar DK2 says:

    I just think it’d be great for an 8th Doctor series or specials of any sort. But the problem to me is the audience that only knows about DW 2005 onwards. My brother and I chatted to two people around the anniversary hoopla who were watching the series ’05 onwards and the “Night of the Dr.” mini meant nothing to them. They had no idea who McGann/8th Dr. is or was. that doesn’t bode well for a new audience unless they get to know who he is. We older fans want this though.

  10. avatar Carl Jackson says:

    Lets have the boy McGann back for the 10th Anniversary of the ‘new’ series in 2015…..I’m sure whoever is in charge of the programme would be up for that, McGann & Capaldi, just those two that would be fab, and give McGann a proper good story and send off as a sort of thank you for keeping the programme alive in the wilderness years…..jus an idea!

  11. avatar Howard Railton says:

    I think McGann would have been a far better Doctor that Eccleston, it’s a great pity Davies wouldn’t even consider him. Bring McGann back for a movie with Peter Jackson directing, superb!

    • avatar TonyS says:

      I’m not sure that I would want to see a Peter Jackson directed episode. Bring back McGann for a movie- yes!

  12. avatar Geoff says:

    Looking back now the idea of recasting Paul in 2005 is a no brainer. Of course he would have been excellent…we’ve even got a 5 minute sample now to prove it but at the time the show was dead in the water and very few people believed it would be a success, it was being mocked based of misconceptions about the classic series before it had even begun production. It was against this setting that RTD had to cast a Doctor and he understandably opted for a serious well known actor with no ties to the classic era. He needed to make a statement of intent and at that time recasting Paul would have (unjustifiably) sent the wrong message.

    As for bringing him back again, why not. It’s not only sci fi, it’s also time travel. Of course he can come back. Not sure about a parallel series, I think there shoukd only be one Doctor at a time but as Tony said above there’s no reason they can’t do more minisodes or a Two Doctors type of story again in the future. And it would be great to see more of the splendid Paul McGann although they will struggle to beat “I’m a Doctor…although probably not the one you were expecting” as an opening line!

    My God we’re spoilt. In my youth the closest we got to a multi Doctor Minisode was A Fix With The Sontarans!

    • avatar David F says:

      All true, but in the mid-nineties I sat near RTD while he expressed views on the McGanns, relating to a situation on another show involving one of the brothers.

      I’m not saying it was necessarily a relevant factor, or that opinions and relationships don’t change, but when I heard he was going to revive Doctor Who, my first thought was that Paul McGann was unlikely to be cast.

      • avatar Geoff says:

        Really? Youve got to say more..that’s very tantalising!

        • avatar David F says:

          It was a single conversation, seven years before Eccleston’s casting, and I’m sure it held no significance in the end. Maybe RTD didn’t feel the same way hours later, never mind years. The reasons for casting a new actor were almost certainly as you outlined in your previous comment.

          It’s just something I couldn’t help but remember when Doctor Who came back. I sometimes wonder, but maybe that’s just because like most fans I want to kid myself that I’m closer to the show than I actually am.

          We love speculating on production decisions, but the many people who’ve worked on the show will have a wide range of relationships with each other, and that means we’re stabbing in the dark when we try to guess why anything turns out the way it does.

  13. avatar Andrew Dorgomire says:

    It’s Bring Back Toonami all over again :D

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