Episode No. 704.  Title: Doctor Who – The Movie  (Special Edition)

The Doctor is en route to return the remains of the Master to Gallifrey, when those remains come

back to life in the form of a worm-like parasite. It invades the TARDIS and forces it to crash-land

near New Year’s Eve, 1999. Upon arrival on the streets of San Francisco, the Doctor is wounded in

a gangland gun battle, then killed on the operating table when Dr. Grace Holloway gets lost in his

alien physiology. Shortly thereafter, the Doctor regenerates, while simultaneously the Master possesses

the body of a human ambulance driver, with plans to take the Doctor’s remaining lives for himself

via the TARDIS, not caring that this will also turn the Earth inside out.  Can the Doctor and Grace

save themselves and us all in the process?

 

This is the Television Movie that was made as a co-production between BBC Worldwide and

Universal Television for broadcast on the Fox Tuesday Night Movie in the U.S. (on May 14, 1996).

It is the only on-television outing of Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, and features the final scenes

of Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor.

 

starring Paul McGann as the Doctor, Eric Roberts as the Master / Bruce, Daphne Ashbrook as

Dr. Grace Holloway, Yee Jee Tso as Chang Lee, and Sylvester McCoy as the Old Doctor.

 

Written by Matthew Jacobs, Produced by Peter V Ware, Executive Produced by Philip David Segal,

Alex Beaton and Joe Wright, and Directed by Geoffrey Sax.

 

Originally broadcast on 12 May 1996 on the CBC in Canada, on 14 May 1996 on the Fox Network

in the USA, and (in edited form) on 27 May 1996 on BBC1 in the United Kingdom.

 

The “print” that is on this DVD is the full-length program as it was originally cut for North American

broadcast.  No scenes are missing, however, the running time is only 86 minutes approximately,

whereas the original North American broadcasts had an approximately 89 minute running time.

This is due to the tapes used being sourced from the prints sent to the BBC in 1996 from Universal

and Fox in 1996, which had to be converted from the American NTSC technical standard to the

British PAL technical standard.  When converting in that direction, the standard techniques

drop “extra frames” per second that are present in the NTSC standard that PAL does not display.

Consequently, the entire program plays back approximately 4% faster on the UK copy than it does

on the original North American print.  (This doesn’t happen going back the other way, from PAL to

NTSC.)  This DVD, sourcing as it does from BBC Video, has inherited the 4% speed-up.  If you are

used to watching the North American versions you may be able to tell this in the pitches of the voices,

music, and sound effects in this version as they are all consequently slightly higher from running 4% fast.

 

The fades-to-black at the commercial act breaks have also been replaced by dissolves from the

concluding scene to the scene just starting.

 

This entire DVD set has the same contents as the re-release of the TV Movie the UK enjoyed in 2010

as part of the Doctor Who: Revisitations box set.  They had an earlier release with fewer special

features in 2001, but that was never released in North America as until recently the rights to this

production’s release here were held by Universal rather than the BBC.

DVD Features:

On Disc 1:

            - The full TV Movie, with digitally restored pictures and sound.

            - Graphical menus and scene selection features and optional subtitles for the hearing impaired. 

            - Stereo sound, but inheriting the 4% speed-up as described above.

            - Two commentary tracks.   The first track is with Director Geoffrey Sax, recorded in 2001

                        for the UK’s original DVD release.  The second track is with actors Paul McGann

                        and Sylvester McCoy, moderated by Nicholas Briggs, recorded in 2010 for the

                        UK’s DVD re-release.

- Isolated Music option.  This plays John Debney’s incidental music without any of the rest of

the program’s sound.

- Four Audio Tracks in the sound menu, allowing you to hear the four music tracks used in

            the film from Universal’s music library: “In a Dream,” “Ride Into the Moonlight,”

            “All Dressed Up,” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

- “The Seven Year Hitch  The highlight 54-minute documentary featurette about the seven-year

            process that Executive Producer Philip David Segal went through to get this Doctor Who

            TV Movie produced and made.  Features interviews with Philip David Segal, BBC

            Executives Peter Cregeen and Alan Yentob, BBC Producer Jo Wright, writer Matthew

            Jacobs, and veteran ‘Doctor Who’ director Graeme Harper.

- “The Doctor’s Strange Love  A 17-minute featurette where Doctor Who fans with professional

            pedigrees of their own discuss the highs and lows of the film.  Features writers Simon

            Guerrier and Joseph Lidster, and comedian Josie Long.

- Photo Gallery.  4 minutes of still photographs taken during the production of the story.

- Information Text.  Pop-up production information notes that appear throughout the story.

- PDF Files.  DVD-ROM files in Acrobat Reader .pdf format of the Radio Times listings and

features for this story.  Just place the disc in your computer and open the files to see them.

- Coming Soon Trailer, for the forthcoming DVD release of The Seeds of Doom starring Tom Baker.

- The disc boots up with trailers for Doctor Who – The Complete Fifth Series box set and

            BBC America.

 

On Disc 2:

-         Four featurettes in a “Pre-Production” Menu.  They are:

- Paul McGann Audition.  8 minutes of Paul McGann trying out from the part using

a completely different early script.

                        - VFX Tests June 1994.  1 minute of visual effects tests that Amblin Entertainment did

                                    for the title sequence and their idea of “spider-like” Daleks.

- VFX March 1996.  2-1/2 minutes of raw visual effects used in the final production.

            -     Three featurettes in a “Production” Menu.  They are:

                        - EPK.  16 minutes.  This is the Electronic Press Kit that Fox sent to its affiliates in the week

                                    before broadcast for use by them as they saw fit for promotion and advertising of

                                    the film.  Features interviews with actors Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Daphne

                                    Ashbrook, Eric Roberts, executive producer Philip David Segal, and director

                                    Geoffrey Sax.

-  Behind the Scenes.  5 minutes of footage shot from behind the camera during production.

            -  Philip Segal’s Tour of the TARDIS Set.  3 minutes of Philip Segal showing off the vast

                        new TARDIS interior set.

-  Alternate Takes.  1 minute.  2 different takes of two scenes.

            -     All other features are in a “Special Features” menu.  They are:

                        - BBC Trails.  1 minute of the trailers used by the BBC to advertise the movie.

                        - Who Peter 1989-2009.  A 27-minute featurette about how Doctor Who continued to

                                    appear on the BBC’s perennial children’s magazine show Blue Peter even when

                                    it was off the air, and then even more when it came back.  Features interviews with

                                    writer and former Doctor Who Magazine Editor Clayton Hickman, writer Robert

                                    Shearman, Executive Producer and Writer Russell T. Davies, Brand Manager

                                    Edward Russell, and Blue Peter Editor Richard Marson.

- The Wilderness Years.  A 24-minute featurette about all the activity around Doctor Who

that continued to happen in the years 1989-2005 when the TV program was

off-the-air (apart from this TV Movie).  Features interviews with BBC executive

Peter Cregeen, former Doctor Who Magazine editor Jon Freeman, editor of

Virgin novels Doctor Who The New Adventures books Peter Darvill-Evans,

writer and former TV script editor Andrew Cartmel, present Doctor Who Magazine

editor Tom Spilsbury, producer Keith Barnfather of the Mythmakers videos,

producer Bill Baggs of the BBV spinoff videos, documentary producer Kevin Davies,

former BBC Books Editor Justin Richards, and Executive Producer Jason

Haigh-Ellergy from Big Finish Productions (the audio dramas). 

- Stripped for Action – The Eighth Doctor.  A 20-minute featurette about the comic strip

adventures of the Eighth Doctor printed in Doctor Who Magazine from 1996-2005.

Features interviews with Scott Gray, Alan Barnes, Paul Scoones, Clayton Hickman,

Jeremy Bentham, Gary Russell, Lee Sullivan, and Martin Geraghty.       

- Tomorrow’s Times – the Eighth Doctor.  Nicholas Courtney narrates an 11-minute

Featurette about the press reaction and criticism of the TV Movie from 1996.

- 2 Easter eggs.  Highlight the blank area below to see what they are and how to find them.

                        Egg 1: Go to the Who Peter selection in the Special Features menu and then press the

                        left arrow.  A Doctor Who logo will appear.  You will then see an additional

                        9-minute interview with Philip Segal that was recorded in 2001 for use on the

                        UK’s original DVD release of the TV Movie.   
                        Egg 2:  Go into the Production menu, then highlight Alternate Takes, then press

                        the right arrow. A Doctor Who logo will appear.  Click on this and you will see a

                        2-minute featurette of writer Matthew Jacobs describing his earliest Doctor Who

                        memory, where his actor father took him to visit the set of the 1966 First Doctor

                        story The Gunfighters.