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How To Bring Back McGann

paul mcgann doctor who 2013 night of the doctor (2)

Guest contributor Mike Falino looks at how to integrate the 8th Doctor for another return.

I have been a fan of the Eighth Doctor for quite some time. Ever since I saw the Doctor Who movie I thought it a travesty that Paul McGann never got a fair chance to pilot the TARDIS for longer than the time of a standard 90s TV movie. It was clear he was perfect for the role, but alas, it was never to be.

Fast forward nearly twenty years and audiences both old and new got a chance—a brief glimpse—of the wonderful but little known Eighth Doctor in The Night of the Doctor. Although the Eighth Doctor has an extensive history in the Big Finish audio adventures, most fans just never had much interest, or means, to enjoy them. But thanks to Steven Moffat’s love of the show, fans got a chance to experience Eight, and it was fantastic.

Now there’s a huge interest among fans to see more onscreen adventures of the Eighth Doctor. I am among this group. But the question arises of how to integrate him. A spin-off seems the most logical option, but the chances of two concurrent Doctor Who series running at the same time is less than nil. A movie perhaps? Now there’s an idea! One or two feature films could be fantastic. But I have another idea…

mcgann-capaldiI propose a story arc that brings the Eighth Doctor back to our screens for adventures with the Twelfth Doctor. I know, it sounds crazy, but really, it seems the most amazing option to me.

Before anyone starts with the “rules” nonsense, or “it would be weird” silliness, let me cut you off. As has been made clear many times by many fans, Doctor Who doesn’t really follow many rules. At its essence it’s about a Time Lord who travels in his TARDIS. That’s it! He usually has a companion or two that tag along on his adventures, but otherwise, that’s it. Those are the only “rules”.

What I particularly love about having both Doctors travel together for a while is that it has never been done. When a show reaches 50 years it’s probably quite difficult to come up with new ideas. But right here is an idea that has never been done other than in anniversary specials, and in one other regular season story. But to have two Doctors involved in a story for an extended period of time… wow! It would be an event in Doctor Who lore that would be something so drastically different that it would give Doctor Who a chance to revolutionize science fiction yet again!

Perhaps it could take the form of the Eighth Doctor popping in and out throughout a season, a sort of “continually crossing paths” scenario. But I really love the idea of having both Doctors travel in the TARDIS for a few episodes, not much longer. Three or four episodes would be an ideal length to tell a really unique tale. I think it would be one of the most fascinating and successful things ever done on the show, and it would give the Eighth Doctor, and Paul McGann, the respect and recognition they both deserve. As for the fans, it would be nothing less than a Doctorgasm for the ages!

Step back in time...

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103 comments
fangarang
fangarang

I think it would be fantastic to see Paul mcgann back as the doctor. He has all the charisma the doctor needs. If love to see him back.

DW_girl
DW_girl

That is a very good idea. Doctor Who is all about change and the writers are always trying to shake things up a bit, and what better way to do it than what you just explained?! :)

PeterThompson
PeterThompson

I'd love to see him come back but realistically this won't happen. Right now they are focusing on Capaldi and bringing in another doctor would probably overshadow Capaldi's new doctor. Capaldi needs his time to shine. However a miniseries could work in the future, showing the missing gaps, with how the time war started for example. This could be set to lead right up to the night of the doctor.



MattHowlett4
MattHowlett4

It would be cool, as long as it didn't go on for too long. Just a few episodes. Maybe having two doctors travel together could be one of the catalysts that starts the time war.

Thesilence_1994
Thesilence_1994

While I wouldn't mind seeing more of 8 one day, right now it's all about Capaldi and 12!. Bringing 8 back so soon after the 50th celebrations would be inappropriate. 

The Fixer
The Fixer

Simple. The Doctor can recycle faces...perhaps even past regenerations. At the end of Capaldi's run- surprise us with a reregeneration into Mcgann. This way Capaldi's run isn't watered down and we are left not knowing how Mcgann's story ends. Have it last for 1 ep, 1 arc or 1 season, whatever works...then boom new Doctor. Everyone gets to eat cake.

JohnHardt
JohnHardt

Here is a thought... a two part episode where the McGann Doctor and the Capaldi Doctor are facing a similar villain. We see both doctors in action... Things do not go as well for the 8th doctor. The two do not actually meet... Both Doctors are in their own timelines and do not meet, but fighting the same villain, can the 12th Doctor face it without making the same mistake that the 8th Doctor made. and maybe a scene where Capaldi's Doctor does some of his work by wondering into one of the old control rooms (McGann's control room), and maybe using it as his control room in the end.  

GilesMollusk
GilesMollusk

personally the idea of McGann returning pleasures my brain nubs to no end. although the idea of having a four episode arc in a new doctors series seems a little extravagant, especially considering the small quantity of episodes in the recent years (Series 7 part 1 a.k.a the most painful year of my life) additionally mcgann meeting a doctor who has lived passed his perceived regeneration cycle can could render the episode or the entire shows arc for the past years obsolete, i would like to see some kind of interaction between the eight doctor and clara (or the next companion) in my mind the ideal situation would be that of getting into the wrong tardis, or calling for help and having a different doctor arrive. anyway odds are we won't be seeing a return for paul mcgann any time soon especially not in the same year as the genesis of a new doctor.



TheSoundofDrums
TheSoundofDrums

I'm down with this :D Having met Paul last weekend at a Comic Con and seeing what a nice bloke he is in person and how dedicated and loving he is to us fans I think he more than deserves this idea. I think it would be great for him to come back for further stories, especially if it means he has a good old banter with Capaldi (an actor who Paul believes may become the best Doctor yet). It's a brilliant idea and one I'd love to see happen for the glory of seeing Paul do his thing once more.

LucasW
LucasW

An interesting idea, but how would you watch it in a marathon?! However, it is indeed series "8".

TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

Personally I'm not too keen on this idea. I don't think McGann coming back is very necessary to be honest. Good article though :)

Ninjauthor
Ninjauthor

I think it would work best if he appeared in one story with 12 to introduce him to viewers who don't know him already, and use that as a backdoor pilot for a spin-off (it could introduce supporting characters and a location as well)



JFrance
JFrance

If Steven Moffat dose do a multi-Doctor story with the 8th Doctor, it should be done for 2016 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the TV movie.   

ArthurWilliams
ArthurWilliams

I'd love to see McGann again, but I have to agree that Capaldi needs his first season to make an impression. However, rather than another "Two Doctors" episode, I'd rather see a story that switches back and forth. Both doctors stay in their respective timelines, but they deal with the same threat. It could be a lot of fun to see a narrative than ranges forwards and back, with each Doctor handling different sides of the problem.

dragonsfyre
dragonsfyre

Here here!!!  Well said!  The timing couldn't be more perfect.  And the chance to do it is NOW or NEVER, as the saying goes.   Or else McGann will begin to look older than he did before he regenerated.  We MUST take advantage of the present.

And for a 50th anniversary season which willl be a neo-classical approach to the show (older incarnation for the Doctor, two teachers at Coal Hill High School), what better way to inject a "new" component by having a classic Doctor pop in every now and then across Capaldi's timeline???!!!!!

It's perfect I tell ya.

But worst case scenario is this:  McGann will get a series of mini-sodes.  In fact, I'll say it here and now as a PREDICTION:  McGann will be filming (if it hasn't already started)  maybe 5 or 10 minisodes for a webcast.  And this series of minisodes will fill in the gap between now and Capaldi's debut in the Fall of 2014.  

jim65
jim65

Just bring him back Paul Mcgann was awesome

JohnHurtDoctor
JohnHurtDoctor

I really love McGann  as The Doctor, I enjoy the Big Finish adventures & he was great in Night of the Doctor. But to have him back would be a mistake, it would lessen the impact of his tv return & I think multi-Doctor stories should always be kept for very special occasions.

Tardis Stowaway
Tardis Stowaway

In my mind, the Night of the Doctor minisode was a truly magnificent surprise, and what made it so special was that it was a one-off, nostalgic moment that brilliantly filled an empty gap in Who's history. Fans got excited (and rightly so, I was one of them!) because for 8 glorious minutes, Paul McGann was the Doctor again.


So, for me, anything else just wouldn't be the same. The surprise and emotional impact would be gone, and it's really just bringing back McGann for the sake of it. Night of the Doctor was needed, really, for Eight to finally have the closure he deserved, and it excelled. With a spin-off, there's only so long that the thrill and nostalgia would last, and it wouldn't be as special.


Now, if there was a spin-off, the excitable fan inside me would love it, but the logical fan inside me knows that Eight has already been given a fitting end to his story and doesn't need anything more.

TheEleventhWheatley
TheEleventhWheatley

I can't be the only person who feels like this massive surge in people wanting McGann back is completely unneccessary. Not only would it be, as someone earlier put it, jumping the shark, but also Capaldi is his own Doctor! He doesn't need a past Doctor tagging along, he should have time to mature and develop without bringing his past self along.

GreggyPoo
GreggyPoo

I haven't been overly thrilled with some of the fans' ideas for bringing 8 back since The Night of the Doctor. But this is a pretty good idea. Nice job.

DavidChippa
DavidChippa

This. Would. Be. Awesome! The thing with it though is that at the end we'd probably cry because 8 wouldn't remember his adventures *cough* Donna * cough*...



TL4041
TL4041

What about using the info from the end of the 50th about visiting old faces.  Capaldi could learn how to control his regeneration and change into Paul Mcgann.   

WhoLocked
WhoLocked

Great idea - the only slight problem I have is - who would have top billing, Peter or Paul? It would be unfair for Peter to have to take 2nd billing to Paul especially when his first series hasn't aired yet, and unfair to Paul to play 2nd fiddle to Peter. Neither should have to share the limelight, and in bringing in Paul now, there is a risk of diminishing his position, which is exactly what should be avoided.  





But you are right, Paul has been cruelty denied his rightful spot in the TARDIS. I think a couple of movies is the best way forward, and even a couple of spin off series in-between the Peter series. If we the audience shout long and hard enough, Moffat and co will have to do something about it eventually.  Come on Moff and Gatiss you know you want to ;)



VictorWong1
VictorWong1

It's useful to bear in mind: McGann and Capaldi are playing the same character. Period. What you're proposing is an extended version of a man talking to himself. Which gets dull after a while.

The other alternative would be to have the Capaldi Doctor encounter a character who's met the Doctor before -- in a different incarnation. And the character would recall that meeting via flashback. Not only does that offer McGann (and maybe Eccleston) a chance for returning, but the imperfect memory of the character means other actors could play the role of classic Doctors (Mark Gatiss as the Third, for example).

Shadestryke
Shadestryke

I would think that the best - and possibly only - time to bring 8 back would be at Gallifrey's return. After all, it took 3 Doctors to use the Moment and all 13 to move Gallifrey, so including (at least) 1 more at its return would be fitting. 



Or perhaps a case could be made for each Doctor (or at least each surviving Doctor) to be holding a piece of the information necessary to return Gallifrey to our universe, forcing 12 to revisit some of his past to acquire that knowledge...




Keableg
Keableg

I love McGann (but that's for a different kind of forum) and the mini episode was brilliant. It still makes me squeak with joy when I think about it! But that is over. While I would've loved him to have had his own series after the TV movie he didn't. Doctor Who has moved on and we now have the brilliant Capaldi to look forward to. Maybe he'll pop up in the future, but I rather like the Eigth as an enigma. It all adds to the Doctor's character and mystery.

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

I think people are getting too carried away, McGanns return was one of the best things we've had in years for Doctor Who but I don't think we appreciate enough for what it is a 50th present if we continued to bring McGann back when it wasn't relevant it would just get tacky and this if anything is jumping the shark.

JLS1138
JLS1138

As much as I would love to see McGann back in the TARDIS, no Doctor should have to share more than a special episode with his former selves, it's just not fair to the actor. I feel like he'd get Donna Noble'd in the sense that Donna had to share her season with Martha, then Rose, then the Tenth Doctor Reunion Tour.

Leighmumford
Leighmumford

Sounds like a good idea for the new who 10th anniversary. 

gunslinger19
gunslinger19

i would be fine with this or any return for Mcgann though i think Capaldi should get at least one series on his own first. given gallifrey's return, perhaps Mcgann could play another time lord, perhaps the doctor's brother. it wouldnt be so unbelievable that siblings could occasionally share bodies and he could become a returning, Mycroft like character. just an idea, i would love to see him return as number 8 himself. but im not sure that moffat would do this.

PhotonFromOz
PhotonFromOz

Hey guys (we know how the ladies will vote), hands up if you'd like to see more of the 8th Doctor Paul McGann.


Seriously a Capaldi - McGann partnership (even a temporary one) has huge potential. I think the next Christmas Special would be the ideal time for Paul McGann to make a guest appearance with Peter Capaldi.




v S IH a u IN z
v S IH a u IN z

They could do something like film the normal 12-13 ep series with the 12th doctor and then do another Sherlock 3 episode type series with the 8th doctor and air them similar to the way DC are doing airing the Arrow and The Flash by having the Arrow like in the winter-spring and having the flash aired in the summer meaning we would get twice the who a year like

StephenAHayes
StephenAHayes

I think the time for the '8th Doctor has gone.

I hate most prequels plus it's kind of frustrating knowing that the 8th Doctor is not going to be in any serious danger from enemies or threats considering we all know how he regenerates.

lordfezman
lordfezman

If McGann does return I don't think it will be this series. but hopefully with the 10th anniversary of New Who next year he could return 

HaroldSaxon
HaroldSaxon

I've recently discovered that Peter Kay is going to be broadcasting his new series 'Car Share' on BBC iPlayer - Well isn't that a solution? Since BBC 3 is going to become online, why don't they get an independent production company with close ties to the guys in Cardiff to produce an online series. That way, it wouldn't interfere with the television run.

Problem sorted imo.

LanceMasina
LanceMasina

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the DW movie. Perhaps then that could be a way to bring 8.

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

I think a story arc would be the way to go. I don't want a spin-off or movie series. Two Doctor Who television series running at once would be to confusing. And if they made a movie, I'd want it to either use the current Doctor, or be a seperated continuity all together.

Gustaff
Gustaff

Reading the comments, people want mcgann in the new who anniversary. My question: do u realize he is a classic doctor?

the logic does not compute. If anything, only new doctors should be in such a thing. New who anniversary. New who.

Beasts_a_Snarling
Beasts_a_Snarling

The Doctor is a larger than life character. You can't have 2 larger than life characters, they will constantly try to be louder than one another, and that will ruin the show.

Badwolf2
Badwolf2

he is really great in the audios maybe he could appear at the end of peters time but peter needs to get his doctor right

RonSwearingen
RonSwearingen

@social_crime The Two Doctors with Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton was just a regular season story.  The Name of the Doctor had a cameo by John Hurt as the War Doctor.  Matt Smith is making it well known he would like to return so why not McGann?

tealeaves
tealeaves

@TheEleventhWheatley Can you explain to me why McGann returning is 'jumping the shark'? I agree it is unlikely. I agree that Capaldi should have time to develop his own persona as the Doctor unencumbered (and I don't think the writer of this article is really suggesting that this would have to happen in Capaldi's first, second, third season just that it is an option) but that's not really the same as saying McGann EVER returning is somehow ridiculous or potentially damaging to the show. The idea of eight and twelve meeting really seems no outrageous than any other multi-doctor story of which several have spanned over multi-episode serials.  

Master Michael Moon
Master Michael Moon

@Gustaff I actually don't see him as a classic Doctor, because he doesn't belong to the classic series. I consider him as the bridge because of the one off TV movie he did, his only primary appearance as the Doctor. If McGann is in a special of some sort next year, and that's even if there is a special to commerorate 10 years of New Who, there needs to be a reason. Same goes for his three successors. 

TheEleventhWheatley
TheEleventhWheatley

@tealeaves @TheEleventhWheatley  I can understand why many people want McGann to return, he is a fantastic Doctor in his own right - but I just don't feel like it is neccessary, and I think, without trying to cause to much upset, a return for McGann would be more pandering to the fans than anything else. It would be interesting to see them meet, but, as you mentioned earlier, I think a lot of this is down to my misunderstanding that the author wanted Capaldi to meet McGann in his first series. So, in conclusion, it would be great for Messrs Capaldi and McGann to bump into each other at some point, just not too early on.