Matthew Jacobs on McGann’s Return, Spin-off & TV Movie
Matthew Jacobs, writer of the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie starring Paul McGann, has spoken about the 50th anniversary return of the 8th Doctor.
In an interview with Stand By For Mind Control, he said: “Actually [it's] quite moving. The die-hard fans have always loved Paul’s incarnation, but the majority of the now massive worldwide audience that follows the show doesn’t really know him. So Moffat using Paul McGann to set up the 50th has taken McGann’s Doctor right into the spotlight again. Also, to hear Moffat give the Doctor the same sort of quirkiness we developed for him back in the ‘90s was lovely.
“Right now I feel a bit vindicated, I’ve been surfing and found that already there are new reviews for the TV Movie praising it for the very things reviewers hated it for on its release.”
Jacobs adds that he is well aware of the pleas for a McGann spin-off: “Today, a massive group petitioning for the eighth Doctor to have his own series has approached me. But then that’s what the show is about… resurrection! Except it’s not just the second coming or a third. I guess as long as the ratings stay high this sci-fi messiah is on a loop… Does that sound really cheap? Who cares; I like it!”
One of the most controversial elements of the Jacobs’ script had McGann’s Doctor stating he is half-human, but Jacobs doesn’t regret it: “I made him half human on his mother’s side, something that really p***ed the fans off — and I think still does. But I don’t care. It makes sense to me. He has two sides to him: the flawed darkness of an inter-dimensional unhinged alien Time Lord and the romantic passion of a man who can fall in love and care for whomever he meets along the way. That’s what makes him so resilient in my mind.”
However, Jacobs admits the largely negative reaction to the TV movie was tough: “I’m still a fan now, but I’m a bit jaded and, to be honest, until Paul surfaced a few days ago I’ve watched the show from a respectful distance, occasionally catching a few stories, but not really getting hooked. I think the struggle of making the Doctor Who movie in the ‘90s left me with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. When the show came back in 2005 I was definitely not invited to the ball, which didn’t surprise me in the least, but it still felt a little strange.”