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What If… the 8th Doctor Had Had a Full TV Run?

Guest contributor Richard Forbes imagines the series, but also incorporating the Time War.

night-mcgann-doctor-2013

After “The Night of the Doctor” there was a flurry of pleas for a Paul McGann-led Doctor Who mini-series. Fans were presented with the Eighth Doctor on his last legs: worn and tested, but still optimistic and still courageous with a twinkle in his eye despite a galactic war sprawling out across the galaxies, threatening all of creation. Ultimately, much of the Eighth Doctor’s time has been chronicled, but instead of playing out on television, it was developed through paperback and audiobooks (e.g., Big Finish Productions and BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures).

While McGann’s Doctor would have run on television during the Nineties, the Time War has since been recognized as a major plot development during the Eighth Doctor’s era. Therefore the following piece is taking a lot of liberties – not only do I want to ask what could have been if McGann’s Doctor had had a full run depicted in television, but I also want to imagine what could have been, given what has been established in later years, regarding the Time War by showrunners, Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat.

I think you will find that the Eighth Doctor’s era had the potential to be one of the strongest in terms of captivating story-telling and plot development, especially because of the overarching themes and the role they would play in testing the Doctor’s values and moral character.

“I’m not part of the war. I swear to you, I never was” – The Eighth Doctor.

Some fans believe that with a full run with the Eighth Doctor, they would see more of the Time War – while this may true, I believe viewers would be treated with an outsider’s view of the war, as opposed to a view of the frontlines because the Eighth Doctor is desperately trying to avoid getting involved in the conflict.

paul-mcgann-2013-night-of-the-doctor-openingThe Eighth Doctor that we are presented with in The Night of the Doctor has admitted to acting as a “neutral” face in the Time War. He is a “medic” who helps those who he can, both on the sidelines and in the direct conflict – a person that can be trusted by all in a troubled world that no longer trusts anyone. the Doctor would later recount how he had even tried to save Davros from the jaws of the Nightmare Child. It’s hard to tell if the Doctor at this stage in his life is running towards the war or running away from it – electing instead to stay on the fringe of the conflict and help those affected elsewhere than the frontlines. This is not the Doctor being a “warrior”, just the Doctor being … well, a Doctor!

There are many reasons why this periphery view of the Time War would make the Doctor’s era stronger, some of those reasons are story-driven and some of those are purely technical: budget-wise, it would be difficult to portray the frontlines of Time War for every episode, likewise, it cheapens the value and impact that a briefer glance into the Time War can have on viewers – like overusing a good monster, a story on the frontlines of the Time War is best saved for a series finale.

On the outskirts of war there would be so many topics for Doctor Who to cover that another show might overlook. The effects of war can be vast. Places involved in such a galactic war can suffer from resource depletion, famine, disease, over-industrialization, environmental degradation, forced migration, residual violence, breakdowns of gender relations and a multiple of civil disputes. I would trust Doctor Who not only to tell the story of the violence of the Time War, but the bigger picture: how it affects people around the universe.

“She was wiser than you. She understood there was no escaping in the Time War. You are a part of this, Doctor, whether you like it or not”. – Ohila.

The-Day-of-the-Doctor-Extended-TV-Trailer-(13)The Last Great Time War was a world falling to pieces and it has such potential and grand scope for storytelling because of our protagonist, the Doctor and how he would react to this deteriorating situation. This would be a great opportunity for character development – in times of war there is even more of a pressing need for help and less public resources and assistance available. This would serve as a great test for our hero. Would he run away from it all? Would he carry on and live his promise in what ways he thinks he can ethically? I don’t expect every story during such a series to be defined by the Time War, but it would always be a backdrop to whatever adventure he took. Viewers would be left wondering if his trips to magical places far in the future were more or less escapist than anything else or do they serve a greater purpose: to remind him that eventually the war will be over?

What makes this proposal so exciting is not because it would be a “gritty” take on the Doctor and Doctor Who, but for the exact opposite reason – it would have, arguably, the most romantic of the Doctor’s incarnations thrust into the most unromantic of situations.

We’ve seen a grizzled John Hurt play the Doctor in the final days of the war, but what I want to see is the Doctor out of place and out of time. Steven Moffat said that he could never see Paul McGann’s Doctor fitting in with those events and the gloom of the Time War and I think he’s right. That is exactly why this would be a story worth telling – we know how the “warrior” responds to war, but how does the “poet”?

However, the war would not only challenge the Doctor himself but his relationship with others too.

Emma-Campbell-Jones-cass-The-Night-of-the-DoctorIn The Night of the Doctor we find war has corrupted people’s sense of trust in the goodness of others – the fairy tale of the Doctor running off with his new companion is interrupted with Cass choosing death over faith in him. the Doctor is left to die by her side, but what a series run could elaborate on is the mistrust that led Cass to fear the TARDIS and the Doctor. I suspect that the mistrust that Cass exhibited was not something that was an individual occurrence but something endemic to that era.

As the world falls to pieces around them, every companion’s faith in the Doctor would be tested, while the Doctor himself would be tested in his faith in him to keep them safe and away from harm’s way.

The Last Great Time War would paint a large scope for storytelling, character development and dynamics. Now that you’ve heard the pitch though, you may wonder how likely this is to ever come to fruition. Paul McGann told Doctor Who Magazine that he would be “super enthusiastic” if he were ever asked to return to Doctor Who, but also added that it remains very unlikely for foreseeable future.

“You know what? I don’t expect to ever to be involved again. But I expect I’ll be surprised one day by something. That’s what Doctor Who’s about. I expect to be surprised…” – Paul McGann

At the very least, however, The Night of the Doctor serves as our little window in what would have otherwise been a fantastic era of storytelling. I couldn’t think of a better present that Moffat could have given us to celebrate the show’s fiftieth last year.

Thank You!

Step back in time...

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89 comments
supermoff
supermoff

Honestly, I'm apathetic towards this spinoff. If it happens it happens. If it doesn't it doesn't, which is more likely anyway. I'm sure Moffat or any future showrunner will make the best decison for the show and I will trust in that decision.

The Robo Superior
The Robo Superior

'Ere's a thought... if the US version of Who had taken off in the 90's, would Big Finish have been granted a license for the audios? If the trade off for not having a TV series for ten years or so was the rather brilliant audios, then I ain't got no problems with it.

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

As an addendum, and as someone who was a Doctor Who fan in the mid-1990s (I even posted on the old Usenet group!), I can fill in some blanks that have been forgotten. Had the show been picked up by Fox (the American network that ran Enemy in the US), then the new series would have been modeled after Babylon 5. B5 was the first SciFi series to really dive into season-long arcs and even series-long arcs, and it really has been the model for all major SciFi series since then (including Doctor Who).

The new show would have been character-driven rather than plot-driven: I.e., no more "good vs evil" but instead intrapersonal conflict. (Think Game of Thrones rather than Lord of the Rings: or New Who rather than Old Who.). The companions would have been the principle protagonists, at least initially.

Doctor Who fans were upset at the time: they wanted the old show back. The Amblin reps repeatedly and patiently explained that the old show fell out of popularity for the reasons that some fans (claimed to) like it, and that type of show would never be on TV again. (Other fans embraced these, as it was similar to the New Adventures book series.)

It is very improbable that they would have stumbled onto the Time War, so we shouldn't speculate about that. We never did learn what the arcs might have been: in all of the finger pointing after Enemy's panning, the people involved stopped talking about it and stopped posting on Usenet.

JJ2000
JJ2000

I am personally upset with Steven Moffat and I believe that Doctor Who is going way down. I hope this doesn't happen with Series 8, because Peter Capaldi deserves a chance. The three previous Doctors had a really good or fantastic, if you prefer, entrance, but only one got the exit they deserved. I believe that the writing is going down, my opinion and Steven Moffat is too busy to concentrate mainly on Doctor Who and that is why there was only 6 episodes in 2012 and ten in 2013. Now he's got rid of one episode and now there is 12 and a christmas special, which I think is really ridiculous. Now the BBC have no excuses why they cannot do a Paul McGann, Eighth Doctor, mini-series.




I think that in September/October 2016, Paul McGann should get an eight (8) episode mini-series. 


Easter 2016 - Doctor Who (12 Episodes) 

September/October/November 2016 - Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor series (8 Episodes) 

Doctor Who can have 20 Episodes, plus two christmas specials, one the current Doctor and maybe the other the Eighth Doctor. Different teams working on each. On BBC One, not a kids series, not an adult, basically family show on the same par as Doctor Who. 


Plus, for coming up with the idea, I bagsy first dibs on becoming a male companion.














































JJ2000
JJ2000

The article was okay, but it just seemed to be about the time war and not much about what the series would have been like.

The Finn
The Finn

What the BBC could do, and which I think wouldn't take away from the main show, is an Internet-only Series, like the one Big Finish and BBCi did in the early 2000s as a one-off episode, but as a series.

gunslinger19
gunslinger19

While i would love to see an 8th doctor spin off, and think that it should happen, i do accept that dr who is better served by not having this. i loved the 50th, but the depiction of the time war was, in my opinion, the worst aspect by far. there seemed to be so little imagination, so little effort. the time war has always been presented as far more than a series of battles. i want to see the horrors of the time war. it wouldnt have even cost that much. we got epic special effects for the city of gallifrey, but i would have preferred to have a time lord church with women and children singing hymns and the sound of men dying outside. maybe the daleks could even attack the church eventually. that would have been so much more effective and we could see some hardcore time lord culture. i wanted to see a battle. it doesnt have to be epic or lord of the rings style, but they couldve shown like a lot of time lords all marching to re-take Arcadia's citadel or something. i wanted war cries and battle speeches from the doctor! the one consolation is that the 50th didnt actually mean that these things didnt happen, but a whole time war series could never portray the war how we have imagined it. on the other hand, more who is a good thing so id totally be up for it!

MatthewBurrows
MatthewBurrows

One of the best articles I have ever read. I think that the 8th Doctor deserves his own one off Mini Series...as Dark Eyes seems to be leading to the end of the 8th Doctor on audio...it seems obvious that this is where you could take the story . A 3 part 50min episode based series...could take the Doc from the point that Dark Eyes 4 will tell, to the point of Night of the Doctor . The BBC could afford this easily. This would give the 8th Doctor story full closure...

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

The Time War served as character development, not plot development. And that is the big unanswered question about what might have been 20 years ago: what sort of character would they have developed for the Doctor? Although Enemy Within made Grace the protagonist (just as series 1 ade Rose the protagonist initially), it almost certainly would have converted the Doctor to one, just as the new series did. However, all of the Doctor's character development stemmed from the Time War and the way he ended it. (well, in some time lines,any way!). Had more Americans tuned in to Enemy, then something else would have been used to develop a character for the Doctor: most probably the infamous "half human" bit.

Regardless, the character that modern audiences love would not have benn there, as that War Victim was RTD'S brainchild. They would not hav made the plot-driven stories of the old series, either: instead, it would have been some very different evolution of the series.

Angie Whodini
Angie Whodini

It would be great if Moffat surprised us with a special in the waiting months between the eighth and ninth seasons but...

Well, one can dream.


WesFalcon
WesFalcon

the 8th DOCTOR was my first 


The MasterDoctor
The MasterDoctor

Don't know why so many comments are going on about "what could have been" or how "different things would be now" if McGann had gotten a series after the 96 movie.  This isn't a DW episode.  There's no "timey-wimey" threat of Eccleston, Tennant and Smith's eras disappearing from the time vortex or of the Doctor suddenly becoming "definitely" half-human.


Let's look forward to "what could be". Peter Capaldi is just about to begin his tenure as the Doctor.  But eventually, after three or five or eight years (hopefully eight!) he'll decide to move on.  It will be time for a new Doctor.  But why not, instead, at that point, go back and find out what the 8th Doctor's era was?  

The BBC could, after Capaldi leaves, bring McGann back to the role of the Doctor and do several years of the 8th Doctor.  Paul McGann proved in those very few 7 minutes of "Night of" that he has the character down.  (If not all those years of audios!)  McGann is an actor of extraordinary talent.  He deserves a series as the 8th Doctor.  The 8th Doctor deserves a series.  WE, the fans of Doctor Who, deserve a series of the 8th Doctor!

HeyProfessor
HeyProfessor

You can never have enough of McGann. *wishers* Never......


*crawls back to my hermit cave*

Timhogan
Timhogan

The biggest issue I see that people have with it, and from what I can tell from the Doctor Who makers, is they don't want something "competing" with the primary series or taking away from the primary series.  Which I understand, but there's ways to avoid that.  If they did a full series of 12/13 episodes that ran along side or in between series I could understand that taking away from the main series.  However a few small TV specials in the form of Sherlock with 3 TV-Movie style episodes that was clearly advertised as a "bonus" or "extra" for fans that could play around something like Easter to kind of satisfy the fans who go such a dreadful wait between series, it would avoid the competition factor.  Especially if they were to do something like that, and then slap a trailer at the end of it for the following full series to remind people that what they just watched was a special "prequel" of sorts to the Night of the Doctor.  Key factors would be that it'd have to be much shorter than the actual series, it'd have to run at a time as to not shine over the main series, and it'd have to have its own budget (although could be a much smaller budget due to the fact that it'd be more of a gift to fans then trying to be a full blown action Doctor Who series.)  If they could manage all three of those things, I think it'd be quite successful for everyone involved!  The final piece would be Moffat not writing it, we wouldn't want to have to wait an extra year for the main series because he was busy writing the 8th doctor's mini-adventures.

G_Unitt
G_Unitt

I completely loved the Night of the Doctor, despite (Or maybe because?) I've never heard any audio stories. I'm sure they're brilliant, and I definitely need to catch up, but seeing the 8th Doctor going from the romantic, fun guy in the TV film, to the man we saw in Night was incredible. I filled in the blanks - I imagined him being caught in the Time War and then escaping. Constantly running from it, and finding himself being brought into it all the time. I imagine he'd have found it very difficult to keep saving people when they all hated him and his entire species. And then, eventually, he caved. He couldn't carry on being hated and running away from everything anymore, and in Night of the Doctor he was forced to make a decision he had never wanted to make. Amazingly, in just a few minutes, Night of the Doctor created years and years of stories in my head. 


Moffat gets a lot of (often unjustified) hate, but the guy is a genius. Paul McGann would have made a wonderful Doctor on-screen, but I'm happy enough with what we've got. Maybe a multi-Doctor story one day with him in? That would be brilliant. Ecclestone, Tennant, Smith, Capaldi, and McGann ... That would be incredible. 

I can dream!

Noybusiness
Noybusiness

This is exactly why an Eighth Doctor spinoff could work. Because there's something unique going on during his lifetime.

Mercy Reborn2
Mercy Reborn2

I think if there was a spin off I would hate it to effect peters run in anyway

Mercy Reborn2
Mercy Reborn2

I like the eighth doctor and it would be interesting to see how he would develop as a character but it isn't going to happen unfortunately. I think your article is great

Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

Brilliant article by the way, shame the chances of a spinoff ever happening are very slim...oh well, this sort of thing is what audios and books are for, I hope they explore the Time War some more with these mediums in the future XD

iMikeZero
iMikeZero

There would have been no Time War since it was only used to reboot the series. 

Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

Oh yay, comments aren't blocked here XD anyone know why that happened...? I've been a bit out of the loop...is it just me?



ilyootha is back in home Universe
ilyootha is back in home Universe

Great article. It would certainly have been interesting to see such a run of the Eighth Doctor's adventures during the time war, but sadly, it would have never happened if he had a full run.


Although the Eighth Doctor's era actually had its own time war(s) in the novels (along with its own destruction and return of Gallifrey!), the Last Great Time War - the time war - was a device of the new series. If McGann had got his own full run (especially considering what they had planned for him after the movie), I believe the history of Doctor Who would have been very different today, so it's very unlikely that TLGTW would have still existed in the first place - and if it did, then certainly not like how Davies and Moffat are imagining it.

I've rewatched the movie just yesterday and, for once, I suddenly liked it very much (viewing it soon after reading Lungbarrow and listening to Master makes you see it in a new perspective). However, personally I'm still happy that the movie never got a continuation and we got all these great off-screen media adventures instead, as well as The Night of the Doctor, which I think rounded the Eighth Doctor's story nicely.




SeanBennion
SeanBennion

McGann movie trilogy PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!



YaelMoise
YaelMoise

Great article. The sheer potential of it all... makes me sob at the fact that it'll never happen. 


I'm not a Moffat-hater, but his intractable position regarding the 8th Doctor getting more... it really does anger me sometimes. :(

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

@JJ2000 Well, I agree that Smith's exit was not stellar.  However, Moffat had thought that Smith was coming back for another season.  Had Smith done that, then most of the plot elements of "Day" (the Doctor [and audience] learning that he no longer had enough regeneration energy to regenerate again; the "enemy" Silence as an offshoot of Ally Silence; the nature of the crack in time) would have been stretched out over several stories.  Having to cram them all into one tale made it long on plot (and often with seemingly arbitrary resolutions) and short on story (although it did an OK job of telling a story about one being one's actions, not one's words.).


At any rate, the BBC is not going to pay for 20 episodes in a season.  The budget situation is a little better than it was (or so it seems), but remember that they just had to essentially cut two seasons in half, and that they've been cutting budgets for lots of other shows.  



Malohkeh
Malohkeh

@JJ2000 Don't be so greedy! There were many wilderness years with far less Doctor Who than we are getting now. We should be thankful for what we have.

 Notsosmartguy  the dalek of Jersey
Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey

@JJ2000 give it a chance bro. Yea loosing an episode sucks I think dropping an episode may give us a chance to have higher quality episodes. If you don't like the direction the show is going then drop it.

DrOswald
DrOswald

@JJ2000 Technically we haven't lost an episode, as Deep Breath is 75 minutes long, and we will probably make up the rest with some episodes in Series 8 being 50 minutes.

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

@gunslinger19 Why would advanced beings like Time Lords have a church?  Why wouldn't advanced beings like Time Lords have women out there fighting with the men? At any rate, the story was not about the Time War: it was about the Doctor coming to terms with himself and accepting that he, himself, really did have no other choice but to use the Moment.  In other words, he had to accept that he'd really run into a problem that was too big for the Doctor himself to solve, and that he should thus absolve himself.  Paradoxically, this was a decision that he could reach only when he was not himself, but "them"self.  The Time War was just a foil for that.

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

@MatthewBurrows The BBC is broke.  Matt Smith's final season was stretched out over two years because of budget problems, and budget problems are affecting numerous other series. Asking for one third of Doctor Who's budget for something that would be fan candy is asking a lot!



The other thing is that the 8th Doctor doesn't need closure.  He never had a "story": he had one TV movie.  (Only a few thousand people worldwide listen to the audio series: and the BBC has to worry about the millions of UKers who pay their box fees.)  Only the hardcore fans remember him at all, and the modern fans would not find him interesting at all.  It would be the River Song dilemma: the pre-Time War Doctor isn't their Doctor, and he is not someone that necessarily would interest them.  



Venawesomeo
Venawesomeo

@WesFalcon Mine too! I remember my Mum putting the video tape of the TV movie on one dull Sunday afternoon. I was only five... didn't realise it's history. Then, when it came back in 2005 without my Doctor, I boycotted it with a rage only a ten year old can achieve. :)

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

@The MasterDoctor I agree with all of this, except the last big.  McGann would be much too old to reprise the role in another few years: he's Capaldi's age or older.  Also, there really is no going back: they would lose the audience (even if they pleased the fans) by doing this.  Remember, for every fan watching the show, there are dozens of regular viewers doing so: and if the show loses them, then we lose our show.  

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

@Timhogan It is not that it would compete with "main" Doctor Who for viewers: it would compete with main Doctor Who for all-precious BBC pounds.  

Noybusiness
Noybusiness

@Timhogan I think they have the wrong attitude, then. The best years of the Whonvierse were when Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures were playing as well as Doctor Who.

Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

If we're going with all the modern ones, don't forget John Hurt ;)


HeyProfessor
HeyProfessor

@iMikeZero Actually, there have been subtle hints of the Time War in the Classic Series since Tom Baker's era.

The most obvious one is the the 7th Doctor episode "Remembrance of the Daleks" where Davros tells the Doctor that the Daleks will "sweep away Gallifrey and its impotent quorum of Time Lords!"

ilyootha is back in home Universe
ilyootha is back in home Universe

@Seaborn W DeadmanScripts of the first five episodes got leaded, so DWTV are taking extra measures for preventing any spoiler leaks. Comments are only opened for brief periods of time so that it's easier to monitor them.

Friend of the Ood
Friend of the Ood

@YaelMoise Woah. He's the one who brought him back man. But he can't take away from Capaldi's run either. He just wants what's best.

 Notsosmartguy  the dalek of Jersey
Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey

@ProfWimsey Moffat did a great job with what he had if I'm honest I actually loved time more than Day as it did a better a better job as a tribute and celebration of the 11th Doctor than Day was as a celebration of 50 years of Doctor Who. And I just loved everything from that last stand on the clocktower to the regeneration sequence and the 12th Doctor's first moments just pure gold :-)

Hibernus
Hibernus

@ProfWimsey Well hey, I'm a modern fan, I didn't know much about the Eighth Doctor before The Night of the Doctor, and just look at me now, haha








The MasterDoctor
The MasterDoctor

@ProfWimsey @The MasterDoctor Hi, Prof.  McGann is a year and a half younger than Peter Capaldi.  Even if Capaldi did 4 years, McGann would be 58, and I don't think that's too old.  Going off "Night of", I don't think he shows his age.  Also, the dozens of regular viewers (for every fan) possibly wouldn't know McGann from any other new actor in the role.  Or perhaps they would have the familiar knowledge that he had been in the 96 movie and "Night", but it wouldn't cause them any concern, because a  great actor is a great actor.  And McGann is exactly that. 

 I just can't see McGann re-taking the role as being any different to the "regular viewers" than any other actor taking the role.  (Also, as much as I would love for Capaldi to do 8 years as the Doctor, I can't see an actor of his caliber wanting to go more than 4 years at the most.  I just hope he doesn't follow in Eccleston's path and limit himself to 1 !)  I will say though, that it would seem more likely that the show-runner at that time, and the BBC itself, will probably want to go back to a more "youthful" Doctor after Capaldi's run.  Still, I'll always have hope for McGann's return, one way or another.

Timhogan
Timhogan

@ProfWimsey @Timhogan But how would it compete for money if aired at a different time?  I would think it would add more to it, if you have 1 series vs 1 series and a few specials for fans to run out and buy DVD's and stuff of, wouldn't that mean the one with the extra specials for extra money would make them more?

YaelMoise
YaelMoise

@Friend of the Ood @YaelMoise There are plenty of ways of handling both. 

As others here have pointed out there's a massive wait between seasons for us. 

You could easily fit a miniseries or movie in there and it wouldn't so much as dent Capaldi's run. 

Also, you could wait a year or so before you do that, just to establish Capaldi as the Doctor and make sure you're not hurting his run. 

Moffat's "One Doctor at a time" philosophy means that no other options are even looked at. 

I disagree that it's "what's best". I think it's just what Moffat thinks is best. 

It's like his policy about the Rani and other such villains being "silly" or "not easliy recognized by new fans" - it just bothers me.

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

@Notsosmartguy sells propane and propaneaccessories @ProfWimsey Oh, Moffat did a fine job given the limitations.  However, limitations are a major reason why things don't do as well as they could!  And I think that it was doubly disappointing to me because it seemed like the plot of the episode would have made a great plot-arc for an entire season: even a half-season!  (As for enjoying it, well, tastes are completely subjective, and I won't tell you that you are wrong to like or dislike something!)

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

@Hibernus @ProfWimsey Sorry, I wasn't clear: I am referring to modern viewers, not modern fans.  For any show (or book series or movie series), there are dozens of viewers for every "fan."  They are the ones that keep series going.  Indeed, we only need to look at Doctor Who for the difference: Doctor Who fandom was bigger than ever in the late 1980's, yet the viewership was lower than ever.  

ProfWimsey
ProfWimsey

@Timhogan @ProfWimsey The BBC has only so much money to spend: and these days that is not very much.  Different shows compete strongly for that money.  As Doctor Who is a very expensive show, another version would present strong competition for the limited production budgets. 

YaelMoise
YaelMoise

@Friend of the Ood @YaelMoise Also - As others here have pointed out, some of the best years for Doctor Who were when Torchwood and the SJA were running alongside it. I've actually come across people who have only discovered the main show AFTER they watched SJA or TW. More shows do not necessarily take away from the main range. They just offer more potential viewers a door into our world.