Philip Segal had been trying, on and off, since 1989 to acquire the rights
to make Doctor Who. Finally, in 1995, he forged a partnership
between the BBC and Universal Pictures to make a two-hour Doctor
Who movie for broadcast on both BBC1 and the FOX network. This movie
would serve as a “backdoor pilot”, possibly giving rise to a
new ongoing series should ratings warrant it. Unfortunately, although Doctor Who (1996) was successful in
the United Kingdom, it was a disappointment in North America, where it
was broadcast during the fierce May “sweeps” ratings period.
FOX passed on Doctor Who and although Universal maintained their
option until the end of 1997, they were unsuccessful in interesting
other parties in the programme. Doctor Who then lay fallow as a
television property for several years until, one September morning in
2003, the seeds were sown for its rebirth...