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Doctor Who (1996)
(aka Enemy Within)
The Master forces the TARDIS to crashland on the day before New Year's Eve 1999 in San Francisco, where the Doctor is shot by gang members and regenerates. The Master possesses the body of an ambulance attendant and deludes teenager Chang Lee into helping him open the Eye of Harmony in the TARDIS. This will allow the Master to seize the Doctor's body for his own. But it also causes the molecular structure of the Earth to start decaying, thrusting the new Doctor and cardiologist Dr Grace Holloway into a race against time to save the world.
Since 1989, British expatriate Philip David Segal had been working to forge a co-production deal between an American company and the BBC to make a new Doctor Who series. These efforts began when Segal was working for Columbia Pictures, but were stymied by the BBC's caution towards putting Doctor Who back into production so soon after its cancellation following Season Twenty-Six. Segal tried again when he moved to Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and, in June 1992, he was joined in his efforts by Peter Wagg, producer of the eclectic science-fiction series Max Headroom.
By now, Alan Yentob had become the Controller of BBC1; Yentob was fond of Doctor Who, which meant that the programme had an advocate in the upper tiers of BBC management for the first time in several years. Nonetheless, matters were complicated by the involvement of other parties in the discussions, most notably Universal Television (one of Amblin's primary backers) and BBC Enterprises (the BBC's commercial arm, which would become BBC Worldwide in 1995). With each organisation trying its best to safeguard its own interests -- especially with regards to budget and creative approval -- negotiations stretched into 1993.
Finally, an agreement was reached on January 13th, 1994. Philip Segal was, for all intents and purposes, the new man in charge of Doctor Who. Now the race was on to get a series ready to be pitched to the American networks in time for the Fall 1994 season -- essentially giving Segal and Wagg less than two months' breathing space. Segal had already had preliminary discussions with The Phantom Of The Opera stage star Michael Crawford about taking on the role of the Doctor, and also considered Michael Palin from Monty Python to be another potential candidate.
By now, Segal had been directed by Universal Television to use a studio writer for the project. In particular, Universal pushed for John Leekley, whose credits included Miami Vice and the forthcoming Knight Rider 2010 TV movie. Segal was hesitant, preferring to go outside Universal; former Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks was amongst the candidates he was considering. However, he was also aware that any fight with Universal would waste precious development time, and he had enjoyed Leekley's script for the telefilm In The Company Of Darkness. Consequently, Segal agreed to bring Leekley aboard.
Together with designer Richard Lewis, Segal and Leekley prepared an expensive and extensive series bible entitled The Chronicles Of Doctor Who?, which was intended to introduce Doctor Who in general, and the proposed new series in particular. Segal and Leekley did not intend to pick up where Season Twenty-Six had left off, but instead wanted to tell the Doctor's story from the very start of his adventures in space and time; although the basic tenets of the classic Doctor Who series would be adhered to, the programme's mythos would be completely rewritten.
The bible, which was made available on March 21st, was written from the perspective of Cardinal Barusa (inspired by the Doctor's former tutor Borusa, who had first appeared in 1976's The Deadly Assassin). It introduced the Doctor and the Master, who were half-brothers and both sons of the lost Time Lord explorer Ulysses, Barusa's son (named after the mythical explorer who was known in Greek as Odysseus, hero of Homer's The Odyssey). When the evil Master became President of the Time Lords upon Barusa's death, the Doctor fled Gallifrey in a rickety old TARDIS to find Ulysses. Barusa's spirit became enmeshed in the TARDIS, enabling him to advise his grandson. The Doctor took the TARDIS to “the Blue Planet” -- Earth, his mother's native world -- to search for Ulysses.
The bible went on to detail the Doctor's encounter with the Daleks; they were still creations of Davros, but he was murdered by the Master to gain control of the Daleks. These events, clearly inspired by 1975's Genesis Of The Daleks, would have formed the bulk of the pilot episode, in which the Doctor discovered a message left by Ulysses, disguised in hieroglyphics he found in a relic room in Cairo, Egypt. Various other possible adventures were then detailed, most of which drew, to some extent, on stories from the original series. Many familiar Doctor Who monsters were extensively revised. The Daleks were hideous mutant creatures whose travelling machines -- appearing not unlike those from the original series, albeit without a dome region or external appendages -- opened up into a spider-like design. The Cybermen, now called “Cybs”, were marauders whose cybernetic parts were culled from a variety of sources, giving them a patchwork appearance (although they were still vulnerable to gold dust). The Yeti were gentle descendants of the Neanderthals. The bible concluded with the last of the Doctor's adventures, in which he located Ulysses and travelled back to Gallifrey to depose the Master and become President.
At this point, the plan was to interest one of the American networks in a pilot movie followed by a season of up to twenty-two episodes designed to suit a one-hour timeslot (meaning about forty-five minutes of actual programming). It was hoped that the pilot might begin shooting in early July, with other episodes to follow immediately afterward; the start date soon drifted back to August, and then September. Leekley began to flesh out some of the sample storylines listed in the bible, with most work concentrating on a revised version of The Gunfighters, now called “Don't Shoot, I'm The Doctor”.
Meanwhile, Segal and Wagg had begun the gruelling process of finding an actor to play the Doctor. To this end, they secured the services of British casting agents John and Ros Hubbard. In January and February, enormous lists of actors (most, but not all, of them British) were compiled. Amongst the names were Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean; he also played a future incarnation of the Doctor in the 1999 Doctor Who spoof The Curse Of Fatal Death), Chris Barrie (Red Dwarf), Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones), Jeremy Brett (The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes), Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge; another future Doctor from The Curse Of Fatal Death), Pierce Brosnan (the fifth James Bond), Simon Callow (Four Weddings And A Funeral, and later a guest star in The Unquiet Dead and The Wedding Of River Song), Peter Capaldi (ultimately cast as the Twelfth Doctor in 2013), Martin Clunes (the British version of Men Behaving Badly, who had appeared in 1983's Snakedance), Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Timothy Dalton (the fourth James Bond, and later Rassilon in The End Of Time), Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List), Michael Gambon (the Harry Potter films, and the 2010 Christmas special A Christmas Carol), Hugh Grant (Four Weddings And A Funeral; yet another future Doctor from The Curse Of Fatal Death), Anthony Stewart Head (the television version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and later a guest star in School Reunion), John Hurt (Midnight Express, who would be cast as the War Doctor in the fiftieth-anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor), Eric Idle (Monty Python's Flying Circus), Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius, and later the Master in Utopia), Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), Hugh Laurie (House), Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations), Ian McKellen (The Lord Of The Rings), Peter O'Toole (Lawrence Of Arabia), Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies; he would also play the Master in The Curse Of Fatal Death), and Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation).
Efforts were also under way to cast the role of Borusa (to which the spelling had reverted), with several performers on the list of possible Doctors also given consideration. A well-known actor was preferred, and some of the names suggested included Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park), Peter Cushing (who had played the Doctor in the two 1960s Dalek movies), Kirk Douglas (Spartacus), Albert Finney (Tom Jones), acclaimed Shakespearean actor John Gielgud, Hugh Grant, Alec Guinness (Star Wars), Anthony Hopkins (The Silence Of The Lambs), Burt Lancaster (From Here To Eternity), Hammer horror film stalwart Christopher Lee, Jack Lemmon (Some Like It Hot), Ian McKellen, Paul Newman (The Hustler), Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird), Max von Sydow (The Exorcist), and David Warner (The Omen; he would later appear in Cold War). The clear favourite, however, was Peter O'Toole, who had provisionally declared his interest in the project.
In early March, Segal and Wagg were joined by a third member of the production team. This was Jo Wright, who was assigned by the BBC to represent their interests in the production, and whose involvement came to the surprise (and, at the time, the dismay) of Segal. Wright's prior credits included Lovejoy. On March 9th, auditions were held for several of the shortlisted candidates to play the Doctor, including Anthony Stewart Head, Christopher Bowen (who had been Mordred in Battlefield) and John Sessions (later the voice of Gus in Mummy On The Orient Express). The favourite at this stage was Irish actor Liam Cunningham (who would go on to play Zhukov in Cold War), but it seemed that he was unavailable. With the casting still uncertain, more ideas continued to be discussed, including Paul McGann, whose brother Mark had auditioned on the 9th; however he, too, appeared to have other commitments.
Around the end of March, Amblin began circulating the series bible to the four American networks. NBC and ABC immediately passed on Doctor Who. CBS president Peter Tortorici was interested in the show, and by mid-April Segal believed that he could secure a commitment for a two-hour pilot and six one-hour episodes (presumably to serve as mid-season replacement series), but CBS then began to drag their heels on a firm decision. Finally, on May 19th, the network informed Amblin that they had decided not to take a chance on Doctor Who after all: network head Howard Stringer disliked the programme, and had overruled Tortorici.
That left FOX which, at the time, was the youngest American network. Both Head of Series Robert Greenblatt and Trevor Walton, the Senior Vice-President of the FOX TV movie division, were interested in Doctor Who. However, the network was only interested in a two-hour movie, with the possibility of a second -- not the full series commission that Segal had hoped for. Finally, on June 28th, FOX ordered a Doctor Who telefilm with the intent of having it serve as a “backdoor pilot”: if ratings were sufficient, the property might shift from their Movie of the Week division to the series division.
On July 6th, Segal met with Doctor Who historian Jean-Marc Lofficier and his wife Randy, accepting their offer to become unofficial consultants on the telefilm. The Lofficiers would advise the production team on matters of Doctor Who continuity, and could also act as liaisons with the fan community. The question of a lead actor continued to vex the production team, who were now casting their net wider, to a larger pool of non-British talent. While Cunningham was still a preferred choice, Jeff Goldblum (Independence Day) and John Slattery (Mad Men) were now given strong consideration, with Segal also seeking Yentob's opinion on Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) and Aidan Quinn (Legends Of The Fall). Also discussed were Alexis Denisoff (Angel), Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Rutger Hauer (the film version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer), singer Chris Isaak and Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump). Yentob, however, continued to push for a British actor to play the Doctor.
Meanwhile, Leekley was working on the script for the telefilm, which was simply entitled “Doctor Who”. He submitted his first story proposal on July 25th, drawing heavily from the suggestions set forth in the bible. In addition to the Doctor, the Master, Borusa, Davros, the Daleks and the Cybs (who were dropped in later drafts), the TV movie would now introduce a companion in the form of American WAC Lizzie Travis, whom the Doctor meets in Blitz-torn London during World War II. Leekley then produced a partial script on August 24th, amending and completing it over the following weeks. It was now hoped that recording could begin in November for broadcast in May, to resume for the hypothetical ongoing series the following July. Filming in England had been deemed too expensive, so Colorado and Utah were now being considered along with British Columbia in Canada. At the same time, Wagg was compiling a list of possible directors, including Michael Apted (the 7 Up films), Joe Dante (Gremlins), Leonard Nimoy (the third and fourth Star Trek films), Alan Parker (Mississippi Burning), Ridley Scott (Alien), and Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society).
Paul McGann was emerging as the frontrunner to play the Doctor, and given the changing recording dates, he might be available after all. McGann taped an audition piece on September 12th, but was wary of the five-year commitment to Doctor Who that was being proposed. But even as positive movement happened on the acting front, concerns about the script ran the risk of grounding the project to a halt. Although FOX and the BBC had both indicated their happiness with Leekley's work, it was Steven Spielberg himself who raised an objection. The renowned director was concerned that Leekley had veered too closely to his own Indiana Jones franchise, and that there was not enough humour. On September 26th, Spielberg asked Segal to start again with a new writer. This meant that principal photography would be delayed until at least February 1995.
Within the week, Segal had approached Robert DeLaurentis to overhaul Leekley's script. DeLaurentis, who was recommended by Universal, was a veteran writer/producer whose credits included St Elsewhere and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. DeLaurentis wanted to make the script more focussed and fun; his initial storyline (now called “Doctor Who?”) was submitted on October 7th. Borusa's disembodied presence in the TARDIS was dropped in favour of giving Lizzie a bulldog sidekick named Winston, and the search for the Doctor's father (no longer named Ulysses) was now resolved over the span of the movie, with the impetus for an ongoing series changed to the Doctor's pursuit of the escaped Master.
Segal was uneasy about the direction of DeLaurentis' work, but agreed that the writer should proceed to a draft script. This was submitted on December 17th, and saw his American companion renamed Jane McDonald while Winston was all but eliminated. Of greater concern for the BBC, DeLaurentis had reimagined the Daleks as shapeshifting humanoids. As such, in later drafts, these Daleks were renamed Zenons. The Doctor was also given another companion, an alien creature called Gog, who replaced an ill-fated character named Sherman. FOX had now become unhappy with the script, and advocated a return to Leekley's final draft. At the start of February 1995, DeLaurentis left Doctor Who, which was now the subject of a funding disagreement between FOX and Universal. Furthermore, due to upheaval at Amblin as a result of Spielberg's involvement in founding the DreamWorks SKG studio, that company was no longer directly involved in Doctor Who. Nonetheless, in April, the BBC confirmed that the movie was still being co-produced with Universal, and FOX remained on board.
At the suggestion of Trevor Walton, Segal and Wagg next offered the scripting duties to British-born Matthew Jacobs, whose credits included Ruth Rendell Mysteries and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. This was not Jacobs' first brush with Doctor Who: his father Anthony had played Doc Holliday in The Gunfighters, and the younger Jacobs had been present on the set. When Jacobs began work on May 5th, it was decided to start fresh, with the material written by Leekley and DeLaurentis largely discarded. Mindful of the FOX network's younger-skewing demographics, Walton wanted to avoid elements set in the past, as well as more outlandish alien creatures like the Daleks and the Cybs. The Master would be retained, in addition to the notion of the Doctor having a human mother. Jacobs wanted to connect the new Doctor Who more explicitly with the classic series, and suggested depicting the regeneration of Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor into a new Eighth Doctor. Segal had been resistant to these sorts of linkages earlier in the development process, but now agreed with Jacobs' idea.
On May 19th, Jacobs delivered a rough storyline, which began with the Seventh Doctor arriving on modern-day Earth (in either San Francisco or New Orleans). However, the dying Master had transmogrified himself into a shape-shifting slick of DNA and attacked the Doctor, mortally wounding him. The Doctor's body was found by a street kid named Jack. Jack brought the Doctor to the hospital, where he was operated on -- unsuccessfully -- by Dr Kelly Grace (playing on the name of Rear Window actress Grace Kelly). In the morgue, the Doctor regenerated; meanwhile, the Master acquired a temporary human host body. Jack gained access to the TARDIS using gloves he pilfered from the Doctor's body. The Master raised Jack's father from the dead, and through him compelled Jack to take over the TARDIS. As Hallowe'en approached, the Master used the TARDIS to unleash an army of the dead. With Kelly's help, the Doctor returned to the TARDIS and drew himself, the Master, Kelly, Jack and the dead into another dimension. He defeated the Master, returned Jack to Earth and left with Kelly.
Various changes were made by the time of the next draft, on June 27th. The setting was shifted to the days leading up to New Year's Eve instead of Hallowe'en, and San Francisco was specified as the location. After regenerating, the Doctor saw a vision of his mother. Jack used the TARDIS key instead of a pair of gloves to enter the time machine. In addition to Jack's father, Kelly was also confronted by someone from her past, and an earlier suggestion made by Jacobs -- that Jack be killed only to be brought back to life via the power of the TARDIS -- was included. Kelly also reluctantly remained behind at the end of this version.
As Jacobs began writing his first full draft script, Doctor Who lost a key member of its production team when Peter Wagg elected to leave the project to return to his family in London. Nonetheless, Wagg offered to keep in touch with Segal and lend a hand -- albeit remotely -- whenever he could. Jacobs submitted his initial draft on July 18th. Jack had become Chang Lee, and the Master's host body acquired a proper identity in the form of a fireman named Bruce. Kelly Grace was now Grace Wilson, and two cartoonish hospital porters whom Jacobs had earlier mentioned were given the names Bill and Ted, after the title characters in the time-travel comedies Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) and Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey (1991), which themselves owed no small debt to Doctor Who. Also introduced at this point was a young librarian named Gareth.
The idea of the Master's body decaying throughout the story made its first appearance; in this version, he became more reptilian. The Master was also able to control his form, turning his arms into lassos at one point. The Eye of Harmony was brought into play, serving as the link to the Master's death dimension. Chang Lee now saw his late father, Jimmy Lee, reflected in the Eye, and Grace later had a vision of her grandmother. Chang Lee acquired an uncle, Sam, who was killed by the Master. This time, after all four passed through the Eye of Harmony, the Doctor saved Grace and Chang Lee (who was still killed and then resurrected) by embracing his past after conjuring up the ghost of his dead mother. The Master tried to repeat the Doctor's feat, and was destroyed. The Doctor travelled on alone, leaving Grace and Chang Lee in San Francisco.
Jacobs' next major draft was ready on August 18th. In this version, the Master no longer killed Sam Lee but instead read his mind, learning that it was Sam who killed Chang Lee's father. The Master's plan was now to channel the emotional upswell of New Year's Eve through the Eye of Harmony, thereby reshaping the universe to his design, although the death dimension was still involved. The appearances towards the end of Jimmy Lee, Grace's grandmother and the Doctor's mother were all excised, and the Doctor's half-human retinal print was now important as the focus of the Master's control over the death dimension. The Doctor and the Master now battled around the Eye of Harmony instead of inside it and, at the climax, the Master was sucked down into the death dimension. Both Grace and Chang Lee were killed this time around, only to be brought back to life by the Eye of Harmony.
As summer wound down, Segal was hoping to record Doctor Who in November; British Columbia would be the production's base of operations, but some filming in San Francisco was also planned. Rather than launch an ongoing series, Segal had now come to prefer the idea of regular telefilms, and aspired to make six per year. The notion of remaking old Doctor Who adventures had not been entirely abandoned, but Segal now felt that a better target was those stories which were no longer held in the BBC archives. It was around this time that Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier's advisory role on the project ended. The relationship between Segal and the Lofficiers would subsequently sour when much of the production material which Segal had given them was transformed into a book, Doctor Who: The Nth Doctor, released by Virgin Publishing in 1996.
At the start of September, Segal found yet another producer being added to Doctor Who. This time it was Universal who wanted a representative in the production office -- particularly to oversee the project's finances -- and appointed Alex Beaton, a veteran of programmes such as Kung Fu and The Greatest American Hero. To play the Eighth Doctor, the BBC still wanted Paul McGann, and vetoed the FOX network's preferred choice of singer and sometime actor Sting. Meanwhile, Segal left Amblin to form Lakeshore Television, which was affiliated with Paramount Pictures. Spielberg allowed Segal to take Doctor Who with him, and Segal elected to work on the project directly through Beaton and Universal.
Jacobs' next significant draft appeared on September 18th. The death dimension was dropped, with the focus of the Master's schemes now an “intergalactic roving force field” called the Millennium Star which passed near Earth every thousand years. The Master intended to use the Eye of Harmony to harness the power of the Millennium Star, permitting him to refashion the universe. The Master posed as a “false messiah” in order to influence Grace and Chang Lee. The Doctor no longer experienced a vision of his mother shortly after his regeneration; instead, this was brought about by the Master during their confrontation at the Eye of Harmony.
It was at this stage that some of the key crewmembers started to come aboard, most notably British director Geoffrey Sax, whose work included episodes of Spitting Image, Bergerac and Lovejoy. Sax was recommended to Segal by Wright when he was unable to hire his original choice, Stuart Gillard (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III). Because the movie would be filmed in British Columbia, Canadian regulations meant that the rest of the crew would mostly come from that country. This included production designer Richard Hudolin, whose major task was a new version of the TARDIS console room. Segal wanted to evoke the Jules Verne feel of the wood-panelled set designed by Barry Newbery for use during Season Fourteen -- but on a much grander scale.
It was now planned that the telefilm would air on FOX in mid-May 1996. This was one of three key “sweeps” periods for the American networks (the others falling in November and February), when ratings performance determined advertising rates for the next quarter. Consequently, there would be lofty expectations for Doctor Who. Meanwhile, both FOX and Universal had approved Jacobs' script, leaving only the BBC. Segal was becoming concerned that further delays on this front might threaten the start of preproduction, and so he arranged a meeting between Jacobs and BBC Head of Serials Michael Wearing on October 4th, out of which several more changes arose.
The story now began with the Doctor transporting the Master's remains back to Gallifrey, only to have the Master escape in his snake form. The TARDIS landed on Earth and the Seventh Doctor was inadvertently killed (which was now a result of Chang Lee's actions rather than the Master's, and would eventually become a Chinatown gang shoot-out). Bruce was an ambulance attendant who tended to the Doctor, Chang Lee allied with the Master out of sheer greed, and Gareth worked for a company which made technologically advanced clocks. From this, Jacobs wrote a new draft script for November 13th. This introduced the idea of the Master being tried and executed by the Daleks, satisfying the BBC's desire to include the iconic monsters in some fashion. Also new was the Doctor needing a beryllium atomic clock from Gareth's workplace (here specified as KAL-Tech, but later changed to ITAR -- the Institute for Technological Advancement and Research). The clock's inventor was named Professor Wagg as a tribute to Peter Wagg's involvement in the project.
Around the same time, Segal was facing new struggles with Universal, who was uncomfortable about its share of the project's budget: FOX was responsible for $2.5 million, the BBC for $300,000, and Universal and BBC Worldwide for $2.2 million. Segal made tentative inquiries to see if Paramount was interested in taking Universal's place in the deal, but they declined. Segal was on the verge of giving Universal an ultimatum -- to either commit fully to the project, or else release Segal and allow him to search for yet another production partner. On November 6th, messages purporting to be from Segal appeared in various online Doctor Who forums suggesting that Universal's reticence had placed the project in jeopardy. The messages pleaded with fans to inundate Universal with letters and calls, and even released Universal President Tom Thayer's phone number. Reportedly, fans then proceeded to bring Thayer's office to a standstill, despite the protests of a Universal employee that the situation had been misunderstood, and that the project was proceeding.
Finally, on November 27th, the deal was done. Sixty-three months after former producer John Nathan-Turner's departure from the BBC had signalled the closure of the Doctor Who production office, its doors were thrown open again halfway around the world, in Burnaby, British Columbia. Segal, Wright and Beaton would serve as executive producers for the telefilm, while the day-to-day production duties fell to Peter V Ware, who had been a co-producer on Columbo. All the studio material would be shot on a Burnaby sound stage, while location filming was now confined to Vancouver -- San Francisco itself would be represented only by stock footage.
With production now just weeks away, Jacobs was working on fashioning his script into a finished form. The BBC was much more receptive to his November draft, but passed it along to in-house script editor Craig Dickson for comment. From this came the decision to eliminate the Millennium Star concept, with the Master's focus now simply to take over the Doctor's body. Jacobs produced a draft shooting script on December 29th, by which time most of the narrative elements of the telefilm were finalised. Other small changes eventually made included changing Grace's surname from Wilson to Holloway, and eliminating the Bill And Ted reference (which the BBC felt was dated) by giving Bill the new name Pete. Much of Chang Lee's background was lost for timing reasons, with all references to Sam and Jimmy Lee having been dropped.
Meanwhile, attention turned to finalising the movie's cast. Sylvester McCoy had already agreed to reprise his role as the Seventh Doctor, fulfilling a promise he had made to himself in 1989 to hand off to a successor in proper fashion. Wright had wanted Fourth Doctor Tom Baker to appear instead, but Segal was now adamant that the telefilm continue on from where the original series had left off. Segal also briefly considered including a role for Sophie Aldred as Ace, the Seventh Doctor's final companion, but this was vetoed by the BBC. Segal decided to give the Seventh Doctor a new wardrobe, having long disliked both the umbrella and the question-mark pullover which were hallmarks of his original image. Costume designer Jori Woodman composed a new outfit which echoed the earlier version but appeared much more refined; to Segal's delight, McCoy would also wear the hat he had sported throughout his time on Doctor Who.
Paul McGann remained Segal's choice to play the Eighth Doctor, but FOX was still unconvinced, and wanted a wider range of options to choose from. Consequently, in December, casting director Beth Hymson-Ayer considered a number of further possibilities, including Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek), Alfred Molina (Chocolat), Julian Sands (The Killing Fields), Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy), and Peter Weller (RoboCop). Segal and Sax also ranked Harry Van Gorkum highly; he had amassed only a small number of minor television credits, including roles on Brush Strokes and The Bill.
Finally, Segal offered to cast a “name” performer in the role of the Master if FOX would sign off on McGann to play the Doctor. The network acquiesced, and in late December, the actor was persuaded to accept the role -- helped by the knowledge that his friend McCoy would be participating. McGann had been acting since childhood, as had his brothers Joseph, Mark and Stephen, with whom he'd recently appeared in The Hanging Gale. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, McGann was best known for the television series The Monocled Mutineer and the cult film Withnail and I. His other movie roles included Empire Of The Sun, Alien 3 and the 1993 version of The Three Musketeers.
Given his concession regarding the Master, Segal initially wanted Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future), a choice which met with the FOX network's approval. However, Universal stalled due to concerns over Lloyd's fee, and by the time they gave the deal their consent, Lloyd was no longer available. Hymson-Ayer then drew up a large list of possible Masters, including many well-known names such as Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters), Richard Dean Anderson (McGyver), Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap), James Belushi (Red Heat), Tom Berenger (Platoon), David Bowie, Steve Buscemi (Fargo), Dana Carvey (Wayne's World), Chevy Chase (Caddyshack), singer Phil Collins, Tim Curry, Timothy Dalton, Matt Dillon (There's Something About Mary), Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl), Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now), Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street), Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Matt Frewer, Jeff Goldblum, Rutger Hauer, Dennis Hopper (Apocalypse Now), Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee, John Lithgow (Third Rock From The Sun), John Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons), Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters), Bill Murray (Ghostbusters), Leonard Nimoy, Jonathan Pryce, Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), Kevin Spacey (American Beauty), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Patrick Stewart, Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy), Peter Weller, Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and James Woods (Once Upon A Time In America). In addition to Lloyd, offers were extended to Kyle MacLachlan, Malcolm McDowell, Tom Selleck (Magnum PI) and Sting.
In the end, Universal pushed for Eric Roberts -- despite the fact that his fee would be greater than what Lloyd had requested. The brother of Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts, Eric Roberts had been a student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he had watched and enjoyed Doctor Who in the mid-Seventies. Roberts broke into television as a castmember on the soap opera Another World and soon moved into film, earning an Academy Award nomination for Runaway Train. His subsequent career had been muted by an addiction to drugs, which Roberts had publicly sworn off in 1995. At Roberts' request, his wife Eliza was given the minor role of Bruce's wife, Miranda. His young daughter Emma (who would later become a well-known actor in her own right, with films including Scream 4 and television series such as American Horror Story) would also be present during production.
Actresses whom Hymson-Ayer considered for Grace included Kristen Alfonso (Days Of Our Lives), Maria Bello (ER), Erika Eleniak (Baywatch), Stacy Haiduk (seaQuest DSV), Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock), Kelly Lynch (Drugstore Cowboy), Carrie Ann Moss (The Matrix), Nia Peeples (the television version of Fame), Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller's Day Off), Helen Slater (Supergirl), and Ally Walker (Profiler). Ultimately, the part went to Daphne Ashbrook, who had grown up as part of a family of actors and dropped out of college to pursue the same profession. Ashbrook had parlayed a series of guest appearances in programmes like Knight Rider and The A-Team into more regular roles in Our Family Honor and Falcon Crest. She had recently played the title role in the Melora episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
With the start of principal photography rapidly approaching, the Doctor Who movie still faced a number of hurdles. Sax had originally been promised a thirty-day shoot, but Beaton subsequently curtailed this to twenty-five days in order to save money. Finances were also a concern when Segal discovered that the rights to the familiar Doctor Who theme music were not owned by the BBC, but by Warner/Chappel Music. Universal only reluctantly agreed to pay the hefty fee for its use. The new theme arrangement would be composed by John Sponsler and John Debney. Then, on January 7th, 1996 McGann arrived in British Columbia sporting a severe haircut he had worn for the TV movie The One That Got Away. Segal had expected the same wild, overgrown style that McGann had had during his auditions; instead, hairstylist Julie McHaffie had to hastily put together a wig for McGann to wear.
Meanwhile, Richard Hudolin had completed work on the enormous TARDIS set, only a small fraction of which would actually be seen in the finished movie. Enormous detail went into the design -- everything from busts of Rassilon visible in the cloister room, to a roundel-type design on the main doors which would echo the look of the original console room. Every control on the main console actually did something, and the rotating panels which indicated the current location and era made numerous references to Doctor Who lore, including the Sensorites (The Sensorites), the Kraals (The Android Invasion), Calufrax (The Pirate Planet), Argolis (The Leisure Hive), Manussa and the Sumarans (Snakedance), and Sarn (Planet Of Fire).
The first recording for the telefilm took place at the start of January, when the news reports were taped at the studio of local station BCTV. Then, on January 10th, McGann was unveiled to the world as the Eighth Doctor. Filming resumed in earnest with the material at Grace's condo, shot at a private residence on Ogden Avenue from January 15th to 17th; the sequence in the park was also completed on the middle day at nearby Hadden Park. Eric Roberts joined the production on the 17th, and unfortunately he found that the outfit created for him by Woodman in the style of the original Master, Roger Delgado, was too restrictive. He was also uncomfortable with the serpentine contact lenses he was supposed to wear, and with the prosthetics which were intended to depict his body's gradual disintegration over the course of the movie. The result was that the effect of Bruce's body wearing out was essentially lost, and it was decided to instead dress Roberts in dark sunglasses and a leather jacket for most of the telefilm.
On January 18th and 19th, the Plaza of Nations served as the ITAR building. Recording overran so badly on the second day that Sax had to abandon some elements of the Doctor and Grace's escape, because dawn was breaking. The 22nd was spent on ambulance interiors at the studio in Burnaby. Cast and crew then moved to the telefilm's major location: British Columbia Children's Hospital, where they would remain from January 23rd to 30th (omitting the 27th and 28th) for the scenes at Walker General. The production was confined to a wing of the hospital which was slated to be demolished; as such, the heat was turned off, resulting in frigid conditions for the cast and crew. The Seventh Doctor's years-delayed regeneration was finally recorded on the 26th.
It was back to the studio on January 31st for more ambulance footage, as well as sequences in the TARDIS console room and the area where the Master's casket was placed. The alley where the TARDIS materialised was actually between East Georgia Street and Union Street, where filming on February 1st and 2nd represented McCoy's final work on Doctor Who. Part of the 2nd was also dedicated to the motorcycle chase, on the premises of CN Rail. On February 5th, the Walker General parking garage was actually the Golden Crown Centre, while the establishing shot of Chinatown was recorded at a home on Keefer Street. The next day, the intersection of Keefer Street and Carrall Street was the site of the traffic jam (caused by chickens rather than escaped circus animals for budgetary reasons). The last location day for the main unit was February 7th, when the Doctor's farewell to Grace was shot at Andy Livingston Park -- unfortunately amidst heavy rain, which caused McGann's wig to frizz badly. A second unit completed additional street inserts on Waterfront Road the following day.
The remainder of the telefilm was then recorded at the Burnaby sound stage, beginning on the 8th with all of the material in Bruce's apartment together with more shots of the casket area in the TARDIS. The console room was the focus on February 9th, 10th and 12th, with the two latter days also dealing with the remaining ambulance footage. The Master's trial on Skaro was also completed on the 10th, with Gordon Tipple appearing in long shot as the evil Time Lord. (At this point, Tipple was also intended to provide the opening narration, in character as the Master). In fact, February 10th had been a scheduled day off, but Sax's concerns about the abbreviated schedule were being borne out. It was now clear that three additional days would have to be tacked onto the end of the production calendar, driving up the budget by $170,000. The haste meant that some script problems -- such as the question of how the Master had gotten into the TARDIS when he first encountered Chang Lee -- simply had to be ignored.
Most of the remaining action took place in the cloister room, where filming was now scheduled to occur from February 13th to 20th (omitting the 17th and 18th). Sax had hoped to have all of the Doctors appear in the Eye of Harmony, but could not get clearance to use the images quickly enough. The race against time meant that the director had to simplify Chang Lee's death; as scripted, he broke his neck when he was hurled across the cloister room by the Master. Also taped was additional material in the ITAR stairwell (on the 14th) and in the casket area (on the 20th). Finally, principal photography wrapped up on February 21st, back on the console room set. By now, former Doctor Who script editor Eric Saward had contacted Segal with an offer to write for any follow-up series.
Post-production saw various trims to the material, such as the loss of the scene where the Master confronted the security guards who were later found “slimed”, as well as more violence in the shootout such as Chang Lee reloading and returning fire. The Dalek voices -- provided by Sax himself -- were meant to be in keeping with those heard in the original Doctor Who series, but were changed due to concerns that they weren't sufficiently audible for an American audience. Segal loaned a rough cut of the movie to Los Angeles-based fan Shaun Lyon, organiser of the Gallifrey One conventions and editor of the Outpost Gallifrey website. It was Lyon who caught several dialogue errors, most notably a reference to the Doctor having only twelve lives, rather than the appropriate thirteen.
Segal also had to deal with various claims for credit from individuals who had worked on earlier stages of the project. Despite the objections of FOX and Universal, Segal won agreement for John and Ros Hubbard to be credited in recognition of the fact that they had first brought McGann to his attention. On the other hand, John Leekley's case for a producer's credit was rejected, as it was deemed that virtually nothing remained of his work. Meanwhile, at the ManoptiCon 4 convention in early April, Segal confirmed that the telefilm would have no onscreen title except Doctor Who, but suggested that an appropriate name could be “Enemy Within”.
The first trailers for Doctor Who began airing on the FOX network on April 12th, during the classic Jose Chung's From Outer Space episode of The X-Files. The movie had its first broadcast on May 12th on CITV out of Edmonton, Alberta. This marked just the third time a Doctor Who story had received its first transmission outside of Britain (following The Five Doctors and the final two episodes of Silver Nemesis). On May 13th, the telefilm was screened by two other Canadian stations: ASN in Atlantic Canada and CHEK in Victoria, British Columbia.
May 14th was the day of reckoning for Doctor Who, as the movie was screened on the FOX network at 8.00pm Eastern Standard Time as part of the Tuesday Night Movie strand (with a simulcast on CHCH in Hamilton, Ontario). Unfortunately, sweeps month opposition was fierce, particularly in the form of the Heart & Soul episode of Roseanne on ABC, in which popular character Dan Conner (played by John Goodman) suffered a heart attack. Doctor Who earned an audience of 5.5 million viewers -- placing it joint 75th for the week -- and a 9 share (a statistic which measured the number of televisions watching the telefilm as a percentage of all sets turned on during that period of time). These results were far smaller than the minimum 15 share which Segal felt was needed to interest FOX in an ongoing series (or even additional movies), and nowhere close to the 17 or 18 share for which he had been hoping. Doctor Who had also fallen short of the 11 share average for the Tuesday Night Movie slot. Even before the telefilm received its BBC broadcast, it was already clear that FOX would not be greenlighting another Doctor Who project in any form. When the network's Fall 1996 schedule was announced on May 21st, Doctor Who was conspicuous by its absence.
For a long time, the British transmission date had been uncertain, with airdates from mid-May to Christmas being bandied about. Finally, it was announced that the movie would air at 8.30pm on May 27th, Bank Holiday Monday, preceded by a video release on May 15th. This upset BBC Video, who feared that the close proximity would badly eat into their profits. To make matters worse, the British Board of Film Classification decided that the version of the movie aired in North America deserved a 15 certificate. The main offender was the shootout; the British entertainment industry had been treading carefully when it came to depictions of gun violence ever since the March 13th shooting deaths of sixteen children and a teacher at a school in Dunblane, Scotland. In order to obtain the 12 certificate that BBC Video wanted, about two minutes worth of edits had to be made, and this delayed the video release until May 22nd, even closer to the broadcast date. When the telefilm finally emerged, a dedication to the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, had been added to its end. The actor had passed away on May 20th, and the tribute was suggested to Yentob by both Segal and Kevin Davies, director of the Doctor Who documentary Thirty Years In The TARDIS.
Unlike in North America, the Doctor Who movie was successful in the UK, earning nine million viewers -- although this was still about three million shy of the BBC's goal. Regardless, without a co-production partner, the BBC was right back where it started. FOX had essentially dismissed the property after it fumbled so badly in the ratings, and Universal had been more interested in ensuring that its science-fiction series Sliders (which it owned completely) was renewed, rather than supporting Doctor Who. Although FOX maintained for some time that the network might consider revisiting the property at a later date, such statements were merely lip service. When former Doctor Who writers Pip and Jane Baker (who had most recently penned Time And The Rani) contacted Segal in June to enquire about contributing a script, he acknowledged the unlikelihood that he would be making more Doctor Who.
Universal's license for Doctor Who was due to expire at the end of 1996, but they were granted an extension into 1997 by the BBC. FOX was out of the picture entirely by this time; indeed, those responsible for bringing Doctor Who to the network in the first place -- such as Trevor Walton -- were no longer on staff, and the new regime was uninterested in programming instigated by its predecessors. Ultimately, Universal had no luck in attracting any other entity to Doctor Who, and they allowed their option to run out. Except for a comedy skit, The Curse Of Fatal Death, which aired as part of the BBC's Comic Relief charity drive in March 1999, Doctor Who would be absent from television screens for the rest of the twentieth century.
In 1998, Philip Segal briefly entered into discussions with the BBC about the rights to remake the two Dalek feature films from the Sixties, but quickly decided there was little potential in the venture. Soon thereafter he became heavily involved in producing reality programming, including Storage Wars and Ice Road Truckers; he also directed episodes of science-fiction shows like Andromeda and Mutant X. In 2000, HarperCollins published Doctor Who: Regeneration, an account of the making of the TV movie which Segal cowrote with Gary Russell.
Eric Roberts continued to maintain a prolific acting career, with regular roles on programmes such as Heroes and The Young And The Restless, and film appearances including The Dark Knight and The Expendables. Daphne Ashbrook kept a steady profile on television, with her recurring credits including JAG, The OC and Hollywood Heights. She also returned to the world of Doctor Who through multiple appearances in audio plays for Big Finish Productions, beginning with The Next Life in December 2004.
However, it would prove to be Paul McGann who would have the most enduring association with Doctor Who -- an ironic twist of fate, given his initial reticence to commit to the programme for even five years. He continued to make numerous television appearances, including the Horatio Hornblower movies, True Dare Kiss, Jonathan Creek and Luther. On the big screen, McGann could be seen in FairyTale: A True Story and Queen Of The Damned, amongst others. But it was in 2001 that McGann agreed to reprise the role of the Eighth Doctor for Big Finish, with that year's Storm Warning becoming the first of dozens of audio plays he would record. Then, in 2013, McGann finally got a second chance to film an appearance as the Doctor, when he was recruited by Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat to make a surprise appearance in The Night Of The Doctor, an online prologue to the fiftieth-anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor.
|Updated 18th August 2015|
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