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Doctor Who (1996)
aka Enemy Within
However, despite the many difficulties the complex situation presented, on January 13th, 1994, an agreement was reached. Philip Segal was, for all intents and purposes, Doctor Who's newest producer. 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. One of Segal's first instructions from his superiors at Universal was that he use a studio writer for the project, specifically John Leekley. Segal was hesitant, preferring to go outside Universal; former Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks was amongst the candidates he was considering. However, aware that any fight with Universal would waste precious development time, Segal agreed to bring Leekley aboard.
Together with designer Richard Lewis, Segal and Leekley prepared an expensive and extensive series bible -- titled The Chronicles Of Doctor Who?, to introduce Doctor Who in general, and the proposed new series in particular. Segal had envisioned this version of Doctor Who as being largely divorced from the original BBC series -- although the basic concepts of Doctor Who were adhered to, the programme's mythos would be completely rewritten. The bible was written from the perspective of Cardinal Barusa (a misspelling of Borusa, a character who had first appeared in Season Fourteen's The Deadly Assassin). It introduces the Doctor and the Master, who are half-brothers and both sons of the lost Time Lord explorer Ulysses, Borusa's son. When the evil Master becomes President of the Time Lords upon Borusa's death, the Doctor flees Gallifrey in a rickety old TARDIS to find Ulysses. Borusa's spirit becomes enmeshed in the TARDIS, enabling Borusa to continue to advise his grandson. The Doctor takes the TARDIS to "the Blue Planet" (Earth), to search for Ulysses -- this being the native world of the Doctor's mother.
The bible went on to detail the Doctor's encounter with the Daleks -- still creations of Davros, but now controlled by the Master. These events, clearly inspired by Season Twelve's Genesis Of The Daleks, would have formed the bulk of the pilot episode. Various other possible adventures are detailed, most of them drawing, to a greater or lesser extent, on stories from the original series: The Smugglers, The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, Earthshock, The Horror Of Fang Rock, The Celestial Toymaker, The Gunfighters, Tomb Of The Cybermen, The Abominable Snowmen, and The Ark In Space. (Others excised from the final draft included adventures inspired by The Sea Devils, The Invasion Of Time, The Reign Of Terror, The Claws Of Axos, The Daemons, and Shada.) 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 "head" 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 (though they were still vulnerable to gold dust). The Yeti are gentle descendants of the Neanderthals. The bible concluded with the conclusion of the Doctor's adventures, in which he locates Ulysses and travels back to Gallifrey to depose the Master and become President.
The bible was completed around the end of March. Leekley then began work on sample storylines, with most work concentrating on the revised version of The Gunfighters, now called Don't Shoot, I'm The Doctor. This was similar to the original Season Three serial only in broad sketches -- the Doctor does travel to Tombstone suffering from a toothache, but the rest of the story hewed much more closely to the true events of the OK Corral, as opposed to the more fictionalised version offered in the original Doctor Who story. As well, the idea at this point was for the new episodes to be made for one-hour American time slots (meaning about forty-five minutes of actual programming).
Meanwhile, Segal and Wagg began 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 pop singer Adam Ant, Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean; he also played a future incarnation of the Doctor in the 1999 Doctor Who spoof Curse Of The Fatal Death), Chris Barrie (Red Dwarf), Sean Bean (Goldeneye), Jeremy Brett (The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes), Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge; another future Doctor from Curse Of The Fatal Death), Pierce Brosnan (the fifth James Bond), Simon Callow (Four Weddings And A Funeral), Martin Clunes (the British version of Men Behaving Badly), Robbie Coltrane (the British version of Cracker), Michael Crawford (the musical version of The Phantom Of The Opera), Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Timothy Dalton (the fourth James Bond), Rupert Everett (My Best Friend's Wedding), Ralph Fiennes (Schindler's List), Hugh Grant (Four Weddings And A Funeral; yet another future Doctor from Curse Of The Fatal Death), Robert Hardy (All Creatures Great And Small), Anthony Stewart Head (the television version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer), John Hurt (Midnight Express), Eric Idle (Monty Python's Flying Circus), Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius), Ben Kingsley (Gandhi), Rob Lowe (St Elmo's Fire), Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations), Ian McKellen (X-Men), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Peter O'Toole (Lawrence Of Arabia), Michael Palin (Monty Python's Flying Circus), Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies; he would also play the Master in Curse Of The Fatal Death), Aidan Quinn (Legends Of The Fall), Tony Slattery (Whose Line Is It Anyway), Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and Peter Ustinov (Death On The Nile). Around mid-March, an effort was also made to approach Paul McGann (Alien 3), but the actor was unavailable; his brother Mark had in fact auditioned for the role some days earlier, on March 1st. The early favourite was Irish actor Liam Cunningham, but by the start of April, it was discovered that other commitments would prevent him from agreeing to the role.
Efforts were also under way to cast the role of Borusa, with several performers on the list of possible Doctors also given consideration here. A "big name" actor was clearly preferred, and some of the names suggested included Don Ameche (Cocoon), Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park), Peter Cushing (who had played the Doctor in the two Dalek motion pictures of the Sixties), Kirk Douglas (Spartacus), Albert Finney (Tom Jones), John Gielgud (Arthur), Grant, Richard Griffiths (Naked 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear), Alec Guinness (Star Wars), Richard Harris (This Sporting Life), 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), McKellen, Armin Mueller-Stahl (Shine), Paul Newman (The Hustler), Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird), Donald Pleasance (Halloween), Ustinov, Max von Sydow (The Exorcist), and David Warner (Masada). The clear favourite, however, was Peter O'Toole, who by the end of March had provisionally declared his interest in the project.
A third producer joined the Doctor Who team in March, much to the surprise (and, at the time, the dismay) of Segal. This was Jo Wright, assigned by the BBC to represent their interests in the production. Around the end of March, Doctor Who was offered to the four American networks. NBC and ABC were completely uninterested. CBS president Peter Tortorici tentatively offered Segal a two-hour pilot and six one-hour episodes (presumably to serve as mid-season replacement series), but this was retracted by network head Howard Stringer in mid-May.
That left Fox, at the time the youngest American network. Led by head of series Robert Greenblatt, Fox was interested in Doctor Who, but was only willing to commit to a two-hour movie with the possibility of a second. It appeared that Segal's dreams of producing a new Doctor Who series were fast disappearing. Despite this, he agreed to an offer made by Doctor Who historian Jean-Marc Lofficier and his wife Randy to become unofficial consultants on the project. The Lofficiers would advise the production team on matters of Doctor Who continuity, and could also act as liaisons with the fan community. Then, on June 28th, Fox indicated that they were interested in having the initial movie serve as a "backdoor pilot": if ratings were sufficient, the property might shift from their Movie of the Week department to the series department.
Meanwhile, Leekley was working on the script for the movie. He submitted his first story proposal on July 15th, drawing heavily from the suggestions set forth in the bible. In the midst of a Dalek attack on Gallifrey, Borusa dies, allowing the Master to become President of the Time Lords. The Doctor flees in his TARDIS, which now incorporates Borusa's spirit. In World War II London, the Doctor meets American WAC Lizzie Travis. Together, the Doctor and Lizzie travel back to Ancient Egypt to find Ulysses, only to be attacked by the Cybs. The Doctor then travels back to Gallifrey, where a suspiciously friendly Master sends him and Lizzie to Skaro to stop Davros from creating the Daleks. In the process, the Master takes control of the Dalek army and has them destroy Davros. The Doctor escapes and returns Lizzie to Earth, then heads off to continue his search for Ulysses.
A revised July 27th version eliminated the Cybs and added a henchman for the Master, Castellan Kelner (named after the obsequious character in Season Fifteen's The Invasion Of Time); "Castellan" subsequently became the character's sole name instead of simply his title. Later, the return to Gallifrey was eliminated by having Borusa direct the TARDIS to Skaro. Leekley then prepared the first draft of his script, which was delivered on August 24th. This diverged noticeably from the earlier storylines by concluding on a cliffhanger, with Davros and his Daleks confronting the Doctor and Lizzie for the first time. By September 8th, however, the full storyline had been added to the script, and other Skaro scenes -- as well as much of the Egypt material -- was trimmed to accommodate it.
Meanwhile, 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). The hoped-for production date of July had long since been abandoned due to the delays caused by CBS; it was now thought that filming would begin in November (for a possible May 1995 airdate), with work on a series potentially beginning the following July. For the movie, Segal and Wagg envisioned using Vancouver, British Columbia as their base, with some material possibly being shot in Denver or Utah.
More actors were being considered for the title role, as casting the Doctor became more and more of a priority. New suggestions included Jason Connery (son of Sean), Alexis Denisoff (Angel), Matt Frewer (Max Headroom), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park), Rutger Hauer (the film version of Buffy The Vampire Slayer), singer Chris Isaak, Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks), and Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump). By the end of August, though, a frontrunner was emerging: Paul McGann. McGann had starred in a number of feature films, including Withnail And I, Alien 3 and The Three Musketeers, and had also been prominent on television in programmes such as The Monocled Mutineer and The Hanging Gale.
Through mid-September, Leekley's script made the rounds of all the various organisations which had to approve it (Amblin, BBC Television, BBC Enterprises, the Fox network and Universal). Ironically, the death knell was sounded by Segal's own boss: Steven Spielberg. Spielberg was concerned that Leekley's Doctor Who script veered too closely to his own Indiana Jones franchise, and on September 26th asked Segal to start again with a new writer. This meant that principal photography would be delayed until at least February 1995.
The BBC -- particular BBC1 Controller (and longtime Doctor Who supporter) Alan Yentob and Tony Greenwood of BBC Enterprises -- was still enthusiastic about Doctor Who, however. Around the start of October, at the instigation of Universal, Segal met with veteran writer/producer Robert DeLaurentis. DeLaurentis agreed to put together a new story proposal, using Leekley's script as a starting point, but wanted to accentuate its "fun" aspects. On October 7th, DeLaurentis delivered a new draft of the storyline. This time, in the process of meeting Lizzie in World War II London, the Doctor also discovers that his father (no longer named Ulysses) was involved in a plot the assassinate Hitler. They travel forward to the United States in 1994, where the Doctor is reunited with his father. The Master then lures the Doctor, his father and Lizzie to Skaro for a final confrontation. There, the Doctor manages to destroy the Master's time-travelling warship, though the Master himself escapes with his Daleks. Other minor alterations included Castellan being renamed Casteloan (though this would subsequently be changed back), and giving Lizzie a bulldog companion named Winston, who stays with the Doctor at the story's conclusion.
DeLaurentis then wrote a draft script -- titled Dr Who? -- which he submitted on December 17th. Winston was all but eliminated (he does not leave 1944 England in the TARDIS), the Daleks became shape-shifting humanoids, and Lizzie Travis was renamed Jane McDonald. Also, for the first time the TARDIS began the adventure with a functioning chameleon circuit, which malfunctions in World War II London. The Doctor was also given another companion, Sherman, who is trapped on Skaro at the start of the story and is subsequently discovered to have been killed.
DeLaurentis' next draft, delivered on February 3rd, 1995, was an even more substantial departure from the original Leekley script. The Daleks had become Zenons and Borusa was renamed Pandak (a suggestion of Lofficier's). Sherman was replaced by an alien creature called Gog who accompanies the Doctor throughout the adventure, and Castellan is transformed into a half-Zenon creature by the Master and commits suicide. At this point, Fox intervened and indicated that they were not happy with the direction DeLaurentis was taking the project -- indeed, they suggested reverting back to the Leekley draft.
At the suggestion of Trevor Walton, Fox's vice president in charge of movies, Segal and Wagg met with Matthew Jacobs, who had written for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. (Jacobs was the son of Anthony Jacobs, who had played Doc Holliday in The Gunfighters, and was actually present on the set.) The selection was approved by the other interested parties, and Jacobs set to work on May 5th. Unlike the DeLaurentis iteration, it was decided to essentially discard all the work done to date, with Jacobs starting afresh on an entirely new script. Only the idea of the Doctor having a human mother would be retained.
By May 19th, Jacobs had composed a storyline; unlike the earlier Leekley and DeLaurentis versions, this continued on virtually from the end of the original series, starting by introducing Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor. The Doctor arrives on modern-day Earth (in either San Francisco or New Orleans). However, the dying Master has transmogrified himself into a shape-shifting slick of DNA, and attacks the Doctor, mortally wounding him. The Doctor's body is found by a street kid named Jack. Jack brings the Doctor to the hospital, where he is operated on -- unsuccessfully -- by Dr Kelly Grace (an obvious play on the name of actress Grace Kelly). In the morgue, the Doctor regenerates; meanwhile, the Master acquires a temporary human host body. Jack has gained access to the TARDIS using gloves he pilfered from the Doctor's body. The Master raises Jack's father from the dead and through him uses Jack to take over the TARDIS. As Halloween approaches, the Master uses the TARDIS to unleash an army of the dead. With Kelly's help, the Doctor returns to the TARDIS and draws himself, the Master, Kelly, Jack and the dead into another dimension. He defeats the Master, returns Jack to Earth and leaves with Kelly.
Various changes were made by the time of the next draft, on June 27th. The date was shifted to the days leading up to New Year's Eve instead of Halloween, and San Francisco was specified as the location. After regenerating, the Doctor sees a vision of his mother. Jack uses the TARDIS key instead of a pair of gloves to enter the time machine. In addition to Jack's father, Kelly is 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.
Jacobs then began writing the first draft of his script, which he delivered on July 18th. This screenplay differed from the storyline on several key points. Jack became 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 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 Gareth, here a young librarian.
The idea of the Master's body decaying throughout the story made its first appearance, in this version becoming more reptilian; he was also able to control his form, turning his arms into lassos at one point. The Eye of Harmony was also brought into play at this stage, this being the link to the Master's death dimension (Chang Lee sees his late father, Jimmy Lee, reflected in the Eye, instead of him actually being raised from the dead; later, Grace sees a vision of her grandmother). Chang Lee acquired an uncle, Sam, who is killed by the Master. This time, when all four end up going through the Eye of Harmony, the Doctor saves Grace and Chang Lee (who is still killed and then resurrected) by embracing his past after conjuring up the ghost of his dead mother. The Master tries to repeat the Doctor's feat, and is destroyed. The Doctor departs alone, leaving Grace and Chang Lee in San Francisco.
After receiving input from the various associated parties, Jacobs' next major draft was ready by August 18th. In this version, the Master no longer kills Sam Lee but instead reads his mind, learning that it was Sam who killed Jimmy Lee. The Master's plan now is 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 toward the end of Jimmy, 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 its 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.
All of this underwent major changes in the ensuing month, and the draft that appeared on September 18th featured some notable modifications. The death dimension was now gone, with the focus of the Master's schemes now an "intergalactic roving force field" called the Millennium Star which passes near Earth every thousand years. The Master intends to use the Eye of Harmony to harness the power of the Millennium Star, which will permit him to refashion the universe. The Master poses as a "false messiah" in order to influence Grace and Chang Lee. The Doctor no longer experiences a vision of his mother shortly after his regeneration; instead, the Master causes this during their confrontation at the Eye of Harmony.
Meanwhile, in July Doctor Who had lost a key personnel member 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. It was also around this time that Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier's advisory role ended. The relationship between Segal and the Lofficiers would subsequently sour when much of the production material Segal had given them was transformed into a book, The Nth Doctor, released by Virgin Publishing in 1996. Then, in September, Segal found yet another producer being added to the project. This time it was Universal who wanted a representative in the production office, in the form of Alex Beaton. Later that month, Segal left Amblin for Lakeshore Television (which was under the aegis of Paramount Pictures). Spielberg allowed Segal to take Doctor Who with him, and Segal elected to work on the project directly through Beaton and Universal, essentially meaning there was one less cook in the kitchen.
It was at this stage that some of the key crew positions started to be filled, most notably British director Geoffrey Sax, whose work included episodes of Bergerac and Lovejoy. Because the movie would be filmed in British Columbia, Canadian regulations meant that most of the rest of the crew would come from the country. This included production designer Richard Hudolin, who major task was a redesign of the TARDIS console room. Segal wanted to invoke the Jules Verne feel of the wooden version of the set used during Season Fourteen, but on a much grander scale. Construction on the TARDIS sets began very early on, during September, before the project had even been officially green-lit. Around the start of October, Fox announced that Doctor Who would air in mid-May 1996. May was one of three key "sweeps" periods for the American networks (the others falling in November and February), when ratings performance determines advertising rates for the next quarter. Consequently, expectations on Doctor Who would be fairly high.
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 arranged a meeting directly between Jacobs and the BBC, 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 lands on Earth and is inadvertently killed as a result of Chang Lee's actions (instead of by the Master; this would eventually become a Chinatown gang shoot-out). Bruce is now an ambulance attendant who sees to the Doctor, Chang Lee allies with the Master out of sheer greed, and Gareth works for a company which makes technologically advanced clocks. From this, Jacobs wrote a new draft script for November 14th. This introduced the idea of the Master being tried and executed by the Daleks (the BBC had always been very keen on including the Daleks in the script in some fashion) and 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 were uncomfortable about their share of the project's budget: Fox was responsible for US$2.5 million, the BBC for US$300,000, and Universal and BBC Worldwide for US$2.2 million. Segal made tentative inquiries with Paramount about the possibility of that company replacing Universal in the deal, but Paramount was not interested. 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, he posted a message to various online Doctor Who forums suggesting that, due to reticence on the part of Universal, the project was now in dire jeopardy. Segal pleaded with fans to inundate Universal with letters and phone 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 Segal had misunderstood the situation and that the project was proceeding ahead as normal. A couple of days later, Segal asked fans to stop calling, but keep writing. Fortunately, despite all this drama, by November 27th all the parties had signed on.
The next step was to cast the major roles. Sylvester McCoy had already agreed to appear, fulfilling a promise he had made to himself in 1989 to hand off the role of the Doctor to a successor in proper fashion. Jo Wright, in fact, had wanted Fourth Doctor Tom Baker to appear instead, but Segal was adamant that the telefilm continue on from where the original series had left off. Segal also briefly considered the idea of including a role for Sophie Aldred as Ace, the Seventh Doctor's final companion. This, however, was quickly vetoed by the BBC. Segal did decide to give the Seventh Doctor a new wardrobe, having long disliked both the umbrella and the question-mark pullover which were hallmarks of the original outfit. Costume designer Jori Woodman composed a new costume which echoed the earlier version but appeared much more refined; to Segal's delight, McCoy brought with him the hat he had worn throughout his time in Doctor Who.
Paul McGann was the first choice of both Segal and Sax to play the Doctor, but they needed more possibilities to satisfy Fox. Consequently, casting director Beth Hymson-Ayer considered a number of further possibilities throughout December, including Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek), Alfred Molina (Chocolat), Julian Sands (The Killing Fields), Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy), and Peter Weller (RoboCop). The eventual "second choice", though, was Harry Van Gorkum, who at the time had appeared only in a variety of minor roles. Fox was still reticent, though, worried about casting an unknown performer in the lead role. Finally, Segal agreed to cast a "name" actor in the role of the Master if they would sign off on McGann to play the Doctor. Fox acquiesced, and on January 10th, 1996, Paul McGann was unveiled to the world as the Eighth Doctor.
By this time, the role of Grace Wilson had also been cast. Candidates considered by Hymson-Ayer 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 TV 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 numerous film and television credits to her name, including the title role in the Melora episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Given his concession regarding the Master, Segal initially wanted Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future), a choice which met Fox's approval. However, Universal stalled due to concerns over Lloyd's fee, and by the time they gave the deal their approval, Lloyd was no longer available. Hymson-Ayer then drew up a large list of possible Masters, including numerous well-known names. This included F Murray Abraham (Amadeus), Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters), Richard Dean Anderson (McGyver), Armand Assante (Hoffa), Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap), James Belushi (Red Heat), Tom Berenger (Platoon), pop star 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, Gregory Hines (Tap), Dennis Hopper (Apocalypse Now), William Hurt, Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People), Chris Isaak, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee, Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), John Lithgow (Third Rock From The Sun), Kyle MacLachlan, John Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons), Malcolm McDowell, Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters), Bill Murray (Ghostbusters), Judd Nelson (St Elmo's Fire), Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek), Oliver Platt (The Three Musketeers alongside McGann), Jonathan Pryce, Randy Quaid (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation), Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop), Tom Selleck (Magnum PI), Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), Kevin Spacey (American Beauty), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Patrick Stewart, singer Sting, Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy), singer Tom Waits, brothers Damon Wayans and Keenan Ivory Wayans (In Living Color), Peter Weller, Henry Winkler (Happy Days), James Woods (Once Upon A Time In America), and Michael York (Cabaret). In the end, though, Eric Roberts (brother of Pretty Woman's Julia Roberts), was cast -- and, ironically, earned a larger fee than Christopher Lloyd had been asking. At Roberts' request, his wife Eliza was given the minor role of Bruce's wife, Miranda.
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 an 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' newest draft was ready by December 29th, and this was fundamentally the version which was recorded. Other small changes eventually made included changing Grace's surname from Wilson to Holloway; eliminating the Bill And Ted reference (which the BBC felt was out-of-date) by renaming the former Pete; having the Master break Bruce's wife's neck instead of shooting her; and excising a scene where the Master callously kills a hospital patient who resembles the Seventh Doctor. Much of Chang Lee's background had also been lost due to timing reasons by this stage, with all references to Sam and Jimmy Lee having been dropped.
As 1996 dawned, numerous difficulties still remained to be overcome. Geoffrey Sax had originally been promised a luxurious thirty-day shoot, but Beaton subsequently curtailed this to twenty-five days in order to save money. Then Segal discovered that the BBC did not actually own the rights to the familiar Doctor Who theme music -- this rested with Warner/Chappel Music, who wanted to charge a hefty fee for its use. Universal balked at this, but finally Segal convinced the BBC to pick up the cost. The new theme arrangement would be composed by John Sponsier and John Debney. Segal had not realised that McGann had recently cut his hair severely for another production until McGann arrived in Vancouver for a photo shoot on January 7th; this meant that hair stylist Julie McHaffire had to hastily put together a wig.
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's head visible in the Cloister Room, to a roundel-type design on the main doors to echo the look of the original console room. Every control on the main console actually did something, and the rotating panels indicating the current location and era made numerous references to Doctor Who lore: Gallifrey, Argolis (The Leisure Hive), Calufrax (The Pirate Planet), Manussa and the Sumarans (Snakedance), Sarn (Planet Of Fire), the Kraals (The Android Invasion), and the Sensorites (The Sensorites).
Location filming began on January 15th, and was interlaced with the studio work which started on the 31st. Various sites around Vancouver were used, including a disused wing of the BC Children's Hospital, the Plaza of Nations, and several street exteriors (No filming was actually carried out in San Francisco; for establishing shots, stock footage was employed.) The studio itself was located in nearby Burnaby. Some difficulty arose when Roberts found that the wardrobe created for him by Woodman -- which was largely in keeping with the Master's outfits from the original series -- was too restrictive. He was also uncomfortable with the serpentine contact lenses he was supposed to wear, and with the prosthetics which would have depicted 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 film, unfortunately turning the Master into a silhouette of the Terminator from the two Arnold Schwarzenegger motion pictures. (Elements of the Master's original costume would still be visible in the Time Lord outfit he adopts in the latter stages of the movie.)
Several other dilemmas also had to be confronted as the shoot went on. Some problems were found with the script -- such as the question of how the Master has gotten into the TARDIS when he first encounters Chang Lee -- which had to be simply ignored. The final battle between the Doctor and the Master had been only briefly sketched, and had to be quickly fleshed out for filming. Sax had hoped to have all the Doctors appear in the Eye of Harmony, but could not get clearance on the images in time. Ultimately, the production went four days overschedule, and even then some sequences were greatly simplified to save time, such as Chang Lee's death scene. Filming for Doctor Who was completed on February 21st.
Post-production saw various trims to the material, such as the loss of the scene where the Master confronts the security guards who are later found "slimed". The Dalek voices were originally in keeping with the original series, but were changed due to concerns that they weren't audible enough. A new introductory voiceover by Paul McGann was written on April 2nd to replace earlier dialogue by the Master (voiced by Gordon Tipple) and the Daleks. The BBC expressed concerns that the Master's snake form was too comical, but little could be done about it at this stage. 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, to get his opinion on it. It was Lyon who caught several errors in the movie, most notably a reference to the Doctor having "twelve" lives. This was subsequently amended to the correct number, thirteen.
Segal also had to deal with various claims for credit from individuals who had worked on earlier stages of the project. Despite the protests of Fox and Universal, Segal won agreement for John and Ros Hubbard to be credited, as they had indeed been the first to bring McGann to his attention. John Leekley's case for a producer's credit was rejected, however, because virtually nothing remained of his work. Meanwhile, the various cost overruns -- on recording, casting and even the theme music, all to the tune of roughly US$170,000 -- was creating animosity between the coproduction partners, souring the relationships before the would-be back-door pilot had even aired.
The first trailers for Doctor Who began airing on the Fox network on April 12th, during the Jose Chung's From Outer Space episode of The X-Files. In the UK, the BBC began airing their own promos around the same time. During the lead-up to the May broadcast, both the Sci-Fi Network and the newsmagazine Entertainment Tonight gave coverage to Doctor Who, while the film was the subject of two major articles in the BBC's Radio Times magazine, one in March and a second in May. At the April Manopticon convention in Manchester, Segal gave fans an unofficial title for the telefilm -- Enemy Within -- although this seems to have been a spur-of-the-moment invention on his part.
Doctor Who made its debut at a screening for the Directors' Guild of America in Los Angeles on May 8th. Segal, McGann and Ashbrook were all in attendance, alongside members of the press and even a small number of fans. The movie then received its first broadcast on May 12th on CITV in Edmonton, Alberta. This marked just the third time a Doctor Who story had received its first transmission outside of Britain (the other instances being The Five Doctors, which premiered in Chicago, and the final two episodes of Silver Nemesis, first televised in New Zealand). On May 13th, two other Canadian stations -- ASN in Atlantic Canada and CHEK in Victoria, British Columbia -- also aired Doctor Who. The same day, the movie received two special screenings at BAFTA in England, one for potential merchandise licensees and the other for fans who had won tickets through Doctor Who Magazine, the Doctor Who Appreciation Society and other venues.
The true day of reckoning was May 14th, when the Fox network aired Doctor Who at 8pm Eastern (CHCH in Hamilton, Ontario broadcast the telefilm simultaneously). 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 per cent share (that is, 9 per cent of televisions that were turned on were tuned in to the telefilm). This was far less than the minimum 15 per cent share Segal felt was needed for an ongoing series (or even further movies) to be spawned, and nowhere close to the 17 or 18 per cent he had been hoping for. The half-hour breakdown in terms of rating/share was 5.3/9, 5.5/9, 5.4/8 and 5.7/9. Reportedly, the movie netted a 14 share amongst teenagers, a 12 share amongst men aged 18 to 49, and an 8 share amongst women aged 18 to 49. The 9 share was a little below the average for Fox's Tuesday Night Movie franchise, which stood at around an 11 share. Nonetheless, Doctor Who did do quite well in some regions, netting as high as a 15 share in the Washington, DC area.
It was already clear that Fox would not be greenlighting any more Doctor Who, and the telefilm had not even been broadcast yet on the BBC. For a long time, the British transmission date was uncertain, with airdates from mid-May to Christmastime being bandied about. Finally, it was announced that Doctor Who would air at 8.30pm on May 27th, Bank Holiday Monday, preceded by a video release on May 15th. BBC Video was displeased with BBC Television's decision to broadcast Doctor Who so close to the video's on-sale date, as they feared that it would badly eat into their profits. Matters only got worse when the British Board of Film Classification decided that the version of the movie aired in the United States would be given a 15 certificate.
In order to obtain the 12 certificate desired by BBC Video, 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. The first scene to be trimmed was the one set in the alley where the TARDIS lands, with cuts including Chang Lee's gang firing at the departing car; Chang Lee's two friends being shot while Chang Lee himself avoids the hail of bullets (consequently, in the edited version the fate of Chang Lee's friends is never shown, although one of their bodies is later visible before Chang lee checks on the Doctor); the third and fourth gunmen aiming at Lee; the gunmen firing at the newly-materialised TARDIS (in the edited version, the arrival of the TARDIS is preceded by a reaction shot of the gunmen taken from the excised material). The other main victim of the BBFC's scissor was the operating scene, and the music had to be rearranged as a result. Drastic cuts were made to Grace's attempts to retrieve the probe and the efforts to revive the Doctor; gone completely are Grace mentioning that the probe is still stuck in the Doctor's body and the Doctor's final scream. Also edited out were the close-up shot of the Master twisting Chang Lee's head, and the sound effect of Bruce's wife's neck snapping (although not the sequence itself). The British version also removed an opening title caption stating that the movie was "based on the original series broadcast by the BBC". The end of the telefilm was followed by a dedication to Jon Pertwee, who had played the Third Doctor and who had passed away on May 20th; this was suggested to Alan Yentob by both Segal and Kevin Davies, director of the Doctor Who documentary Thirty Years In The TARDIS. (The BAFTA version of the telefilm included the same edits to the alley and operating scenes as the broadcast version, as well as the omission of the "based on" caption. Bizarrely, though, it also included a small amount of extra material, consisted of additional points of view of the Doctor kicking the surgical tools off the table.)
Doctor Who was also broadcast in several other regions. ABC in Australia aired it on July 7th, and TVNZ in New Zealand on October 30th. French broadcaster France2 aired the film on March 18th, 1997 as Le Seigneur Du Temps (ie, The Time Lord).
Unlike North America, Doctor Who was very successful in the UK, earning 9.08 million viewers (15th for the week). Unfortunately, without a coproduction partner, the BBC was right back where it started. And, indeed, when Fox's Fall 1996 schedule was announced a few weeks later, Doctor Who was nowhere to be found. Fox had essentially dismissed the property after it fumbled so badly in the ratings, and Universal was more interested in ensuring that its science-fiction series Sliders (which it owned completely) was renewed, rather than supporting Doctor Who.
Universal's license for Doctor Who was due to expire at the end of 1996, but they were granted an extension until December 31st, 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. Ultimately, Universal had little luck in interesting any other entity in Doctor Who, and their option ran out. Except for a humorous skit, Curse Of The Fatal Death, which aired as part of the BBC's Comic Relief charity drive in March 1999, no new televised Doctor Who has since materialised.
Since making Doctor Who, Paul McGann has continued his successful acting career, including roles in the movie FairyTale: A True Story and the Horatio Hornblower television series. He has also returned to play the Eighth Doctor for the range of Doctor Who audio plays released by Big Finish Productions. Daphne Ashbrook has appeared in a variety of television programmes, such as JAG and Pacific Palisades. In February 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. In 2000, he cowrote a book detailing the making of the Doctor Who TV movie, entitled Doctor Who: Regeneration. Segal continues to work with his own production company.
Is this the end for Doctor Who on television? Perhaps... but perhaps not. Around September 1999, Russell T Davies (producer of Dark Season and the British version of Queer As Folk, and author of the Doctor Who: The New Adventures novel Damaged Goods) was approached about spearheading a new Doctor Who series with a working title of Doctor Who 2000. Although nothing came of this, in August 2001, Dan Freedman -- producer of the BBC Online Doctor Who audio story Death Comes To Time -- was attached to a proposed new series with a target airdate of 2003.
Might Doctor Who return to ring in the programme's fortieth anniversary? Only time will tell...
|27th May 1996||8.29pm||84'39"||9.08m (15th)||75%|
|Executive Producers||Philip David Segal|
|Executive Producer for the BBC||Jo Wright|
|Producer||Peter V Ware|
|Incidental Music||John Debney|
Principal Guest Cast: Jeremy Badick (Gareth), Delores Drake (Curtis), David Hurtubise (Professor Wagg), Catherine Lough (Wheeler), John Novak (Salinger), Eric Roberts (The Master, Bruce), William Sasso (Pete), Michael David Simms (Doctor Roger Swift), Yee Jee Tso (Chang Lee), Joe Wirkkunen (Ted).
Novelisation: Doctor Who by Gary Russell, May 1996; photomontage cover.
Video Release: Doctor Who, May 1996; PAL (BBC Video cat.# 5882) format available; photomontage cover.
DVD Release: Doctor Who: The Movie, August 2001; Region 2/4 (BBCDVD cat.# 1043) format available; photomontage cover. Extras include commentary by Geoffrey Sax; behind-the-scenes interviews with Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook, Sax, Eric Roberts, and Philip Segal (as well as a new interview with Segal); a tour of the TARDIS set; the BBC trailers; alternate takes; a Fox behind-the-scenes preview; four music tracks; an isolated music sountrack; a photo gallery; and production information subtitles.
Rankings: 95th (63.27%, Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings website, 22nd June 1999); 89th (66.97%, DWM 1997 Annual Survey).
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