If you’re hungry for more adventures, you just have to know where to look.
Out of all the Doctors, Paul McGann’s take on the character is the one with arguably the least amount of official screen time. But don’t let that fool you; if you’re hungry for more adventures with the Doctor that bridges the classic and modern series, you just have to know where to look. I will warn you now, there are spoilers for most of what I mention. Firstly, there’s the TV Movie. You certainly could watch it in its own right, but if you dig a little, you can find a fan edit that breaks down the movie into a 3-episode story. Whoflix has made a number of fan edits for every classic story and a lot of the modern ones. While I don’t agree with every choice he makes (in particular, cutting the gag with the motorcyclist driving into the TARDIS), it’s clear that he knows how to trim the fat of a story, and he gives classic fans a surprise by adding a snippet of Ainley’s final performance as the Master in lieu of the Doctor’s opening narration.
I’ve decided to follow this with the animation for Pieces of Eight, available on YouTube, as it begins with the Doctor lamenting Grace’s choice to stay in San Diego. Even though it ends up being a dream, 8 getting to meet with previous versions of himself somewhat works out like The Eight Doctors, Uncle Terry’s novel beginning the 8th Doctor Adventures, in that it helps further work out 8’s personality by contrasting him with the other incarnations, or in this case, other people who just so happen to look and behave exactly like the Doctor. The most memorable is the meeting with 7, who chastises the Doctor for not thinking about the deaths he had a hand in, cementing the Valeyard’s description in the bonus Big Finish audio, Trial of the Valeyard, of the one who would never be able to shake the shadow of death. And oh, there will be deaths…
Next up is Season 26B, the series of Fan Edits that I covered in my interview with James Walker. While you’ll have to wait for some unspecified time to watch the remastered series, I will mention that you can find the original episodes online if you’re able to dig deep enough. The series features a handful of elements from both classic and modern Who, best illustrated by the two-parter, The Cyber Seas of Rhye/Lords of Time. Looking for the Time Lord Ulysses, first mentioned in the proposed show bible for a Doctor Who reboot, the main classic Cybermen (the designs from Earthshock-Silver Nemesis) have teamed up with the Cybermen from Pete’s World. There are also a few additions I’ve put in-between certain episodes, the first of which comes from me being, let’s say, overly proactive. I edited some footage from Doctor Who: The Movie with an episode from the spinoff series about K9 to explain why he features so heavily in the earlier episodes, which I slot in before Season 26B begins. Then, on YouTube you will find an animated adaptation of Dreadnought, the first comic that the 8th Doctor appeared in. I put this one right before 26B’s Cybermen story, as the Cybermen in Dreadnought mention the Doctor regenerating as if it was new information. This could also explain why the Doctor went incognito, as he would want the element of surprise, should he need it. On the subject of comics, there’s the motion comic of Endgame, a co-production between Pandorica Pictures and Heroic Efforts, telling the story that introduces Izzy Sinclair, which fits nicely in between Time of the Destroyer and The Curse of Renwick. In addition to fan edits, Season 26B productions teamed up with YouTube animator Imagine That No Door, to animate a segment of the graphic novel, The Forgotten. You can guess which part of the comic they adapted, but unfortunately, it seems that the animation is no longer online. After that, I found an older fan edit that seems to be made by the same people or some of the crew of Season 26B, showing the Time War in a way many thought it to be like before 2013. Since both that and the final episode of Season 26B end with things being reset, I’d like to think that the Doctor has been trying to avoid the Time War for much longer than we think.
Before I move on to the Action Figure Adventures, I wanted to talk about the stories I would place immediately before and after the first season. A couple months ago, YouTuber The Disused Yeti uploaded a video. It was a reading of the first story in the Short Trips Range, back when the stories came out in book collections. There’s also a nice visual to go along with it, the moving trains immersing you further into the story. It’s a good story showing the Doctor alone, as he ends up finding himself that way often in this incarnation. Though the story is small in scale and low in stakes, it reveals key aspects of this Doctor through his reactions. It makes an interesting companion piece to the bigger story following Season 1, both of them having visuals that aid the story but aren’t really fully animated. Thankfully, the BBC was gracious enough to feed us a few small drips of what I personally would’ve wanted to see, and after 2 previous stories, they and Big Finish gave us one of 5 or 6 different ways to enjoy Shada. The Doctor seeks out Romana, now the President of Gallifrey, to finish the story they came to Cambridge for before being stuck in the time stream while the others were in the Death Zone. The lines may have been more suited to 4, but Paul McGann still manages to make it his own. The animation may not be great by today’s standards, but it’s always a treat when you manage to find something done by Big Finish with visuals.
The Action Figure Adventures was my first article contributed to Who Back When, and every bit of the series still holds up remarkably well. In between The Sirens of Axos and War Drums, I’ve placed a fan film called Demise of the Doctor that sort of fits with the lead in to the Time War that the AFA is going with. Though short, it features Omega, Romana, and a shrouded 11th Doctor. There are a good number of live action fan films made out there, like Shadowcast or Trident, though none other I’ve seen with the 8th Doctor. Also, there’s another YouTuber known as Taylor’d Vision who’s produced a few of his own Action Figure Adventures, and his trilogy of original stories with the 8th Doctor, in my eyes, fit right after the end of batmanmarch’s series. I did want to try and fit in the stories he’s made with Destrii, one of my favorite comic companions, but I didn’t want to do that without some way to watch the arc she and Izzy went through in the comics.
Lastly, there’s the Night of the Doctor, with another case of my drive to give myself more content with my favorite Doctor. The version I watch is another edit I’ve compiled that brings a handful of things together; there’s the mini-episode itself, the other mini-episode made for the 50th anniversary about the soldiers on Gallifrey fighting in the Time War, a short fan edit on YouTube with a moment of the newly regenerated War Doctor pulling himself together for the Time War, and the WhoFlix edit, which adds, like, one extra shot of the 8th Doctor in the TARDIS. It doesn’t change anything significant about the episode, but I felt like doing it and that’s what’s important.
So does it have any coherence put together? Sort of. Is it only something I’m trying very hard to connect together so that I can have more of my special boy to watch? Definitely. But I’d argue it fits the mould of the Doctor sculpted throughout the expanded universe. The different visual styles are an interesting way of visualising different timelines, and the overall idea of trying to stay positive in the face of everything that’s going on is both compelling and relevant.
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