The 1996 TV Movie was supposed to be a brand new start for Doctor Who. Despite recieving quite good viewing figures over here in the UK, the co-produced project didn’t perform as well in America as originally hoped and as a result, The TV Movie was relegated to history along with the rest of Classic Doctor Who.
But despite the fact that it was the viewing figures and behind the scenes problems that played a big part in why we didn’t get anything else until 2005, the Eighth Doctor himself, Paul McGann put a lot of the blame on himself, believing that he’d finally killed Doctor Who.
We Doctor Who fans know differently and given how much love he has received since The TV Movie, it’s hard to believe that he thought such a thing, but he nonetheless felt partly responsible. This wasn’t helped by the fact that he thought when the show came back, he might be called back in to do a regeneration scene.
“It’s funny to tell now, but at the time, I really was like ‘It’s me and Peter Cushing. We’re in the naughty room. No one’s going to mention our names when they talk about Doctor Who.'”
Peter Cushing has also received a lot more love in recent years with his two Dalek movies undergoing big reappraisals since being put on BritBox and then recently having a 4k treatment. Fans of McGann, however, have recently been getting their hopes up because of the news that returning showrunner, Russell T Davies, wants to make the series a lot more like the MCU with plenty of spin-offs — to give us more Doctor Who all year round. A spin-off show that fans have been begging for is one for the Eighth Doctor, finally giving him the television time he greatly deserves.
McGann got a chance to show us the Eighth Doctor in action once more in 2013 with The Night of the Doctor and then last year with a surprise cameo in The Power of the Doctor; in both instances, he more than proved why he deserves at least one series where he is the Doctor once again. But if there is one thing we can say for certain, it’s that Paul McGann should never feel guilty for The TV Movie not taking off in the way people had hoped. He didn’t kill Doctor Who; instead, he ensured it was remembered through the Wilderness Years, so that one day it would come back properly!