An Eighth Doctor (Mini)Series Would Work, But No Time War, Please

While I acknowledge that a dedicated miniseries looks impossible at least for now, I hold out hope for a multi-Doctor episode with my favorite Doctor, Paul McGann, in a few years. I’ve come across this comment about the idea of a dedicated miniseries:

“…he’s in no real danger, and therefore no real dramatic tension; we know he’ll regenerate to become the War Doctor…”
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I would invite you to consider the following:
  • Big Finish successfully produces audio dramas with the classic Doctors, meant to fit into the TV canon. We know they won’t die, but the dramas work.
  • Is the possible death of the Doctor really the only source of tension? What about the fate of his companion(s), and of the people he’s trying to save wherever he is?
  • Is the possible death of the Doctor ever a real source of tension at all? Every episode, we know he’s in the next, and we know that the show isn’t about to be canceled. We always know that the worst that can happen to him is physical suffering, personal loss, and regeneration, and we’re told in advance when he’s going to regenerate. Even if he seems to die, we know he’ll just be brought back to life, because the show depends on him for its existence.

Regarding companions, if it could be worked out, the best thing to do would be to cast Ruth Bradley as 1910’s Irish nursing aide Molly, Eight’s current companion in the audio adventures and the last one he mentioned in Night of the Doctor. If a different companion were to be cast, it would raise the question of why he did not mention him or her on Karn. It could be a simple falling-out, but what if the situation from Journey’s End were reversed, and the Doctor had to forget his companion at the end?

As for the other quibble, “Another series with a different Doctor would just confuse casual fans,” I would suggest using the current Doctor to introduce it, telling it as a story to his companion(s). That, of course, would require that the Eighth Doctor not forget his companion at the end. A plot could be written that places the current Doctor in a situation similar to one he previously faced as the Eighth, requiring him to try to remember what happened the last time. Perhaps it could involve an anomaly which would result in their aiding each other without actually meeting face to face. But maybe that’s a better idea for a multi-Doctor regular episode than for a whole miniseries, were the latter a possibility. Another option: do the two-Doctor special as a series (season) finale, properly introducing Eight to everyone, then show the miniseries during the break before regular Doctor Who comes back.
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That last is also, I think, a good solution for momentarily having a woman play the Doctor. (Many people want this, but the backlash to making it semi-permanent for multiple seasons would be huge.) Have him regenerate into her in the finale, then have a special miniseries covering  her life, at the end of which she regenerates into another man. No long term damage, gauge the reaction. Maybe even leave the regeneration until the start of the next season, so that it can be postponed if she’s popular enough – but that might be impossible, depending on how quickly work on the next season must begin.

Here is an important addendum: nothing involving the Eighth Doctor should ever show him in the Time WarYou see, we fans of Eight were just liberated this past year from the burden of his responsibility for what he did in the war. In the audios he had been heading down a dark path of hatred for the Daleks, mixed with despair triggered by losses at their… “hands.” And we knew that it wasn’t the Ninth Doctor who fought in the war, because he was looking in the mirror to see his brand new face in Rose!
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Moffat, when “Asked if it would have been Eccleston ending the Time War instead [of John Hurt]: ‘Yes, but do you know, I was always nervous of that one, because it doesn’t fit with [2005’s] Rose at all. [Eccleston] is a brand new Doctor in Rose, he’s absolutely, definitely new. It couldn’t have been [Nine] who pushed the button in the Time War, cos that’s a new man, very explicitly, in that episode. I also had trouble, I have to be honest, imagining it being Paul McGann’s Doctor.”

The creation of the War Doctor was brilliant and worked perfectly, also allowing for the excellent Time of the Doctor. We see in Night of the Doctor that Eight was running away from the Time War, refusing to fight in it, until he decided to become the War Doctor. Preferably, any future TV story with Eight wouldn’t involve the Daleks at all.
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TIMEWARWEAPONSFurthermore, I say that unless it’s handled much better than it ever has been, no more of the Time War should ever be shown, period. I pull from my posts here:
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“I know many were disappointed that the [50th] didn’t show any of the time-related aspects of the War, and I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Battle TARDISes, but I still agree with Nicholas Briggs, voice of the Daleks and producer/writer for Big Finish’s audio plays:
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‘People think, “Oh, the ultimate thing to do would be to do a story about the Time War,” and I think that would be possibly one of the dullest things in the world. (Those words will come back to haunt me, I realize….) Because I think the Time War is much more effective as a mythical thing – you know, not a myth, really, because we know it happened, or will happen, or has happened, or is happening all the time, that’s the thing, it was a Time War – [but] it’s not going to be like D-Day, is it? It’s going to be like something weird, to do with time. It’s so weird, I think it’s best that it’s kept beyond our comprehension, and just the hint that it was something appalling, you know.
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It bothered me to [see the war] reduced to mundane sci-fi crossfire, but I can accept it as a depiction of the “last day,” after all the transcendent and incomprehensible stuff was over. Only I can’t help but wish that the last Battle TARDISes had been seen just before they were destroyed, because that’s such an interesting concept – using the localized manipulation of time as a weapon. And presumably the Daleks would do the same. That alone could have elevated it, without spoiling the whole war. Instead, the War Doctor physically uses his TARDIS as a wrecking ball.”
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No more of that, please. Bring back the Eighth Doctor, but let the Time War rest in peace.
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P.S. I stand by my statement that bringing back Gallifrey, my second-favorite* fictional planet that I didn’t create myself, is “one of the best experiences fiction has ever given me.” I could hardly hold back the tears when talking about it after leaving the theater. But that’s a matter for another post, which I’ll probably never write.

*Number one: Perelandra.
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9 thoughts on “An Eighth Doctor (Mini)Series Would Work, But No Time War, Please

    • I don’t really care either way about the Doctor ever becoming a woman, but what I was suggesting was for a future canon regeneration to last for only a miniseries. Sort of a compromise between never doing it, and having a female Doctor set for the foreseeable future, if the producers are too scared to do that. (And I think they have good reason to be.)

    • Really? You think that the people who want a female Doctor wouldn’t react badly to a cop out? You think that people who don’t want a female Doctor won’t notice the female Doctor if its a mini-series?

      • The latter, I assume mostly are more against being stuck with a female Doctor for years than they are with the concept of the Doctor being female for a short time. The former, well, if they’d actually rather never have a female Doctor (aside from the audio one) then never mind. :D

      • I guess no one can be an expert on what others think or why they think it, but the comments people make seem to be of the they don’t like the idea of a female Doctor, not that they don’t like the idea of a long term Doctor.

        Of course, Steven Moffat has already made the Doctor female once.

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