8th Doctor Reflects On Unusual Legacy, Jodie Whittaker Episode & Possible Return


  • Paul McGann reflects on his unusual Doctor Who legacy, with the least amount of on-screen time but a significant presence across audio dramas and expanded media.
  • Despite his limited appearances, McGann embraces his unique situation and enjoys being known as both the longest and shortest Doctor.
  • McGann’s appearance in a Jodie Whittaker episode gave him a taste for on-screen adventures, and he expressed a desire to do more in the future.

Eighth Doctor actor Paul McGann reflects on his unusual Doctor Who legacy. The actor first took on the role of the Eighth incarnation of the Time Lord for the 1996 US co-produced TV movie that was intended to be a pilot for an American soft-reboot of the sci-fi series following its initial cancelation. While McGann’s series never came to be, the Eighth Doctor has made several brief appearances in the revived era and led many adventures across audio dramas and other expanded media.

When responding to user-submitted questions during a Q&A session with The Guardian, McGann was asked what he thought of his unique legacy among the other actors who had longer stints as the Doctor. McGann stated that he enjoyed his unique situation of holding the least on-screen adventures of the main incarnation but having an extensive number of adventures across Big Finish’s Doctor Who audio-drama range to his appearance in 2022’s “The Power of the Doctor” left him eager to have further on-screen adventures. Check out McGann’s full answer below:

“I love it. How could you not? The fans call me the longest and the shortest. I’ll have it. Less than two hours of screen time in 27 years, but somehow still kind of everywhere all at once. It could only happen in Who world. I was recently in one of the Jodie Whittaker episodes. That’s the only time that the eighth Doctor got on to the telly. So it gave me a little taste for it. I wouldn’t mind doing some more.”

Paul McGann as Eighth Doctor and Daphne Ashbrook as Grace in Doctor Who

The Eighth Doctor was once set to revive the show for a new generation with Doctor Who: The Movie, which was envisioned to lead into an all-new series while continuing the classic era and reinventing iconic foes like the Cybermen and Daleks with drastic reimaginings. However, when the movie underperformed in the US, the full series was scrapped, though his incarnation became the subject of comics, novels, and eventually audio dramas led by McGann. Across these adventures, the Eighth Doctor faced highly advanced Cybermen from the future, Weeping Angels, and found himself fighting the Daleks in the early days of the Time War with a whole host of all-new companions.

Related: Doctor Who – 10 Most Memorable Quotes From The Eighth Doctor

Despite his extensive involvement in the expanded media, McGann would not be seen on-screen in the show’s revival outside of archive footage and sketches until the 2013 Doctor Who 50th-anniversary minisode The Night of the Doctor. Not only would this episode act as a prequel that saw how the Eight Doctor regenerated into John Hurt’s The War Doctor but also nods to McGann’s off-screen adventures, further enshrining them in the show’s canon. Despite having the least amount of on-screen adventures, the actor’s time in the role has become its own much-loved corner of the franchise.

With McGann’s few appearances leaving an impact, it is clear his Doctor is just as fondly viewed as other actors’ time in the role. While there may always be a question of how different things would be if McGann’s potential Doctor Who series went ahead, the actor is pleased with his unique contributions to the show. But with McGann eager for more TV appearances following his reprisal as a Guardian of the Edge, it remains hopeful that Doctor Who‘s Disney deal could lead to a spin-off led by him.

Source: The Guardian

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