So we have eight days to go until The Day of the Doctor, the big 50th anniversary special for Doctor Who. It's kind of sneaking up on me, as things are starting to get pretty busy. But then I was absolutely tickled when I saw this yesterday.
As has become the way with Moffat run of Doctor Who, for specials and such, he likes to put together a little 5-minute prequel and post it online. Yesterday, we got the prequel for The Day of the Doctor, appropriately titled The Night of the Doctor, and I was over the moon when I saw who it starred.
It's an Eighth Doctor adventure, starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.
So my first exposure to Doctor Who was in the early 1990s. Back then, with a lot of hype and ballyhoo, YTV became the official home of Doctor Who in Canada, and started showing the adventures of Doctors 1 - 7 in reruns. I remember reading in the paper that there was a huge kerfuffle between YTV and the Canadian chapter of the Official Doctor Who Fan Club. In all their promotional materials, YTV referred to the main character as "Doctor Who." The Official Doctor Who Fan Club angrily pointed out that he's known as simply "The Doctor," so YTV eventually caved and adjusted their promotional materials.
I remember watching the odd episode back then and being...unimpressed. I'd always catch the last five minutes, and it'd always be the First Doctor sitting in the TARDIS control room, giving a speech about the day's events, and I'd think, "This is it? This is the famous Doctor Who? Just some old guy standing around pontificating? Get this over with so I can watch Ninja Turtles!" (Ninja Turtles was on right after, you see.)
But the first time I opened my heart and gave Doctor Who a chance was for the American-made TV movie, which wound up being the Eighth Doctor's only adventure. I watched it in the spring of 1996 when it first aired. And I loved it. Finally, with a big budget, and in colour, I got what it was all about! YTV had stopped showing it by then, so I couldn't go back and give the regular series another chance.
When I did my Fishing in the Discount Bin on the Doctor Who TV movie, I mentioned that you could see the seeds being planted for the 2005 re-launch. I mean, with a big budget behind it, there were some things that just made sense to do, so the 1996 TV movie and the current series do have some notable similarities.
But sadly, it was not to be, and so I had to wait for the re-launch in 2005 for more Doctor Who, and it looked like I wouldn't see any further Eighth Doctor adventures.
When the revival started, many fans wondered if we'd ever see the Eighth Doctor regenerate into the Ninth, and I guess Moffat figured it would make a good subject for the online prequel.
So let's enjoy The Night of The Doctor, featuring the final hours of the Eighth Doctor!
Hopefully, you just finished watching it, because I'm about to get spoilery.
So I guess this finally confirms what many suspected...that the John Hurt Doctor (referred to as "The War Doctor" in the end credits) is the true Ninth Doctor, as #8 regenerates into him. Actually, I think this kind of provides a sad end to the Eighth Doctor. With the Time War raging, and the universe turning to hate the Time Lords, he realizes that his time is at an end and he can no longer walk the universe and help people. When takes that potion at the end to regenerate into a warrior, and says that the universe doesn't need a Doctor anymore, it's like he's suicidal.
It's a sad end, but it's so good seeing the Eighth Doctor again!
A little trivia note. I've discovered this outfit called Big Finish, and what they do is they produce these big budget Doctor Who radio plays. They've even managed to procure the services of all the classic Doctors to play the Doctor in them. When the Eighth Doctor mutters the names of his previous companions before taking the potion, those are all his companions from the Eighth Doctor Big Finish productions! I've been tempted to download some of the Big Finish adventures to get more of the Eighth Doctor...despite his short tenure on the TV screen, the Eighth Doctor has apparently had the most expansive adventures in the Doctor Who expanded universe.
Oh, look. In celebration of The Night of the Doctor and the Eighth Doctor's return, Big Finish has put all their Eighth Doctor tales on special!
I maintain what I originally said in my Fishing in the Discount Bin. I'm sure Paul McGann would have been a brilliant Eighth Doctor. And I'm sure he is on the Big Finish plays. But, come on, how about a 6-episode mini-series of Eighth Doctor adventures? Please? Pretty please?
Oh, well. I'll take what I can get.