Doctor Who: Paul McGann talks 50th anniversary episode

News Louisa Mellor 16 Apr 2013 - 08:00

Eighth Doctor Paul McGann stirs up some more 50th anniversary speculation in an interview on New Zealand television...

Contains casting spoilers for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode.

You may think you've read the last of these speculative 'Who's back for the Who 50th?' stories, but no. The speculation just keeps coming, and no doubt will right up until the moment those drums kick in and the theme music begins to play come wintry November.

As it stands, a few very exciting returnees have been confirmed, including David Tennant, Billie Piper, the Zygons, and Jemma Redgrave, alongside new guest stars John Hurt and Joanna Page. Any advance on that, and we're in rumour territory. 

Speaking of which, the latest to join in the will they/won't they conversation is Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, who is currently taking part in the New Zealand Lords of Time Convention (nice work if you can get it). McGann told ZBTV the following:

"I think Chris Eccleston is probably a big factor in it. I don’t want to speak for him… he’s probably reluctant to get involved in anything that’s ongoing. So that’s something that they have to somehow get over and deal with. I’m guessing they’ve got time to do it. It’s not quite the anniversary yet. The anniversary doesn’t start until November. 

Whatever it is that they’re planning and they are making, they’ve got time to do it. It’s my feeling [and] this is just a personal thing, once they resolve Chris Eccleston’s participation or non-participation either way, then they’re free to [figure it out]… Being actors anyway, they’ll call us on the Friday and say, ‘You’re starting on a Monday’.We’re not going to know until the 11th hour. Half past 11… I can’t count the times as an actor, when [you're] offered something and you start next week!".

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reading between the lines, I wonder if there was talk of a 8-9 regeneration scene but Ecclestone put the Kibosh on it

Every Doctor Who fan wants McGann back for the 50th. Unfortunately, I don't think it's gonna happen... but it'd be incredible if it did. Potential sad panda. :(

Every timeI read more news about this special I get a little more excited I really hope I'm not setting myself up for a major disappointment

I would give my right nut (my favourite) for McGann to be in it. With or without his new costume, although that'd be really cool, we just need a bit more screen time for his Doctor. Please and thanks Moff.

Christopher Eccleston has to come back - it has to be the three doctors - Christ the chemistry there would be insane. Come on Eccleston - for the fans like.

I would volunteer your left nut (no particular feelings towards it) for McGann to be in it!

Maybe if we start a collection, and tell Christopher Eccelstone we will give the money to the charity of his choice if he agrees to take part. Emotional blackmail basically. Then maybe there's more chance of them getting back all the old doctors. My current mindset is that I will be properly gutted if none of the pre-2005 doctors appear, no matter how good the special is. My favourite thing about the series is the links across the decades, and it would be fascinating to see Paul McGann in a "proper" episode. And the sad fact is that we won't have the likes of Tom Baker forever. I would literally beg SM to get them back if I saw him, and I'd beg CE to do it too, to complete the set. Maybe if we hire a full Welsh choir and get them to sing "please please please do the special" outside his house. That and the charity donation.

He (CE) might be more inclined to do it if I spell his surname correctly.

Chris Eccleston was willing to take the part of the Doctor once again even though going back to British TV would be a huge step down in quality and pay from the big Hollywood blockbusters he's been making recently. Eccleston said that he wanted another attempt at playing the character and even seemed very positive about going back to it. He even had the effort to go and see Moffat. The only reason I can think for him now rejecting it is that the script is poor. Eccleston and Tom Baker were the best doctors by far, in a different league to newbies Tennant and Matt Smith, and if they're not appearing then I won't be watching.

It was obvious that Tennant was going to appear because he has found it tough to get TV roles since he left Doctor Who and he's got nothing better to do while Billie Piper has made a few too many returns already.

Ah pants, ok I will give a nut too. My left gives me a greater sense of value so I would offer that one.

The scripts which Moffat's team churn out are abysmal. They could be written by 7 year olds. Perhaps they are? There is no Douglas Adams style sophisticated humour, no clever plots, little character development and no Russel T Davies style emotion. Each episode is almost exactly the same with the usual running about and exploring. Just a different setting and different aliens.

Yes, Tennant was too busy winning awards performing Hamlet on stage, and working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, when what he really wanted was to play the Doctor again.

I love them.

I'll definitely be watching, I'm really excited.

Please be true!

I too will give Paulio56's left nut for McGann to be in it. I'm not sure if he is actually collecting left nuts, maybe after a childhood accident left him "rightnutted" only, but regardless, I'm sure he could find a use if only as a very very small and light paperweight. Possibly for holding down all those last minute script offer letters.

God, I wish I could write a Steven Moffat script. I'd give my middle nut.

Step one: Capture a seven year old...

Hmmm, I disagree with you about the reasons Tennant wants to return to Doctor Who. If you have a look at his Wikipedia page you see that he hasn't been out of work since leaving Doctor Who and has appeared in nine television series in total either as a guest role or as a series lead like Broadchurch and Single Father. That may not seem like much but considering he has also been on stage with more Shakespeare as well as some (admittedly dire) movies I suspect he likes to keep a finger in all pies (including, unfortunately, adverts).

I genuinely believe the reason he is back is because he is still a huge Doctor Who fan and loved his time doing the show. Considering how he "wobbled" when Steven Moffat first became show runner and was tempted to stay for his first year, he may even regret leaving when he did. But only because of his love of the character, not because he has struggled to work since 2010!

I agree, the story lines since Moffatt have become quite simplistic, much akin to the Sarah Jane series on CBBC, which were good for their target audience. I feel that Dr who has been dumbed down for a younger audience or maybe as a result of budget cuts. The Eccleston and Tennant seasons had a much deeper, more cinematic feel to them.

Um, he's had a number of good roles since leaving Doctor Who, including the lead in the TV series Broadchurch which is currently airing in the UK.

When did this interview happen? Eccleston already said he's not going to be in the anniversary special and filming for the special is already well underway.

This also strikes me as a bit disengenuous. It's not like the production team can just assume that an actor will be available on a given day without even talking to the actor or his agent.

Sort yourself out Den Of Geek - this story is a week old!!! If you are going to print old news you should at least note when the interview took place. Since this interview we have had all the details from the BBC now Chris has been in talks with Steven Moffat but decided not to be involved. By printing it after it makes it sound as if there has been another twist. You are very naughty, go to your room!

It wasn't obvious that Tennant would appear you horrible toad. I bet it was a hard decision to invite the more popular Dr from the much more popular seasons back! Think how it must make poor Matt Smith and Steven Moffat feel.

Would love to see McGann return as the 8th Doctor. More so than Tennant or Ecceleston. Now that would be a anniversary gift to all us who fans.

i hope that John Simm would be in it, as well with Paul McGann, and some others. :3 I think the actors who portrayed the 4th, 5th, 8th, 7th, 9th. 10th, and 11th Doctors would be in it too.

Well if Paul McGann is not appearing then I won't be watching!

This was an interview that was done in New Zealand on Friday or Saturday so it's not even a week old yet!

It has to be more than just three Doctors!! I'm sick of all you NuWho fans who don't give a damn about the 42 years before you ever knew what the show was!

"I'm well up for it. Come and get me"

I REALLY want to see Paul McGann return but I don't want to see an 8-9 regeneration. The fact that we never saw this regeneration gives Big Finish and maybe (dreaming here) future TV DW so much to explore and do with the 8th Doctor. I love the fact that they can do anything with this incarnation! I'd like to keep it that way.

Give Paul McGann a season or at least a mini series. He sooo deserves another chance!

Something for us all to think about there.

It's these complaints and accusations that the show has been dumbed down, combined with all the other complaints that the show is now too complicated to follow that make me look forward to reading the comments on this site.

No one can decide on an actual reason as to why they don't like the show anymore, everyone just shouts random unfounded complaints and contradicts everyone else that's doing the same. It amuses me greatly.

Keep up the randomised Moffat hate and I'll just sit, laugh and then watch my favourite show while it's churning out consistently fantastic episodes during best era of the show since the McCoy era.

I guess all of the nuts are on the table. I'll get the petition started...

Tennant appreciates, and understands, the responsibility that once playing the Doctor has. A fellow that I work with is heavily involved with Big Finish and the convention scene, Tennant is as much a regular here as McGann, Davison and the Bakers.

look - you idiot - I'm Tom Baker vintage and I'm probably older than you. I'm just not the kind of moron who would want a fat Tom Baker in his seventies staggering around. Up yours, you tit.

Do they. Every Doctor Who fan, really?


I think it will be a great service to fans for a story where Paul McGann passes the baton to Eccleston, if not in the broadcast, at least in written fiction and made part of the official canon. simply put, there simply was not enough in the movie to explore his character. there is however, a lot of novelisations that us Whovians devoured with relish.

your open to your opinion sir. the show is still epic all i am saying is the fans have been @!#@%#$^& for the 50th its a once in a life time opportunity to celebrate a 50th and they have screwed us over from what i am hearing now dont get me wrong they may surprise us with classic doctors then its great if not then heads should roll including moffat this show has tons of fans from the classic series and you dont salute any of them. sorry to say how the BBC has handled this whole mess makes me sick. i feel they dont care anymore so as a fan why should I!!!!!

Thank you for Saying what has to be on many fans minds. At a Recent Doctor Who Convention me and friends were talking about all these NuWho Fans Disrespecting The Classic Actors like just Crap. its upsetting. i feel the show would not be here without the classic Series and to do the 50th without some respect and salute to honor the past i feel the show does not have much of a future. the way the bbc just keeps jacking this show around and now to just fail on epic scale with the 50th Paul Mcgann should be back and Tom Baker 124% should be back ok i hear swimtwobirds complaint others have said they are to old to come back and play the doctors then have them play roles at least they are back a part of the show. in all honesty i want them back and i dont care if they are staggering around the show is here because of them more than Nuwho i am a nuwho fan also. just feel without the classic stuff we would have nothing

that'sjust it i felt for the 50th they should have done a episode for each classic doctor stand alone with them or with Matt i just felt it would have been a fitting way to do the 50th anniversary a new episode the first Saturday of the month or last i don't care but leading up to the November anniversary then do a children of earth like mini series like 5 nights of 7 for the week playing up to the actual date it would have been epic

My excitement for the special really is based on the hope that some or all of Baker to McGann appear in it. If it's just Matt Smith and David Tennant plus companions, and more of the Rose soap opera romance (wonder if they'll be separated forever again?) I may have to fully let myself go (I'm 90% there, just doing enough personal maintenance to enable me to buy groceries in public). I am similarly praying that David Tennant does not say "The lost moon of Poosh" again.

Bit of an overreaction, don't you think? Never once did he insult you, just vented his personal frustration. Let's not have this site descend into name-throwing.

I could have written this. I am glad I'm not the only one who is about to give up on Doctor Who. The only thing that will keep me on is seeing Paul McGann back. f that doesn't happen I am done.


So, if McGann's in one special you'll keep watching beyond that? That makes no sense.

Wait until you see it at least. Moffat gives plenty of salutes to the classic series, Zygons anyone?

Are you the kind person who down-arrowed both of us? I should point out that when I said "let myself go" I meant in a personal hygiene and appearance sense, not stop watching the show, although I respect Miss Segee's right to do so. The thing with Paul McGann is that he was a terrific doctor in an appalling episode, and never got the chance he deserved. If the 50th anniversary is to have David Tennant back, then why not Paul McGann too? He's unlikely to get back in the role any other way, this seems like the ideal opportunity, and the show has a history of multi-doctor anniveraries. If no doctors other than DT and MS are in it and we get more of the same from the last few years, then I'm not sure how "special" I will consider it. Do you really want to cover the Rose Tyler romance again? Or dispense with the foes in a few minutes and then spend the last quarter of an hour saying tearful goodbyes? SM said he thought the special should not be a fan-fest, but what's the alternative, a non-fan-fest? Sounds great. He said it should be about lookng forward, but that's what every new episode and series does. One special celebrating 50 years can surely be about the history, and make use of the likes of Tom Baker before it's too late.

It's a matter of principle. If I feel something is unjust...and in this case to have ignored Paul McGann's Doctor for so long when there have been PLENTY of fans who'd like to see him on screen again AND the fact that McGann himself has stated that he'd like to reprise his role again then in my eyes it makes sense for me to boycott it. There are plenty of other things about the direction that Moffat has taken DW that have taken some of the enjoyment out of it for me anyway so this is just the last step for me but the one that I fell the most strongly about.

How will you know if he's in it unless you watch it? I'm sure they will have a few surprises up their sleeves!

You haven't got a clue what's happening in the 50th. Just give it a chance.

And Zygons are shape shifters - so they can turn into anyone.

My kids will tell me if he is and then if he is I will catch it later. Simple as that! :)

The thing is, they haven't really ignored McGann, there just hasn't been a reason to have him in the show. Don't get me wrong, I loved his audio adventures and would love to have him in a proper episode but it would have to be logical and that would mean it would almost have to involve the time war which, sadly, will probably never happen.

He has his own badass series of audios that's still running.

I thought it would be interesting if in the 50th anniversary episode they showed scenes of the Time Wars with Paul McGann playing the 8th Doctor where we get an idea of the hardest choice ever that the Doctor had to make since it was going to be the end of the Time Lords either way, since they went mad and were going to take the rest of the universe with them in their crazy belief that they would transcend into higher beings by ending time.

Can't save those who refuse to be saved and the fact that the rest of the universe has as much right to exist without the Time Lords treating them as things who are insignificant.

And yet it did happen, how about that ;)

Your left nut, hand it over. :D

haha, I'm way ahead of you pal! *Delivery for Mr Steven Moffat*

Pretty damn awesome if you ask me.

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