The 2019 Doctor Who Fan Art CompetitionBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Doctor Who Fan Art Competition 2019 (Credit: BBC Studios)Calling all Doctor Who fans with an artistic flair and creative impulse! Ahead of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, BBC Studios announces the 2019 Doctor Who Fan Art Competition, giving fans an opportunity to see their own work on a Doctor Who t-shirt, with a limited quantity available for purchase at the BBC AMERICA booth at San Diego Comic-Con.

As anticipation for the next series builds, fans can channel their creative energy into an innovative rendition of the TARDIS and their favourite Doctor. Entrants can create anything from a candy mosaic of Tom Baker to a bowtie collage of Matt Smith – the possibilities are endless!

The competition closes on 15th May 2019 at 1:00pm BST (8:00am ET).

A panel of judges will select one grand prize winner and four runner-up artists. The grand prize winner and a guest will receive an exclusive Doctor Who-themed weekend trip to London, which includes:
  • Two nights accommodation
  • Special afternoon tea for two
  • Doctor Who Escape Room activity in Reading, United Kingom
  • Exclusive private screening of the fan’s favorite Doctor Who episode
  • Having their artwork printed on limited-edition Doctor Who merchandise sold at San Diego Comic-Con
  • Receiving a goody bag including iconic Doctor Who merchandise valued at approximately £520/$680
All four runners-up will each:
  • Have their artwork printed on official, limited-edition Doctor Who merchandise sold at San Diego Comic-Con
  • Receive a goody bag including iconic Doctor Who merchandise valued at approximately £520/$680

Art Specifications: Each entrant must design their own original piece of Doctor Who fan art in accordance with the following criteria:
  • Artwork must feature both the TARDIS and one Doctor *
  • The Artwork may also, at the entrant’s discretion, include a background texture, splash of colour or other abstract background design, but must not feature any other design element, including (without limit) any other Doctor, character, companion, monster, robot, prop, location, building or branding element (including third party brand names and logos), whether from the Doctor Who universe or otherwise.
  • Artwork can be created in any two-dimensional medium and any color.
  • Artwork must not include identifiers such as the entrant’s name, signature, image, likeness or any other identifier, or any reference to Comic-Con.
* Refer to the terms and conditions for more details on the criteria.

Submitting artwork: Each entrant must complete the entry form and upload their artwork in digital format on the Fan Art Competition website in accordance with the following criteria:
  • Artwork must be submitted in RGB high res formats (TIFF, JPEG, PNG, or GIF).
  • Artwork resolution must be a minimum of 300 dpi.
  • Artwork must measure at least 260mm x 260mm when printed at 100% and must not measure more than 381mm x 508mm.
  • Each entrant may submit multiple entries, as long as each separate entry consists of a different artwork. Entrants can only win one prize in the competition.

The competition is open to legal residents of the United Kingdom, the fifty United States and the District of Columbia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand who at the time of entry are at least 18 years of age, or the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which they reside (whichever is higher). The grand prize winner and four finalists will be revealed at the BBC AMERICA booth during San Diego Comic-Con in July.

Update for Season 12 Collection replacement disc processBookmark and Share

Thursday, 23 August 2018 - Reported by Chuck Foster
BBC Worldwide have provided clarification on how to get replacements for the faulty discs within the recently released Season Twelve Collection can be requested.

Doctor Who Collection - Season 12 - cover (Credit: BBC Worldwide)We will be offering replacements for the errors on Disc 3 (The Sontaran Experiment) and Disc 5 (Revenge of the Cybermen) in the Doctor Who The Collection Season 12 Blu-ray release.

In order to obtain a replacement, please email your name and address and proof of purchase to the appropriate DVD Support line in the form of a receipt from the retailer. If you do not have a receipt from the retailer, then please email a picture of the product with your full name and postal address in view in the picture. This is for fraud prevention reasons.
The estimated time frame for the replacement to be available is 2-3 weeks.
Please allow some time for the replacement disc to reach you.
We have a high volume of emails and customers to deal with, please bear with us.

Replacement requests and proof of purchase emails should only be sent to these email addresses and not the DVD Enquiry line.

If you have sent your proof of purchase already we will not respond to your email unless there is an issue with your proof. Please await the replacements as outlined above.

Please be assured that we have logged every proof and will get around to replacing all customers discs.

Owing to an administrative issue, some customers erroneously did not receive the correct replacement of Revenge of the Cybermen; DVD Support have apologised for the error, and advise:
If you have received the incorrect Disc 5, we will re-send it when available please re-email the DVD Support line only once with your postal address only. You do not need to resend your proof of purchase.

RiffTrax present The Five DoctorsBookmark and Share

Thursday, 17 August 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
RiffTrax Live: Doctor Who (Credit: Fathom Events)A special presentation of The Five Doctors will be taking place in the United States over the next couple of weeks:

The Doctor is in the house! The RiffTrax house, that is! The stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000®, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, are back on the big screen for a legendary riffing of the 1983 Doctor Who film "The Five Doctors." Someone is taking the Doctor's past selves out of time and space, placing them in a vast wilderness - a battle arena with a sinister tower at its center. As the various incarnations of the Doctor join forces, they learn they are in the Death Zone on their home world of Gallifrey, fighting Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti and a devious Time Lord Traitor who is using the Doctor and his companions to discover the ancient secrets of Rassilon, the first and most powerful ruler of Gallifrey.

Join Mike, Kevin and Bill as they join the Five Doctors for one of the most thrilling Doctor Who adventures ever!

The special showing will be presented in cinemas around the USA on the 17th and 24th August - see the Fathom Events page for more details.

Red White and Who - The Story of Doctor Who in AmericaBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 July 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
ATB Publishing have announced the forthcoming publication of Red White and Who: The Story of Doctor Who in America:

Red, White and Who: The Story of Doctor Who in America (Credit: ATB Publishing)RED WHITE AND WHO

Written by Steven Warren Hill & Jennifer Adams Kelly, Nicholas Seidler, and Robert Warnock with Janine Fennick and John Lavalie
Full wraparound cover art by Dani Jones
Published by ATB Publishing on 21st August 2017

“This is genuinely fascinating stuff… a warm, dryly caustic in places, look at the way the show was viewed, received, influenced by and ultimately loved by the American audience... you’ve earned this book.”
– Gary Russell, from his foreword

Every American DOCTOR WHO fan has a story to tell, and fans of the iconic British television show love to tell stories. All of them from the casual to the obsessed, will happily regale others with the tale of how and when they discovered the greatest science fiction media franchise ever. Most early American fans first met the Doctor in the early 1980s, nearly twenty years after the show began in 1963...but the story of Doctor Who in America – a complex and fascinating journey into pop culture – stretches much further back.

In this book, you’ll find the rich history of everything Doctor Who in the USA – from American TV Guide listings of Canadian broadcasts in 1965, through the Dalek movies, the BBC sales attempts, the official debut on American television in 1972, the explosion in popularity among US viewers in 1979, the twentieth anniversary celebration in 1983, the conventions, the merchandise, the clubs, the video releases, the USA Tour, and every imaginable fan activity including cosplay, fan productions, PBS pledge drive volunteering, websites, podcasts, and much more, to the new heights of success, popularity, and participation in the 21st century. It’s an enlightening and entertaining journey for everyone who admires Doctor Who...and not just for American fans, but devotees around the globe.

Think you know everything there was to know about our favorite Time Lord and his history? Get ready to discover a “New New World” in RED WHITE AND WHO: THE STORY OF DOCTOR WHO IN AMERICA!

The 6x9 paperback book contains over 600 images across its 700+ full colour pages - a full list of contents and index can be found via the ATB Publishing website.

Britbox brings 'classic' Doctor Who online back to the United StatesBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 11 April 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Britbox - Classic Who (Credit: Britbox)Recenty launched online streaming service Britbox has added the majority of existing 20th Century Doctor Who to its collection. The service, co-operated by BBC Worldwide and ITV, provides subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) to the United States of America, and features a range of programmes - both old and new - from British Television to stream on a variety of devices.

Soumya Sriraman, President of BritBox said:
Doctor Who continues to be a global phenomenon that spans generations. Whovians in the U.S. now have a one-stop-shop for the most comprehensive catalog of Classic Doctor Who to either relive the exciting adventures with their favorite Classic Doctors, or experience for the first time how it all began. Now is the perfect time to catch-up on the Classic series, as BBC AMERICA heads towards the season premiere of new Doctor Who on Saturday, April 15 @ 9:00pm ET/PT.

Subscribers will be able to watch most of the existing stories between 1963-1989 (including The Web Of Fear with its reconstruction of episode three):
BritBox will provide users with the ability to relive the expansive story arcs and incredible journeys of the Classic Doctors through space and time. In addition to housing these classic episodes, BritBox also offers several entry points into the world of Classic Doctor Who to provide every type of fan – regardless of their knowledge of the Whoniverse – with an opportunity to enjoy the expansive archive. The catalogue is chronologically organized by Doctor, allowing fans to find their favorite moments starting from the very beginning, or discover new ones. BritBox will also feature specially curated Classic Doctor Who playlists like “Monsters” and “Companions,” so viewers can take a trip back in time to witness the Doctor’s most epic battles through the years against classic foes like Daleks, Cybermen, and Autons.
Notable omissions to the collection include several Dalek stories, and The Five Doctors; however, a number of DVD extras are available to watch, not to mention items such as K9 & Company and 50th Anniversary productions An Adventure In Space And Time and The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. It should be noted that programmes are based on the remastered Region 1 versions which are occasionally different to the original broadcast episodes.

The service is expected to expand to include missing episodes too in the future, and will include the (narrated) audio soundtracks of those episodes that don't currently exist in the BBC Archive.

"Modern" Doctor Who is available to stream in the United States via Amazon Prime Video.

Series UpdateBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 5 April 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have released some new promotional images to accompany the 30 second trailer that is now airing on television in the UK, featuring some of the scenes to come in the new series of Doctor Who which kicks off in ten days time.

Series 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 ImagesSeries 10 Trailer 2 Images

PRIME in New Zealand have now confirmed that, unlike for recent series and specials, it will instead premiere The Pilot on Monday 17th April rather than within a day of the United Kingdom - this means that cinema-goers in the country will have a chance to watch it on the big screen the day before broadcast. However, this is only the case for Easter, future episodes will be broadcast on the more traditional Sunday evening prime time slot.

The Pilot: Known Broadcast Details
United KingdomBBC OneSat 15 Apr 20177:20pm BST
Middle EastBBC FirstSat 15 Apr 201710:00pm AST(Sat 8:00pm BST)
United States of AmericaBBC AmericaSat 15 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
CanadaSPACESat 15 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
AustraliaABCSun 16 Apr 20177:40pm AEST(Sun 10:40am BST, also on ABC ME)
BrazilSyFySun 16 Apr 20178:00pm BRT(Sun 11:00pm BST)
Latin AmericaSyFySun 16 Apr 201711:00pm CDT(Mon 4:00am BST)
New ZealandPRIMEMon 17 Apr 20177:30pm NZST(Mon 8:30am BST)

As well as on television, the episode can also be seen in cinemas in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. A full list of broadcasts can be found via This Week in Doctor Who.

Current indications are that Doctor Who won't be taking a week's break for the annual Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place this year on 13th May (the date for the fifth episode, Oxygen).

The latest Doctor Who Magazine (in shops tomorrow in the UK) has confirmed the titles of all episodes bar the two-part finale, with previews of the first three in this issue. The current list of known titles are as follows:
  1. The Pilot*, by Steven Moffat, directed by Lawrence Gough
  2. Smile, by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, directed by Lawrence Gough
  3. Thin Ice, by Sarah Dollard, directed by Bill Anderson
  4. Knock Knock, by Mike Bartlett, directed by Bill Anderson
  5. Oxygen, by Jamie Matheson, directed by Charles Palmer
  6. Extremis, by Steven Moffat, directed by Daniel Nettheim
  7. The Pyramid at the End of the World, by Peter Harness, directed by Daniel Nettheim
  8. The Lie Of The Land, by Toby Whithouse, directed by Wayne Che Yip
  9. The Empress Of Mars, by Mark Gatiss, directed by Wayne Che Yip
  10. The Eaters of Light, by Rona Munro, directed by Charles Palmer
  11. tbc, by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay
  12. tbc, by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay
* the episode was originally known as A Star In Her Eye, which is still being used in documentation by some international channels.

BBC America Confirms Series 10 Air DateBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 31 January 2017 - Reported by Marcus
BBC America have announced that Doctor Who returns to the channel on Saturday, April 15 at 9/8c.

The announcemnt follows the news from the BBC that the series will return to BBC One on the same day, for Peter Capaldi's last run as The Doctor.

The Doctor Who broadcast will be followed by US premiere of the Spin-Off Series Class at 10/9c.

The Return of Doctor Mysterio to air in US theatresBookmark and Share

Thursday, 17 November 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Return of Doctor Mysterio (Credit: BBC)BBC Worldwide North America and Fathom Events have announced that they plan to show this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Return of Doctor Mysterio in movie theatres across the United States at 7:00pm on Tuesday 27th December and Thursday 29th December.

Join the Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, as he teams up with an investigative journalist, played by Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall, The Player), and a superhero to save New York from a deadly alien threat. Written by Steven Moffat, the special stars Justin Chatwin (Orphan Black, Shameless) as Grant, along with Matt Lucas (Alice in Wonderland, Bridesmaids), Adetomiwa Edun (Lucifer, Bates Motel), Aleksandar Jovanovic and Logan Hoffman.

As well as the episode itself, the event will include two exclusive bonus features:
  • A New Kind of Superhero, giving a special inside look at Doctor Who’s concept of a modern superhero
  • Doctor Who Extra, showing the making of this year’s special, with appearances by stars Peter Capaldi and Matt Lucas, and showrunner and executive producer Steven Moffat.
Soumya Sriraman, EVP, Franchise and Digital Enterprises, BBC Worldwide North America, said:
The Return of Doctor Mysterio will be an excellent way for fans to celebrate the holidays in true Whovian style.
Fathom Events Vice President of Programming Kymberli Frueh said:
Doctor Who fans are one of our most dedicated audiences, and we expect they will show up in full force for this holiday special. There’s no better way to enjoy this content than on the big screen and among fellow fans.
Tickets for the Special will be available to purchase online from tomorrow, 18th November via the Fathom Events website or participating theatre box offices.

The episode is due to air on BBC America on Christmas Day.

USA: Win tickets to see The Power of the Daleks in theatreBookmark and Share

Thursday, 10 November 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Power of the Daleks in US theatres 14 Nov 2016 (Credit: BBC Worldwide/Fathom Events)The Power of the Daleks in US theatres 14 Nov 2016 (Credit: BBC Worldwide/Fathom Events)
The Power of the Daleks in US theatres 14 Nov 2016 (Credit: BBC Worldwide/Fathom Events)The Power of the Daleks in US theatres 14 Nov 2016 (Credit: BBC Worldwide/Fathom Events)
We are delighted to be able to offer readers in the United States a chance to win tickets to see the new animation of The Power of The Daleks at a participating theatre on Monday 14th November, courtesy of Fathom Events.

The competition is free to enter; all you need to do is send us the following details to with the subject "Power Giveaway":
  • Your full name
  • Your preferred email address (to receive the ticket from Fathom Events)
  • Your preferred theatre location (enter your zip code here to find your nearest participating theatre)
  • How many tickets you require (one or two)
Please note this competition is open to readers in the United States only, and ends at
MIDDAY Pacific Time/3PM Eastern Time tomorrow (11th November).

The Power of the Daleks in US theatres 14 Nov 2016 (Credit: BBC Worldwide/Fathom Events)

Full details of the event can be found on via the Fathom website.

BBC America schedules Christmas Special sneak peekBookmark and Share

Thursday, 20 October 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
BBC America have made a late change in their schedules for this evening to include a five minute segment for this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special at 10:30pm EDT:

Doctor Who Sneak Peek (Credit: BBC America)

No other information is available at present, though it is possible that this will be a television screening of the recently released behind-the-scenes video.

The Power of the Daleks to be shown in US cinemasBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Power of the Daleks (animated) - The Daleks (Credit: BBC Worldwide)BBC America and Fathom Events have announced that the new animated version of The Power of the Daleks will be shown in cinemas across the United States on 14th November 2016, a few days before it premieres on television at 8:25pm on the 19th November. The showings will also feature bonus content, including interviews with members of the original cast.

Kymberli Frueh, Fathom Events Vice President of Programming, said:
We’re pleased to continue our long-standing and successful partnership with BBC AMERICA to bring more fantastic Doctor Who content to the big screen The Whovians are always one of our biggest and most passionate groups of fans at the cinemas.
Soumya Sriraman, EVP, Franchise and Digital Enterprises, BBC Worldwide North America, said:
Ahead of the premiere on BBC AMERICA, it is a rare treat to be able to bring the lost episode, Power of the Daleks, to life using modern animation techniques. Doctor Who cinema events have been incredibly successful, and this is extraordinary opportunity to allow a new generation of fans the opportunity to experience this classic adventure for the first time.

Tickets go on sale for the showings via Fathom Events and at participating cinemas from 14th October.

Diamond expands Doctor Who book availability in USABookmark and Share

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Diamond Comic DistributorsDiamond Comic Distributors and Penguin Random House have announced that they have arranged a new distribution deal to include the latter's entire range of Doctor Who books and novels for the American market.

Robert Waddington, International Sales Director for Penguin Random House UK, said:
Diamond Comic Distributors have proven themselves a strong partner on our young adult Doctor Who range, and we are delighted to now be selling our adult list through them as well. We feel very positive about our relationship moving forward, and 2017 will be a big year for Doctor Who with the series returning to television.

Tim Leneghan, Executive Director-Purchasing for Diamond Comic Distributors, said:
Doctor Who has always been an important brand license for Diamond and we’re happy expand our deal with Penguin Books UK to represent their entire line of Doctor Who books in the United States.

Doctor Who earns LIMA award for Hot TopicBookmark and Share

Sunday, 26 June 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Hot Topic: TARDIS Dress (Credit: Hot Topic)The latest International Licensing Awards have been held by the International Licensing Industry Merchandiser's Association, and American clothing/accessories store Hot Topic have won the Licensed Program: Retailer Award for their licensing programme for Doctor Who products, an award they previously won in 2014.

The company has produced a number of products within their license based on Doctor Who, including related coats and dresses, jogger bottoms, tee-shirts, and other apparel such as rings and necklaces. In late December they launched a new limited edition fashion collection of nine items which featured icons from the show, including the TARDIS, sonic screwdriver and Weeping Angels.

Moments in Time: Time Waits For No Man - Except OneBookmark and Share

Saturday, 14 May 2016 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The TV Movie (Credit: BBC)It was twenty years ago today that, after some six plus years off screen, a new, feature length episode of Doctor Who was to make its US premiere. It introduced us to a new Doctor in Paul McGann, a new Master in Eric Roberts, a new TARDIS interior, and a whole new look and feel that the regular series had never been able to achieve.

It was also a new experience for Doctor Who to receive a simultaneous nationwide broadcast through the FOX network, something it hadn't previously been able to achieve in the country over the course of its 20+ years availablity through some commercial and many PBS-affiliated channels. With such exposure and publicity what could possibly go wrong?

In hindsight, looking at the US television "battlefield" of the time, it is perhaps easy to see why the fresh-faced "backdoor" pilot never made it into a full series: its 'mere' 8.3 million viewers only ranked it a 9% share/70th position against strong opposition on rival channels, and was considered a failure by the powers that be.

However, back then it was a also time of optimism and celebration for Doctor Who fans, and in this special Moments In Time members of the Doctor Who News team past and present reflect their feelings on the build-up to the "FOX Original Movie" on Tuesday May 14th at 8:00pm ...

Shaun Lyon, the founder of the Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles (now in its 28th year) - and editor of what is now Doctor Who News back when it was part of Outpost Gallifrey (the website he ran between 1996 and 2009) - reminisces on a time two decades past:
How quickly time flies... doesn't seem possible that it's been 20 years since the TV Movie / The Enemy Within / the return to TV / call it what you will. For a 15 year period bookended only by the fantastic efforts of Virgin Publishing, BBC Books and Big Finish Productions, it was really the apex of a very long uphill battle, and although it didn't end up moving beyond one film, it certainly changed the course of Doctor Who forever.

The TV Movie was the first real effort - before Davies, before Moffat, before Eccleston and Tennant and Smith and Capaldi - to modernize and broaden Doctor Who's appeal to the wider audience on both sides of the Atlantic. To this day, it's claimed to have been a failure... abject nonsense, its ratings in both the UK and US were respectable. Definitely a product of its time, its journey shortened out of the gate by the vagaries of American TV politics and changing viewer attitudes. But it was the event that gave us Paul McGann and Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso and Philip Segal - people whose involvement with the Doctor Who franchise have continued to this day, part of the family as much as Tom Baker or Sylvester McCoy.

As thrilling as it was to be a fan at the time, and for our fan group here in LA to assist with the premiere at the Directors Guild of America (our convention's TARDIS was on display there, and it's the same TARDIS that was featured in the TV Guide Magazine article the week of the debut), I was honored to contribute in a very small way to the production; as noted in Segal and Gary Russell's excellent book Regeneration, I caught a minor goof ("a Time Lord has 12 lives" was changed to "13" at my suggestion, based on the fact that Peter Davison called himself the fourth regeneration in "The Five Doctors") during a pre-screening in Segal's office. Imagine how that felt to me to see it happen on the big screen during the DGA premiere. I'll cherish that moment forever.

And who would have thought it would continue to have an impact all these years later? You only need look at the ongoing popular Big Finish series with Paul McGann at the helm that run to this day... and of course, that amazing, out-of-the-blue Night of the Doctor special with McGann's long awaited regeneration scene into John Hurt (nobody could ever have seen that coming!) Still a bit of a controversy to this day over the whole 'half-human' thing, but definitely remaining popular just as long because of the charm McGann displayed in one 90 minute film..

If the transition from "classic" to "new" Doctor Who could be described as a migration from one continent to another, The TV Movie is the stepping stone on the journey... the Bering land-bridge of Doctor Who, leading a wandering series into its new horizons forever. We're so lucky it happened the way it did, and it'll still bear fruit for many years in the future.

Steven Warren Hill, who took over the legacy of Outpost Gallifrey's forum with Gallifrey Base in 2009, reflects:
My friend Dennis hosted a viewing at his place for all of us longtime Doctor Who fans. I remember setting at least two VCRs at home to record the movie, and bringing a third VCR with me so I could be in control of at least one of the recordings. There were probably about ten of us there, and we all went quiet as the movie started. I don't know about the others, but I had tears in my eyes after the intensity of the operating room scene. Sure, we'd seen the Doctor "die" before but this time it was scarily real and quite affecting. When I got home that night, I had to watch again from the start to the end of that scene before I could go to bed.

Recently I devoted a lot of time writing the portion of the forthcoming book Red White and Who: The Story of Doctor Who in America that talks about the movie. I believe we've gone into greater detail than ever before in analyzing why it failed to get decent ratings in the United States. It was interesting researching the topic, and dredging up memories of things like long-forgotten promotional spots (on both television and radio). In hindsight, its place in the grand scheme of everything Doctor Who couldn't be more perfect - many of us desperately wanted a new series to come out of it, but if that had happened, how long could it possibly last? It turns out that the one-off was exactly what we needed, even if we didn't think so at the time. If it had gone to series then, we might not have a series now.

Longtime fan and sometime Doctor Who News contributor Josiah Rowe remembers:
You have to remember that in those days Doctor Who was largely unknown in the US. If people had even heard of it, they knew it as "that weird British thing on PBS". But in spring of 1996, things were suddenly different. There was a story in the Washington Post! There was an article in TV Guide! (No cover, of course; that wouldn’t happen until 2012.) It’s nothing compared with the ubiquity of Doctor Who today, but at the time it seemed revolutionary.

I set my VCR to record from 8:00 to 10:00 PM on the local FOX station, and watched eagerly. I grinned at every continuity reference, from the Daleks (who did not sound as high-pitched on American broadcast as they did in the UK and on the eventual DVD release) to the Doctor’s toolbox (lovingly recreated from the 1983 Doctor Who Technical Manual). I looked askance at the half-human business, but had no problem with the kissing — unlike many fans at the time!

The TV movie is now seen as a false start for bringing Doctor Who back to TV, but for all its flaws it’s gorgeously shot and brought us the marvelously exuberant Eighth Doctor. And it showed that Doctor Who could be more than a quaint little shot-on-video series, beloved by a few but ignored by most.

Jarrod Cooper, organiser of the Hurricane Who conventions that take place in Orlando, Florida, recalls:
The Wilderness Years were a sad and lonely time for a Doctor Who fan in a small town in South Alabama. The local comic shop only received one copy of Doctor Who Magazine and the local used book shop had to special order the Virgin New Adventures and Target books, for why would they actually stock those? But that was it. The local PBS affiliate had ceased airing the show shortly after the end of the Classic Series' run. It was a dark time indeed. But then, there were rumblings in DWM that there was a movie coming. Possibly a series.

I still remember the moment that the TV Movie excitement hit me full force. It was the moment that I saw the first insert in TV Guide for the movie. It was simple, no more than a quarter of a page basically teasing that there would be more information in the following issue. But it was there, in the main TV listings magazine. I don't know why, but for some reason seeing that in print in TV Guide made it real. Doctor Who was returning.

On that May night, I sat with my VCR ready and an open mind. The pre-credits rolled and there was everything that I had been missing. The TARDIS. A new Doctor. The Master. The Sonic Screwdriver. Who cared if I was missing Roseanne?? So what if the Master can now be held at bay by a fire extinguisher and the Eye of Harmony is now a weird room in the TARDIS? For two hours I sat transfixed.

Little did we know what seeds were being planted that night. I was blissfully unaware of the years of novel and audio adventures that were in store for me alongside this Doctor. All I knew was for that one night, we had a light in the dark. Our show was back, and it was about time.

Benjamin Francis Elliott, the previous 'incarnation' of This Week in Doctor Who, explains his own regenerative experience:
I knew the movie was coming because I'd seen a copy of DWM (and I never came across DWM back then). Plus, it was in the TV Guide. I was looking forward to it. My family was (they all liked Tom Baker and Peter Davison). Then - May 14 - catastrophe ...

My parents found a college scholarship that I'd be a shoo-in for - due May 15th, and insisted I fill it out before I could see the movie. Did I mention the form required you to type it up on a typewriter? So, the movie begins, and the whole family (except me) is watching live. I finished the form and got to join in - right after the regeneration. Odd way to start the film. we got it on VHS, so I saw the McCoy section the next day. It was the last Doctor Who (and maybe the last piece of TV) I saw before going onto the internet for the first time. The last time before I encountered fandom. The Internet has strengths and weaknesses. I certainly didn't get spoiled on plot points without it.

TV Guide: 11th May 1996 (Credit: TV Guide, with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock)
TV Guide: 11th May 1996 (Credit: TV Guide, with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock)
TV Guide article on the TV Movie. 11th May 1996.
Reproduced with thanks to the Gallifreyan Embassy/Doctor Who: Podshock
Extract from the Washington Post, 14th May 1996:

He has two hearts and 13 lives, he flits around the galaxy in a flying phone booth and he's half-human on his mother's side. Who is he? Exactly. He is Who -- Doctor Who, hero of a BBC fantasy series that first materialized in 1963, ran for 20 years and was imported by many public TV stations here.

Doctor Who is a man whose time has come and keeps coming; now the Fox network is trying to revive him for a new series, starting with a two-hour movie pilot, "Doctor Who," tonight at 8 on Channel 5. As opposed to the old BBC show, a basically tacky-looking thing shot in a TV studio, the new movie, filmed mostly in British Columbia, is splashy and spectacular, with a certain Jules Verney quality to it.

It's certainly got more wit and zip than most of the things that go thunk in the night on Fox.


The plot may sound ridiculously complicated, but it all pretty much boils down to the perpetual war between good and evil. Matthew Jacobs's script has lots of bright, fetching touches, and director Geoffrey Sax keeps things whirling so speedily that disbelief is easily suspended. Some of the special effects and editing tricks are true dazzlers.

Daffy though it be, "Doctor Who" dabbles in matters of time, space and mortality in ways that aren't completely superficial. The Doctor's goal, he says, is "to hold back death," and if Who doesn't do it, who will?

What is often forgotten in the mists of time, however, is that the television movie was produced in Vancouver, Canada, and even had its world premiere broadcast by CITV on Sunday 12th May. Mike Doran, a Canadian fan with a keen interest in the history of Doctor Who in the country, relates:
The return of Doctor Who in 1996 was so different than in 2003-05. Paul McGann was already on location in Vancouver before his casting and the production was officially announced. A co-produced American series/movie had been in development for years but it was finally happening and it was being made in Canada. What's more we'd only have to wait for four months until it aired. Even then here were location reports and pictures being posted on-line as production took place. I later found out that the house of a friend in Kits Beach was scouted to be the home of Dr. Grace Holloway. Right around the corner from Hadden Park where the Doctor and Grace would kiss.

TVM tapes - 20 years on! (Credit: Mike Doran)
TVM tapes - 20 years on!
By April there were promos running on Fox affiliate from Buffalo, New York. Lots of promos! I found myself watching and taping more Fox shows that I could have ever imagined just to get glimpses of what was to come. Toronto was not going to be lucky enough to get an early airing like Edmonton did on May 12th but word came down that a TV station in Hamilton, Ontario was going to simulcast the movie on May 14th. The day before broadcast I scoured a newsstand that specialized in out of town newspapers looking for any coverage and TV listings magazines with Doctor Who on the cover.

When the day came a group of us gathered at the house of a friend to watch the movie together. The funny part was that the host wasn't even a Doctor Who fan and he didn't live somewhere convenient to get to, he just had the biggest and nicest TV of anybody we knew. I brought a VCR with me so I could meticulously edit out the ads as we watched. At home a second VCR rolled for a back-up copy with ads intact. When it was over the consensus in the room was that McGann was great, the movie itself average. We wanted to see more but as the months passed it was clear that we wouldn't. By the time 2003 rolled around I'd come around to being happy about that.

Just under a fortnight later, Doctor Who was to make a return to its ancestral home - but how would fans there find the fresh interpretation of a very British legacy ...

Coming Soon: He's Back, And It's About Time