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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 43 – Special Effects > The Next Generation

The Next Generation

In 1996 production of Doctor Who briefly shifted to Vancouver for a TV movie that held the promise of a lavish new era. The visual effects supervised by Eric Alba were like nothing the programme had ever seen before.

In the mid-1990s it seemed Doctor Who’s television future lay firmly in North America. Some fans and critics were concerned about whether the narrative of any new series would respect what had gone before, about who might be cast as the Doctor, and about whether the result would feel like the programme they’d known and loved for so many years.

The TV Movie’s visual effects supervisor Eric Alba.

However, it’s fair to say that one area which nobody was particularly worried about was visual effects. With pioneering work being done across a range of high-profile series, American television had come to lead the way in what could be achieved in science-fiction on the small screen. And when the Doctor Who TV Movie began production in January 1996, there was no shortage of experience in its visual effects department.

A key member of that department was Eric Alba, who began his career on Star Trek in the early 1990s. “I got an internship on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, working on post-production and visual effects,” he remembers. “Then I got hired to work in the visual effects department. They called us ‘associates’ but we were essentially production assistants. I worked on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine for two seasons, as well as the Star Trek: Generations movie and the first season of Voyager.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Special effects can transport audiences to alien planets, render familiar surroundings unrecognisable and bring terrifying monsters to life. Doctor Who has been at the forefront of such television trickery for more than 50 years. This richly illustrated publication celebrates the series’ greatest effects and meets the people who created them. From the trailblazers of the 1960s to the digital artists of today, here is the story of Doctor Who’s journeys into the impossible.
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