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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 44 - On Location > DOCTOR WHO


Director: Geoffrey Sax Executive producers: Philip David Segal, Alex Beaton, Jo Wright Broadcast: 27 May 1996 (UK)

The 1996 TV Movie wasn’t just Doctor Who’s first visit to the new world – it was a move into a whole new world of making television.

Many fans had grown up knowing about the technical aspects of TV production – and in particular the difference between film and videotape, and how to tell a genuine exterior from a mocked-up interior – precisely because of their interest in Doctor Who. This was just the way so much television was made prior to the 1990s. Even in programmes shot entirely on one format or the other, the move between studio and location wasn’t always seamless.

A lot had changed, however, since Doctor Who was last seen in 1989. American TV had led the way in perfecting a smoother blend of location footage and studio work, and both the BBC and independent television were eagerly following. Geoffrey Sax, the director assigned to Paul McGann’s début as the Doctor, had a solid background in UK-made shows that had anticipated this trend, including numerous episodes of the location-heavy detective series Bergerac and the Cold War comedy-drama serial Sleepers. He’d also directed the first two series of The New Statesman, a videotaped Rik Mayall sitcom that made heavy use of a purpose-built replica of the House of Commons.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

In its early days, Doctor Who was recorded on cumbersome cameras tethered to claustrophobic and often inadequate studios. The show rarely escaped these confines in the 1960s, but as technology improved, producers and directors became more adventurous. Location shooting has helped to create some of the most memorable episodes in the series’ long history. In this unique publication, new features, exclusive interviews and rare images tell the story of those episodes and the people who made them happen.