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”Can’t you give him a sedative?” The Time Team dreamt they could hold back death – long enough to watch the Eighth Doctor’s entire TV run.

Tge Eighth Doctor

This issue’s Time Team: Beth Axford, Dan James Frank, Gerard Groves, Jacob Dudman, Kezia Newson, Luke Cutforth and Zainab Sheri

The Time Team with honorary member Baxter the dog! From left to right – Dan, Kezia, Luke, Jake, Gerard, Zainab and Beth.
Photographs by SAIMA KHALID

In June 1999, when original Time Teamers Clayton, Jac, Peter and Richard embarked on their mission to watch all (up to then) 696 instalments of some television show or other, Doctor Who’s most recent TV episode was an 85minute movie, broadcast on BBC1 in May 1996 and starring Liverpoolborn Paul McGann. This was a multimillion dollar coproduction between the BBC, Fox and Universal Television, intended as a backdoor pilot for a new, Americanproduced Doctor Who TV series. Of course, that didn’t quite go to plan. Most of today’s Time Team weren’t born when the 1996 TV movie aired.

“But about midway through the 2005 series, I had a sleepover with my friends,” says Gerard. “We erected a tent in the living room and we watched the McGann movie, The Five Doctors [1983] and Resurrection of the Daleks [1984] – a Doctor Who marathon. It was wild! And we all loved that movie. We fell in love with Paul McGann. As you do.” In 1996, McGann’s portrayal of the Eighth Doctor received widespread acclaim. The movie itself? Not so much, then or since. Few Doctor Who stories have polarised fan opinion to quite such an extent.

So what will today’s Time Team make of it? Gerard is joined in the Team’s regular northwest London haunt by Luke and Zainab, who’ve never seen the TV movie before, and Beth, Dan, Jake and Kezia, who have, once or twice. Also present: Baxter, a bearded collie from the flat downstairs. Baxter doesn’t say much, but he likes to sit on the sofa and cuddle (it was a request we should never have granted), so let’s assume he likes mid90s telly. We hit play…

A deadly street gang on the streets of San Francisco.


Following the Master’s trial and execution on the planet Skaro, the Seventh Doctor (JAKE: “He looks more like Radagast the Brown”) is transporting his frenemy’s gooey remains back to Gallifrey. En route, the casket breaks open and the Master’s remnants make a run for it. Well, we say run…

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About Doctor Who Magazine

DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE 537 REVEALS THE REMAKE OF MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN! This issue also includes: • What does it takes to become a Stenza warrior? Actor Samuel Oatley explains. • An interview with the man behind the new version of Mission to the Unknown. • Colin Baker and the cast of The Ultimate Adventure look back on the Doctor Who stage play. • Backstage with Colin Baker at Leeds' Grand Theatre in 1989. • War World – an in-depth look at the script originally intended for the 1989 stage production. • Cyber Leader David Banks dips into the TARDIS tin. • Tributes to the king of Doctor Who extras Pat Gorman and visual effects designer Richard Gregory. • Former script editor Andrew Cartmel remembers Happiness Patrol writer Graeme Curry. • A preview of this year’s Record Store Day releases. • Part Three of Herald of Madness, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends. • How to dress like the First Doctor – along with his friends and foes. • Does the 1996 TV movie impress the Time Team? • The Blogs of Doom, audio reviews, previews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!