10 Things You Might Not Know About DOCTOR WHO: THE TV MOVIE - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About DOCTOR WHO: THE TV MOVIE

Geek Dave is half human. On his mother's side.

1. Producer Philip Segal had been trying for some years to launch a new American-produced series of Doctor Who, but no network would stump up the money needed or undertake the commitment for an entire series. Eventually Segal approached Fox, who agreed to commit to a single telemovie to be co-funded with the BBC and Universal Television. Although this wasn't what Segal had hoped for, as he had extensive notes plotting out most of the first season, it seemed to be his only option, and so the deal was in place with Fox funding half of the $5 million budget, BBC Worldwide and Universal Television providing $2.2 million between them, and the BBC funding just $300,000 towards production costs. At no point in time was there any agreement that if the movie was a ratings success a series would follow, this was just something Segal hoped for but knew was an incredibly long shot.

2. When the script was completed it included a much briefer previous Doctor segment at the beginning, and the BBC suggested that Tom Baker be approached to play the Doctor in this hand-over portion, as his version of the Doctor was the one most familiar to American audiences. Segal insisted on Sylvester McCoy, partly because he felt the Seventh Doctor deserved a proper send-off, and partly because he wanted to remain true to the show's continuity and not write-off Doctor's Five onwards. The then BBC One Controller Alan Yentob and executive producer Jo Wright were very resistant to the idea of including McCoy, as they both associated him with the decline in popularity and eventual cancellation of the original series. Wright eventually signed off on McCoy's casting as long as he was "in it for a very short time and didn't say anything".

3. The previous Doctor segment was to be brief, too brief for McCoy who decided it really wasn't worth traveling all the way to Vancouver to record a pre-titles regeneration, not too different from the one he'd donned a wig for when taking over from Colin Baker. Segal had the part re-written, placing the regeneration about 10 minutes into the story, and then just before the production was set to go before the camera McCoy's part was expanded again, giving him that proper send-off he really did deserve.

4. When it came to casting the Eighth Doctor amongst the original short list of names the producers approached were Michael Crawford, Trevor Eve, Robert Lindsay, Tim Curry and Jonathan Pryce, all of whom were either unavailable or not interested in taking the part. A flurry of comic actors were also considered for the role, including Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Billy Connolly, Tony Slattery, Rik Mayall, Jon Sessions and Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson was the only one of this bunch who actually screen tested for the part, he would go on to play the unofficial Ninth Doctor in The Curse Of Fatal Death opposite Jonathan Pryce as the Master.

The actual Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, was invited to audition for the role but declined, later revealing that he did not want to be associated with a "brand name" so early in his career. Another future Doctor who also declined the audition was Peter Capaldi. He spoke about his decision at the launch event for the Doctor Who series 8 DVD release:
"I knew I wouldn’t get it. I loved the show so much that I didn’t want to have anything to do with it unless it was going to be me. I didn’t want to have the disappointment and go through all the palaver of jumping through hoops for something that I would never get. Because I knew it was an American pilot, and I knew they would go for somebody who was well-known - which Paul was, and he was fantastic. So I didn’t go along for the audition. I said to my agent 'Thank you very much, but I don’t want to go along'."
Along with Rowan Atkinson, Anthony Head and Tim McInnerny auditioned for the role of the Eighth Doctor. Head, best known as Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, would appear 10 years later in the Tenth Doctor episode School Reunion, and McInnerny two years after that in The Planet Of The Ood. Other actors who screen-tested include Nathaniel Parker, Peter Woodhead and, long before his big brother auditioned, Mark McGann.

5. Philip Segal eventually found his Doctor, but not the one you were expecting...

Liam Cunningham (above) was Segal's choice, you may know him from Game Of Thrones and he also appeared in the Eleventh Doctor story Cold War. Cunningham had the backing of the BBC too (who had it written into the production agreement that both they and FOX would have to agree upon the choice of lead actor), and had already looked into relocating his family to British Columbia for the duration of the shoot, but FOX had other ideas. They did not like Cunningham, feeling that he had no star power and insisted that Segal go back and screen test some new candidates.

6. Having looked at, what must have felt like, half of the British actors alive by this point in time, Segal reluctantly entered into a new round of auditions. This was when Paul McGann came to the producers attention, but once again FOX did not agree with the Segal's choice, for the same lack of star power reasoning. The network suggested he cast Harry Van Gorkum in the role (who Segal pointed out had less 'star power' than McGann). The producer came up with a solution, he suggested that they cast someone with the star power that FOX wanted in the role of the Master instead. FOX agreed, and at the top of the list of potential candidates was Christopher Lloyd. He proved to be too costly for the production, but after Eric Roberts was offered and accepted the part of the Master, FOX were content to have an Oscar-nominated movie star on-board, and so they approved the casting of Paul McGann.

7. The TARDIS set alone cost a fifth of the budget, with a total of $1 million spent on it. Clearly there was hope that it could be reused if an ongoing series became a reality, and although it never was Russell T Davies did state that the design helped inspire the look of the Ninth Doctor's TARDIS control room - one of the very few things he championed from the TV Movie.

8. Bruce the ambulance driver is seen waking up next to his wife Miranda, after being possessed by The Master. Miranda, who is then promptly killed by The Master, was actually played by Eric Roberts (Bruce/The Master) real life wife, Eliza Roberts.

9. Sylvester McCoy revealed that during the sequence where he locks the casket with his sonic screwdriver, he held the tool pointing the wrong way around! The sonic screwdriver was blurred in post-production to conceal the error, but this did mark the only time the Seventh Doctor was seen using a sonic screwdriver (which could explain the error) as it was destroyed in part three of the Fifth Doctor story The Visitation.

10. The TV Movie (also known as The Enemy Within) debuted on the Edmonton, Alberta CITV-TV station on 12th May 1996, two days prior to its Fox broadcast, making it only the second Doctor Who adventure to premiere outside of the UK (The Five Doctors being the first). The US ratings were not great, a total of 5.6 million viewers, equating to a 9% share of the audience. However, when shown in the UK on BBC One on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May 1996 at 8.30pm (thirteen days after its American broadcast), it received over 9 million viewers, making it the highest rated drama on British TV that week.

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