Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Dr. Who's calling in a new film

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The what, when, where, why and even the who of Doctor Who are elementary, dear Watsons, to fanatic followers of the British sci-fi series.

Most of us haven't a clue, however. The Who, sure. But Doctor Who lives on the outer periphery of cultdom, at least on these shores. Quick, what's a TARDIS?

The Who-less, clueless among us can enroll in a crash course Tuesday night during the world premiere of a new Doctor Who movie. Fast-paced and filled with spiffy special effects, it's the usual paranormal behavior for Fox, home of The X-Files, Sliders, those wacky extraterrestrial specials and Melrose Place.

Of particular interest is the debut of a new Doctor Who in the person of appealing Paul McGann. Looking like a cross between Gene Wilder and Alan Rickman, he's the eighth actor to play Who since the series began airing on the BBC in November 1963. Only the hardest-core Whophiles will know that the others were William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Otherwise known as Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, Dopey and, of course, Doc.

Mr. McCoy is still Doctor Who in the opening scenes of this 695th - count 'em - episode. His sinister nemesis, The Master, has exhausted all of his 13 lives and is reduced to an urn-full of slimy gook. The Doctor is supposed to escort his remains to a "site of eternal imprisonment." But The Master escapes and morphs into even slimier gook - actor Eric Roberts - when the Doctor's TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) crash-lands in San Francisco on New Year's Eve 1999.

Who, meanwhile, has walked into the midst of a gangland encounter. Shot twice, he's rushed to a Bay City emergency room, where Dr. Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook) is stunned to find he has two hearts. Alas, they aren't enough to save him. But in the morgue, the Doctor is reborn (as Mr. McGann) while a beefy orderly watches Frankenstein - "It's alive! It's alive!" - on TV.

Dazed and confused, Who re-dons his Edwardian suit and convinces Dr. Holloway that the Earth is about to be sucked through the Eye of Harmony, power source of the TARDIS. The Eye of Harmony also has the power to give The Master a new batch of lives if he looks at it long enough. So he doesn't give a flip whether the Earth is sacrificed in the bargain.

OK, all of this is a stretch. But never mind, because Doctor Who also includes a nifty motorcycle-ambulance chase, enough visual stimulation to keep even Stanley Kubrick entertained and Eric Roberts going way over the top again in a role where he's allowed.

Mr. Roberts, equipped with green, glowing eyes and mouthfuls of nasty ooze, is an inveterate archenemy of subtlety. Instead he arches his eyebrows and throws himself into any and all parts with the zeal of a Dracula spending the night in a blood bank.

In Fox press materials, Mr. Roberts equates The Master with "playing the bad guy when you're 8 years old. You have the biggest gun."

In Mr. Roberts' hands, it's an automatic weapon with an inexhaustible ammo clip. Share a screen with him and you're barely a rubber-tipped dart gun.

The Doctor Who purists among us might consider some of this an affront to the "integrity" of the series. Who knows? But those who don't care a whit will be treated to an entertaining two hours of sci-fi fo fun. (Note: In December, Channel 13 stopped carrying Doctor Who episodes late Saturday nights.)

Caption: PHOTO(S): 1. (Fox Broadcasting Co.: Joe Lederer) Paul McGann stars as Dr. Who, a time traveler who winds up in San Francisco on New Year's Eve 1999. Dressed just right, too.2. (Fox Broadcasting Co.) The Doctor (Paul McGann, center) and his companion, Dr. Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook), must battle The Master (Eric Roberts), who will do anything to further his nefarious schemes except underact

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Bark, Ed (1996-05-14). Dr. Who's calling in a new film. The Dallas Morning News p. 1C.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Bark, Ed. "Dr. Who's calling in a new film." The Dallas Morning News [add city] 1996-05-14, 1C. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Bark, Ed. "Dr. Who's calling in a new film." The Dallas Morning News, edition, sec., 1996-05-14
  • Turabian: Bark, Ed. "Dr. Who's calling in a new film." The Dallas Morning News, 1996-05-14, section, 1C edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr. Who's calling in a new film | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr._Who%27s_calling_in_a_new_film | work=The Dallas Morning News | pages=1C | date=1996-05-14 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 December 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr. Who's calling in a new film | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr._Who%27s_calling_in_a_new_film | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 December 2019}}</ref>