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Doctor Who reaches its original end as BBC America ‘Remembrance’ continues

Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor in Doctor Who

Everything ends, even Doctor Who. Though the long-running British sci-fi series is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary with as large a global following as ever, there was a time when it was consigned to the dustbin of television history. That time was 1989, and a most eccentric wizard held the keys to the TARDIS then.

Sylvester McCoy — currently feauring in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit film trilogy as Radagast the Brown Wizard — joins his Doctor Who costars Bonnie Langford and Sophie Aldred as well as current series producer Steven Moffat to discuss that fateful era on BBC America’s next installment of The Doctors Revisited, scheduled for July 27. This month’s retrospective will include a full screening of “Remembrance of the Daleks,” the premiere of the program’s 25th season. (Watch a clip here.) The episode itself is an homage to Doctor Who’s history, involving the Time Lord’s oldest foes as well as references to his original incarnation and a healthy dose of Gallifreyan mythology and, perhaps, misinformation. McCoy and his writers had sought to return an air of mystery and menace to the iconic character, and “Remembrance” was a key moment in the never-completed “masterplan” of script editor Andrew Cartmel.

As in Moffat’s current series, the idea was to show there was far more to the Doctor than had been revealed in 25 years of on-screen adventures. “Remembrance of the Daleks,” similarly, presents his terrifying enemies in a new light, as opposing forces of Daleks descend upon Earth looking for a much-needed advantage to break the stalemate in their endless quest to exterminate impurity. But they haven’t reckoned on Ace and her amazing baseball bat!

The Seventh Doctor is the one I think of most as my Doctor, because he was the one on television when the series first caught my attention as a kid. Looking at his run in the context of the series as a whole, it’s the time with some of the most carefully plotted character development of any Doctor Who companion — Ace — and though her story arc never came to fruition on screen, it inspired a vast line of “New Adventures” novels and audio adventures that continue even now, when the series is going strong on TV again.

So, do you think BBC America will show the Eighth Doctor’s television movie in August? Place your bets now!


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