Classic Series

Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor audition

Paul McGann’s audution for the role of the 8th Doctor, prior to the TV movie

Never seen this before – and never actually knew it was publicly available. This seems a little unfair to McGann, but hey ho.

There are a few things of interest here: McGann’s reading is very still, very focussed – but there’s an odd distance to him too. It’s very alien, very Doctorish and rather more unsettling than his rather more excitable portrayal in the utterly appalling TV movie.

There’s a flash of the excitable Eighth Doctor when McGann is told to be more excitable – and it;s recognisable from his sole TV portrayal and Big Finish efforts, which I’ve never really warmed to.

What’s also noticeable is the script he’s reading, a lot of which will be familiar to anyone who’s had the misfortune to come across the Leekey Bible – Philip Segal’s manual for the Universal/BBC that, thankfully, never was.

To borrow an epithet from Tom Baker, Id call it undiluted whippet shit. It’s hard to listen to and McGann does well not to start laughing out loud at how terrible the whole thing is.

The Master is the Doctor’s brother; the Doctor is half-human, borne of an earth woman and a Gallifreyan adventurer called Ulysses. It’s a car crash of a dozen hackneyed sources with a few Doctor Who references thrown in for good measure.

That McGann got through the audition is one thing; that he still wanted the part is scarcely believable.