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Doctor Who - The Movie is a curious part of Doctor Who history. Intended to launch a new TV series produced by the BBC, Fox and Universal, instead due to poor viewing figures in America it has become something of a missing link between the classic and new series. So what was at fault?
Well, it feels like it was a mistake to include Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor at the beginning of the movie. This would no doubt have been confusing for new viewers who didn't previously follow the series; the TV movie did, after all, air seven years after the last episode of the classic series. The mistake was later corrected when Russell T Davies brought the show back in 2005, when he opted to start without a regeneration.
It's a shame that executive producer Paul Segal made the decision to include Sylvester McCoy although it's understandable. He is a Whovian after all, so the temptation to include a regeneration sequence was likely too much to resist. Overall, he did make a great movie though with an engaging plot and great actors.
The plot of the Master trying to steal the Doctor's remaining regenerations and nearly causing the end of the world by opening the Eye of Harmony is a good one that feels largely in character for the Master. Paul McGann and Daphne Ashbrook are fantastic as the Doctor and Grace Holloway too; so believable in their roles that many wish to see them reunited in the form of a Big Finish audio. I don't even mind the idea that the Doctor is half human on his mother's side; it makes sense given his fascination with Earth. My only real complaint besides what probably didn't work for new viewers is at times the Master appears more Count Dracula than the Master himself; this is largely down to Eric Roberts' performance, who seems too theatrical and hams it up a little.
Overall, the Doctor Who TV Movie is a great film that should have been successful but is let down by a couple of poor decisions like bringing Sylvester McCoy back as the 7th Doctor for a regeneration scene and Eric Roberts playing the Master too much like Dracula.