Quick DVD Review – ‘The Doctors: The Paul McGann Years’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Here we are on the last set of ‘Myth Makers’ interviews compilation DVDs that I had for Christmas 2020. This time, it’s ‘The Doctors: The Paul McGann Years’! It’s unusual as Paul McGann had a short TV tenure playing the Eighth Doctor with doing ‘The TV Movie’ in 1996. But of course, a lot has happened since then as Paul has done plenty of Big Finish audios and did ‘The Night of the Doctor’. 🙂

‘The Paul McGann Years’ DVD has six features as well as an introduction at the start, covering the making of ‘The TV Movie’ from various contributors’ points of view. There are ‘Myth Makers’ interviews with Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso and Eric Roberts and two crewmembers who made the film possible including producer Philip Segal and director Geoffrey Sax.

I’m saddened that the Big Finish actors that played Eighth Doctor companions like India Fisher who played Charley, Conrad Westmaas who played C’rizz and Sheridan Smith as Lucie didn’t get interviewed. But I imagine the focus is more on ‘The TV Movie’ than on the Big Finish audios made afterwards. At least the Big Finish do get referenced a lot in some of the ‘Myth Makers’ interviews. 🙂

The introduction is given by producer/director Keith Barnfather and Nicholas Briggs, who is the voice of the Daleks as well as a writer/producer/director of many Big Finish productions. I enjoyed how Keith and Nick introduced each of the six interviews and what memories they have of Paul, Daphne, Yee Jee, Eric, Philip and Geoffrey, whether it’d be at conventions or at special events over the years.

On Disc 1 of the 2-disc DVD set, we begin with Paul McGann and his ‘Myth Makers’ interview. Paul was interviewed by Sophie Aldred (Ace in ‘Doctor Who’) at the ‘Island Con’ event on the Isle of Wright in 2018. I enjoyed the interaction between Paul and Sophie since they seemed to get on well with each other. I enjoyed how Paul talked about his early acting career before he did ‘Doctor Who’.

This includes him talking about his TV/film work in ‘The Monocled Mutineer’ and ‘Whitnail and I’ as well as working with his brothers Mark, Joe and Stephen in ‘The Hanging Gale’. I like how he shares his memories of doing the ‘Doctor Who’ film in America as well as sharing what he’s enjoyed from doing the Big Finish audio dramas and playing the Eighth Doctor in ‘The Night of the Doctor’ in 2013.

Incidentally, I have met Paul McGann at a number of conventions over the years. It’s the same thing with Daphne Ashbrook, who’s next in the line-up of ‘Myth Makers’ interviews on this compilation DVD! I enjoyed Daphne’s interview, which was conducted by Keith Barnfather, although the linking questions were recorded by Nicholas Briggs after Daphne’s interview was recorded at a convention.

The convention was ‘The Capitol’ event at the Arora Hotel in May 2016. I saw Daphne at the second ‘Capitol’ convention in May 2017. 😀 In Daphne’s ‘Myth Makers’, as well as her being interviewed, there are also clips of Daphne and Yee Jee Tso on a convention panel at the event. I enjoyed Daphne sharing her acting career as well as playing Grace in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Melora’ in ‘Star Trek: DS9’. 😀

There’s then a ‘Myth Makers’ interview with Yee Jee Tso who played Chang Lee in ‘The TV Movie’. This ‘Myth Makers’ interview was recorded on a cruise ship in 2001 – the 2001 ‘Sci-Fi Sea Cruise’ in fact! I enjoyed Yee Jee’s interview as he shares about what his early life was like and how he got cast to play Chang Lee in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV movie. It was fascinating how Yee Jee got cast in the role. 🙂

This is especially with him turning up late for the audition process. I enjoyed how Yee Jee talked about his memories of making the movie and what memories he has of Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook, Eric Roberts, Philip Segal, Geoffrey Sax, etc. It’s interesting to note that Daphne and Yee Jee have returned to doing ‘Doctor Who’ in the Big Finish audios, but playing different characters. 😀

On Disc 2 of ‘The Paul McGann Years’ DVD, we have a ‘Myth Makers’ interview with Eric Roberts, who played the Master in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV movie. The interview was conducted by his wife Eliza Roberts, who played the Master/Bruce’s wife in the TV movie itself. Eliza interviews Eric at their home in the USA, with director/producer Keith Barnfather flying over to film the interview with Eric.

I enjoyed Eric share his memories of playing the Master in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV movie and Eliza has some memories to share of being in the movie too. Eric’s reprisal of the Master in the Big Finish audios gets talked about and I like how his other varied film work gets talked about, including appearing in ‘The Dark Knight’. A shame ‘The Cable Guy’ with Jim Carrey didn’t get mentioned here.

After that, we have a ‘Myth Makers’ interview with the executive producer of the TV movie – Philip Segal. This interview was conducted in two parts. It was filmed at one of the ‘Gallifrey’ conventions in LA in 2003 (I believe). Nick Briggs interviews Philip in front of a live audience before members of the audience ask questions too. There is another interview with Philip after the convention panel. 😀

Philip shares the journey he had in trying to get ‘Doctor Who’ made in America for seven years, which has also been covered in ‘The Seven Year Hitch’ documentary on the ‘Doctor Who’ TV movie Special Edition DVD. I also enjoyed Philip sharing his career in other things outside of ‘Doctor Who’, including the success he had with the show ‘seaQuest DSV’ and him working on the ‘Andromeda’ series.

The final feature of ‘The Paul McGann Years’ DVD is a ‘Myth Makers’ interview with the director Geoffrey Sax. This interview was conducted by Robert Dick at the Olympia Theatre in London. I enjoyed Geoffrey’s interview and it was fascinating to get his insight on how he found the process of directing ‘The TV Movie’ as well as talk about what other TV/film works he did before and afterwards.

His early life was quite fascinating in terms of how he got into filmmaking, including lying about being somebody’s uncle. 😀 His later work gets talked about including directing ‘Christopher and His Kind’ with Matt Smith. I’m very disappointed that the Alex Rider film ‘Stormbreaker’ wasn’t mentioned as he directed that. I’d like it if he returned to direct a new series ‘Doctor Who’ episode someday. 🙂

It was great to watch ‘The Doctors: The Paul McGann Years’ DVD. I’m saddened that I’ve come to the end of my viewing experiences of these ‘Myth Makers’ DVD compilations, but hopefully I’ll revisit them again soon and there’s bound to be more ‘Myth Makers’ interviews to check out. The Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Paul McGann DVD compilation have been great to watch. 🙂

I’m currently looking forward to checking out the Target novelization/audiobook of ‘The TV Movie’ by Gary Russell someday! Stay tuned for more ‘Myth Makers’ interview reviews in the near future.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂


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