As much as many fans of 'Doctor Who' hate the FOX TV movie from the mid-1990s, they've generally accepted it with all its faults as being part of the Canon. After all, you can't refer to David Tennant's tenure as the Tenth Doctor without including the Eighth, as played by Paul McGann.
And there was the fact that the last actor to play the Doctor in the long-running series, Sylvester McCoy, was seen in the opening ten minutes of the movie as the Seventh Doctor before he was gunned down and forced to regenerate into the new incarnation.
It's just that business about his mother being human that bothered a lot of fans......
However, it looks like Paul McGann's portrayal is now officially part of the Canon - thanks to a sketch resembling him that shows up in the latest episode of the revived series, "Human Nature".
This could be the first baby step toward bringing back Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor - not in the series itself, but in a TV movie (which could lead to a franchise of side projects).
Empire Online is reporting that BBC and director Geoffrey Sax want to continue the story of McGann's Eighth Doctor in a way to separate it from the popular television franchise.
Here's the report from Empire Online:
"Because of the demand for Eighth Doctor stories on film, due to the popular Big Finish audios and BBC7 Radio audios made specifically for those productions, a film is finally in negotiations. There are still many things to finalize, such as if Paul McGann is interested in portraying The Doctor on film again. The Tardis interior from the 1996 TV movie [was] auctioned off back in 1999, but they plan on recreating the same interior from the TV movie, which is a popular design."
According to the article, the movie would avoid already established 'Doctor Who' villains like the much-overused Daleks, the Cybermen (Mondasian or Lumical), and the already utilized Master (who was played by Eric Roberts in the FOX version). Instead, a new alien species would be introduced, and instead of traveling to the United States, the TARDIS would be on Earth for just a few minutes before heading to three different alien worlds.
So far this is just rumor, something which the series can generate quite easily. Just last weekend, The Sun, allegedly a cat-pan liner which purports to be a newspaper in the UK, claimed that Freema Agyeman was going to be axed from the series because her work has been sub-standard. Of course, The Sun's timing sucked, as she's been garnering fantastic reviews for her work in "Human Nature".
The script for a TV movie about the Eighth Doctor has been updated several times since 1999. If it turns out to be successful, it could lead to a franchise of movies that would finally give McGann's portrayal the tenure it is due. And with the 45th anniversary of the series coming up, perhaps a pairing of the Eighth Doctor with the Tenth might be in order to mark the occasion.