I spent this morning watching a few of the DVD extras for the McGann movie. This ended up being more interesting than today’s main feature, so we’ll get to that in a minute. The long, drawn-out story of how it came to be was fascinating, as was Philip Segal, who seems quite an extraordinary chap. The political backdrop tells the tale of how the BBC – and therefore British television in general – was in the process of changing from the ideal that I’d imagined growing up, into the more difficult reality I discovered when I entered the industry years later.
There was also a great documentary about all the comics, novels, fan productions and audios that helped fill the gap between 1989 and 2005. This is what I needed in order to get into the mindset of how fans must have felt at the time. Knowing that it had a happy ending, I kind of wish I’d been around as a fan during the wilderness years. I’d love to have been there at the start of the New Adventures and Big Finish, so that I could experience them in the same way I have the TV version. There is simply too much to catch up on now, and Big Finish seem to release audios faster than I’d be able to listen to them.
So with this glimpse of the dark days fresh in my mind, I sat down to watch something that barely fits the criteria I’ve set for this project, but I saw it listed as a DVD extra when I watched Survival last week and wanted to watch it, so I decided to bung it in. The impact of Rose will be so much better if I make myself wait for it. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Destiny of the Doctors; ideally, I’d experience the story by playing the game, but the video segments would have to do.
Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t great on a dramatic level, not least because it took me until at least Pertwee before I realised that what I was seeing was each level’s intro video followed by its good ending and then its bad ending. Consequently, it was a bewildering experience to see good old Anthony Ainley Mastering it up in a giant orange mess of 90s CGI, then building a house of cards, then turning up as a cockney train ticket seller, then flailing about on the tube, then piloting a Dalek spaceship…
It’s a testament to Ainley’s presence that he managed to keep my interest throughout, and I ended up with the impression that it was an ambitious-looking game, which must have had a lot of care put into it. But it’s so hard to pass judgement on that I’m kind of regretting including it now – the point of this project is to trace the unfolding story of Doctor Who, and I thought that this might have been substantial enough to feel like it’s part of it. It isn’t, or at least not when it’s reduced to a series of short monologues. Therefore, somewhat arbitrarily, a neutral: