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Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Eighth Doctor Costume Debuts for Audio...or Something Else?

Okay, this is an interesting one.

The Doctor Who News Page is reporting that the former Eighth Doctor from Doctor Who, Paul McGann, debuted an entirely new Eighth Doctor costume at the Armageddon Pop Culture Expo in Auckland, New Zealand this weekend and apparently, it even has a stamp of approval from the BBC.

The costume is comprised of a double-breasted naval jacket with gold buttons and a courier pouch bag and a new Sonic Screwdriver with a wooden handle made by none other than Weta Workshop, the creative geniuses who handled the effects for the Lord of the Rings films.  The shirt and trousers shown were McGann's own clothing and not part of the costume.

Supposedly, it was decided that the Eighth Doctor's costume that was used in the 1996 TV Movie was felt to be "out of date" and this new costume will be used for "promotional purposes," presumably for the Eighth Doctor audio adventures by Big Finish Productions that McGann has been recording since 2001. 

There's something a bit peculiar about all this, though, that's leaving me with a number of questions:
  • So why change the costume now?  McGann's been making Eighth Doctor audios since 2001, so nine years in (or fourteen years after the TV Movie) the established costume for an eccentric time-traveler suddenly feels "out of date"?
  • And why bother with a new costume at all for something primarily designed to be heard and not seen?  If you want to do some promotional photos or covers for the audio adventures, why not just use the established costume or something close that can be digitally manipulated using Photoshop?  I know there are various reports that McGann hated his Eighth Doctor wig, but again, there's Photoshop or other means to work around it.
  • Why go to all the trouble of having Weta design and build an entirely new Sonic Screwdriver?  Granted, it's very cool that they did so but if this is solely for "promotional purposes," it sure seems like a bit of overkill, doesn't it?  It's like going to Industrial Light and Magic and having them design a new sword for Buffy Summers to use in the Dark Horse Comics Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.
So now I'm wondering if Paul McGann is going to reprise the Eighth Doctor role in something else besides the audio adventures.  The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is just over three years away, so this seems a bit premature for that, but why not another multi-Doctor event such as the "Time Crash" special made for the annual Children in Need charity telethon?  And hey, there are those occasional rumors about a possible Doctor Who feature film, right?  If using the traditional costume that McGann disliked was a potential sticking point in getting him to reprise the Eighth Doctor, then why not let him debut a new one that he does like?  And so he has.  So what comes next...?

Cue the Doctor Who cliffhanger music.  Oooooooweeeeeeoooooo....

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