"Phil won't leave his room" - A Doctor Who Production History

No, he'll have a series on Radio 4 in late 1994. It is his last onscreen appearance as The Doctor and the same goes for Roger Delgado, whose last appearance in Doctor Who is on the 40th anniversary special as "Himself".
 
Part 30 - The TV Movie preproduction
PJ HAMMOND PART OF AMBLIN DEAL

- Dreamwatch headline, March 1994
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"Philip Segal was happy that I had spoken to him plainly. The BBC were happy that I'd smoothed things over with him regarding the 30th anniversary special. So when Philip asked that I act as a consultant, the BBC were happy because it kept Philip happy.

"Philip even managed to stay happy after I gave him my opinion on the work his scriptwriter had done so far."

- PJ Hammond, Doctor Who Magazine interview, 2002
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Sorry if I seemed a bit negative on the conference call, but I've taken a look at the series "bible" and I still feel the same way.

The Doctor is a wise, old man with no origin story to speak of. I think the script you have could be made into a very entertaining fantasy film without any of the trappings of Doctor Who.

You asked about the possible reception in Britain and I don't think it will be positive. There's already a natural prejudice against an American version of Doctor Who and this "chosen one who is the brother of The Master (he's appeared in the show something like twice in the last 20 years and those appearances were anniversary treats for the fans), is the grandson of Dezan (he's just an exposition device for the 30th anniversary) and is also a descendant of Omega" lives up to those prejudices.

The Daleks in the script aren't Daleks in any meaningful way. You might as well change them a little bit more and save yourself the bother of licencing.

I'm so sorry I can't be more positive, but I wouldn't be doing you any favours if I didn't tell you how I feel. You have every right to ignore me. You're the boss.

- Memo from PJ Hammond to Philip Segal
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Because the original series didn't answer many questions about The Doctor's past, the Doctor's home planet in the bible has the placeholder name "Unici", this simply being taken from Universal City, the location of Amblin's HQ.

Despite mining whatever they could from the BBC series, they somehow overlooked the character of Subilla from Season 25, implied to be The Doctor's younger sister.[1]

- Doctor Who In The Nineties, Gordon Weythe and Andrew Barbicane
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Thanks for being so understanding about my last memo.

I know US TV is all about demographics, but Doctor Who has had excellent numbers with viewers 18-24 since the BBC started measuring things like that in any depth. But its appeal isn't exclusive to any demographic. It hooks in the whole family. It works on different levels and that contributes to its selling point. Every demographic can watch it with any other demographic and get something out of it. But for that to work, it has to have a little bit of archness and flippancy. A teenager or adult can watch it with a child and let the child get caught up in the adventure while the older viewer can appreciate that The Doctor has a wry outlook on some of the stranger elements of his adventures. In an episode a few years ago the baddie of the week snarled "Resistance is useless" only to be met with The Doctor shooting back "You think I won't do something because it's useless? Do you think I dress this way because each item has a purpose? Did you think this enamel badge with hornet on it gets me 10% off strawberry milkshakes at the bowling alley? It doesn't. Besides, I prefer chocolate." That's Doctor Who!

- Memo from PJ Hammond to Philip Segal
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All this led to a very strange period in the development of the co-production. Segal might not have agreed, but was happy that Hammond was being straight with him. However, there were questions at the BBC as to whether Hammond was going to screw up the deal with concerns that didn't jibe with the realities of television in the 90s.

At Amblin, studio head Steven Spielberg took a look at the project to see why questions were being raised.[1] Spielberg did not like the direction Doctor Who was taking, citing the too close resemblance to Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Segal was sent back to the drawing board.

At the BBC, there was a feeling that maybe Hammond had been able to anticipate Spielberg's objections and therefore Hammond was now worth taking seriously. Hammond was invited over to Amblin. The BBC were happy that Amblin was happy with Hammond. Amblin was happy that the BBC were happy. There was still a lot of work to be done, but Amblin's Doctor Who was beginning to come together.

- Doctor Who In The Nineties, Gordon Weythe and Andrew Barbicane
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Peter,

Your point about Doctor Who's appeal across demographics is music to CBS's ears. They're looking to Doctor Who to bring in a younger demographic, but with that comes the fear of alienating their current audience, which skews a little old. If we fail to capture the younger demos but play well with CBS's current audience, then it wasn't all for nothing and we have a fighting chance.

- Memo from Philip Segal to PJ Hammond
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AMBLIN DEAL IN CRISIS?
New Doctor Who pilot sacks scriptwriter and changes direction

- Banana Split fanzine, Autumn 1994
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It was at the point when the various parties were reaching a solid agreement that fan sources decided all was lost. This then got picked up by a few mainstream sources with column inches to fill. While it didn't put the deal at risk, it was a great source of frustration to everyone involved to see their work being misreported in this way.

- Doctor Who In The Nineties, Gordon Weythe and Andrew Barbicane
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Here's the story as I'm hearing it from someone who's close to what's happening.

1. The Doctor being the Master's brother and searching for his father is the old script that was rejected by Spielberg.

2. The pilot and the series (if there is one) isn't going to be a complete remake. Again, that was the old script. The new idea is that it's just going to pick up with a new Doctor already on his travels. No overt references to the past, but also nothing to separate it from the old series. There are plenty of TV stations outside the US that are just getting around to showing Season 28. They would like something they can show as Season 29.

3. CBS are smiling on the idea of a more mature actor playing The Doctor. It's true that Paul McGann was being sought for the original remake idea, but I don't think he's going to make time for Doctor Who now that he's the new James Bond.

4. There's no embargo on the Daleks, but PJ Hammond has suggested they not be used in the pilot.

5. There isn't a new script, but when there is, there probably won't have any Time Lord mythology. Hammond is only a consultant, but everyone is listening to him and he still regards the Time Lords as a plot device. The Wrong Doctors wasn't a case of Hammond changing his mind about whether the Time Lords should appear. He just thought they provided the quickest way to bring the Doctors together.

6. There is no rapping TARDIS.

- post to rec.arts.drwho September 1994
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TONY DANZA IS THE DOCTOR

- Banana Split fanzine, Spring 1995
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CBS wanted Tony Danza. The BBC wanted anyone they thought people would watch. I didn't not want Tony Danza, but he had a star power at that time that would probably overpower Doctor Who. I tried to guide CBS in other directions.

- Philip Segal, Regeneration - The Story Behind The Revival of a Television Legend, 2000
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TONY DANZA IS NOT THE DOCTOR

- Doctor Who Magazine, March 1995
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I pulled together a list of actors who were willing to come in and audition. I was resigned to CBS probably insisting on an American actor. If that happened, I tried to make sure the US actors were real character types and a bit "lumpy" as Peter Hammond kept saying. It was a ploy for time, but it didn't end up the way I expected.

- Philip Segal, Regeneration - The Story Behind The Revival of a Television Legend, 2000
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Peter,

Ask Jo to show you the audition tape. See if you're thinking what I'm thinking.

- Memo from Philip Segal to PJ Hammond
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Number 5, right?

- Memo from PJ Hammond to Philip Segal
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Number 5. Right!

- Memo from Philip Segal to PJ Hammond
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Who is he? Where did you find him? Are CBS on board?

- Memo from PJ Hammond to Philip Segal
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Biog attached. CBS are fine with it.

- Memo from Philip Segal to PJ Hammond
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NATHAN LANE IS THE DOCTOR

- Doctor Who Magazine, September 1995
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*ring-ring* *ring-ring* *ring-ring*

- Tony Haygarth's phone, November 1995

PicPart30.jpg


[1] Belinda Lang, in case you were wondering.

The TARDIS corridor on the above book cover is from Rob Semenoff's Who 3D site and is used under a Creative Commons 3.0 Licence (non-commercial, attribution, share-alike).
 
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Well there is an actor I didn’t expect to see in a Doctor Who timeline - should be interesting to read what Mr Lane brings to the part.

From the pic a certain New York swagger?
 
It's true that Paul McGann was being sought for the original remake idea, but I don't think he's going to make time for Doctor Who now that he's the new James Bond.
Solid choice. May I ask what becomes of Tom Baker and Davison's careers in this TL? And what's Lane's costume from?
 
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TONY DANZA IS THE DOCTOR

- Banana Split fanzine, Spring 1995
__________________​
CBS wanted Tony Danza. The BBC wanted anyone they thought people would watch. I didn't not want Tony Danza, but he had a star power at that time that would probably overpower Doctor Who. I tried to guide CBS in other directions.

- Philip Segal, Regeneration - The Story Behind The Revival of a Television Legend, 2000
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TONY DANZA IS NOT THE DOCTOR

- Doctor Who Magazine, March 1995
I wonder if Tony Danza was even aware of this happening. Like, the image in my head is that he had no idea, and all of this was going on while he was taking a nap.
 
Solid choice. May I ask what becomes of Tom Baker and Davison's careers in this TL? And what's Lane's costume from?
So far, I haven't given a great deal of thought to the first question. I do allude to Tom playing Gabriel Baine's archenemy Lord St John Giordano and going on to play Max Carrados in a series on ITV. Nathan Lane's costume is from an episode of Modern Family, playing his semi-regular supporting role as Pepper Saltzman.

The next part is going to be about the Bond films in the 80s and 90s as I want to work in a few more non-Doctor Who bits. I'm considering maybe ending this TL in 2005 with the passing of Roger Delgado, but who knows? I was persuaded to keep my Beach Boys TL going. One silly idea I've had is to have a little Q&A on this thread with Andrew Barbicane, author and Doctor Who expert from the Delgadoverse.
 
Some fans call it "the US series", but everyone agrees to call the 1998 series Season 30. Neither the BBC nor any co-producers continue any production numbering or naming from the previous series.
 
A little bit of frippery. As you may have seen in an earlier post, I customized an action figure to be the Delgado Third. I finally cut a chunk out of the figure so that his height roughly matched the first two. Depending which sources you look at, he would have actually been the shortest of the first three Doctors. The perspective introduced by the phone camera lens doesn't make it look like it, but he's now the same height as the other two.

2021-02-12 11.10.39.jpg
 
A little bit of frippery. As you may have seen in an earlier post, I customized an action figure to be the Delgado Third. I finally cut a chunk out of the figure so that his height roughly matched the first two. Depending which sources you look at, he would have actually been the shortest of the first three Doctors. The perspective introduced by the phone camera lens doesn't make it look like it, but he's now the same height as the other two.

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