Why Paul McGann Is My Favorite Doctor

I came to Doctor Who fairly late in life. I saw some Tom Baker episodes as a kid, but it wasn’t until the reboot in 2005, when I was 32, that I really fell in love with the show.

In 2013, I got a job answering phones in a car dealership. I sat at a counter and had very little to do. My bosses said as long as I answered the phones, greeted the customers, and topped up the coffee pot, I could do whatever else I wanted the rest of the time.

This seemed like a perfect opportunity to watch all of classic Who, and that’s just what I did. I watched every episode, even the shows that are nothing but still photographs with a soundtrack.

Before I finished, the 50th anniversary of the show rolled around, and thus my first exposure to Paul McGann, whose turn as the 8th Doctor in the TV movie I hadn’t reached yet. McGann starred in a short episode call Night Of The Doctor, and he was brilliant. Emotions right on the surface, McGann’s Doctor commanded every second of the episode in a way that left me desperate for more. Eventually I got to the TV movie, and while McGann was certainly good in that, the film as a whole wasn’t as strong as he was.

That’s when I discovered Big Finish.

Big Finish started making fully dramatized Doctor Who audio adventures during the years that the show was off the air. They’re fabulous at it. Smart scripts, great acting (including by many members of the cast of the TV show), and wonderful effects and music.

Big Finish have finally given McGann a canvas worthy of his skills. The Eighth Doctor Adventures, and the shows in Big Finish’s Main Range that preceded them, are completely engaging. McGann’s Doctor is in many ways the epitome of “New Who” — a moral, determined adventurer with a glint of the puckish spirit of many of his classic predecessors.

Whether you’re a fan of the current TV show, a devotee of classic Who, or just a fan of audio drama, you can’t do better than falling in love with the Eighth Doctor. And if you’re a completist, like I am, here’s a post that gives you the complete listening order. Enjoy!

POEM: hartnell haiku

hqdefault

I watch him fall to the floor
see the light overtake his face
when it fades, he is born again

3 December 2013
Oak Street

/ / /

This is the kind of poem you write after finally finishing the William Hartnell era of Doctor Who.

Your favorite Doctor Who stories from Big Finish

Storm_Warning I’m a Doctor Who fan who’s never listened to any of the Big Finish audio dramas. There are so many now that by the time I decided to start listening, I wasn’t sure where to begin. So naturally I turned to Twitter and, with the help of a retweet from Big Finish themselves, assembled this list.

Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor stories are the clear winner, with many respondents suggesting them in general and Storm Warning in particular. Here are the stories or series that received more than one mention:

  • Spare Parts x6
  • Eighth Doctor x6
  • Storm Warning x6
  • The Marian Conspiracy x4
  • Dark Eyes x3
  • Blood of the Daleks x2
  • Fearmonger x2
  • Fourth Doctor x2
  • Jubilee x2
  • The Light at the End x2

And here are all the suggestions I received and the people who sent them (with their Twitter handles in parentheses so you can follow them). Thanks, everybody!

  • Steve Higgins (@vacuumboy9): Colditz has 7 & Ace vs Nazis, Jubilee has 6 & Evelyn vs a Dalek, Chimes of Midnight has 8 & Charley. Spare Parts is 5 and Nyssa vs. the Cybermen and it’s only 2.99 to download. Listen to it and you WILL want more.
  • Scott (@1549418scott): Jump in anywhere. The water’s brilliant regardless.
  • David Howard (@Y2Dave): Start with the Eighth Doctor stories. They’re very good.
  • Betty Anne Noir (@BarzhDu): I agree with Richard. Make sure you then get Dark Eyes. Or you could also try 4th Doc adventures.
  • Jeff Good (@lowguppy): Sort episodes by doctor, pick one and start at the beginning.
  • Craig Watts (@Rassilon73): Dark Eyes would be the best place to hook you, it’s like a movie… for your ears! Whatever, you can’t go wrong.
  • Julian (@WhooliganG): Spare Parts and Jubilee are great main range stories.
  • Nicholas Nada (@nixnada): If you like 8th Doctor, Dark Eyes is great, and it’s a self-contained story so not a lot of continuity to catch up.
  • Joshawott (@Jicholson): Blood of the Daleks 100%
  • Matt Clarke (@Timey2Wimey): You can either start from production order, and start with The Sirens of Time,or if you want to start at a specific era, you can’t go wrong with Storm Warning, Paul McGann’s first BF story
  • Lins Honeyman (@LinsHoneyman): Storm Warning and then work your way thru more of Paul McGann’s stories!
  • Michal (@MichalZin): The Marian Conspiracy and than just go with Sixth and Evelyn Smythe adventures. Sweetest team ever.
  • Jeanette Stent (@Jeanette_Stent): Do you have a favourite Doctor? For a taste of all of them, try The Light at the End – it’s fantastic!
  • Steph (@booktrunk): eight doc stories are fun
  • Stephen Kilpatrick (@s_kilpatrick): Minuet in Hell and Embrace the Darkness are perhaps my two favourite McGann stories.
  • Michael Chappell (@TheGenetrash): either Storm Warning or the Marian Conspiracy. Or for ease of access, the Eighth Doctor Adventures. Every one a classic.
  • Stephen Kilpatrick (@s_kilpatrick): I would recommend the Paul McGann stories, but you need to start at the beginning with Storm Warning.
  • Stephen Kilpatrick (@s_kilpatrick): Master with Sylvester McCoy and Davros with @SawbonesHex are great too.
  • Scott Barkla (@heathrown): Start with this month’s 1963 stories. No prior listening required and they’re brilliant. The go back to 1 to 50 while you can.
  • Jon Reynolds (@Jon_Reynolds74): Plenty to choose from, Spare Parts and Jubilee are worth a listen, plus any of the 4th Doctor stories. Enjoy!
  • Richard Hansen (@StratRH): 50th anniversary special #TheLightAtTheEnd then probably #SpareParts.
  • Noah Soudrette (@noahsoudrette): The Fearmonger and The Marian Conspiracy (you’ll never believe the 6th Doctor and a pensioner could be so great).
  • Richard Watts (@richardthewatts): I’d suggest starting with the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller’s first season. Wonderful scripts, great performances.
  • Scientist Who Is Mad (@BloodyMarquis): The Mahogany Murders
  • Anik√≥ Singer (@aniko_toth1): @s_kilpatrick suggests Spare Parts.
  • WarDoctorWhatSA (@DoctorWhatSA): 5: Spare Parts / 6: The Marian Conspracy / 7: The Fearmonger / 8: Storm Warning OR Blood of the Daleks
  • Matt Turner (@Mr_McQwerty): The Spectre of Lanyon Moor. Storm Warning.
  • Megabyte Modem (@MegabyteModem): anywhere.