The TV Movie was the first brand new Doctor Who I ever watched with Sue, and she never missed another episode from that point on. So it seems appropriate to finish where we started, all those years ago. We have, of course, drezzzzed for the occasion. She’s wearing her Pip and Jane T-shirt and I’m wearing a bath robe with the collar turned up.
Sue: Before we start, does this count?
Me: For the last time – yes, it counts!
Sue: What’s it called?
Me: It doesn’t have a title. It’s just The TV Movie.
Sue: Really? That’s the best they could come up with? The TV Movie? What kind of title is that?
The Doctor: It was on the planet Skaro that my old enemy the Master was finally put on trial…
Sue: Ooh, is it the Master?
The renegade Time Lord has been placed in an extermination chamber.
Sue: That’s a shit Dalek.
Me: That isn’t a Dalek. It’s the Master.
Sue: Can we start this again, please? I’m lost already. It’s moving too fast and I can’t take it all in.
I rewind the prologue.
Sue: But he looks nothing like the Master!
Me: And they sound nothing like the Daleks. Get your priorities straight, woman!
Sue: Ooh, I like this. It’s epic. It reminds me of the new series a lot. I bet you must have loved this.
The seventh Doctor makes sure that the Master is safely under lock and key in his TARDIS…
Sue: I like his new suit. He should have dressed like that from the very beginning. So where’s Ace?
The Doctor has redecorated.
Sue: Nice TARDIS. It reminds me of the wooden one he used to have, but this one is massive. I love the wooden floors.
The Doctor relaxes with a good book and a bowl of jelly babies.
Sue: He looks like he’s mellowed a bit. We never see the Doctor with his feet up reading a book. He’s usually running around like an idiot.
And then all hell breaks loose and the Doctor runs around like an idiot.
Sue: The direction is fantastic. We could be watching the new series.
The Master has escaped.
Sue: But I thought he was dead? Unless it was a trap. The Doctor should have seen that coming. Maybe he’s mellowed too much.
The TARDIS is forced to land in San Francisco in 1999. Unfortunately for the Doctor, he walks straight into a hail of bullets.
Sue: What? He can’t die like that. That’s rubbish! How did he survive this long?
Something leaks out of the TARDIS keyhole onto the floor.
Sue: So the Master is a puddle, now?
Me: I don’t bloody know.
Sue: Well you should bloody know. Being a puddle is definitely a new low for the Master.
The Doctor is examined at the local hospital.
Sue: Typical. You wait ages for a Doctor to get his shirt off and it’s Sylvester bloody McCoy.
Meanwhile, puddle-Master finds its way into a paramedic’s jacket.
Sue: That’s far too big for him. He needs to find a sock.
There’s confusion in the hospital regarding the number of hearts this patient has.
Salinger: We’re getting another machine up. It’ll take about another half hour.
Sue: Just use a ****ing stethoscope, you moron!
Grace Holloway is the cardiologist on call that night, but as she prepares to operate, the Doctor wakes up.
Grace: We’ve already taken out all the bullets, and now we’re going to listen to your heart.
Sue: With a ****ing scalpel? Come on!
Grace’s actions end up killing the Doctor.
Sue: Come on, then. Regenerate. What are you waiting for? I’ll tell you what, though. That was bloody exciting.
It turns out that the Master is actually a translucent cobra.
Me: For the last time, I don’t know!
The Master rams himself down a paramedic’s throat.
Sue: Not for kids. Or many adults, probably.
As the Master claims his new body, the Doctor regenerates.
Sue: The Frankenstein thing is very clever. You must have loved this, Neil. It’s brilliant.
The eighth Doctor takes his first breath.
Sue: He’ll be chuffed to bits when he finds out that he looks like Paul McGann. Just you wait until he finds a mirror. He won’t be able to tear himself away.
The Doctor kicks down a door in the mortuary.
Me: They should have put the number 8 on that door. I’ve never really forgiven them for that.
The Doctor wanders the hospital in search of his identity.
Sue: It’s beautifully shot. Very modern.
The Doctor finds himself in a disused wing of the hospital.
Sue: Has the hospital been hit by a bomb? Have we missed a scene?
The Doctor: WHOOOOOO AMMMMMM IIIIIIIIIIII?!!!!!
Sue: This is ****ing excellent.
The Doctor finds an inordinately long multi-coloured scarf in a locker.
Sue: What are the chances of that?
Me: Somebody must be going to a fancy dress party as the fourth Doctor. It’s the only explanation.
The Master murders the poor paramedic’s wife.
Sue: So he doesn’t hypnotise people any more? Even with those green eyes of his? Has he really stopped pissing about and he actually means business this time?
Grace falls out with her boss.
Sue: Grace has a serious pen fetish.
Grace resigns rather than cover-up the Doctor’s mysterious death and disappearance.
Sue: I like Grace. She’s got morals. I also like the work tops in this hospital. Very Farrow & Ball.
Me: Don’t ever change, love.
The Master arrives at the hospital in search of his arch-nemesis.
Sue: It’s turned into The Terminator, now. That’s not really the Master’s style, though, is it? I’m not sure how I feel about this.
The Doctor convinces Grace that he is the same man that she killed the night before, and she agrees to take him home with her. Yes, I know.
Sue: Now this is more like it. Paul McGann with his shirt off.
Me: What do you think of him so far.
Sue: Hmmmm… What? Sorry, I was distracted by his chest.
Me: I think that answers my question.
Chang Lee finds the Master in the Doctor’s TARDIS.
Sue: What I like about this TARDIS is that it’s really huge but it’s still cosy at the same time. I don’t know why he didn’t keep it like this. Maybe it was a bugger to keep clean.
The Master convinces Chang Lee to help him defeat the Doctor.
Sue: He can never do anything on his own, can he? He always has to team-up with somebody. And I bet he’ll be betrayed at the end. He’s an idiot.
The Doctor and Grace go for a walk. The Doctor remembers Gallifrey and then…
The Doctor: These shoes! They fit perfectly.
Sue: He’s great, isn’t he?
The Master sweetens his deal with Chang Lee with the help of the Doctor’s supply of gold dust.
Sue: Is that in case he runs into any Cybermen?
Me: You complete and utter fan.
Sue: Shut up.
The Master escorts Chang Lee to the TARDIS cloister room, which contains the Eye of Harmony.
Sue: We only saw the Eye of Harmony the other week in the new series. It didn’t look like that.
When the Eye of Harmony opens, the Doctor remembers who he is and kisses Grace.
Me: There was a time when this was controversial.
Sue: Why? It wasn’t a sexy kiss.
The Doctor goes back for seconds.
Sue: Okay, now that was a sexy kiss.
Sue’s not bothered, though.
Sue: He does it all the time now. I wonder if he’ll keep doing it if he regenerates into an ugly actor.
The Eye of Harmony shows a projection of the Doctor’s seventh body.
Sue: They should have shown all the Doctors. That was a wasted opportunity.
Me: Seriously, you’ve gone full-blown fan, now.
The Eye shows a projection of the new Doctor.
Chang Lee: He’s so young.
Sue: You ain’t seen nothing yet, mate.
And then the Master drops a bombshell:
The Master: The Doctor is half human!
Sue: Eh? Since when?
I pause the DVD.
Me: What do you make of that, then?
Sue: It makes sense, I suppose.
Sue: Well, he’s obsessed with Earth. He can’t keep away from the place. Why isn’t he saving Mars every week? There has to be a reason for it and that’s a good enough reason as any.
Me: I take it all back, you’re not a fan after all.
Sue: He’s like Spock. Maybe that’s why he left Gallifrey. Maybe all his friends were picking on him for being half-human and he got fed up with it and buggered off?
When we resume, the penny drops for the Doctor.
The Doctor: It’s a trap. Don’t you see? It’s a trap!
Sue: Are the Daleks in on it as well? When are they going to show up?
Grace decides to do a runner.
Sue: He can’t be that good a kisser, then.
But the Doctor has some grave news:
The Doctor: By midnight tonight, this planet will be pulled inside out.
Sue: I really like Grace’s wooden chairs.
The Doctor, Grace, the Master and Chang-Lee all end up in the same ambulance together. However, the road conditions are pretty foul.
Sue: Is the Eye of Harmony making it rain chickens?
The Doctor escapes from the Master and he threatens to shoot himself unless a traffic cop hands over his motorcycle.
Sue: He’s very good, isn’t he? He should have been given a series. It’s not fair.
When a thrilling chase ensures, I sing along to the incidental music.
Sue: I really like the music. There’s a Keffishness to it, with all those der-der-der stings, but it sounds so much better with a proper orchestra. This is what Keff would have sounded like if he’s been given enough money.
And then Sue said this:
Sue: I don’t think that any non-fans would have enjoyed this. It’s too wrapped up in the past to appeal to a new audience. I bet the fans loved it, though.
Me: Do you like it?
Sue: Yes. It’s great.
I’m saying nothing.
The Doctor and Grace arrive at Institute of Technological Advancement and Research.
Me: What I don’t understand is why the Doctor needs a beryllium atomic clock in the first place.
Sue: He needs it to fix his TARDIS. He told us that right at the beginning. Do keep up, Neil.
The Doctor backs up the Master’s claim about his parentage.
The Doctor: I’m half human. On my mother’s side.
Sue: Yes, that definitely makes a lot of sense.
The Doctor and Grace steal the clock and escape with the help of a fire hose.
Sue: I’d have been well chuffed if I was a fan and I saw this in 1996. This is just as good as the new series. Hey, maybe we could do the new series after all?
Me: Don’t you start.
A police motorcycle accidentally ends up in the TARDIS.
Sue: Ha! That was brilliant.
And that’s why we won’t be doing the new series.
Sue: Ooh, it’s the cloister bell. That’s not good.
Grace doesn’t say “It’s bigger on the inside…”
Grace: That would explain the spatial displacement we experienced as we passed over the threshold.
Sue: I love Grace. She’s the perfect companion. She’s funny, clever, and she has impeccable taste in chairs.
The TARDIS ceiling doubles as a planetarium.
Sue: ****ing hell, I bet Matt Smith is well jealous of that.
The Doctor has a plan:
The Doctor: We pre-set the coordinates just as I divert the power from within the Eye itself into the time rotor here.
Me: Are you following this?
Me: Do you care?
Grace is possessed by the Master’s spit and she knocks the Doctor unconscious.
Sue: Naughty Daphne. She suits those eyes, though. It’s a good look for her.
The Master has changed into some Gallifreyan robes.
Me: How camp is that!
Sue: You say that as if the Master has never been camp before. And you know that would be silly.
Meanwhile, Earth is partying like it’s 1999.
Sue: And no one mentioned the millennium bug once. How weird is that? The Master should have been responsible for the millennium bug, so when nothing happened, we could have thanked the Doctor. That would have been a much better story.
The Master chews the scenery.
Me: You must admit that he’s a bit over the top.
Sue: And John Simm wasn’t? Give your head a shake, lad.
The Master kills Chang Lee in a fit of pique.
Sue: Oh no! I really liked him. He was a likeable Adric.
Me: Likeable? He was working for the Master, he stole the Doctor’s things, and he tried to shoot some poor sod with a handgun in the first five minutes.
Sue: He was still more likeable than Adric.
The Master sucks his evil spit out of Grace with a kiss.
Sue: Blimey, they’re all at it, now.
As the Master steals the Doctor’s remaining lives, Grace tries to turn the TARDIS into an alarm clock.
Grace: Temporal orbit? What’s a temporal orbit?
Me: Come on, Sue. What’s a temporal orbit?
Sue: It’s probably a place where time stands still so you can make things better. Something like that.
Me: Oh, for ****’s sake. I can’t tell if you are taking the piss or not.
Sue: I’m barley following what is going on but it’s very exciting.
The Doctor and the Master fight to the death and the Master is sucked into the Eye of Harmony.
Sue: Are you sure the Master wasn’t a pole dancer in an earlier life?
The Doctor places the corpses of Grace and Chang Lee on the TARDIS floor and then the time machine brings them back to life.
Sue: Is the TARDIS letting them regenerate? It looks like the same fairy dust they use in the new series.
Me: Yes, but if the TARDIS can bring the Doctor’s dead friends back to life, doesn’t that beg the obvious question?
Sue: Oh yeah. Maybe the TARDIS hated Adric as well. Or maybe you can only do this in a temporal orbit.
Me: Actually, that does make sense. Thanks. It’s only taken 17 years.
The TARDIS travels back to San Francisco on New Year’s Eve.
Sue: If that’s Stanley Park in Vancouver, I’ve played golf there.
The Doctor asks Grace to come with him but she turns him down.
Sue: What? Is she mad? Go with him!
The Doctor returns to his TARDIS.
Sue: She’ll run in after him. She has to.
The TARDIS dematerialises.
Sue: What has she got to look forward to? A flat with no furniture and no job, that’s what.
Me: Brian did leave her some very nice chairs.
Damn, she’s got me doing it now.
The Doctor and his TARDIS fly off into the vortex for a series of new adventures (coming soon from Big Finish).
Me: So, do you think Paul McGann counts?
Sue: Of course he ****ing counts. Why wouldn’t he?
Sue: I really enjoyed that. The plot wasn’t very good, and the casual viewer wouldn’t have known (or cared) what was going on half the time – but what a great way to finish. Paul McGann should have been given a series. He would have been wonderful.
Me: What do you think they have called it instead of The TV Movie?
Me: Come here and give us a kiss.
I switch off the TV.
Me: It’s over. We’re free.
Sue: Are we?
Sue: What shall we do?