10 'What Ifs' That Could Have Changed The Course Of Doctor Who

6. The 1996 Film Was A Success

doctor who 1996 The 1996 Doctor Who film starring Paul McGann was supposed to be the start of a Doctor Who renaissance. The plan was for it to act as a pilot for a brand new series produced with the financial and promotional weight of Universal and Fox behind it that would have brought Doctor Who back into the hearts and minds of the UK and introduced it to a much wider American audience. But things didn€™t pan out that way. While the film was a ratings smash in the UK with 9.1 million viewers, it failed to gain much traction in the USA with viewing figures of a meagre 5.6 million thanks largely to its scheduling, and no follow-up series was made. Had a full series of this new look Doctor Who been made, it could have potentially run for several years but a probable lack of interest from the American audience (if the response to the film is anything to go by) would have quite possibly caused it to be subject to a huge amount of changes at the behest of the American executives over its lifetime in an attempt to up its viewing figures. It would eventually be cancelled because of declining ratings and currently be resting in the sci-fi graveyard. But the biggest effect it would have on the future of Doctor Who is that a reasonably long-running revamp in the late 1990s would have definitely prevented the 2005 revival from happening and most likely have pushed its start date (if any) back to sometime between now and 2020 at the very earliest. In hindsight, it's better overall that this first attempt at a Doctor Who revival went no further than a single film because, along with a lot of other factors, it led to Nu-Who being what it is today.
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JG Moore is a writer and filmmaker from the south of England. He also works as an editor and VFX artist, and has a BA in Media Production from the University Of Winchester.