Paul McGann appeared at a convention in New Zealand today sporting what is apparently a redesigned outfit for the Eighth Doctor. His sole televised appearance in the 1996 television movie that didn't manage to spawn a series revival at the time featured him in a Victorian outfit stolen from a hospital locker (a recurring theme in the series--the Third and Eleventh Doctors acquired their clothing in the same way) shortly after the Seventh Doctor's regeneration. Since then his Doctor has made regular appearances is other media such as comics, novels, and audio dramas. He has always been depicted in the outfit from the movie.
Doctor Who News Page reports:
"The costume consists of a double-breasted black Naval jacket, with gold buttons. Part of of the ensemble is a courier pouch bag. However, the shirt and trousers were actually McGann's own and not part of the costume.
Also revealed is a new sonic screwdriver, courtesy of Weta Workshop, the wizards behind the effects on The Lord of the Rings. The screwdriver is similar to the one used by the current Doctor, Matt Smith, but has a wooden handle.
The revision comes some fourteen years since the original Eighth Doctor image was established for the 1996 TV Movie; this is now felt to be a little out of date and the new costume - still a work in progress - is said to be used for future promotional purposes.
No other information in known at present, but it is believed to have the blessing of the BBC."
This is an interesting development. McGann has over the years expressed a willingness to reprise his role in a television appearance if he didn't have to wear the wig he wore in the movie. If his whole outfit is being retooled to this degree... and he's even appearing publicly in it... and his movie is finally getting released on DVD in the US... could this mean he's finally being positioned for an onscreen appearance? I hope so. It would also provide an excuse for more action figures and other merchandise related to his character.
This could present a slight continuity concern for the nitpicky among us, though. We never saw the regeneration of his Eighth Doctor into Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor that began the successful revival of the series. It is assumed that the change happened as a result of the end of the Time War. But we did see in the episode "Rose" a snapshot of the Ninth Doctor wearing what appears to be the Eighth Doctor's clothing.
And at a point in the same episode, he looked at himself in a mirror, suggesting he hadn't had a chance to actually look at his new face. So did he have a post-regeneration adventure involving the Titanic in which he was still wearing the Eighth Doctor's pants and somehow never managed or didn't have a chance to see his reflection? Or did he have an out of sequence adventure that we didn't see on the series in which he pulled his old clothes out of the wardrobe to blend into the period he was visiting? I'll talk it over with my therapist. Everybody else can just enjoy the rest of the photos. There's also a closeup of a redesigned sonic screwdriver. It looks like a steampunk version of the Eleventh Doctor's current model, and the design fits right in with the Eighth Doctor's version of the TARDIS console room.
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