60 years of Doctor Who history

Doctor Who has existed in some form or another for 60 years now, changing with each new actor, showrunner, and writer. To honor this spectacular series, check out the history of how it has evolved over time.

Peter Capaldi And New Doctor Who Companion Pearl Mackie Pose In Costume With The Tardis And A Huge
Peter Capaldi And New Doctor Who Companion Pearl Mackie Pose In Costume With The Tardis And A Huge / Tim P. Whitby/GettyImages
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1989: Series canceled

After Doctor Who was canceled, it continued on in different forms. Between novels, comics, and audiobooks, it seemed like the show might just survive in a different form. But there was definitely a hole where the show used to be.

Paul McGann
Florida Supercon - Day 2 / Aaron Davidson/GettyImages

1997: TV movie, featuring Paul McGann

Philip Segal decided to find a way for Doctor Who to come back to screens—in America. He floated the idea to multiple studios, eventually making a deal with Fox. They would make a television movie, and if it was popular, Doctor Who might rise again in television form.

Multiple approaches were considered, including starting the series from scratch. However, Segal advocated for continuity, which saw Sylvester McCoy regenerate into the new Doctor, played by Paul McGann.

The movie aired on May 12, 1996 in Canada, May 14 in America, and May 27 in the UK. While it had some popularity in the UK, the American numbers weren't high enough for Fox to pick it up.

However, the series continued in other media, which made Paul McGann both the actor with the shortest run as Doctor in live-action and the longest in outside media (9 years).

Rumors about a revival continued for a few years, with specific references to the Doctor Who-loving Russell T. Davies as a possible savior.