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Doctor Who - Rights Issues Cleared Up for North America Release of 'The 1996 Movie' with The 8th Doctor

Paul McGann and Eric Roberts star as The Doctor and The Master

Posted by David Lambert
As we've previously described as part of our Doctor Who entry at the TVShowsOnDVD "What's The Hold-up?" FAQ, the 1996 Doctor Who Movie starring Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor has been available on DVD in the U.K., but wasn't cleared for release in the USA due to a complicated set of rights issues between the BBC, the Fox Network, and other entities that primarily include Universal Pictures.

The telefilm guest stars Sylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor, who is taking the TARDIS on a mission to return the remains of the Master back to Gallifrey, following the Master's trial and execution on Skaros. When the Master refuses to stay dead, and the TARDIS is diverted to San Francisco, Earth on the final days of 1999, the Doctor is accidentally gunned down in a gang shoot-out that Chang Lee (Yee Jee Tso, Smallville: The Vengeance Chronicles) is involved in. Rushed to a hospital, the Doctor is tended to in a hurry by Dr. Grace Holloway (Daphne Ashbrook, The O.C.), but she's unsuccessful due to confusion over his double heartbeat. After "death," that Time Lord regenerates into the 8th Doctor (Paul McGann, AlienĀ³), while the other one - the Master - steals the body of a paramedic (Eric Roberts, Heroes, The Expendables). Holloway becomes the new Doctor's companion, but with the clock ticking down to the millennium, the Master hatches a plan that might just mean the end of the entire Earth!

If you live in North America and you've ever wondered about who (pardon the pun!) the Doctor was just prior to when Christopher Eccleston appeared on-screen in "Rose," you will finally get your chance to find out. The folks at 2|Entertain, the production company for Doctor Who DVDs all over the world, have today made a special podcast announcement at the "Hoo on Who" website. There, Dan Hall of 2|Entertain gives them the exclusive information for the Who community that rights issues with Universal and other entities have been worked out, and that the 1996 Doctor Who Movie will finally be released outside the U.K., including in the USA and Canada!

It's made clear that there is no release date set right now, but Hall says it should be available over the next 12 months. And it will be an upgraded "New Edition" version of the DVD (one which had already been planned for the U.K.), including freshly-made extras such as new Commentary, new Documentaries, and more. Hall refers to it as "a crackin' release!" Our thanks to the folks at Hoo on Who for the great piece of news! And thanks also to our longtime reader Lee Hubbard for the heads-up, after spotting the report about this today from our friends at the Doctor Who News Page. Stay tuned for further developments, as they occur. In the meantime, here's a teaser picture for you: the newly-regenerated 8th Doctor (McGann) is looking for some clothes, and wonders whether a long colorful scarf could be his style? Nah...too '70s!

Doctor Who - The 1996 Movie

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