The Eighth Doctor -- BBC Books Guidelines

The Eighth Doctor obviously didn't have much time to develop on-screen; nevertheless, one of the few things most fans agree on is that Paul McGann made a very good Doctor, and gives us plenty to work with. His performance is full of the clues we need to follow in pinning down the direction his character is taking in the BBC books.

The Eighth Doctor is a clear contrast to his predecessor, capturing perhaps more of the innocence of his earlier incarnations. His intelligence is as keen as ever, as is his wit, but this Doctor stands in the light rather than skulking in the shadows. He has far less guile than most Doctors: he expresses affection more freely, is more forthcoming with his feelings and intuitions, and celebrates life unselfishly. He's found a mellower side to his self, but there will always be a great sadness in him as he attempts to come to terms with the fact that while he keeps on growing older and changing, the universe is staying resolutely the same -- chock full of evil.

Life is also made trickier for him now he cares as much for the individual as for the greater picture. Keeping tabs on everything isn't as easy as it was, and this Doctor will probably keep overreaching himself, possibly unwittingly placing others in danger if his hands are full elsewhere. He makes mistakes -- in The Bodysnatchers, for example, a miscalculation condemns the Zygons to an agonising death -- and one day he might slip up big time

He is, as always, a hero. His physical strength and compassion are seemingly at an all-time high level. He won't degenerate into the manipulative figure of old, but he will occasionally be angst-ridden about it; and to stop this perhaps more straightforward character becoming stale, writers should try to place him in situations that stretch him, put him on the edge of right and wrong. Because another key facet to his personality is his spontaneity. Nothing is pre-planned; this Doctor may lead his companions into trouble and then terrify them by revealing he hasn't the first clue about how to get out of it

If in doubt, this Doctor should do the unexpected. He makes you sit up and notice. Occasionally he will surprise even himself -- and therefore the reader.

-- Stephen Cole

Last updated 28 July 1998. Copyright BBC Books, 1998. All rights reserved.