Having premiered just over 25 years ago to a mixed reception, the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie has slowly garnered an appreciation alongside a strong fandom for Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, who made a brief return appearance as part of the show’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013.


Now, the TV movie has its own fandom-within-fandom, with screenwriter Matthew Jacobs and director Vanessa Yuille’s upcoming documentary Doctor Who Am I delving into the Whovians across the pond at conventions like Gallifrey One, as Jacobs’ relationship with both fans of the movie and Doctor Who as a whole evolves.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, producer Philip Segal revealed that at one point, a very different director was in talks to helm the Eighth Doctor’s first outing.

“I had several meetings with Leonard Nimoy who wanted to direct it. I met with him at Amblin [Entertainment], and we had wonderful conversations. He was genuinely excited about the possibility.”

While best known for his iconic role as Spock in Star Trek, Nimoy is no stranger to directing, having helmed Star Trek III and IV as well as Three Men and a Baby, which went on to become the highest-grossing film of 1987.

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With an impressive track record not only with sci-fi fans but also at the box office, Nimoy might have seemed like a no-brainer to come on to direct. So, what happened?

“FOX did not want him to do it. They were concerned it looked very kitsch to go, ‘Aren’t we clever? We’ve got Spock from Star Trek directing.’”

Segal revealed that the TV movie’s US broadcaster would only permit Nimoy to direct if he took a role in the TV movie, potentially as The Master: “That was just insulting to Leonard, because that wasn’t the object of the exercise.”

Ultimately, Geoffrey Sax would go on to become the director, but who knows what Leonard Nimoy’s vision of Doctor Who might have looked like?

Doctor Who Am I is released in UK cinemas on 27th October, and on Blu-ray, DVD & digital download from 28th November.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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