A new Doctor wanders San Francisco before the world ends.
The Master is apparently exterminated by the Daleks on Skaro, and the Doctor agrees to take his remains back to Gallifrey in the TARDIS. The Master is not really dead, however, but has transformed into a shapeless morphant creature. He causes the TARDIS to make an emergency landing on Earth, in the city of San Francisco, in the year 1999.
The Doctor emerges from the ship to find himself in the midst of a street battle between rival gangs. He sustains gunshot wounds and, accompanied by young gang member Chang Lee, is taken to hospital for emergency treatment.
Surgeon Dr Grace Holloway attempts to save his life but, failing to understand his alien physiology, actually causes his 'death'. The Doctor later regenerates into his eighth physical form. The Master has meanwhile taken over the body of an ambulance driver named Bruce. This is just a temporary measure until he can achieve his ultimate goal: to inhabit the Doctor's body.
He gains access to the Doctor's TARDIS and, with lies and false promises, wins Chang Lee over to his side. The Doctor manages to convince Grace that he is the same man that she thought had died on her operating table, and that he is an alien Time Lord - albeit half-human on his mother's side.
Together they race against time to prevent the Master's scheme from bringing about the Earth's destruction at midnight on 31 December. They eventually succeed, and the Master is sucked into the Eye of Harmony within the TARDIS's cloister room. The Doctor bids farewell to Grace and Chang Lee - who ultimately saw the error of his ways - and departs in the TARDIS as the world celebrates the millenium.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Doctor Who television movie is how true it remained to the spirit of the original BBC series. It could easily have been very different. One wonders how fans would have reacted to a movie in which the Doctor was the impressionable young grandson of the Time Lord President, his half-brother the Master was the Gallifreyan Minister of Defence and the Daleks looked like Cybermen - all of which ideas featured in the earlier, ultimately rejected versions of...