Ever wished the Peter Cushing incarnation of Dr Who had been awarded another appearance? Perhaps another film, or failing that an… audio adventure? After all, Doctor Who was popular for more than Daleks!
It seems that you’re not alone. Back in the 1960s plenty of people wanted to cash in on the success of the TV show and as revealed in The Times today a rare script has recently turned up following diligent investigation by researcher Richard Bignell.
“When I opened [the file] up, I got so excited, seeing all this paperwork and flicking through it, that I didn’t notice what was on the front cover, which was the entire pilot script.”
A single 23-minute audio episode written by Malcolm Hulke and starring Peter Cushing was recorded in 1965 and recorded by an independent company, a collaboration between Stanmark Productions and Watermill Productions and licensed by the BBC to broadcast a series in Australia and other countries. Hulke of course went on to become a regular writer on Doctor Who, creating the Silurians and the Sea Devils.
Three of the following images were omitted from the newspaper article:
Intended to be the launch of a series which would involve Julius Caesar, Marco Polo and cavemen (sound familiar?) the audios were rejected for a slot on BBC Radio:
Martin Esslin, head of sound drama, wrote in a memo: “As a typical commercial production for unsophisticated listeners in Australia or even some parts of the United States, it stands up quite well. As a piece of science fiction, however, it strikes me as extremely feeble.”
So what happened to the recording? Bignell has of course already started his search but so far drawn a blank.
“There were at least two copies of the tape made. There’s a chance that it’s still stuck at the back of a cup-board somewhere, but I’ve pretty much drawn a blank.”
You can find out more by picking up a copy of todays Times and heading to page 29, or getting a copy of the fanzine Nothing at the End of the Lane (www.endofthelane.co.uk) on Monday.
(With thanks to Charles Norton and Roger Thornhill)