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Published on May 8th, 2012 | by Andrew Reynolds

Why Pinter Never Wrote Doctor Who

What kind of Doctor Who episode would Noble Prize winning author and playwright Harold Pinter have written?

If nothing else the term ‘Comedy of Menace’ – attached to much of Pinter’s theatre productions from The Birthday Party onwards – at least sounds applicable to the kind of thrills you’d get from watching Doctor Who – even if it has nothing stylistically similar to the mad man in a blue box.

Would that unexpected air of menace – the sword of Damocles hanging over all of his productions – translate when transported from the power casualties of middle England to the middle of the cosmos?

Its doubtful – and that’s the point being made by former Doctor Who Script Editor Eric Saward in this exclusive first look at the Writing for Doctor Who documentary extra for the upcoming special edition DVD release of acid bath-a-thon Vengeance on Varos (yes, you asked for it folks!)

Rumours abounded that Pinter himself had played Rapalchan in the Second Doctor serial The Abominable Snowman under the pseudonym of David Baron – however the writer of The Caretaker had long since relinquished the Equity name by the time the Doctor met the Yeti.

Vengeance on Varos: Special Edition is set to be released in 2012.



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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

8 Responses to Why Pinter Never Wrote Doctor Who

  1. avatar francis cave says:

    Yes I did ask for Varos to be re-released in print in the DWM letters page.

    And very happy I am that its coming out too!!

    Go sixie!!

  2. avatar Krumstets says:

    Why are there no female writers on Doctor Who ?

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Barbara Clegg wrote for Classic Who. Helen Raynor wrote for New Who. Not many I agree but there may be others.

  3. avatar Krumstets says:

    There have been a few female writers, but since the show began it has been overwhelmingly male. This coming season is no exception.
    Bit odd don’t you think ?

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Yes I do now you come to mention it

  4. avatar SimonArk says:

    What’s worse is that a few of the CREDITED female writers are ones noone’s quite sure of the level of contribution. “Paula Moore” is credited for writing Attack of the Cybermen, but that was a pen name for the script editor’s then girlfriend and noone’s sure she actually wrote it. Even Eric Saward is fairly coy about the whole subject. Beyond that, there are a few co-writing teams, mainly Pip and Jane Baker, and it’s clear Jane is at least an equal partner in the writing there. And Rona Munro on Survival, of course. There are a few female writers in the books and audios, Jac Rayner, Lloyd Rose, Kate Orman being the best known. But it’s certainly true that for a show that has had many female directors and producers, (as well as the bulk of editorship of the Virgin New Adventures under Rebecca Levene’s watch), the writers have been over 90 male across all media. I genuinely couldn’t guess why.

    • avatar Krumstets says:

      Maybe the production office could make a commitment to recruiting more female writers.

      An open call to the ( Female ) masses to get involved.

      It would also be good publicity for the show.

      • avatar SimonArk says:

        Well, I’d not even say that’s WHOLLY needed, when you can even just use people who are already quite respected television writers who happen to be female, or highly thought of Dr. Who writers, who in some cases already work FOR the BBC on Doctor Who. Jac Rayner is/was the person of approving BBC licensed Doctor Who material for several years, and in charge of the Doctor Who novel line, also has written half a dozen excellent Big Finish plays. Hell, just stop hiring Chris Chibnall, really.

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