Scripts from never-seen episodes have been found in Herne Bay attic by a Doctor Who fan looking to build a TARDIS for charity.
Prop maker Jason Onion made the discovery while researching the town’s links with the show – the works were found amongst a box of paperwork that once belonged to An Unearthly Child writer Anthony Coburn.
Originally, Jason didn’t realise just what he had uncovered:
With the consent of Anthony’s wife, Joan Coburn-Moon, and other family members, the family lent me a box of his work and I saw the scripts, but put them to one side. When I scanned the cover later I realised it didn’t have the right title for the first episode.
I had a look and as soon as I saw the first few pages I knew it was not the episode that had been televised. I just sat there, and stared and stared. I wanted to cover them with glass. They are unbelievably precious, and I had them in my hand.
Those precious scripts include two versions of the first episode and an alternative episode two, and another three scripts as well as the Masters of Luxor stories, which were replaced by the original Dalek serial.
Contained within those pages are ideas that went on to become some of the key concepts of the show and, in some cases, reveal a few as yet uncovered secrets:
You can see that the template for the Daleks came from Anthony. You can see in these episodes a device to unlock Tardis, which became the sonic screwdriver, and the science and regeneration and renewal of the body, which were all created in Anthony’s mind. This find completes the genesis of Doctor Who from Anthony Coburn’s imagination. The drafts explain the mystery of Doctor Who, his origins, his people and all the background.
It explains the Tardis’s original name, the planet Doctor Who came from and that his granddaughter – Susan in the programmes, but Suzanne in the scripts – was a princess saved from another world.
He created the cornerstones of Doctor Who that have been expanded and built on ever since. It was all devised in Herne Bay, and he should never have been forgotten like he has.
Plans are already underway for a permanent exhibition to commemorate Mr Coburn:
It is possible, with continuing support and consent from the Coburn family, that these scripts could be seen publicly and displayed somewhere.
It may be possible to arrange something for the 50th anniversary of the series in November. It would be fantastic to celebrate Herne Bay’s connection and give Anthony Coburn the credit he deserves.
What great news for Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary!
@GazetteSam, Joe, and many others!)