Doctor Who News Amazing collection of lost Anthony Coburn Doctor Who scripts!

Published on March 16th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Coburn’s Doctor Who Treasure Trove Found!

Scripts from never-seen episodes have been found in Herne Bay attic by a Doctor Who fan looking to build a TARDIS for charity.

Amazing collection of lost Anthony Coburn Doctor Who scripts!

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!

(Via @GazetteSam, Joe, and many others!)


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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.

4 Responses to Coburn’s Doctor Who Treasure Trove Found!

  1. avatar David F says:

    Anyone else think this story doesn’t add up? It’s a bold assertion that the sonic screwdriver was devised by Coburn. Isn’t it more realistic to say that he made up a device, and a few years later, someone else made up a different device.

    Or did successive production teams sit on it till season five, deciding the time wasn’t quite ripe for a screwdriver, and then decide they were ready to dust off a detail from a discarded early script? As for the idea of inventing regeneration, when no one knew the series would last more than a few months, let alone reach a stage where they wanted to replace the lead actor . . . Really? Sometimes, similar ideas are produced independently.

    Surprised Jason Onion doesn’t claim Coburn invented a plan to fix up the future parents of Matt Smith on a blind date.

    I’m sure it’s an interesting find, and I’d love to see the scripts, but come on . . .

    • Resembles a certain Mark Gatiss sketch, doesn’t it…?

  2. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Why do i get the funny feeling that since it’s Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary that we’re possibly going to see a lot more unfounded ‘stories’ such as this one? What next? The inspiration for the Daleks coming from a school chimney? …Oh,sorry, that one already happened!

    P.S. Roll on episode 3! Ice Warriors back at last!!! Just Sea Devils, Zygons and Sil to go!

  3. avatar Alex says:

    They should get Nothing at the End of the lane to publish the scripts like they did the Moris Farhi and Dick Sharples scripts.

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