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Published on April 9th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

The Animation You Never Knew Didn’t Exist

Dan Norton, best-known for his work on DC’s Green Arrow, Wildstorm’s Ninja Boy, and Image’s Black Ops, has revealed on his Deviant Art account that he previously worked on an abandoned Doctor Who animation series, which was set to feature all the Doctor’s incarnations.

DW Animation

Norton, who’s also worked on Marvel’s Spider-Man Unlimited and Uncanny X-Men, said:

Yeah, man, we were so close… Had a few revisions creatively that were requested and so we retooled. It was going to be epic, man. End of the day, BBC didn’t want anything to distract from production of the TV show.


Well, what was close to happening didn’t. Since the BBC eventually passed on, you will be rewarded with! This is the pitch poster I had only 7 hours to do. Starting with [the] First Doctor, the series would have touched on all the versions and filled in some gaps.

Doctors animation

As you can see, the series would’ve featured established enemies like the Cybermen as well as new monsters, and Norton says:

I was establishing scale of a Cyberman and I did some rough body types of the child companions that would have travelled with the [Doctor]. The boy would have been circa 1920′s and the girl was of modern times. I was really trying to break traditional proportions and style by going really skinny on the legs and pushing the faces a bit more euro from an anime base.

The series would likely have been for an American TV channel, BBC America perhaps, and judging from the artist’s sketches, would’ve starred all eleven Doctors. Norton even has previous with animation, having worked on the 2011 series of ThunderCats.

10 and 11 animation

Bleeding Cool notes that:

If we’d seen these images at the weekend, we’d have totally run them on April 1st, as part of our series of articles that looked like April Fools but weren’t.

It sounds as if the series had only got to pitch stage and was awaiting permission and final confirmation from the BBC, and likely didn’t have many writers attached to the project. But the show is amazingly popular in the US, so I’m sure a talented crop of writers could’ve easily been found!

10 Doctor animation

It seems we’ll never see a Doctor Who animation take off. Is that a good or bad thing? Anything can be achieved through animation, of course, but would a series go into fan-fiction territory and bring back – oh, I don’t know – the Rani?! Would it have been a nice extension to the Doctor Who brand, or would a series simply be too distracting from the main show?

It’s over to you guys…


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

6 Responses to The Animation You Never Knew Didn’t Exist

  1. If an animation did happen, it should be overseen by someone from the BBC Doctor Who production team to ensure continuity (in a broad sense) and rubber stamp it as ‘canon’. I’d love to have seen this make it to the screen, the realisation of the characters is really nice. Except maybe their relative heights as seen in the line-up… :)

    • avatar Clark West says:

      Yes…. Peter Davison is a GIANT!

  2. avatar TimeChaser says:

    As an anime fan, I’ve always wanted to see Doctor Who done in that style. These sketches are pretty good, but some of them don’t seem ‘right’ for the Doctors they’re portraying, especially Five. And he left Eight out of the line-up.

  3. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    it’s a shame that the BBC doesn’t have the foresight to see how something of this caliber would help the franchise, not only the current series but the classic versions as well. How incredible would it be to have more creepy bxw Troughton monster adventures with Jamie and Zoe? Fantastic historical adventures with Hartnell’s Doctor, more present day UNIT missions with Pertwee? The animator wants to add in his own companions but I’d say that’s a misstep. There’s always been a good range of companions that would be excellent for the audience.

    And yeah, the height differences are a bit off (switch Tom and Peter’s height and shrink down Syl) but the point’s moot now. Maybe it’s for the best though. You’d want a hardcore Who fan to be at the helm of this to basically get things right or you know there’d be complaints.

  4. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    This would have been fantastic! Look at the Star Wars Clone Wars project. ..this could have been huge. Also who cares whether it’s canon or not? The BBC don’t even have an official policy and you’ll find plenty canon contradictions even in big finish stuff. The series has never cared either! Look at all the Tom Baker stuff set around the year 5000, none of it links at all.

    What happens when you follow canon too much? JNT’s ‘snogs to the past’ that ends in disaster.

    Take your blinkers off beeb and commission this!

  5. avatar Steve Andrew says:

    The heights do seem a bit off in the line-up (especially with Davison), but that’s a minor niggle – they’re just sketches. What I love is that he’s not gone for exact likenesses – but he’s represented each Doctor’s character perfectly: the statesman-like Pertwee, the cheeky, mad Baker and the gently heroic Davison. Oh, and I would give my right arm to see a Hartnell cartoon!

    This would have been amazing – what a tragedy it didn’t go ahead! I’ve always thought a Dr Who cartoon could work and it’s the ideal way to showcase previous incarnations. You don’t have to worry about the look of the actors and of course, there would be fewer concerns about the SFX budget. We wouldn’t even have to have much reference to continuity or canon. It could be an anthology show – different Doctor every week, showing the adventures in between the adventures, just imagine the possibilities!

    Although I generally liked the Infinite Quest and Dreamland, the art styles looked a little bit cheap. But the Infinite Quest at least had great ambition when it came to its various planetary environments.

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I totally recommend you have a look at Dan Norton’s DA page ( – there’s even more great stuff in his gallery.

    Also, while you’re there… maybe you can check out some amateurish scribblings by this idiot:

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