Doctor Who News The Doctor and Polly meet a Cyberman in The Tenth Planet

Published on September 1st, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Early Tenth Planet Script Found – No Regeneration!

When William Hartnell left Doctor Who in 1966, the decision wasn’t taken lightly. Although the actor loved the role, those he worked for were increasingly concerned about his ability to carry the show as its lead. Eventually, in July 1966, he agreed to move on.

Michael Seely has written a biography of Doctor Who scriptwriter Professor Kit Pedler

When you consider that a recently discovered draft script of his final story, The Tenth Planet, is dated June 1966, you can imagine why there is interest in the document. In this version of the Doctor’s first encounter with the Cybermen, their creators (Dr Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis) have the Doctor and Polly (Anneke Wills) threatened with conversion towards the end of the story, rather than a tired Time Lord regenerating.

Here’s a snippet of the script:

An early draft of Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis' script for The Tenth Planet

The script has come to light thanks to the research of Michael Seely, who has written The Quest For Pedler, a biography of the visionary scientist and writer who as well as creating the Cybermen also developed the BBC series Doomwatch. He explains:

I found this script and two more from ‘The Moonbase’ (known then as ‘The Return Of The Cybermen’) among a very large collection of Kit’s papers which one of his children had kept in their attic .As I looked through it, I realised it was the first draft [script editor and co-writer] Gerry Davis prepared when Kit fell ill in June 1966.

The structure is more or less the same, though a lot of the dialogue is different. Some things were cut, especially involving the Cybermen. For example, the Cybermen planned to convert [companion] Polly and the Doctor into Cybermen towards the end of the story, and kept them prisoner in what they described as a waiting room. The most eye-catching difference is what didn’t happen at the end of the episode.

The Quest For Pedler by Michael Seely is scheduled for release early in 2014. Further details can be found at www.miwk.com, or you can pre-order from Amazon for just £19.99
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(Via SFX)

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About the Author

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




13 Responses to Early Tenth Planet Script Found – No Regeneration!

  1. Mugen Pharoah says:

    Very interesting…I know this probably wasn’t intended but it would have been interesting to see the regeneration triggered by an attempted cyberconversion of the Doctor.

    With the Tenth Planet isn’t more the fact that the doctor was exposed to radiation that leads to the regeneration? I think as fans there’s a lot of conflation of Hartnell as actor and the Doctor….he doesn’t regenerate because of his age, I always take the ‘wearing a bit thin’ line as a figurative downplaying of his condition.

    Then again I haven’t seen the Tenth Planet for years – I’m looking forward to the DVD….

  2. rickjlundeen says:

    If memory serves, it was just his body wearing out. He spent a lot of the adventure down for the count, tired, seemingly more frail than usual and Ben and Polly made mention of it too. He had rallied near the end and went back to the ship and that’s when it happened. I think it was their way of preparing us for the big change, if that were even possible…..

    For my own reasons, I now tend to think that he took a harder hit from the Time Destructor back during the Dalek’s Master Plan than we were led to believe in the show. :)

    • vortexter says:

      Some of his life essence was taken away in ‘The Savages’ as well which would have left him weakened.

  3. Pingback: Early draft of the Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet reveals surprising details « The Daily P.O.P.

  4. Neu 75 says:

    There was also the life force draining device used by the Elders in The Savages. That would have took a bit out of him…

  5. TimeChaser says:

    Its been a while since I saw The Tenth Planet, but this sounds a lot like the opening chapter of John Peel’s novelization of The Power of the Daleks, with Ben making his way through a damaged cyber ship to find and rescue Polly and the Doctor.

  6. FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    I like to think the Doctor was affected (detrimentally) by Mondas’ huge energy drain of Earth. But as Rickjlundeen and Neu 75 mention, I think this could’ve simply been the last straw for the 1st Doctors’ already ravaged and worn body due to previous adventures!

  7. rickjlundeen says:

    Image how nervous the entire production was leading to that decision……literally the most important moment in the history of the series. Nothing quite like it had ever been done. Actors had been replaced on soap operas and movies for certain parts off screen but you were asked to please ignore the convention with a wink and a nod. Here, they stepped up and said “We’ll, this man has been mostly a mystery until now, you know little about him except he’s not from Earth, oh, and by the way, he can totally change his appearance if necessary. Enjoy!” And we did, thank goodness. Very much looking forward to the DVD.

  8. Geoff says:

    I’ve never seen it, just a colourised clip on Tomorrow’s World in the 80s. My Dad read me the book when I was a boy which I can still remember so I’m looking forward to the DVD.

  9. Ranger says:

    I can’t wait for the DVD, I’ve only read the Target novelisation, so I’m a bit on tenterhooks. The book on Pedlar looks really interesting as well, think I’ll (sneakily) ask for that as a belated extra Christmas present

    • iLikeTheUDK says:

      *Pedler. It’s the same spelling mistake the production team made for his name in the credits for “The War Machines”.

  10. TonyS says:

    I think it would have been more surprising if there hadn’t been a version without the regeneration to be honest. What is interesting is that it has been found. I had always thought that it was implicit in the Doctor and Polly being taken to the Cyber Ship that the intention was to convert them. It would have been interesting to have seen a version where this became more in-your-face.

  11. Pingback: „Dziesiąta Planeta” oryginalnie bez pierwszej regeneracji. |

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