Lovers and haters of the two Dalek movies from the 1960s will openly admit that Peter Cushing’s incarnation of the famous Time Lord presents something of a problem in the Doctor Who canon. In his widescreen outings, Cushing plays a mad inventor called Dr Who, whose latest invention inadvertently whisks a group of unwillingly passengers into the time vortex where they experience adventures almost identical to the William Hartnell stories The Daleks and The Dalek Invasion of Earth.
Over the decades, many theories have been put forward in an attempt to legitimise Peter Cushing’s place in the Doctor Who universe. Was he an incarnation of the Time Lord from a parallel dimension? Or was he a future version of the Doctor forced to revisit some of his most dangerous exploits as part of a maniacal scheme concocted by the Celestial Toymaker?
Thankfully, Doctor Who‘s head writer has come forward with an intriguing new theory that might just calm a few nerves! Speaking in the current edition of Doctor Who Magazine, Steven Moffat reveals:
“When I started writing The Day of the Doctor I knew I wanted every Doctor to make some sort of appearance… But what about Peter Cushing? Now I love those movies… but they don’t exactly fit with the rest of the show, do they? … You remember that line, in the Black Archive, when Kate is explaining about the need to screen the Doctor’s known associates… She wasn’t supposed to be looking at the Vortex Manipulator – originally she was walking past the posters for the two Peter Cushing movies. In my head, in the Doctor’s universe those films exist as distorted accounts of his adventures… Sadly we couldn’t afford the rights to the posters.”
It would have been great to see. In a 50th anniversary year that saw a new Doctor, a new regeneration cycle, a mass return of missing episodes and an appearance from Tom Baker, a canonised Cushing would have been the cherry on the cake!
Alas, it wasn’t to be. The debate must rage on.
At least until the price of those posters comes down…