Doctor Who News Cushing

Published on January 15th, 2014 | by Alex Skerratt

Moffat Planned To Feature Peter Cushing’s Dr Who In Anniversary Special

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…


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About the Author


likes William Hartnell, whisky, being creative, debating canonicity, The Gunfighters, The Keys of Marinus and City of Death. He has a strong dislike of cold quiche, corporate PowerPoint presentations and lanyards, but loves terrible puns. He's currently employed by a mute teddy bear with black ears.

31 Responses to Moffat Planned To Feature Peter Cushing’s Dr Who In Anniversary Special

  1. Peter Cushing = a future incarnation of the Doctor using a Chameleon Arch.

  2. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I like both Jeffrey’s and the Moff’s angles, although I’d have to go with the Moff’s because it’s doubtful the Doctor would have to repeat two of his biggest adventures in a future incarnation. A real shame they couldn’t get the rights to the posters. You’d think that would have been a bit easier for the Beeb.

    • avatar John Miller says:

      ” it’s doubtful the Doctor would have to repeat two of his biggest adventures in a future incarnation. ”

      Human Nature, Shada, Jubilee/Dalek, The Lodger, What I did,,,/Blink etc.

      • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

        None of the examples you give involve making the source material canon in the TV series do they? For a start, the original Shada is questionable canon to begin with as it was never completed or broadcast. The shows inspired by Human Nature, The Lodger, Jubilee, and What I Did… in NO way tried to incorporate their original source material as part of the TV series. Much in the same way that Rise Of The Cybermen/Age Of Steel was originally influenced by the excellent Spare Parts.

        • avatar John Miller says:

          That’s not really responding to what i said though. rickjundeen said that it’s doubtful that the Doctor would ever repeat an adventure in a future incarnation.

          • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

            I was responding to the examples you gave, not rickjundeen’s original post. The Doctor never repeated any of the adventures that you gave as examples (the Shada situation I explain in my previous post). they were merely non-canon inspirations for some later TV stories.

          • avatar John Miller says:

            Non-canon inspirations? I’m sure the people who wrote them, the people who worked on them, and the fans who enjoyed them may disagree.

          • Someone, somewhere, has a video of Paul Cornell expounding on his “there is no canon” point of view at a con several years ago, and I’m inclined to agree with him. We all like what we like, and it is quite unfair for one group to impose their strict adherence to particular facts and stories on another.

            IMO :)

          • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

            My use of the term ‘non-canon’ was totally wrong. Sorry. But the point remains that the examples given above by Mr Miller are ridiculous. Regarding them, The Doctor has never repeated the mentioned adventures (except for the Shada situation, which is tedious at best). Inspirations – yes. Repeated adventures by different Doctors – no.

  3. avatar Solonor says:

    I love Moffat’s explanation! It makes perfect sense that in the Doctor Who universe these would just be unfaithful adaptations of the Doctor’s real adventures…because that’s what they ARE! Brilliant.

  4. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Well since the Doctor has been messing around in Earth history since almost the beginning, I wouldn’t be surprised that some people would take the ‘rumor’ of this mysterious scientist and tell their own versions of his story. They did a similar thing in the PDA Salvation, with news snippets about a movie of events in the book.

  5. avatar Julian Clarke says:

    So are you going to drip feed the entire Moffat interview in DWM over the next few weeks then?

    • It’s not from the Moffat interview.

  6. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    I wonder how much the rights to the posters actually cost to make them prohibitive? I would never have imagined it would have been too much! I’d also have thought the BBC would own a fair amount of copyright on them in the first place along with Terry Nation’s estate. Just goes to show. Would have been a brilliant touch though! Moff’s words are good enough for me to make him canon in my own mind finally (though i have always made up ways myself over the years) :)

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      Moffat has said that they made the special on a very tight budget – basically a 75 minute 3D film for the cost of a 60 minute 2D Xmas special. But it may not have just been costs – getting copyright clearances can take time and paperwork, especially if more than one company may own rights (and the Dalek films have been through many hands) so it may just not have been worth the effort on the schedule they were working to.

  7. avatar Pauluus says:

    I’ve always seen the films as a parallel universe version of the Doctor, especially as both films are re -telling the first Doctors TV adventure (at least in my head)

    • avatar John Miller says:

      Absolutely. Some unfortunate person has downvoted me for saying something similar. We’ve already seen things like Pete’s World, the Divergent Universe, the Bottle Universe, the Inferno Universe etc. So why not have different Doctors having similar adventures in different universes, and each of them equally real or “canon” to the Doctor having his own adventures?

  8. avatar David F says:

    There would have had to be some explanation of why every human who ever meets the Doctor doesn’t say, “What, a Tardis? Daleks? Like in that old movie?”

    • avatar John Miller says:

      If the Last Great Time War changed everything to the point that the End of the World is totally different, Sarah Jane’s memories of her UNIT years bear no resemblance to what actually happened, and the whole “Davros in the Stolen Earth/Journey’s End” thing exists, the old history is gone.

      Then came the Cracks in Time erasing even MORE events. It is far from unreasonable to believe that these two Dalek adventures were somehow removed from the timeline, and had to happen again with different people involved.

      …Or the human Cushing Doctor is an older version of the Meta Crisis Tenth Doctor in Pete’s World. His granddaughters are his grandchildren with Rose. His niece is the daughter Jackie was pregnant with.

      • avatar John says:

        I’ve never seen “The Sarah Jane Adventures,” but all of the things she mentions in her conversation with Rose in “School Reunion” were things from actual episodes – Mummies (Pyramids of Mars), Robots (Robot, Android Invasion), Daleks (Death to the Daleks, Genesis of the Daleks), Anti Matter Monsters (Planet of Evil), Dinosaurs (Invasion of the Dinosaurs), the Loch Ness Monster (Terror of the Zygons). “No resemblance” seems too strong, surely?

        • avatar John Miller says:

          Generally it was the idea that she had been in love with the Doctor, and that the Doctor had “been her whole life”. Which anyone who actually watched her with Pertwee and/or Baker would know is complete rubbish. Sarah Jane is the most popular companion ever because she was a strong, independent woman with a life of her own, who sometimes travelled with her friend The Doctor. She was the obvious choice for her own spin-off(first with the botched K9 and Company, then with her Big Finish series, and then the Sarah Jane Adventures) precisely because she was such a well-rounded individual who fans would be interested in, and was perfectly believable, having adventures that didn’t involve the Doctor at all. Davies tried to make her into just another young woman who pined for the Doctor, and said that her life post-Doctor was essentially empty and meaningless.

          Miuch like everything else, Davies retconned the most loved companion ever, to fit his vision of what Doctor Who is. If your introduction to Sarah Jane was School Reunion, you probably don’t get it.

  9. avatar Ranger says:

    Nope, nothing Moffatt can say or do can make Cushing canon for me – the films do not exist in my universe.

    • avatar David F says:

      But he didn’t say he planned to make the Cushing adventures canonICAL.

      He was going to have those movies existing in the Doctor’s universe, so the Doctor might (for example) say to Clara, “They made some movies about me once, starring Peter Cushing. He played me as a human. Don’t know why.”

      Which kind of hangs together, but might have been too bit self-indulgent.

      • avatar TonyS says:

        Or do what the makers of “An Adventure in Space & Time” did- have them there but not mention them.

        • avatar Simon Magellan says:

          You post has made me realise that they didn’t mention the movies – which were, of course, one of the things that made the Prpduction Team begin to think that DW could continue without Hartnell. But then, they didn’t mention a lot of things!

  10. avatar Geoff says:

    I think it would have been really good fun if he could have completed his plan. I’m a fan of the the idea of The Doctor being a folklore character in his universe and I always like stories that play on it. Maybe that’s why I like Love and Monsters while everyone else hates it. I never liked though films much until I watched them in my 30s with my (then new, now just worn down!) wife after I’d slowly introduced her to Doctor Who via the new series and then slowly the Davison/C. Baker years. She really liked the films and coined the phrase “Daleks, the musical” to describe their look which we still say in our house to this day e.g ” New Dalek Paradigm…not sure. A bit Daleks the musical aren’t they?”. But watching those films again as a grown up I really enjoyed them. Peter Cushing is as much the Doctor as any of his TV incarnations, he owns it for that 4hrs or so and the films are just a great slice of fun. Plus chuck in Bernard Cribbins and Phillip Madoc, how much more “canon” does it have to be?

  11. avatar John Miller says:

    It’s quite depressing that people will ignore something like the Cushing movies(or Scream of the Shalka) because it doesn’t fit into some ridiculous idea of continuity.

    But then the same people have no trouble incorporating Death Comes to Time, the Virgin novels with their looms, or for that matter happily accepting both First Frontier and Dust breeding, or all of The Dark Path, Master and The Sound of Drums, or both Genocide and Death of the Doctor, or both Blood Harvest and The Eight Doctors(both written by Terrance Dicks just a few years apart)…

    They speak of some absurd singular “Doctor Who Universe” where both Human Natures, Lungbarrow and A Good Man Goes To War, Ground Zero and First Frontier, The Ark and The End of the World, War of the Daleks and Terror Firma and The Stolen Earth etc. etc. etc. all take place. This is ‘explained away’ by “Ooh, the Time War” or “Wibbly wobbly” or “The Doctor lies!” But these same people will not bring themselves to accept that Dimensions in Time or Shalka or any biographical information in the FASA Role Playing Games etc. can possibly exist in this sealed “Doctor Who Universe” Sad.

    There is no “Doctor Who Universe”. There are various stories featuring a character called ‘The Doctor’ who(usually) travels in a TARDIS. There are other characters he encounters, such as Sarah Jane Smith, the Daleks etc. and these characters have various stories that don’t involve the Doctor. And anyone who can try and force together various of these stories into a “Canon” or a “Doctor Who Universe”, deciding which stories fit and which don’t may already be too far beyond help.

    • avatar Geoff says:

      Hear hear! My view is as I CE said many times now here ( I’m becoming the pub bore) if it’s any good it’s in. That’s all I care about. I couldn’t give carats arse if something else contradicts it a few years later as long as that’s good as well and doesn’t make a mockery of the legacy of Doctor Who. Case in point Dimensions in Time. I don’t dislike it because of continuity issues. I dislike it because it is for me the embodiment of a time when Doctor Who became diminished….that and it’s crap. :)

  12. avatar Al says:

    I believe John Peel, in his book “I Am the Doctor”, suggested that the movies were inspired by a memoir Barbara Wright wrote under the pen name David Whitaker. There was also a DWM story that had the Third Doctor attending a screening often of the films…

  13. avatar Mobius says:

    I always thought Dr. Who was the Meta Crisis 10th Doctor. A human Doctor who built a TARDIS (in a deleted scene (well, I’ve been told it was deleted but I remember it in the original broadcast for some reason) 10 and Donna give Meta and Rose a piece of TARDIS coral), had a family, in a separate universe from the primary. That’s what I think.

  14. avatar Herbert Ragan says:

    That would have been cool

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