Merchandise Doctor Omega

Published on August 8th, 2014 | by James Lomond

John Guilor Reads Doctor Omega!

The good Doctor is not the first time-and-space faring eccentric to have emerged from writers’ imaginations. While Canadian television producer and originator of Doctor Who, Sydney Newman, was explicit about the influence of H. G. Wells, there is another mysterious adventurer that bears a striking resemblance to the Doctor…

Doctor Omega, from Arnould Galopin’s 1906 French novel, Le Docteur Omega, seems to be an early forerunner of the show’s format – that is, a mysterious scientist whisks ordinary companions away on and adventure through time and space, encountering monsters and peril on far-flung planets etc. The original illustrations of Doctor Omega also bear a striking resemblance to the First Doctor… appropriately you will soon be able to listen to an audio adaptation of the book, read by First Doctor impersonator, John Guilor, who provided the first incarnation’s voice for the saving-Gallifrey climax in 50th special Day of the Doctor.

Available from September 15th, at £14.99 + delivery or available from Amazon.com for pre-order at £17.99 (free delivery in the UK), Doctor Omega And The Fantastic Adventure To Mars promises to be a slice of vintage sci-fi *awesome*.

From a little (compulsive) nosing around the web, and (more than) a little translation software compensating for my (pitiful) GCSE French, the similarities with Who are quite remarkable. To begin with the illustrations by Rapeno from the 1906 edition do look a lot like Hartnell’s version of our favourite Time Lord – all white hair and Edwardian coat tails…

Le Docteur Omega

Riffing on “Carvroite” from H. G. Wells’s The First Men on the Moon (1901), he’s invented a substance that is repelled rather than attracted by gravity, cunningly named “Repulsite” (yes it’s a rubbish name and when I say riff I sort of mean *steal*). However Repulsite apparently also repels time. This is used to create a vessel that transports Omega, his neighbour and his manservant to Mars. There they encounter monsters and get embroiled in a war between two dwarf-like races, assisting one side to victory and getting captured and locked-up in the process…

All sound rather familiar? In fact, on the submarine part of their adventure (and why wouldn’t there be?) they are attacked by a reptilian merman that threatens to break through their hull. Doctor Omega then tinkers with some circuitry and manages to electrify the exterior, killing the Sea-Devil – I mean reptilian merman. All sounds slightly reminiscent of – well all of Doctor Who really…

If that’s not enough, Arnould Galopin (1865 – 1943) went on to write L’Homme au Complet Gris (1912) where one of his own fictional characters was teamed-up with none other than Sherlock Holmes. Need I say more? Doctor Omega has Who all-over it. What do you think Kasterborites – curious?

Do you think Le Docteur Omega could have been an indirect influence on Who in some way or did it just seek inspiration from similar sources like H. G. Wells? Any other influences you think are worth exploring?

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One Response to John Guilor Reads Doctor Omega!

  1. avatar Chris says:

    I talked with Jean-Marc Lofficier (who did the best English translation of it with an intro by Terrance Dicks) and he believed Sydney Newman was not at all influenced by it.

    What is great about Doctor Omega though is that it is basically public domain Doctor Who. One school is that this is the first Doctor (or at least one companion’s telling of him) and the other is that this is a Time Lord, but a different one.

    Hopefully though this audio is abridged a little from the book.

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