Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Five Batshit Things You Never Knew About Doctor Who

Consider yourself an expert on all matters Gallifreyan? Take a look at these barely credible 'facts of Who-bris'.


When plans were afoot to bring back the malevolent Master during Tom Baker's run, the popularity of the Doctor's robotic companion K-9 prompted the BBC to draw up designs for the villain's own metallic 'pet'! Prime-8 was intended to be 'a sinister robot gorilla, capable of menacing the Doctor and his companions or guarding the Master while he carries out his evil plans'.

A prototype radio-controlled Prime-8 was built but proved too bulky and 'bloody silly-looking' according to one insider, so the idea was shelved. Prime-8 was later sold off to ITV, where he finally made it on to our television screens as Metal Mickey.

Raston McCoy

Like many Who regulars, Sylvester McCoy actually had a small cameo part in an earlier story before securing the role of the Seventh Doctor. In his case, it was the dialogueless but crucial role of the deadly Raston Warrior Robot in The Five Doctors, where McCoy's slender, athletic frame was put to good use, jumping around a quarry and shooting spikes into Cybermen.

The former O-Man Big off of Jigsaw is said to have clinched the part of the Raston, ahead of Wayne Sleep and the man who played Mr Claypole in Rentaghost, by turning up to the audition already clad in his own silver leotard.

Van Der Who?

The Doctor Who team had to act quickly when Jon Pertwee fell victim to a nasty skin rash during the filming of The Curse of Peladon; the infection subsequently attributed to the 'manky old fur coats' that had been used to create the beast Aggedor. With a tight shooting schedule but no Doctor, they scrambled to work around his absence, ultimately resorting to recasting him with lookalike actor Barry 'Van Der Valk' Foster.

Despite Foster's physical resemblance to Pertwee and eagerness to embrace the physical requirements of the role, BBC executives were uneasy with the hastily rewritten script of The Sea Devils, in which the Doctor declares to Jo Grant that a chance neutron discharge from the TARDIS console has caused his facial molecules to 'temporarily freak out', and instead chose to wait until Pertwee was well enough to continue in the role. Unaired footage of the infamous Foster episode of The Sea Devils has never been seen by the public.

The Bill Makers

Staying true to Doctor Who's original historical/educational remit, this First Doctor story was to have landed William Hartnell's timelord and companions Ben and Polly at the court of William III and Mary II of England in the last years of the 17th century.

The main plotline would involve the Doctor being mistaken for a leading Whig pushing to ratify the Bill of Rights, while Ben and Polly would become bound up in the drafting of the Stamp Duty laws and founding of the Bank of England respectively. Produce Verity Lambert took one look at the script, declared it to be 'even duller than Marco Polo', and ordered that it be replaced by 'something with space people'.

Nativity of the Daleks

Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy writer Douglas Adams famously contributed three stories to Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet, City of Death and Shada, the final remaining incomplete due to industrial action. But rumours persist of a secret cache of unseen scripts from the great man, hidden somewhere in Britain but locatable by studying certain hidden clues in his published Who works.

Among them is said to be Nativity of the Daleks, a Christmas-themed story in which the Doctor discovers his perennial nemeses using Skaro's Book of Exterminus to meddle with Earth history in first century Galilee. Having engineered the creation of Dalek Jesus, His Holiness Pope Davros revels in triumph but his plan is ultimately undone when the Doctor travels back in time and bombards the Three Wise Daleks with the reverse-polarity chords he has inserted into Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody.

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