Doctor Who General Notes

A cool article in the Telegraph today discusses some pre-production notes from 1963, in which the genesis of Doctor Who is revealed.

The paper summarises the notes as describing

“A paranoid fugitive who travelled the galaxy in an invisible flying saucer, suffering from LSD-style depressions and trying to halt scientific progress.”

It seems that the idea of a time machine was considered old fashioned, while the Doctor should in some ways resemble the Wizard of Oz

“…only a little more authentic… we can strike more of the charm and humour as well as the mystery, the suspicion and the cunning.

“A feature of the new Doctor will be the humour along the lines of the sardonic humour of Sherlock Holmes. The metaphysical change which takes place over 500 years or so is a horrifying experience… in which he relives some of the unendurable moments of his long life.”

It is surprising to learn that the TARDIS could have been an invisible blob – Doctor Who Magazine editor Tom Spilsbury was quoted as saying:

“A flying saucer would be a bit too ordinary for a hero like the Doctor.”

While DWAS’ own Anthony Wainer (remember them…?) comments on the genius of eventually settling on the police box:

The notion of a spaceship sounds great but the Tardis is much better. Police boxes were still on the street in the Sixties and so the possibility that the Tardis could be on their street was very exciting to children.”

The document was also believed to feature notes from the late Verity Lambert. Beside a typed passage that reads:

“He can get into a rare paddy when faced with a caveman trying to invent a wheel. He malignantly tries to stop progress (the future) wherever he finds it, while searching for his ideal (the past).” His ultimate aim, says the memo is to “destroy or ‘ify the future”.

the young producer scribbled

Don’t like this at all. Doctor Who will behave like a kind of father figure – I don’t want him to be a reactionary.”

After all, it was her show.


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