So: Was David Burton the Doctor?

The history of Doctor Who is fascinating; not just what is, but also what could have been. And one of the biggest wells of secrets is over the show in the 1990s, a grim decade wherein only one adventure was ever made.

We all know and love Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor – but was there another Eighth Doctor, another plan to revive the series? That’s what the documentary, Dr. Forever!: Lost in the Dark Dimension, investigates, something expanded upon by Nothing at the End of the Lane, the Doctor Who research and restoration magazine and website.

Jon Pertwee stars in Doctor Who: Inferno

The documentary appears on the Inferno: Special Edition release and producer, James Goss (Dead of Winter; The Hounds of Artemis), was especially interested in David Burton’s infrequent assertions that he filmed two pilots for a new series of Doctor Who after it was cancelled in 1989.

Burton is probably best known for his extensive theatre work, including The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan. This particular rumour began when he arrived at a school fete in Holmesdale in a car emblazoned quite unceremoniously with ‘The New Doctor Who’ written on it. It gained weight when he claimed that he was offered the role of the Eighth Doctor after appearing in a musical, Lock Up Your Daughters, directed by Day of the Daleks’ Paul Bernard. Nothing at the End o the Lane, explains:

“According to his 2012 interview, Burton clearly says that it was Paul Bernard who contacted him a few months later and asked him to go with the director to a meeting at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. At the meeting with various other people, it became apparent that Burton was being offered the lead role of the Doctor in an independent pilot and that Paul Bernard himself was going to direct the production.


Sadly, Paul Bernard died in 1997, but it’s interesting to note that in the various interviews that were conducted with him after the time of the supposed pilot’s shooting, no reference was ever made to this independent production.”

What’s more, Carole, Paul’s widow, checked the director’s diaries and couldn’t find any proof of his involvement with resurrecting Doctor Who.

Nonetheless, Burton maintains that he played the Eighth Doctor.

You can find out more by grabbing a copy of the Inferno: Special Edition DVD, or simply heading over to Nothing at the End of the Lane’s website now!


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates (Kasterborous' former Editor) pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. He is the co-founder of The Doctor Who Companion:

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