Thursday, 5 November 2015

Season 23 - Not!

Before we move on to The Trial of a Time Lord, let's take a quick look at how Season 23 might have panned out. Plans were well underway for the season before the "hiatus" was announced - suspending production and leading to an 18 month gap between series.

The season would have opened with The Nightmare Fair. This was written by former producer Graham Williams. It would have been directed by Matthew Robinson, and set in and around Blackpool's famous Pleasure Beach amusement park. The villain of the piece would have been the Celestial Toymaker, once again played by Michael Gough. There would also have been monsters based on arcade games, and deadly funfair ride automatons. Like the next two stories on this list, the story did get novelised, and was later produced for audio by Big Finish.
Next up would have been The Ultimate Foe, by newcomer to the show Wally K. Daly. It was intended that Fiona Cumming would direct. The villain was the Dwarf Mordant, an arms dealer who was trying to start a war on a peaceful planet. This story would be reused for the season that was produced - though no-one can quite agree for which part.
Mordant does sound a bit like Sil, who would have turned up in the next story. This would have been Mission To Magnus, by Philip Martin. As well as Sil, it would have featured the long-awaited return of the Ice Warriors. There would also have been another rogue Time Lord, named Anzor, who had bullied the Doctor at school. Ron Jones would have directed.
The big three-parter (this season once again comprising 45 minute episodes) would have been another Robert Holmes effort - Yellow Fever And How To Cure It.
This was to have been directed by Graeme Harper, and filmed on location in Singapore. Producer JNT and his partner Gary Downie went there - supposedly on a recce - but it was just a holiday really.
The Rani would have met up with the Master once again, and the Autons would have returned. YFAHTCI remained on the production schedule after the rest of the season had been dumped, but with the Master removed.
The next two stories also lasted beyond the announcement of the hiatus - Christopher H. Bidmead's In The Hollows of Time, which got the Big Finish treatment with a minor tweak to the title, and The Children of January, by Michael Feeney Callan.

Other stories that were under consideration included three by Cyber-Leader actor David Banks - including his future New Adventures novel Iceberg. His Dark Labyrinth would also have featured Cybermen - in ancient Crete. He was also planning to include the Master.
Philip Martin had three other ideas for stories - The Doomwraiths, Space Sargasso (featuring the Master), and Valley of Shadows.
Peter Grimwade would have offered us the historical tale Last of the Tancreds.
60's companion Victoria Waterfield would have made a comeback in a story called Meltdown, by Gary Hopkins.
Shades of future seasons, Pip & Jane Baker had a story planned called Gallifrey - which would have seen the destruction of the Doctor's homeworld.
One story I would really have loved to have seen was Point of Entry, by Barbara Clegg. It would have featured the Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe.

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