Monday, 2 April 2012

The Quest For Pedler

Miwk Publishing have announced a biography of the life of Doctor Who writer and consultant, Dr. Christopher "Kit" Pedler, due to be published in March 2013.

The Quest For Pedler: The Life and Ideas of Dr Kit Pedler
By Michael Seely  pre-order

For many people, Kit Pedler is best remembered as the man who created the Cybermen for Doctor Who, a real-life scientist who was brought in to act as an advisor and bring some science to the fiction. The Cybermen were his ultimate scientific nightmare – Man’s very nature corrupted into a monster by his own genius for survival. Pedler had a gift for imagining the horrors of tomorrow.

With two doctorates to his name as well as being Head of Anatomy at the Institute of Ophthalmology, Dr Kit Pedler began to share the suspicions being voiced in the 1960s towards the role of the scientist in society who saw research as an end in itself, leaving the moral dilemmas to politicians in a world where the people were conditioned to accept an intolerable environment. He was at the beginnings of the 'soft' or 'alternative’ technology movement, which wanted to develop a sustainable science that would not deplete the world of its natural resources or poison the environment with its pollution.

Together with his friend and writing partner Gerry Davis, he created the hugely successful and controversial BBC1 drama series Doomwatch, which captured this fear and frightened the adults as much as the Cybermen scared the children.

The series changed his life and launched him as a prophet of doom whose stories uncannily predicted real-life ecological accidents and disasters, making him a much sought-after pundit in the press and on television.

Resigning from the institute, Pedler turned his back on the world he had spent his adult life working in and spent the rest of it campaigning for a real Doomwatch to stop the unnecessary and cruel practices on laboratory animals which he himself had performed in his earlier academic days, experiment in what we would now call eco-friendly housing and alternative technology, and began to change his own relationship to the world. This lead to his book The Quest For Gaia, published in 1979, where he envisaged how a Gaian lifestyle would work in the post-industrial age. He also designed and built a nuclear bomb in rural Kent.

Before his premature death in 1981 he had just finished a documentary series for ITV called Mind Over Matter, which was the first serious look at the world of the paranormal through the eyes of his enquiring and rational, but imaginative, mind.

With contributions from his family, friends, colleagues and critics, this book tells the story behind a fascinating, charismatic, complicated and demanding man – a natural teacher who didn't just pontificate about the problems facing the world in a television or radio studio, but actually wanted to do something practical about them.