Original Tenth Planet Script FoundBookmark and Share

Sunday, 1 September 2013 - Reported by Marcus
The original script for William Hartnell's last story, The Tenth Planet, has been found, with one key difference from the transmitted version. The Doctor does not regenerate at the end of the story.

Michael Seely, author of the forthcoming biography of Dr Kit PedlerThe Quest for Pedler’ unearthed the original draft script, along with draft scripts for The Moonbase, known then as The Return of the Cybermen, among a very large collection of Pedler's papers which one of his children had kept in their attic.

Michael Seely
As I looked through it, I realised it was the first draft Gerry Davis prepared when Kit fell ill in June 1966.

The structure is more or less the same, though a lot of the dialogue is different. Some things were cut, especially involving the Cybermen. For example, the Cybermen planned to convert Polly and the Doctor into Cybermen towards the end of the story, and kept them prisoner in what they described as a waiting room. The most eye catching difference is what didn't happen at the end of the episode.
The relevance of this early draft, and the date it was prepared goes some way to illustrating the hasty nature of Hartnell’s departure:
Gerry Davis and Innes Lloyd were always very diplomatic and tactful in their interviews. Both died in 1991, long before 'warts and all' interviews became the norm. We know that William Hartnell was being persuaded to give up the role he loved over the summer of 1966, and that they were sounding out replacements. He only decided to leave in the middle of July, the month after this draft was written.
Michael Seely is no stranger to the work of Dr Kit Pedler, he has previously written two books (‘Prophets of Doom’ and ‘Deadly Dangerous Tomorrow’ – both available from Miwk Publishing) on the subject of Doomwatch.
Doomwatch fans will be interested to learn that over five original story lines were among Kit's papers, including several that did not get made. One of these was responsible for the BBC removing Kit's influence over the programme he and Gerry created as a warning over unchecked science and technology. There were a couple of radio plays too, which had been known about but remained a bit of a mystery since they were not made. Unfinished books and short stories, and proposals for television series. Environmentalists, though Kit did not consider himself to be one, and students of the 1970s environmental movement, will be pleased to learn that a lot of his writings, lectures and scripts for TV and radio, also exist within this collection.
Seely’s biography of Pedler will be released in early 2014 by Miwk Publishing. Authorised by his family and produced with their assistance, the book will tell the full story of Dr C.M.H. Pedler, MB. BS., Ph.D, M.C. Path. A research scientist well known to Doctor Who fans as the co-creator of the Cybermen, but in also a leading activist and campaigner for more sociably responsible and sustainable scientific research and understanding.

Pedler’s role in Doctor Who is also clarified:
He was not a scientific advisor. Kit wasn't there to throw in the science, or vet scripts for their accuracy. He was there to give plausible science fiction ideas, which Lloyd and Davis had no clue about.

He argued that we were conditioned to accept whatever science had to offer us as automatically a good thing, and not to enquire deeper. He used to describe himself as a 'defrocked scientist.' His words are still true today.
The Quest for Pedler: The Life & Ideas of Dr Kit Pedler By Michael Seely is now available for preorder.

FILTER: - William Hartnell - Production - Books - Classic Series