Doctor Who: The Top 5 Doctor Who Stories Never Made

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Over the course of 50 years Doctor Who has had 239 different stories, encompassing almost 800 individual episodes. We've got two more this year to look forward to, the 50th Anniversary special in November and the Christmas special where Matt Smith will step out of the Tardis for the last time and welcome the new Doctor.

That is a Guinness World Record holding amount of television, but not every story gets made. Sometimes scripts just don't make it to the final phase of production. This continues all the way up into the present series. Today I thought we'd look at the best stories never told.

Flashback Doctor Who: Your New to Who FAQ Kid's Edition

5. The Laird of McCrimmon: Near the end of the Second Doctor's second season his companion Jamie McCrimmon becomes possessed and pilots the Tardis back to his ancestral castle in Scotland. There he finds the current Laird of McCrimmon on his death bed. The whole thing is a plot by the Great Intelligence and his robotic yeti to inhabit the body of Jamie and begin the conquest of Scotland and later the world with him as a puppet laird successor.

The serial would have served as Jamie's departure from the Tardis, voluntarily leaving the crew after driving off the Great Intelligence with his new love interest, a girl named Fiona. It would have been the proper heroic send-off for one of the Doctor's most loyal and courageous companions, and certainly less dumb than dropping him back in a battlefield with amnesia.

Why It Never Happened: The creators of the yeti and the Great Intelligence, Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, got into a bitter dispute with the BBC over the rights to their other creation, the Quarks from "The Dominators." As such, the monsters were off-limits, and didn't make a return to the series proper until last year in "The Snowmen" aside from a brief cameo in "The Five Doctors" and the semi-canon video release "Downtime." On top of that, though Frazer Hines' (Jamie) agent encouraged Hines to leave the show, he remained at the request of Patrick Troughton, who wanted to have The Doctor and Jamie partnered until the very end.

4. Killers of the Dark: The Fourth Doctor, K-9, and Leela journey to Gallifrey, only to become caught up in the machinations of a race of cat-people who lived on the planet with the Time Lords. The race would be a brutal one, who and the plot included death matches in a giant coliseum.

Why It Never Happened: The success of "The Deadly Assassin" prompted the commission of another Gallifrey story. David Weir turned in "Killers of the Dark," drawing on Asian culture to explore the Cat-People race. Nonethless, the script was deemed far too ambitious for the show's budget, and the return to Gallifrey was replaced with "The Invasion of Time." The Cat-People would go on to be featured in an unrelated Gary Russell spin-off novel.Doctor Who: 4 Modern Series Masterpieces Lifted From Classic Who

3. The Nightmare Fair: This story featured the return of Michael Gough as the Celestial Toymaker, a villain absent since encounter with the First Doctor. In it, the Sixth Doctor and Peri stumble into an amusement park under the Toymaker's control. Peri becomes lost and pursued by automatons in a mine coaster ride, while The Doctor is forced to play a video game in order to determine the fate of the planet.

The whole thing was inspired by a ride called Space Invader that Colin Baker had opened at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Producer John Nathan-Turner thought it would be a good setting for a story, and commissioned a script by Graham Williams as well as convincing Michael Gough to return to the role.

Why It Never Happened: The standard format of the classic series was abandoned in Season 23 in order to try the experiment of one long storyline that eventually culminated in the "Trial of a Time Lord." Most of the scripts like "Nightmare Fair" were abandoned. Later it was adapted into a novel and a Big Finish audio story.

2. The J. K. Rowling Christmas Special: The Tenth Doctor's final Christmas was going to be something almost unbelievable, a Harry Potter/Doctor Who crossover. The episode would feature an alien intelligence rewriting the world after attaching itself to J.K. Rowling's mind, leaving The Doctor to fight in a world of magic rather than science. Ten would have to brave wizards and Death Eaters to reach Rowling at the center of the reality storm. How unbelievably cool would this have been?

Why It Never Happened: Russell T. Davis had been trying to get Rowling involved in the modern series since 2005. Rowling was open to the idea, but was still finishing her series and had no time to contribute to the show. Even so, Davies would drop numerous references to Harry Potter throughout his tenure, culminating in this idea.

Unfortunately, David Tennant (Who had actually appeared in the fourth Potter film) nixed the idea. He felt that the idea was more of a spoof than a proper special. Davies was torn between appeasing Tennant and trying to finally make his Rowling dream come true, Ultimately, he bowed out and "The Next Doctor" was filmed instead. Some of the ideas made it into the special in the form of Ms. Hartigan's possession by the Cybermen and the Victorian setting.

1. The Final Game: Roger Delgado was one of the best parts of the Third Doctor's run. His portrayal of The Master would remain the definitive interpretation of the Time Lord until John Simm took on the role in the modern series. He plagues The Doctor at every turn, serving as a dark counterpart to The Doctor. "The Final Game" was to me, by Delgado's own request, his final outing as the character. Producer Barry Letts decided to send out The Master with a bang in a story that would have redeemed him as he sacrificed himself to save The Doctor, who would be revealed as his brother.

Why It Never Happened: Delgado was filming his first comedic role in Turkey in 1973 when the chauffer of his car drove off the road and into a ravine, killing Delgado and two technicians. The untimely death of the actor scrapped "The Final Game" and was one of the catalysts for Jon Pertwee's abandonment of the show himself. "Planet of the Spiders" was quickly put together to serve as the season finale. The Master would finally see his redemption in "The End of Time" when he stands with The Doctor against Rassilon and the destruction of all material life, a selfless act denied to Simm's predecessor by an unfortunate accident almost forty years prior.

Jef With One F is a recovering rock star taking it one day at a time. You can read about his adventures in The Bible Spelled Backwards or connect with him on Facebook.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.