DOCTOR WHO: Stories From The Scrapheap - The Proposed EIGHTH DOCTOR Series

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Christopher Morley turns back the clock and looks at what could've been had the proposed Eighth Doctor series been picked up by US television.


Get ready to swear on ( or at, depending on point of view), the Leekley Bible! For this week's Stories From The Scrapheap we're taking a lovely steampunk design classic TARDIS & heading to the USA to take a look at an ultimately doomed attempt to get the Eighth Doctor off the ground before his outing in the 1996 Doctor Who TV film.



Rather cheekily it was passed around as a complete reboot of the series itself rather than a continuation, though a great many of the story ideas are simply rewrites of various classic series episodes!

Before we look at that side of the coin, though, we must surely look at the basics. The Doctor, who's half-human just as he was in the film, & the Master were to feature as half-brothers, both sons of Ulysses. The Master was to have become Lord President back on Gallifrey, with the Doctor searching for his father. He would of course have the steampunked 'Sexy' as a handy mode of transport- though the soul of his old tutor Borusa would have merged with it! Heresy, you might think. But there's more where that came from.......


American television writer John Leekley also planned to redesign the Cybermen as ' Cybs'- a more piratical take on the original. They would have appeared in several stories, including a remake of Earthshock, Tomb Of The Cybs- in which the Master was to have awoken them from their freezing tombs, The Cybs ( basically Cybermen on Mars), & The Outcasts- which would see them attacking the outcasts of Gallifrey ( a bit like the ones from The Invasion Of Time). Read on & you'll see his meddling knew no bounds!

Don't Shoot, I'm The Doctor- yes, that really was the planned title- was at least a nod to the history of the target market, planned as a more historically correct version of The Gunfighters. Other attempts to shoehorn in the history of the land of the free & home of the brave include a variation on The Daemons set during the Salem Witch Trials & The Talons Of Weng-Chiang transported to New York, topped off with The Sea Devils via an oil rig in Louisiana. We'd also have seen The Yeti, a retelling of The Abominable Snowmen featuring cameos from both Sir Edmund Hillary & the Dalai Lama. You honestly read that right!


In other developments the Celestial Toymaker would have been revealed as the Master's puppet, with Romana introduced alongside her uncle Professor Chronotis in a completed version of Shada. Of course the Eighth Doctor would later take the place of the Fourth in a webcast adaptation of the same story. Two more of the stories originally featuring the Doctor four selves ago-Horror Of Fang Rock which was also revisited by the Eighth in a sense in the 1970s-set audio Horror Of Glam Rock, being one. Check out composer Tim Sutton's brilliant similarly minded arrangement of the Who theme, too!


The other, with considerably less glam, was to have been The Ark In Space. Amblin Entertainment, who had commissioned Leekley in the first place, were dissatisfied with his plans & had pulled the plug by 1994. Perhaps not surprising when you consider that among its founders the company had a properly dedicated American fan of the Doctor. Who was this mystery man, you ask? No less than a chap by the name of Steven Spielberg! It would seem that he had been in the frame to direct a few episodes as well, going by what claims to be a piece of test footage. Plus anyone who's said ' The world would be a poorer place without Doctor Who' is alright by us!



The Eighth Doctor would of course return to us in a sense through audio dramas, with The New Eighth Doctor Adventures spanning everything from Blood Of The Daleks- Dark Eyes 2 as well as appearances in the main Doctor Who series in everything from Storm Warning- The Light At The End & Destiny Of The Doctor ( Enemy Aliens).

He's no less prolific on the books count, either! Two Past Doctor Adventures novels ( a cameo in Wolfsbane alongside the Fourth Doctor & a solo adventure in Fear Itself) & a series of 73 Eighth Doctor Adventures ( The Eight Doctors- The Gallifrey Chronicles) which also includes Jacqueline Rayner's Earthworld, specially selected from the set to be reprinted as part of the 50th anniversary series featuring one book from each of the first eleven incarnations of the Doctor. He's also the subject of Alex Scarrow's Spore, from the Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories anthology.

Which brings us nicely on to his belated TV comeback for The Night Of The Doctor!. Only a whole seventeen years after the film which spawned him, but better late than never, you'd think?


Previous Stories From The Scrapheap
The Son of Doctor Who
The Final Game 
Doctor Who Meets Scratchman 
The Red Fort 
The one written by Stephen Fry 
Warped Factor
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