DOCTOR WHO: Stories From The Scrapheap - Illegal Alien

Christopher Morley digs up another scrapped Doctor Who adventure. This time it's a submission for the proposed season 27...

Sift through the scrapheap & you might well find a Cyber-head as part of our next entry- the Seventh Doctor adventure Illegal Alien. Originally intended as part of the post-Survival Season 27, ultimately never produced thanks to the axe coming down on Classic Who by 1989, it was subsequently revived in literary form as the fifth novel in the Past Doctor Adventures series by its writers Mike Tucker & Robert Perry. Tucker was at the time a member of the visual effects team on Doctor Who, working on its final four series before cancellation- he's now a model work supervisor for the revived series, having been approached to return for Series One. His team won a BAFTA in April of this year for their work on The Day Of The Doctor!

But what exactly did that involve?
"As a miniature effects supervisor I work with the production team to work out which parts of the script are best served by using miniature effects as opposed to CGI (computer generated imagery) or full size physical effects. I then work with supervisors for the other special effects disciplines to ensure that all of our work matches the overall tone of the show. Once that is all agreed then I’m responsible for supervising the design and construction of the models and their associated rigs. I book the stage, the camera crew, the electricians and then act as miniature effects director on the actual shoot days."
And its far from a typical nine- to five job!
"In all honesty there is no such thing as a typical day in my business! The nature of our work means that every day is a new challenge. It's almost inevitable that we will be trying to do something that hasn’t been done before, so there is an awful lot of trial and error."
Initially handed over under a pseudonym as Tucker was already known to the BBC, Illegal Alien was rejected as it was deemed too similar to Ian Briggs's The Curse Of Fenric which had then just gone into production.

Both stories are set in wartime- Fenric at the Maiden's Point naval base off Northumberland, Illegal Alien in London at the height of the Blitz. And some very old enemies await the Doctor & Ace. American private eye Cody McBride sees a strange silver sphere crash to Earth, & something surfaces from inside...of course, the military don't believe him, dismissing the whole thing as a possible malfunction of some German secret weapon.

But why didn't it make it to our screens? Tucker noted in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine that:
"I was working from our original script to get all the dialogue for the novel, so that was quite nice for me – it was the novelising of an unmade story in effect. The opening two parts of Illegal Alien, when it finally hits the bookshelves, is damn near what was in the scripted version. When it does come out it may show some of the problems, in that it would have been a very expensive production, which could ultimately have been its downfall."
To find out more about the cancellation, see also the Doctor Who- Endgame documentary included on the DVD release of Survival. The epilogue of the novel also features Cybermen in the sewers- sound familiar?

Tucker & Perry were later asked to write a sequel, Loving The Alien again featuring the team of Seven & Ace as well as reintroducing McBride & continuing the story of George Limb, a disgraced politician who had leaked government documents apparently at the request of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

In Illegal Alien he is implied to be directing much of the organised crime doing the rounds in London as well as supplying stolen Cyber-technology to both the British government & the Nazis in the hope that it would help to advance its human equivalent, attempting to escape by means of the Cybermen's time-craft- leaving the Doctor to believe the machine had been destroyed & Limb had died.

Loving The Alien reveals that this is not the case- he survives & indeed experiments further with time travel, in a bid to escape what he believes to be his ultimate fate of Cyber-conversion! His dabbling in time only succeeds in creating multiple alternative realities, so many that the Time Vortex is in danger of collapsing under the strain.

Deciding he needs help to fix this & change his fate, he lures the Doctor to him by having one of his men, Jimmy, murder a version of Ace & leave the body to be found. In one of the alternate time-lines Limb is Prime Minister, & has succeeded in his aim to bring humanity & Cyber-technology together! Another escape attempt ends altogether more tragically when he is killed, Jimmy having ploughed a car straight into his time machine. With the machine wrecked & himself fatally injured, George commits suicide- the Doctor handing him Jimmy's gun in order to allow him to do so.

He would also work on Matrix & Storm Harvest, further Past Doctor Adventures for the Seventh, as well as the Telos novel Companion Piece- which features a new travelling companion in the form of Catherine Broome, an android built by the Doctor after he grows weary of being alone at some point in his personal future ( presumably after Ace's departure) who believes herself to be an ordinary twentieth century human being.

And indeed in a sense Doctor Who did live on after Survival through the Virgin New Adventures series, which began with John Peel's Timewyrm- Genesys, the first in the Timewyrm series ( alongside Terrance Dicks's Exodus, Nigel Robinson's Apocalypse & Paul Cornell's Revelation- Cornell would also contribute Human Nature to the New Adventures later down the line & go on to adapt it into a television story for the Tenth Doctor). The man behind the 2005 revival, Russell T Davies, was the author of 1996's Damaged Goods- which features a family named Tyler, as would Rose nearly a decade later.

Several of his fellow New-Who writers also contributed to the New Adventures- Gareth Roberts ( The Highest Science & Tragedy Day as just two examples) & Mark Gatiss ( St Anthony's Fire & Nightshade among his efforts), who would go on to write for television, as well as Justin Richards & Steve Lyons ( who wrote for the New Series Adventures after the rebooted Doctor Who got off the ground) among them, alongside Andrew Cartmel, script editor for the final three series of Classic Who, the man behind the famous ' Cartmel Masterplan' for the Seventh Doctor- of which more is revealed in the novels than was ever shown on screen ( see his 'War Trilogy' of Warhead, Warlock & Warchild for the New Adventures as well as the final Past Doctor Adventure, Atom Bomb Blues, published on Christmas Day 2005).

And from then on, a fade to black into the Ninth Doctor's run of New Series Adventures- The Clockwise Man, The Monsters Inside, Winner Takes All, The Deviant Strain, Only Human & The Stealers Of Dreams...................

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