Come into the Warped Factor clubhouse for a post-innings pint or two as we look back over the potential intergalactic Test Match that never was- Douglas Adams's 1976 first attempt to write for the Fourth Doctor, Doctor Who & The Krikkitmen, having been consigned to the BBC's Totters Lane scrapyard of eternity. If selected it would have been part of Season Fifteen's First XI, though it would appear Douglas ultimately failed in one of his first recorded attempts to pitch to the legendary Robert Holmes!
Old Bob did at least encourage him to keep trying, & Adams would eventually be commissioned to write The Pirate Planet for the next season's Key To Time story arc. Indeed, it could be said that elements of Krikkitmen were borrowed for the Key itself- a similar device having a part to play in the original submission.
The story goes that long ago the Time Lords would have placed the planet Krikkit inside a temporal prison as punishment to its inhabitants for attempting to use the titular Krikkitmen ( androids of their own creation) to wipe out every last living being in the universe! And now some of these androids would have escaped, leading to a race to find the components of a key which could free their masters from confinement. Only this isn't just any key. Its made up of several objects which we would associate with the genteel & very much English sport of, well, cricket.........cue a trip to Lords for the Doctor & Sarah-Jane Smith to witness an Ashes Test match with a difference. As well as the game they would have been witnesses to an attempt to steal the famous urn, which would have been revealed as part of the key to Krikkit's liberty!
If you've not yet been exposed to the lovely ' thwack' of bat on ball, allow us to present a quick history of the Ashes- England & Australia had in fact played nine Test matches in opposition to each other before the tournament was initiated in 1882 after a humiliating defeat for our boys. Reporter Reginald Brooks, writing for The Sporting Times, subsequently published a mock obituary for the sport of cricket itself in our fair isles-
''In Affectionate Remembrance of ENGLISH CRICKET which died at the Oval on 29 August 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintancesBut what you might not know is that the Doctor had set foot on another famous old ground, the Oval before- during the Volcano episode of The Daleks' Master Plan, while in his First incarnation. Back then he claimed to have no interest in the sport-
N.B.—The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.''
DOCTOR: Yes, it's definitely some sporting occasion.And the two match summarisers ( Englishman Trevor & Australian Scott) are no less surprised by a pitch invader in a police box!
SARA: Oh, I hardly think so, Doctor.
STEVEN: Was it on Earth, do you think?
DOCTOR: Oh, possibly, my dear fellow, possibly.
STEVEN: Yes, well, wherever it was, there's still someone on our tail. Here, look at this.
DOCTOR: Yes, my plan hasn't worked. Following us closely.
TREVOR: Well, let's have a look at the scoreboard, shall we? Now, you'll see. Goodness me, take a look at that, Scott.Of course a few selves later the Doctor will take a much keener interest in the game, & prove himself a proficient batsman in Black Orchid while playing for a village team! Not bad after turning up late & without the proper kit, really, eh?
SCOTT: Take a look at what, Trev?
TREVOR: There's a police telephone box on the pitch.
SCOTT: My word, yes.
TREVOR: Well this really is extraordinary. You don't remember anything like this happening before, do you, Scott?
SCOTT: No. No.
TREVOR: Well, anyway, Ross is looking through the record books and if there has been anything like it before, I'm sure he'll find it for us.
SCOTT: You know, Trev, this puts a new light on the game.
TREVOR: What light's that, Scott?
SCOTT: Well, I know your ground staff are excellent, but even assuming they get rid of it in say, ten minutes, England will still have to get their seventy eight runs in thirty five minutes.
TREVOR: Yes. Yes, well I think we can safely say this has been a very bad break for England.
SCOTT: A very bad break. Especially as the weather's been holding off so well.
TREVOR: Yes, it has, hasn't it. Been holding off remarkably well. Well, let's have another look at the scoreboard shall we, although not very much has been happening these last few overs.
SCOTT: It's making a funny noise.
TREVOR: What's that, Scott?
SCOTT: A funny noise coming from the police box. It's gone again, Trev.
TREVOR: Yes, so it has. Well, that wasn't too bad was it, Scott?
SCOTT: Two and a half minutes, I make it, Trev.
CHARLES: How do you do. Well, you'd better pad up, Doctor. Got your gear?And there's a moment of terror when he's congratulated on a fine performance. But on this occasion ''The Master'' isn't quite who you'd presume him to be........
DOCTOR: Ah, I regret I have none.
CHARLES: No matter, I'll fix you up. We're taking a terrible thrashing. 54 for 8. I made a duck. Smutty said he'd send a useful bat.
CHARLES: Smutty Thomas. Oh, don't you call him Smutty at Guys?
DOCTOR: Er, no, as a matter of fact.
CHARLES: Oh, he was Smutty at school. Now, the wicket's very green, the ball's keeping low. Any good with the ball?
DOCTOR: Not bad.
CHARLES: Good. Medium pace? Slow?
CHARLES: Top hole.
MUIR: First rate, sir.
CHARLES: Sir Robert Muir, the Chief Constable.
MUIR: A superb innings, worthy of the master.
DOCTOR: The Master?
MUIR: Well, the other doctor. W G Grace...
DOCTOR: Yes, of course.
Little wonder then that the Tenth Doctor remembered his days gallivanting about in vintage cricket gear so fondly.
"You know, I loved being you. Back when I first started at the very beginning, I was always trying to be old and grumpy and important, like you do when you're young. And then I was you, and it was all dashing about and playing cricket and my voice going all squeaky when I shouted."Howzat!