Doctor Who: Stories From The Scrapheap - The Enemy Within

Christopher Morley unearths another story from the Doctor Who scrapheap...

In considering our wide range of Stories From The Scrapheap we can come now to the machine that looks like a police box but isn't one that sits slap bang in the middle of our Totters Lane of unmade adventures for the Doctor.

The Enemy Within, no not the TV movie from 1996, but a proposed adventure from 1982. This story was writer Christopher Priest's second submission - his first, Sealed Orders, was also rejected - and would've seen the Fifth incarnation of the Time Lord deal with his own primal fear, which conversely would've been revealed as part of what powered the TARDIS, the other half being a mysterious creature of which the Doctor was absolutely pant-wettingly terrified!

Ambitious indeed. Ultimately Priest was turned away once more, after being told his scripts were unworkable. He was at least paid and received letters of apology from producer John Nathan Turner & script editor Eric Saward following a dispute between the three men!

Eric's own story Earthshock was called in as a substitute for Priest's The Enemy Within- but for us its time to go deep into both the Doctor's subconscious and the bowels of the ship he once defined as his home. The old girl's capable of many amazing things, just like the man who serves as its pilot.............

Of course, we already know plenty of the relationship between its inner & outer dimensions...

...and we have been treated to the answer to the question of what would happen were the heart of the ship plonked into a human host body...

...but The Enemy Within would have revealed to us there was an octopus-like creature inside there! The stuff of nightmares for the Doctor, and not only that, the story would've ended with Adric's death, much like Earthshock. Nathan Turner having decided that the maths genius from Alzarius had outstayed his welcome.

As The Lost Stories would later note:
"By the time full scripts were requested on February 6th, 1981, it had been decided that Priest's serial would culminate in the death of Adric, whom producer John Nathan-Turner felt was not working out as a companion. Around the middle of June, a disagreement about rewrite fees and a vitriolic exchange with Nathan-Turner led to Priest's refusal to perform requested rewrites on “The Enemy Within”."
We might also take a gander at Sealed Orders, Priest's first attempt at a script submission! Set during Season Eighteen, the final curtain on Tom Baker's seven years as the Fourth Doctor, it seems his ambition knew no bounds. After all who wouldn't want to have seen this...
"A political thriller set on Gallifrey in which the Doctor is seemingly ordered to kill Romana by the Time Lords."
The idea had been floated since around October of 1978, Douglas Adams proving a fan of the idea during his tenure as script editor. Happily, Christopher Bidmead- the man who took over from Adams- proved equally receptive.
"Little progress was made, but it was revived when Priest was independently approached by Adams' successor, Christopher H Bidmead, who was a fan of Priest's novels; they decided to resurrect “Sealed Orders”. A storyline was commissioned on February 27th, 1980, followed by full scripts on March 24th. By this time, “Sealed Orders” was planned to conclude a trilogy of stories set in the pocket universe of E-Space, and would feature the departures of Romana and K-9."
Sadly, Priest never made it to E-Space! It seems the writer was at fault, going by what details survive of the creative process.
"Priest was not accustomed to writing for television, and it became clear that his scripts were not suitable for production. Bidmead provided the author with heavily-edited samples as guidance for what he wanted, but Priest objected to these, and their relationship deteriorated. Priest stopped working on “Sealed Orders”."
Since you ask, Warriors Gate stepped into the breach to round off travels in E-Space!

Regardless of his flop contributions to Doctor Who, Priest continues to enjoy cult appeal as a science-fiction novelist, his first work being published in 1970. See his biography from the Literature section of the British Council website-
"His published career began with a series of short stories and other pieces that appeared in various outlets from the mid-1960s onwards. This a form he has continued to pursue alongside his novels and occasional non-fiction work, which has included critical works, biographies, and writing for children.

His first novel, Indoctrinaire, was published by Faber and Faber in 1970, beginning a stretch of two decades during which Priest’s novels appeared almost biennially. 1972’s Fugue for a Darkening Island saw Priest nominated for the John W. Campbell Award. His third novel, The Inverted World (1974), won Priest the first of his four BSFA (British Science Fiction Association) Awards.

In the mid-1970s he was an associate editor of the UK semi-academic journal Foundations, which provided a distinctive platform for the criticism and popularization of science fiction at a time when the genre was not well established in the academy.Priest picked up BSFA nominations for The Affirmation (1981) and The Glamour (1984), a period of success also marked by his appearance on Granta’s list of Best of Young British Novelists in 1983.

The same decade saw Priest embark on pseudonymous writing, issuing in 1986 two film tie-in novels: Short Circuit as Colin Wedgelock, and Mona Lisa as John Luther Novak, the only two pen names under which Priest has admitted authorship. A tie-in to David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ appeared under the pseudonym of Novak in 1999.

Priest 1995’s epistolary novel The Prestige was a popular breakthrough. Winner of the World Fantasy Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and nominated for the BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke awards, it was adapted into a film directed by Christopher Nolan, released to acclaim in 2006.

The Extremes(1998) won the second of Priest’s BSFA Awards, a feat repeated again by 2002’s The Separation (which also won the Clarke Award) and 2011’s The Islanders (winner also of the Campbell Award)."
No slouch by any stretch of the imagination, eh? 
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