Doctor Who: The Original Season 23 - THE HOLLOWS OF TIME

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Christopher Morley continues his week-long look back at what could've been on screen if the original season 23 of Doctor Who had gone ahead...


The penultimate story of the season that failed to come to pass was In The Hollows Of Time, to have been written by Christopher H Bidmead, the man who replaced Douglas Adams as script editor on Doctor Who in 1979. He'd written stories for the previous two Doctors - Logopolis, Castrovalva and Frontios his contributions.

Bidmead's attempt at a follow-up for the Sixth Doctor would have seen Six & Peri taking a holiday in the genteel village of Hollowdean, visiting an old friend - one Reverend Foxwell. Against this backdrop an old enemy is returning! One from his past incarnation, & Bidmead's second Fifth Doctor story in fact, the Tractators....



Remember Gravis?
GRAVIS: The work of excavation is our task. Beneath the soil we can expand and populate the whole of Frontios. Do you understand? It is important that you understand. Speak.
PLANTAGENET: We will defeat your goal.
GRAVIS: You do not know our goals. I have described our means. Once we have full control of Frontios, our plans are only just beginning.
PLANTAGENET: You are evil. We will fight you to the last.
GRAVIS: This is not a war, Plantagenet. It is a cooperation. You will see.
PLANTAGENET: The colonists of Frontios will never cooperate with you.
GRAVIS: And yet they do. We Tractators have devised an economical technology of excavation, but it needs a captive human mind to drive it.
PLANTAGENET: Captives? Slaves?
GRAVIS: You will see. You will see. Our old driver is nearing the end of his useful powers, but now we have another to take his place. Do we not, Plantagenet?
And they'd have had a recognisable fellow antagonist, too. The character of Professor Stream would have eventually been revealed to be an alias for the Doctor's most dastardly equal!



In the Big Finish Lost Stories adaptation a licensing issue at the time meant that the Master couldn't be used, and so actor David Garfield's character was left deliberately mysterious. Though he did make his own attempt to imitate Anthony Ainley's voice...........
PERI: And what intelligence have you gathered?
DOCTOR: You and I have come in on the tail end of no ordinary church Jumble Sale. Apparently a fund raising exercise in honour of a gent by the name of The All-Flowing Stream.
PERI: The what?
DOCTOR: The character whose portrait greeted us on the way in.
PERI: Weird.
DOCTOR: Not really for us to judge. I gather he's the local swami. This contingent think he's the bee's knees. Any sign of Foxy?
PERI: Oh, the Reverend? No.
The man who would've been Master has established quite a back story, too:
"As a young man I suppose I was quite the leading light of the Naval Communications Cryptographic Section. Dabbling in electronics after the war. Set up a small shop in the Tottenham Court Road. Began designing and manufacturing for the MOD.

And yes, built myself a decent fortune. The accident was a damn nuisance. Broke my spine playing polo. But it opened my eyes to spiritual dimensions of the kind that Foxy had begun exploring back in the Bletchley days. Although my inclination was more eastward. Divinity more as a forcefield than as a personality with a long white beard.

But each to his own. Foxy and I often have sparring matches about that."


Something's affecting the village, and it has a Masterly fingerprint all over it.
FOXWELL: These gravitational blips you saw on the TARDIS sensors. You sure they came from Hollowdean?
DOCTOR: Triangulated to this precise location.
FOXWELL: Hmm. My dear Doctor, intelligence processing experiments can't have gravitational implications.
DOCTOR: Unlikely, I grant you. Although it's been know to work the other way round.
FOXWELL: Gravity affecting intelligence?
DOCTOR: Gravity waves producing low frequency electromagnetic radiation that just might possibly frazzle the old think box. As a matter of fact, take this harness for example.
FOXWELL: Oh, take care how you unscrew that wave guide, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Don't worry, Foxy, I've the deepest respect for these things. I just want to try a little experiment. Wire this to the chart recorder. If I'm right about that scale of Simon's. Pass me the tea caddy. Ah, thanks. Right. We'll put the wave guide down at this end of the table and tip the scale out just over here. Now this won't be anything spectacular, but we might get enough to shift those chart recorder pens.
FOXWELL: I hope this won't damage the wave guide, Doctor. Here on Earth, they're rather expensive.
DOCTOR: Expensive? Yes, that reminds me. But keep your eye on those pens, Foxy. There's still something you haven't told me.
FOXWELL: Oh?
DOCTOR: Sure this is working properly?
FOXWELL: Yes, of course it is. Haven't told you what?
DOCTOR: No response. Dead as a doughnut. Hmm? Oh, it's the er, it's the big question with any research project, isn't it, Foxy. Finance. Who's paying for all this?
As to the question of where the Tractators come in...
STREAM: All is ready to turn the circle to full power.
DOCTOR: Well, at least let my friends and all your followers get to safety. They've done you no harm.
STREAM: Safety? You still don't understand, Doctor. When full power is reached, there will be no safety. There will only be the circle, and nothingness.
PERI: But what about you? Where will you be?
STREAM: I shall be the circle.
SIMON: Look!
PERI: There he is.
FOXWELL: The Gravis!
DOCTOR: He's calling the Tractators together.
STREAM: Now that I command the intermediate dimensions, nothing can stop me taking complete control over all space and time. Becoming all space and time. Thanks to the power of the TARDIS, the circle is mine!
He'd started by inducing a sort of forgetfulness in the villagers, which affects the Doctor, something beyond tiredness from journeying to his holiday destination.
PERI: A holiday, according to you. A nice quiet English countryside holiday, in the sleepy old village of Hollowdean.
DOCTOR: Did I say that? I don't remember.
PERI: It was only two days ago, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Oh.
PERI: Ah, never mind. It's all over now.
DOCTOR: But I do mind. And it's not all over. If only I could remember. How did it all start?
Far from starting, our trip into the original Season 23 is almost at an end, The Children Of January wait to round things off nicely!

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