Doctor Who: 12 Things You Might Not Know About DIMENSIONS IN TIME - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: 12 Things You Might Not Know About DIMENSIONS IN TIME

Geek Dave heads to the Great Wall Of China... Or is that Albert Square?...

1. Dimensions In Time was produced to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Doctor Who, but the original plan for the milestone was a much more lavish production, a large budget feature length adventure called 'The Dark Dimension'. Written by Adrian Rigelsford and to be directed by Graeme Harper, it involved an evil creature possessing a scientist named Professor Hawkspur who was altering time so that the Fourth Doctor did not regenerate during Logopolis, and in doing so the creature created a "Dark Dimension". The Doctor had to revert the timeline back before he and his future incarnations were erased from time completely.

The Dark Dimension would have focused on an older Fourth Doctor, with cameos from the Third, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors, as well as Ace, The Brigadier and spin-off companion Bernice Summerfield. It would also have featured the Daleks and the Cybermen with redesigns. It was cancelled due to scheduling and budgetary concerns, also because negotiations for what became the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie were underway.

Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy were also unhappy that the story mainly focused on Tom Baker, while they had mere cameos, but since the BBC had already obtained, at least in principle, agreement from most of the ex-Doctors to do some sort of anniversary programme, they asked John Nathan-Turner to produce a charity special for that year's Children In Need telethon instead.

2. David Roden submitted a story to JNT for the charity special. It was Roden's first professional script and featured Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, meeting the Brigadier, Nicholas Courtney, en route to a UNIT reunion – and becoming involved in a battle with a crashed spaceship full of Cybermen.

The script was entitled "Destination: Holocaust", and would've seen the Seventh Doctor and the Brigadier holed up in a burning church, trying to fight off the advancing hordes of damaged Cybermen.

Despite loving the script, Nathan-Turner vetoed it after it became apparent that Children in Need wished for the story to be a tie-in with EastEnders.

3. Rodden and JNT worked together on a new script which had a working title of "The Dimensions of Time". When the BBC asked them to incorporate 3-D technology into the production, which was to be a gimmick for that year's Children In Need, Nathan-Turner proposed a title change to "3-Dimensions of Time". Roden managed to convince JNT not to use this and instead settled on, simply, Dimensions In Time.

4. JNT claimed he approached Anthony Ainley to play the part of the Master in Dimensions In Time, but he turned it down. Ainley, however, vehemently denied ever being asked, insisting that if he were asked, he would have had no hesitation in appearing.

6. In need of a main antagonist for the charity special, Michael Gough was approached to return to play the role of the Celestial Toymaker, but turned it down.

7. Third time lucky, JNT reached out to Kate O'Mara to ask if she would like to reprise her role of the Rani – a request to which she readily agreed.

The Rani was to have herself a sidekick called Cyrian, and Nathan-Turner had grand plans for who would play this role. There's a clue in the name. Cyr-ian...Sir Ian. Yes, JNT wanted the recently Knighted Sir Ian McKellen as the Rani's sidekick!

Obviously Sir Ian did not take part (it would be almost 20 years until he joined the world of Who as the voice of The Great Intelligence in The Snowmen) but Cyrian remained, played by Samuel West.

8. Everyone involved in the production, all the actors and the crew, waived their fees for Children In Need and worked on Dimensions In Time unpaid, with the only stipulation being that it could never be repeated or sold on a home video for profit.

9. Keen to include all the Doctors in the production, and because William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton were both deceased (as was Hartnell's Five Doctors replacement Richard Hurndall), the idea was developed to use still images of the First and Second Doctors, already caught in the Rani's temporal trap. But once the production went into 3-D it was discovered that the stills could not be made to look three-dimensional, so rather unconvincing busts of the actors' heads were fashioned instead.

10. The Daleks were to have featured in Dimensions In Time, and the segment was shot. It would've seen the Fifth Doctor facing up against them again in the streets seen in the 1984 serial Resurrection of the Daleks, but due to disputes with Terry Nation's estate they were removed from the finished production. 

11. Dimensions In Time may be looked upon quite negatively by many fans but it was a milestone production in many ways;
  • It saw Tom Baker return to the role of the Fourth Doctor on television for the first time since leaving 12 years previously (though he had recorded links for the video release of the incomplete Shada the year before).
  • It marked the only time in which Nicholas Courtney and/or his character, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, appeared with the Sixth Doctor on screen.
  • It was the first and only time that John Nathan-Turner received a writing credit on a televised story.
  • It attracted the biggest audience of anything JNT had produced, and Doctor Who's biggest audience in 14 years. Part one was watched by 13.8 million viewers, part two by 13.6 million.
  • It was the final on-screen appearance for most of the Doctor Who characters involved, including Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor.
  • It was the first time in Doctor Who history that 3-D technology had been used in the recording and broadcast of a story.
  • It was also the first time that the televised audience were able to affect the outcome of a Doctor Who story by telephone vote.
12. Although most people would not include Dimensions In Time as exactly canonical, it sorta is! In "First Frontier", the 13th New Adventures of Doctor Who novel, by David A. McIntee, the Seventh Doctor says...
"I once had a nightmare, where all my old foes chased me around a soap opera."
Yes, it was something of a nightmare, wasn't it?

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