The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Pastime Paradise

One of my pet projects over the past few years has been trying to work out which Doctor Who scripts exist. After all, if you’re writing an article for Doctor Who Magazine, or a book for The Black Archive, it helps to know what is out there. So I’ve put together a rough guide.

(Please note: just because I know that a script exists doesn’t mean I have it or have access to it. But many if not all of these scripts are becoming more widely available on the season-by-season blu-ray releases, and all the scripts for missing 1960s episodes were included in the soundtrack CD box sets.)

The 1960s
Doctor Who is remarkable in that scripts exist for every single one of its episodes. Other series, like Z-Cars, are nowhere near as fortunate. The preservation of Doctor Who scripts is due to several things; the Doctor Who production office maintaining a complete collection of scripts, the BBC Script Library/Written Archive retaining copies of scripts and production files, and fans from the 1970s onwards being illustrious and diligent in acquiring copies of scripts. 

There are two main types of scripts. Rehearsal scripts, the scripts which were sent out to actors and taken into rehearsals, and the camera scripts, which are revised versions of the rehearsal scripts modified and annotated by the director with shot-by-shot instructions for the camera operators, vision mixer, cues for sound effects, details like where recording breaks should be, as well as a schedule for the day of recording, a scene-by-scene breakdown, and a list of cast and crew.

 A rehearsal script:


 A camera script:


The good news is that camera scripts exist for almost every Doctor Who episode of the 1960s. The only episodes without camera scripts are The Daleks 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, Planet of Giants 1 and The Invasion 6, but rehearsal scripts exist for all these episodes. The camera scripts for both the pilot episode and its remounted version exist. Regarding the remount of The Daleks 1, as far as I can tell they just used the camera script from the first attempt again. For Planet of Giants, parts 3 and 4 of the 4-part version exist, as well as a version of episode 3 with them combined.

Camera scripts tend to be very close to the episodes as broadcast. Rehearsal scripts, however, give you a chance to see an earlier iteration of the story, before changes made during rehearsals. They sometimes contain lines that were changed, or scenes that were cut. The BBC tend to have only kept camera scripts (as they were being kept as a record of the episodes as broadcast), so what rehearsal scripts exist tend to do so because they were kept by the writers, cast members or members of the production team.

Rehearsal scripts exist for various odd episodes, including the Dennis Spooner-scripted episodes of The Daleks’ Masterplan, the final episode of The Tenth Planet, plus six episodes of Marco Polo (retained by Director Waris Hussein) and all of The Web of Fear (recently sold at auction). Some rehearsal scripts that were auctioned at conventions during the 1980s have, sadly, since disappeared.

Finally, there are also draft scripts; the scripts as delivered to the production team by the writer, which may be very, very different indeed to what was ultimately broadcast. Terry Nation seems to have retained all his draft scripts from the 1960s except The Keys of Marinus and Mission to the Unknown. I believe that Victor Pemberton may have also retained his draft scripts for Fury from the Deep.

What about the stories that didn’t get made, I hear you ask. Well, as a general rule of thumb, you can tell what exists by which unmade stories have had synopses printed in Doctor Who Magazine or Doctor Who Bulletin, and which have been adapted into Lost Stories audio adventures by Big Finish. So, if there’s a story which has never had its synopsis printed anywhere, such as Malcolm Hulke’s The Hidden Planet, you can be pretty sure that’s because it doesn’t exist anywhere.

The 1970s
As far as I can tell camera scripts exist for everything from the 1970s. Rehearsal scripts exist for odd episodes and odd stories, and then for everything from Destiny of the Daleks onwards. Towards the end of the decade there are also transmission scripts; the camera scripts edited to match what was broadcast.  

There aren’t many draft scripts known to exist, although there are various versions of The Pirate Planet in the Douglas Adams archive at St John’s College, Cambridge (see James Goss’ novelisation for details).

The 1980s
As far as I can gather, rehearsal scripts, camera scripts and transmission scripts (aka ‘programme as broadcast’ scripts) exist for almost everything. Drafts of Warriors’ Gate and Terminus exist in the Stephen Gallagher archive at the University of Hull and, of course, Robert Holmes’ version of The Trial of Time Lord 13 and Eric Saward’s version of The Trial of a Time Lord 14 exist and are included on the Season 23 blu-ray.

The 1990s
Various drafts and the shooting script of the TV movie exist, as does a shooting script for The Curse of Fatal Death. I’m not going to discuss scripts from the 2000s; that’s a whole different thing!

So what is missing? Well, as the BBC’s Script Library’s remit was only to keep copies of scripts for reference of what was made and broadcast, any earlier drafts were usually discarded. As far as I know, the following scripts no longer exist in any archive or private collection. If you know otherwise, please let me know!

John Lucarotti’s original version of The Massacre
Brian Hayles and Donald Tosh’s original version(s) of The Celestial Toymaker
David Whitaker’s original versions of parts 1 and 2 of The Evil of the Daleks
Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln’s original version of part 5 of The Dominators (they never got as far as part 6)
David Whitaker’s original versions of parts 1, 2 and 3 of The Ambassadors of Death
Bob Baker and Dave Martin’s original version of The Three Doctors featuring Jamie
John Lucarotti’s original version of The Ark in Space (status uncertain)
Lewis Greiffer’s original version of Pyramids of Mars (a synopsis exists)
Terrance Dicks’ original version of The Brain of Morbius
Bob Baker and Dave Martin’s 6-part version of The Hand of Fear (a synopsis exists)
Terrance Dicks’ 1977 version of State of Decay
David Fisher’s original version of City of Death (The Gamble with Time, a synopsis exists)
Terrance Dicks’ original version of The Five Doctors with the fourth Doctor having a major role
Eric Saward’s 1982 version of Resurrection of the Daleks

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