The Lost Stories: Part 1 – The Colin Baker Years

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Guest contributor William Atkinson takes a look at the lost Colin Baker stories.

To the newer fans of Who, it will perhaps come as a surprise to discover that Doctor Who has been cancelled twice. Of course, cancelling a show that has so much forward planning means that there are an awful lot of unmade and underdeveloped proposals out there, and none more so than Season 23, version 1, if you will. Before the series was cancelled, an outline of a series had already been developed. So grab your patch-work coat and cat badge and saunter on down to the series that never was…

1. The Nightmare Fair By Graham Williams

Graham Williams, ex-producer and hotel owner, was drafted in by Eric Saward to write “The Nightmare Fair”, a two-part story set in Blackpool (hence the Sixth Doctor’s muttering off it at the end of the preceding story). JNT, Doctor Who’s producer and fan of continuity, asked for it to feature the Celestial Toymaker, who would have been played by Michael Gough. The Doctor and Peri would have had to fight their way out of the Toymaker’s computer games a la Tron. Williams novelised it for Target and it was later released by Big Finish.

2. The Ultimate Evil By Wally.K.Daly

Another two-part story, this one would have concerned arms dealer, Dwarf Mordant, stiring up trouble between the people of Tranquela and the people of Ameliora. Often seen as the worst of the unmade series, it was scheduled to be directed by Fiona Cumming. Daly novelised it for Target but refused for it to be adapted by Big Finish.

3. Mission to Magnus By Philip Martin

After the success of “Vengeance on Varos”, JNT asked for Sil to be included in the next series. He also wanted to bring back the Ice Warriors, so put them together with an ice planet, blonde “babes” and the Doctor’s bully from school, and you’ve got “Mission to Magnus”.  The plot followed the Doctor finding Anzor, yet another renegade Time Lord, working with Sil and the female leaders of a women ruled planet. Investigating, he finds something even worse at the planets ice caps-the Ice Warriors…

4. In the Hollows of Time By Christopher H Bidmead

Due to his liking of the creatures (and the fact that they were clogging up the BBC storerooms) former script editor Bidmead wrote this story to bring back the Tractators, the (pretty rubbish) alien woodlice from Frontios (which is actually quite good. Just saying). Working with a Professor Stream (think anagrams…) they planned to use time travel for their own evil ends. But here’s the twist – at the end of part one (of two) Stream would stand up, whip off his mask and reveal himself to be…the Master! At the end of the story, the Master (his plans thwarted) when run for his TARDIS and dematerialise, returning in…

5. Yellow Fever and How To Cure It By Robert Holmes

Another former member of the production team, another story. This three-part story would concern the Master, the Rani and the Autons attempting to take over the world from Singapore. Why Singapore? There is a flourishing plastics trade in the country and JNT wanted the Autons back, so he put two and two together and… got himself a holiday as him and Gary Downie went on a (two-week!) trip location scouting. Unfortunately, their plans came to nothing and Robert Holmes (my favourite Who writer) never got to pen what would certainly have been a classic.

6. The Children of January By Michael Caalin

This two-part story was scheduled to conclude the original Season 23. The antagonists would’ve been the Z’ros, a race of evil alien bees kidnapping children and….um , that’s about it. It might have been set during January and apart from that, I don’t know much else about the plot. It was scheduled to be adapted by Big Finish but it fell through when Caalin had other commitments.

To quote a certain cartoon, that’s all folks! Join me again next time when I look at the commissioned stories for the Seventh Doctor, and, from there, a look at the unmade stories for all the Doctors, starting at number one.

Eagle-eyed readers will notice I haven’t covered all the stories in development for the Sixth Doctor. Don’t worry, I’ll come back to them…