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Doctor Who and the Secret of Coburn's Loft

March 15th, 2013 (03:07 pm)

I was led to this story about the discovery of a cache of scripts belonging to the late Anthony Coburn by the estimable [personal profile] miss_s_b at [community profile] gallifrey_times. While I'm not doubting the find, the interpretation Jason Onion places on elements of the scripts must be treated with caution, particularly his assumption that Coburn's scripts include embryonic versions of the sonic screwdriver - though presumably he might be referring to the Doctor's pen torch, at its most powerful in the pilot episode, in season three and in David Whitaker's novelization Doctor Who [in an Exciting Adventure with/and] the Daleks - and regeneration.

Then again, C.E. Webber's notes for the series format suggested that the Doctor should have a wife who chased him through time, and she eventually turned up forty-five years later without any evidence of there being a causal link between Webber's concept and the character created by Steven Moffat; there is nothing to say that Coburn couldn't have suggested these ideas only for them to fall foul, like Webber's, of the attitude summed up in Sydney Newman's red-pencilled "Nuts!"

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/587496.html.


Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: March 16th, 2013 08:56 pm (UTC)
Eleventh Doctor

I'm confused whether these are new scripts or new drafts of previously known scripts - the script book of The Masters of Luxor was published over twenty years ago! Similarities between the robots in that story (mindless drones led by a super-robot trying to acquire a soul) and the Daleks (Fascist mutants in metal shells) are superficial at best (if I were Onion, I'd be worried about a letter from the Nation estate's famously litigious lawyers...). "[A] device to unlock TARDIS, which became the sonic screwdriver" sounds even more strained.

That said, as well as your suggestion about The Doctor's Wife, as I noted here I was surprised that C. E. Webber had already suggested that "Dr. Who" had stolen his time-machine and that it was obsolete, ideas that I thought came later (and may have indeed done so by parallel acts of creation), as well as raising the possibility of a trip to his home time.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: March 16th, 2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
Hartnell words

It's difficult to tell from the article what they are. I think that the An Unearthly Child material may already exist at the BBC, and it's possible that the version of The Robots here was known when the published edition of The Masters of Luxor was being prepared.

I do wonder whether Derrick Sherwin raided the filing cabinet for inspiration when devising the Time Lords and the Doctor's background for The War Games.

Edited at 2013-03-16 09:19 pm (UTC)