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The Doctors who never were
Many, many actors have been considered for the role of the Doctor, some of them quite different to the ones eventually cast.
- Geoffrey Bayldon, Cyril Cusack, Alan Webb, and Leslie French turned down the role of the First Doctor before William Hartnell was cast. Hugh David was the production team's first candidate, but was vetoed by Verity Lambert for being too young (David was in his late thirties at the time).
- Rupert Davies, Michael Hordern, Valentine Dyall, and BRIAN BLESSED all declined the offer to play the Second Doctor due to none of them wishing to commit to a long-running series. Blessed would go on to play King Yrcanos two decades later in "Mindwarp". Patrick Troughton himself was said to be William Hartnell's preferred choice for replacement.
- According to Jon Pertwee himself, he was number two on the shortlist of Third Doctor candidates. The first choice was Ron Moody, who later regretted turning the role down.
- Graham Crowden was offered the part of the Fourth Doctor before Tom Baker was cast, but turned it down as he didn't want to commit to a long-running series (Crowden went on to guest star as Soldeed in "The Horns of Nimon").
- Michael Bentine, Fulton Mackay, and Jim Dale were also considered for the part, but were discarded when they each wanted too much influence over the show's scripts and production.
- Bernard Cribbins (who had previously appeared as Tom, the Ian Expy in the non-canonical Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.) was also shortlisted, but was turned down by the production team because he'd envisaged the show as Bloodier and Gorier and wanted to carry a gun. (Ironically, the Fourth Doctor eventually cast eventually became notorious for tinkering with his scripts and starred in the most strikingly violent Who episodes ever.)
- Richard Griffiths was probably the actor most often considered for the role of the Doctor who never went on to play the role, as he seems to have been on the shortlist for playing the Fifth and Seventh Doctors. Griffiths is popularly assumed to have been the favorite for the role of the Eighth Doctor had production of the show not ceased in 1989, as the next season would have been Sylvester McCoy's last. This also makes his appearance along with Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant in Withnail & I quite Hilarious in Hindsight.
- The role of the Seventh Doctor was eventually narrowed down to Sylvester McCoy, Dermot Crowley, and David Fielder, as displayed in this video, before McCoy was ultimately cast.
- A female Doctor was on the wishlist of many Whovians for decades before Jodie Whittaker was announced as the Thirteenth Doctor in 2017, and Sydney Newman would have had one ready to go in 1987 if he had returned as showrunner, recommending Dawn French, Joanna Lumley, and Frances De La Tour for the part. Lumley would later appear in the non-canonical Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death as, yes, the Thirteenth Doctor.
- Tim Curry was first offered the role of the Eighth Doctor for the TV movie and was interested in the part due to the fact that he was keen to play a character that wasn't a villain, but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. Curry would later go on to recommend Paul McGann for the role and was subsequently cast.
- The production team's initial front-runners for the Eighth Doctor were Liam Cunningham, Michael Crawford, Billy Connolly, Trevor Eve, Michael Palin, Jonathan Pryce, and Eric Idle.
- Anthony Head, Robert Lindsay, Tim McInnerny, Nathaniel Parker, Peter Woodward, Tony Slattery, and John Sessions ultimately carried out screen-tests for the role before the casting of McGann.
- Christopher Eccleston and Peter Capaldi were both offered the chance to audition for the part, but both declined due to believing that they wouldn't actually be cast as the Eighth Doctor. Ironically, the two actors would later go on to portray the Ninth and Twelfth Doctors respectively.
- Hugh Grant has stated that he turned down the role of the Ninth Doctor, and later expressed regret at this having seen how the series turned out.
- Bill Nighy is popularly assumed to have been the first choice of Russell T. Davies for the role of the Ninth Doctor. Nighy has never confirmed he was specifically approached for the role of the Ninth Doctor, saying that "it's disrespectful to whoever did it", but has admitted he turned down the lead role at some point.
- Alan Cumming was approached by Russell T. Davies to play the Ninth Doctor, but backed out after finding out it would take eight months in Cardiff to film it. He'd later be offered the role of the Doctor again by Mark Gatiss and declined for the same reasons once again. Cumming would eventually appear on the show in Series 11 as King James VI/I.
- David Walliams, Eddie Izzard, and Chris Barrie were considered for the role of the Tenth Doctor before David Tennant was cast.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor was reportedly approached for the role of the Eleventh Doctor before the casting of Matt Smith. Ejiofor would have been the first non-white male actor to portray the Doctor had he been cast.
- James McAvoy, Paterson Joseph, and Sean Pertwee screen-tested for the role of the Eleventh Doctor as well before the casting of Smith.
- Russell Tovey, who previously portrayed Alonso Frame in "Voyage of the Damned" and "The End of Time", also screen-tested for the Eleventh Doctor and was a strong contender to play the part, having been recommended to Steven Moffat's new production team by Russell T. Davies for the role.
- Peter Capaldi was considered for the role of the Eleventh Doctor as well by Steven Moffat, but he didn't feel the timing was right.note He was Moffat's first choice for the role of the Twelfth Doctor.
- Ben Daniels was approached for the Twelfth Doctor in case Peter Capaldi turned out to be unavailable.
- Rafe Spall was offered the role, but was taken out of consideration after disregarding a request to keep his auditioning a secret and telling everyone he knew.
- For some time it has been known that Elisabeth Sladen was not the first choice to play Sarah Jane Smith. A different actress was signed up, but it was felt that she wasn't suitable and the part was recast. The actress's identity was revealed in January 2012: April Walker.
- Russell T. Davies has mentioned several times that for characters he's created, he had specific actors in mind for them. One of them was wanting Helen Mirren for Adelaide Brooke in "The Waters of Mars". Lindsay Duncan did an amazing job, but could you imagine having Oscar-winning actors on Doctor Who?
- Before Alex Kingston took the role of River Song, Russell T. Davies had Kate Winslet in mind.
- Various proposed companions:
- Jenny the freedom fighter from "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" was considered as a replacement for Susan, which would have changed the tone of the series considerably. They decided to replace Susan with a Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
- Samantha Briggs from "The Faceless Ones" was intended to be a companion, but Pauline Collins turned down the offer to become a regular.
- Ray, the Wrench Wench from "Delta and the Bannermen"; the production team instead chose Ace, who joined in the next serial. Funnily enough, Sophie Aldred auditioned for Ray (she is fully qualified to drive motorbikes) and was asked to reapply for the part of Ace.
- Classy Cat-Burglar Raine would have replaced Ace had the series not been cancelled. Finally given existence by Big Finish, who have made audio versions of some of the cancelled scripts. Julia Sawalha (the Doctor's companion-fiancée from the non-canon Comic Relief story Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death) was considered for the role.
- Russell T. Davies, Steven Moffat and company originally wanted Sally Sparrow, the heroine of "Blink", to be the Series 4 companion, but her actress Carey Mulligan turned down the offer to become a regular. From there...
- Penny Carter would have been the companion in Series 4 if Catherine Tate had not come back to reprise the role of Donna. Russell T. Davies's book The Writer's Tale details more about Penny: she would have been a journalist in her thirties, from the north of England, with a snobbish mother and amateur astronomer grandfather (later re-worked into the characters of Sylvia Noble and Wilfred Mott). She was to be a love interest for the Doctor and join him after she discovered that her live-in boyfriend was cheating on her. A guest character in the episode "Partners in Crime" was ultimately named Penny Carter in homage to her.
- Jodie Whittaker revealed in September 2018 that she was nearly cast as a guest character in Series 5. She also really wanted to play a villain under heavy prosthetics in Series 11, but then Chris Chibnall informed her that there was another role she might be interested in...
- Michelle Gomez could have played Ms. Delphox in "Time Heist", but she couldn't make the audition. As she explained it later, "I was moved to write to Steven [Moffat] saying I was such a huge fan and if in the future if he ever needed someone for a razor-cheek-boned villainess then its me."note This led to her being cast as Missy, the Series 8 Big Bad who went on to be central to the Twelfth Doctor's Myth Arc.
- Had Jenna Coleman left as planned in "Last Christmas", Faye Marsay's character Shona was considered as a possible successor companion for Clara Oswald.
First Doctor (William Hartnell) era
- The show was initially conceived as an edutainment series, with alternating stories between the past and the future enabling history teacher Barbara and science teacher Ian to help the Doctor through their knowledge in their respective fields. As soon as the second story, "The Daleks", it started moving toward being a more straightforward sci-fi adventure show.
- An early idea for the Doctor's backstory was that the Doctor would turn out to be a refugee from a terrible war that wiped out his people, and that he would be a Ludd Was Right idealogue who thought that technology inevitably led to apocalypse. The production team later, in an early version of "The Power of the Daleks", considered the idea of revealing the Daleks had destroyed his people. The first part of this is very similar to what happened in the revival series, coincidentally.
- Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter and very first companion, could have been much different.
- In 2013, early drafts of the first serials surfaced, in which Susan is an alien princess called Suzanne.
- Carole Ann Ford has repeatedly claimed in interviews that she was told that Susan would be a very alien telepathic Action Girl, which would have used her real-life gymnastic training. Her description sounds rather like a 1960s version of River Tam. Apparently, her disappointment with Susan's actual portrayal contributed to her departure after just over a season.
- Susan at first was meant to have a crush on Ian.
- "The Masters of Luxor" was a proposed script for the second serial, later published. The production team decided to go with Terry Nation instead, and thus gave us the Daleks. This rejection angered writer Anthony Coburn, who never wrote for the series again.
- The original Daleks were supposed to have guns mounted on a ring around their midsection, for a 360 degree field of fire. It proved too expensive to do at the time, and this ability was never seen until the new series episode "Dalek". They were also going to have rounded bases rather than angular ones.
- When the TARDIS crew first uses the time viewer in "The Chase", they are shown stock footage of one of The Beatles' performances. However, the original plan was for them to perform dressed as old men, and the footage would have been from a reunion tour sometime in the future. The Beatles agreed to this, but some fool executive nixed the idea. Possibly for the good, as if it had gone through it would have been a massive real life "Funny Aneurysm" Moment given John Lennon's early death.
- "The Celestial Toymaker" came very close to being the show's first regeneration story. Producer John Wiles was having major problems getting along with William Hartnell, and decided to get rid of him via the Doctor being turned invisible for most of the story the idea being that when he appeared again, he would be played by a new actor. However, the BBC didn't approve of this plan in the least, seeing Hartnell as integral to the show, and when Wiles refused to back down they responded by firing him. Which in turn resulted in another case of this trope...
Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) era
- An early concept of regeneration was that it was supposed to be like a bad acid trip during regeneration (which was supposed to happen every 500 years or so) the Doctor would go through a "metaphysical change" that would mess up his brain by forcing him to relive all of his most horrible memories, explaining why his personality seemed radically different and somewhat traumatised at first.
- Had one of Patrick Troughton's ideas been used, the Second Doctor would've been a pirate-cum-Arabian-genie in blackface. Troughton later admitted that his main reason for the suggestion had been that he wasn't confident at first that the regeneration gamble would pay off, and if the series tanked with a new Doctor he didn't want to spend the rest of his career with people thinking "That's the man who killed Doctor Who" every time they saw his face.
- "The Evil of the Daleks" was supposed to kill the Daleks off for good, as Terry Nation was working on a Spin-Off he could sell to America.
- The original script was different to the final version. The Doctor and Edward Waterfield were to travel back to Earth in the year 20,000 BC and retrieve a caveman named Og, from whom the Doctor is to deduce the essence of humanity. The Daleks' plan was to eradicate this quality from every generation of man, thereby eliminating Earth as a threat. Meanwhile, Jamie and Victoria were held hostage on Skaro. The character of Bob Hall was initially called Bill, and was a gangster. Anne Waterfield probably Victoria's mother also featured in the plot in the early stages of its gestation.
- Season 6 went through a number of twists and turns. At one point, Frazer Hines (Jamie) was to have left halfway through in the unused story "The Prison in Space" and be replaced by a new companion, Nik. Then, when Troughton made up his mind to leave at the end of the season, Hines agreed to stay until then. Rather than "The Prison in Space" being rewritten, it was cancelled and replaced by "The Krotons".
Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) era
- "The Three Doctors" started out as a script called "Deathworld". In it, the Time Lords are in conflict with a Federation of Evil led by a personification of Death. To avert all-out war, the Time Lords manage to convince the Federation to allow them to send the three Doctors into the Federation's Underworld domain. There, the Doctors will do battle against various realisations of Death including zombies, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Hindu goddess Kali, and the cyclops Polyphemus from Greek mythology with the victor in the contests determining whether the Time Lords or the Federation of Evil will prevail.
- The Master was supposed to be Killed Off for Real during Season 11 in a Heroic Sacrifice to save the Doctor's life. "The Final Game" would have also been the final story for the Third Doctor. This was scrapped by Roger Delgado's untimely death in a car accident in Turkey while shooting The Bell of Tibet. The story would have revealed the Doctor and Master to be two aspects of the same person, which would explain why the Master could not simply kill the Doctor.
- Jon Pertwee was planning to stay on the show longer, but the death of his good friend Delgado took away all of his enthusiasm for the role.
Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) era
- The original script for "The Ark in Space" concerned a massive space ark carrying cryogenically-frozen humans, which has been invaded by the Delc. The Delc are fungi, grown from spores floating in space. The primary Delc take the form of floating heads, while their servitors appear as headless bodies. The Delc are impervious to most harm because any impact just causes the release of more spores. Fortunately, the Doctor eventually discovers that the Delc are susceptible to electrocution, and ultimately knocks the primary Delc out into space with a golf club.
- Gerry Davis' original script for "Revenge of the Cybermen" had space station Nerva as a sort of galactic service station with a casino, whose gold would be used against the Cybermen. This was dropped, partly because of producer Phillip Hinchcliffe having doubts about featuring gambling in an all-ages show, and partly because of the next story being moved to the opener of the next season, which suddenly gave him a lot more money to play with. He decided to spend it on a location shoot at Wookey Hole, and so had his script editor Robert Holmes turn Nerva into a beacon orbiting a golden planetoid called Nerva, which Wookey Hole could represent. Very little of Davis' script made it to screen.
- When Sarah Jane Smith's actress Elisabeth Sladen was ready to leave the show, one proposed idea for her departure was to have her Killed Off for Real as the Sudden Downer Ending of a serial. A seemingly dead enemy would have managed to shoot her, with the Doctor breaking down and embracing her body upon realizing what happened. The last scene would have taken place the next morning, with other characters seeing her funeral pyre burning just as the TARDIS was dematerialising.
- The original outline for what became "The Hand of Fear" was set in the 1990s, at a time when technology and the military are forbidden. Sarah is sent to live in a commune while the Doctor is despatched to a labour camp. There he meets the aged Brigadier now part of EXIT, the Extraterrestrial Xenological Intelligence Taskforce and discovers that an anthropologist named Mountford has unearthed a mysterious fossilised hand. The hand takes control of Mountford's mind and forces him to transport it to the Nuton nuclear reactor, which is in the process of being decommissioned. There, the radiation allows the hand to regenerate into its original form: a creature called an Omegan made of teryllium, which has travelled to Earth from inside a black hole. It transpires that there are actually two Omegans at work on Earth, representing different factions of their people. The hawk Omegans wish to destroy humanity, while the dove Omegans simply want to remove mankind as an interstellar threat. They have accomplished this by slowly devolving men into ape-like Trogs, which manifested itself early on as the backlash against science. Sarah is now undergoing the same transformation. This is undone, however, when the hawk Omegan (who crashlanded on Earth, necessitating his reconstitution at Nuton) destroys his dove counterpart. He then flees Earth in the other Omegan's spaceship, having configured Nuton to explode and obliterate the planet. At the last second, the Doctor manages to redirect the power of the blast to fuel an experimental rocket called the Icarus. Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart commandeers the Icarus and uses it to pursue the Omegan, ultimately sacrificing himself by ramming the enemy vessel head-on, preventing it from impacting with the Earth.
- In a later version, a key character, Lieutenant Hawker, was later replaced by Harry Sullivan. Along with the calcified hand, an Omegan spaceship (referred to as the Monolith) was now discovered at the start of episode one, and became central to the storyline, serving as the location of the adventure's climax. The separate factions of Omegans were excised. Baker and Martin also introduced a new supporting character, in the form of a Time Lord named Drax. An untrustworthy Gallifreyan mechanic who wants to steal the TARDIS, Drax was conceived as a possible recurring character. He later appeared in "The Armageddon Factor".
- One idea whose abandonment was an unquestionable good thing it was seriously proposed to have Louise Jameson play Leela in Blackface, and there are hideously embarrassing make-up test photos online to prove it. As it turned out, her natural skin tone was very slightly darkened to play the part, but to a level that was more plausible and less offensive for a white person who grew up mostly outdoors in the tropics.
- Leela was originally conceived as a Victorian Cockney flower girl.
- "Horror of Fang Rock", the Season 15 opener, was written as a replacement for a vampire-based story by the same writer called "The Vampire Mutations" because the BBC's classic serial adaptation of Dracula was set to air in 1977 and they thought Who doing a similar story would take the shine off of it. The show would finally tackle vampires with Season 18's "State of Decay" (which was effectively a rewrite of "The Vampire Mutations" which was pulled out of the archive due to a lack of available scripts).
- Leela was supposed to be killed off in "The Invasion of Time", dying defending the Doctor against the Sontarans. Alas, the creators felt that this would traumatise children.
- After Leela's departure, Elisabeth Sladen was approached to return to the series as Sarah Jane. However she declined, and thus Romana was created instead.
- A number of sources report that Graham Williams and Douglas Adams seriously considered having Romana be played by a different actress in every story in Season 17, before deciding that it would be too much work and too stressful on the writers.
- The original script for "City of Death" was a Bond-esque adventure by David Fisher with much of the action occurring in a Monaco casino. After the idea was floated to film the Paris scenes on location, it was decided to drop the casino angle, partly because setting the entire story in Paris would allow them to make the most of the locations and partly because, once again, the producer, Graham Williams, was having second thoughts about featuring gambling so heavily in a story. With Fisher unavailable, Williams and script editor Douglas Adams worked non-stop for several days to rewrite the story. Only a few lines from the original survived (notably, the Doctor's line about getting only "one throw of the dice" during his final confrontation with Scaroth).
- The Dirk Gently series only exists because a strike prevented the Douglas Adams-penned Doctor Who story "Shada" from being filmed in its entirety for Season 17: the Time Travel-based plot was recycled from the script.
- Some of the existing "Shada" footage was incorporated into Season 20's "The Five Doctors" when Tom Baker chose not to participate. The existing footage was later compiled into a 1992 video (with Baker providing linking material), and the script was later adapted into a Big Finish audio story for the Eighth Doctor. Details here.
- Adams wrote "Shada" as a substitute for another script of his in which the Doctor decided to retire; the BBC rejected it for being too much of a Self-Parody of the show.
- Adric's character was originally conceived as "an Artful Dodger IN SPACE!", though largely in terms of his relationship with the Doctor. While wisps of this concept crop up in Adric's abilities once in a blue moon, the student-mentor dynamic more or less runs headlong into a brick wall after the Fourth Doctor regenerates.
- John Nathan-Turner was keen to reintroduce a familiar companion to the regular cast to ease the transition from Tom Baker to Peter Davison after the former's seven year tenure in the lead role, and approached both Elisabeth Sladen and Louise Jameson to ask if they would like to reprise their parts as Sarah Jane Smith and Leela respectively. Neither were interested in going back to the programme, so Tegan was created instead.
- Interviewed for the Big Finish non-fiction audio release Tom Baker at 80, Baker reveals that he actually proposed that the series allow the Doctor to have a romantic moment with one of his companions, albeit as a joke. (Baker's idea: that the companion kiss him, the Doctor act shocked, but then decides he likes it and asks to be kissed again.) This was decades before the TV movie broke the "no kissing" taboo. Baker doesn't identify which companion this was proposed for, though given he was involved in a real-life romance with Romana II actress Lalla Ward, she's the most likely suspect.
Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) era
- In one of the most potentially significant Doctor Who "tipping points" ever, the returning old character in "Mawdryn Undead" was originally intended to be Ian Chesterton (who had already been established as a schoolteacher), but William Russell was unavailable. If this had gone as planned, it's possible that Ian might have ended up as the emotionally talismanic figure of "the Doctor's oldest friend" instead of the Brigadier, and the Brig might never have appeared again after "Terror of the Zygons". Also, there wouldn't have been a "UNIT dating" Continuity Snarl.
- One idea floated for "The Five Doctors" by writer Terrance Dicks was for the Fourth Doctor to be the villain the other four Doctors had to stop, figuring that if any of them were ever to make a FaceHeel Turn it would be him. When Tom Baker refused to participate in the special, however, this and any other ideas that would have made the Fourth Doctor key to the story where dropped.
- Robert Holmes' version, "The Six Doctors", would have featured the Cybermen and their kidnapping of the five incarnations of the Doctor; in their attempt to extract Time Lord DNA to turn themselves into "Cyberlords", the twist being that the First Doctor and Susan would actually be android impostors (the former being the "Sixth Doctor" of the title) and the Second Doctor would have saved the day. Ultimately, Holmes dropped out, unable to cope with JNT's shopping list of things to put in the script. Some elements of this plotline would be reused in Holmes' own "The Two Doctors".
- The possibility of the Master being permanently killed off was again seriously considered in the Fifth Doctor story "Planet of Fire", as Anthony Ainley's contract was expiring and the BBC initially considered his financial demands for a renewal to be excessive.
Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) era
- Colin Baker wanted his Doctor to dress in severe black velvet, but it got nixed as being too similar to the Master's outfit and too difficult to see in underlit settings.
- The original last line of "Revelation of the Daleks"? "I'm taking you to Blackpool!" Because the next story, "The Nightmare Fair", took place in Blackpool. The series was put on an 18-month "rest" after nearly being cancelled, so the edit was made to cover up the last word.
- When the series was suspended for eighteen months between Seasons 22 and 23, a number of scripts for the original Season 23 had already been written. These later became the basis for the novels The Nightmare Fair, The Ultimate Evil and Mission to Magnus, poublished by Target Books. Big Finish created and released audio play versions of two of these scripts as part of the Lost Stories range (The Ultimate Evil was originally nixed because they were unable to agree terms with the original author, although these were sorted ten years later an an adaptation will be released in 2019).
- With regards to the finished Season 23 ("The Trial of a Time Lord" Story Arc):
- Peri Brown was supposed to have been Killed Off for Real in "Mindwarp", but John Nathan-Turner got cold feet about the idea after it had been filmed, hence the abrupt reveal at the end of "The Ultimate Foe" that she survived and married King Yrcanos offscreen.
- In Robert Holmes and Eric Saward's original finale, the first episode revealed that the Valeyard was in fact the Doctor's final incarnation. The finale then opened with the Master saving the Doctor from the quicksand while the Valeyard kidnapped Glitz. The Doctor encountered Popplewick again, who led him into a trap baited with an illusory Mel. Popplewick, too, was revealed as a construct of JJ Chambers who, in turn, was unmasked as the Valeyard. While news reached the courtroom of the High Council's mass resignation, the Master warned that the Valeyard had materialised his TARDIS around a time vent in the Matrix. If the vent were to be opened for too long, there would be catastrophic ramifications for the space-time continuum. The Valeyard shown to be a pitiable old man afraid of dying planned to use this threat to force the Time Lords to grant him the Doctor's remaining regenerations. The Master revealed that he was hired by the High Council to murder the Doctor in exchange for a pardon, but had now decided not to follow through. The Doctor bluffed his way into the Valeyard's TARDIS just as the Valeyard opened the time vent door. Struggling, the Doctor and the Valeyard plunged into the time vent while the Master had Glitz seal the door, saving the universe but trapping the Doctor for all eternity. When Holmes's death and Saward's acrimonious departure prevented both rewrites and any ideas from the original Part 14 from being used, a completely different writing team came up with a new ending.
- The original plan for Season 24 would have revealed how the Doctor first met Mel. Then Colin Baker was fired, making this impossible.
Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) era
- Ace would have gone to the Academy to become a human Time Lord. This was touched on in the Expanded Universe. It happened in the webcast Death Comes to Time, was mentioned as the Doctor's original intent for her in the novel Lungbarrow, and was teased in a Big Finish adaptation of the original story "Ice Time", retitled "Thin Ice". In this version Ace turns the chance down so as to keep the story in line with continuity. (However, she did later accept the offer.)
- Ah, the Cartmel Masterplan. Had the original series gone past Season 26, the plan was for Andrew Cartmel and other writers to delve deeply into the Doctor's history, while revealing the Doctor as a Machiavellian chessmaster (shades of this were revealed in some of Sylvester McCoy's stories like "Remembrance of the Daleks" and "Silver Nemesis"). Who was the Other? What was the real relationship between the Doctor and his "granddaughter" Susan Foreman? Had the Cartmel Masterplan gone through, we might have those answers. On the other hand, with this one there is some debate as to just how much of a Masterplan there really was the man it's named for has freely denied having any such plans, while other writers involved in the era have suggested that it was really intended to be more of a "mood and atmosphere" or a general attempt at making the Doctor a bit more mysterious rather than a thought-out Story Arc.
- According to Cartmel's memoir Script Doctor, he made serious efforts to try to get Alan Moore to write a script for a TV Doctor Who story. All that we hear of Moore's idea is that it would have been in the same vein as "The Celestial Toymaker" (considered at the time by fandom consensus as a lost classic due to rose-tinted memories and a pretty good novelisation, instead of the disaster that it became considered as after the home video release of the surviving episode) and involved "poking into dark nursery corners".
- "Lungbarrow" very nearly made it to air, but was nixed by the producer in favour of "Ghost Light", ending up as a New Adventure title instead. Focusing on the Doctor reunited with his estranged family, the story was less about Sylvester McCoy and more a re-imagining of Gallifrey in keeping with his darker Doctor; less Crystal Spires and Togas, and more "The Addams Family on acid".
- "The Happiness Patrol" was originally planned to be filmed in black-and-white to complement its Film Noir-ish atmosphere.
- Kandyman was originally a portly, bald man with black teeth and wearing a white lab coat, with the fact that he was made out of sweets being far subtler (principally being implied via his powdery white skin). Costume designer Dorka Nieradzik turned him into the Bertie Bassett-like robot seen.
- Originally, "Survival"'s Cheetah People were supposed to be a lot more human-looking, with their possession by the cat-spirits of the Cheetah World represented by false eyes, teeth and some skin-colouring to suggest cheetah spots. Then, someone decided it'd be a good idea to make them actual Cheetah People. The writer, Rona Munro, was less than impressed by the result, describing the end effect as "puss-in-boots" (not to mention brutally hot for the actors).
- A story with an Eighth Doctor, considered for Richard Griffiths, was planned for the unmade Season 27 in 1990. Known as "Network", the story featured the Rani.
Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) TV Movie and what it evolved from
- Of the scripts proposed for the TV Movie, the one filmed is the only one which did not include or presuppose the destruction of Gallifrey. Every one of them had the Doctor as half-human. The book Regeneration by Philip Segal and Gary Russell goes into detail about some of the proposals for a full Continuity Reboot series that preceded the TVM.
- The Doctor and the Master would have been half-brothers, and good and evil rival claimants for the presidency of the Time Lords.
- Barusa (versus the amoral Borusa from previous continuity) would have been the Doctor's and Master's paternal grandfather, and on his last regeneration at the start of the series. He would have been mortally wounded by the Master, but his personality would have been Brain Uploaded into the Doctor's TARDIS so that he could continue to act as his mentor.
- Davros would still have created the Daleks on Skaro, but the Master would have been The Man Behind the Man. After he disposed of Davros, he would have led the Daleks in an assault on Gallifrey.
- The Cybermen would have been reimagined as apunkalyptic cyborg space pirates.
- When not fighting the Master, the Doctor would have been searching for their Disappeared Dad, the Time Lord Ulysses.
- One late version of the series would have given the Doctor a (non-robot) bulldog as a Loyal Animal Companion.
Other revival concepts and miscellaneous projects
- At one point in the '90s, Canadian animation studio Nelvana proposed a Doctor Who animated series, which never got beyond the concept art stage. It would apparently have featured a Doctor who dressed like Tom Baker's version but bore a heavy facial resemblance to Christopher Lloyd.
- The Dark Dimension was a proposed 30th anniversary special that would have featured Tom Baker with Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy in smaller roles. It took place in a "dark dimension" timeline in which Tom Baker's Doctor never regenerated. It certainly had potential with such ideas as these floated:
- The Expanded Universe character Bernice Summerfield serving as the companion.
- The alien villain not only stopping Four's regeneration but becoming the prime minister of England in a ploy to Take Over the World. Now doesn't that last part sound familiar...
- It didn't happen when it turned out BBC Enterprises (the Beeb's merchandising arm) had no idea how to actually make a TV series, and had neglected such fiddly details as "budgeting" and "checking the actors were interested".
- Throughout the early 1990s there was a project for a Doctor Who cinema film by independent producers Peter Litten, George Dugdale and John Humphreys, with their company going through various names but best known to fans as "Daltenreys". Successive writers who worked on the script were Mark Ezra (writer of Slaughter High), Johnny Byrne (writer of a number of early-1980s Who stories), and Denny Martin Flinn (best known as co-writer of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). The scripts had varying levels of reliance on Who continuity, but all had heavy Space Opera overtones, with Byrne's draft in particular having a surprising amount of Family-Unfriendly Violence. Various actors were "linked" with the film in press statements, but the only one confirmed as having been signed for the part was long-time Scream Queen Caroline Munro (who happened to be married to Dugdale) as The Dragon. After the BBC took back the rights to make the McGann TVM, Daltenreys unsuccessfully sued them for compensation.
- In 1997 there were plans for a crossover novel with Judge Dredd but it was scrapped due to the lack of success of the film. Eventually the book was published as the Sixth Doctor Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel Burning Heart, in which the Dredd characters and elements were given different names and terminology but were still extremely recognisable.
- During The '80s and The '90s there were many attempts to adapt the show for American audiences. One TV series idea would have featured Bill Cosby in the role, while a pitch for a movie included the Doctor being played by Michael Jackson (coincidentally, Bill Cosby would've been the next pick for the role if Jackson wasn't available). At some point, even Jim Carrey was considered.
- Russell T. Davies reportedly submitted a pitch for a low-budget revival of the show as early as 2000. This would have featured a group of kids in an everyday suburb befriending a crazy old man (or woman) who claimed that they used to travel in space and time, and discovering that they weren't so crazy after all. The parallels to The Sarah Jane Adventures have not gone unnoticed with fans.
- Part of the reason why it took until 2005 for the series to be relaunched were late-1990s/early-2000s attempts by the BBC's cinema arm BBC Films to try to get a movie made. None of their attempts got to the point of a script being drafted or casting being settled, but among individuals reported at different times to have been approached or to have approached the BBC themselves were Ed Solomon (writer of the Bill & Ted films and the first Men in Black film) and Paul W.S. Anderson.
- Among the alternative pitches considered for the 2005 relaunch were Dan Freedman's fantasy retelling (to have continued from the web series "Death Comes to Time"), Matthew Graham's Gothic-styled pitch, and Mark Gatiss' reboot, which would have made the Doctor the audience surrogate character instead of his companions.
Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) era
- J. K. Rowling was offered to write an episode back when Russell T. Davies was planning Series 1. Of course, she was writing some book at the time and couldn't accept the offer, but just think. The writer of one of the most successful books in recent time giving a spin on one of Britain's most well-known series!
- Later in the Tenth Doctor era, Davies wanted Rowling to star in an episode, too, in which she fell into the Harry Potter universe thanks to a minion of the Trickster. The idea was, they'd had Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare on, why not bring on another famous British author? In the end, David Tennant, fearing a Jumping the Shark moment, convinced Davies to drop the idea.
- "Rose": In the scene where the Doctor comes to Rose's flat, the script called for him to stick his entire head through the cat flap in the door. However, when they got it, it turned out to be much too small.
- "The End of the World": The Shooting Scripts has a number of deleted scenes, including a more brutal death for Raffalo, extended conversations between the Doctor and Jabe and Rose and Cassandra, and a second scene where Rose contacts Jackie as the sun rays begin to pierce the viewing gallery.
- Mark Gatiss originally envisioned "The Unquiet Dead", originally called "The Crippingwell Horror", as much darker and more frightening. At an early stage, the adventure was set at a "spiritualist hotel" owned by a Mrs. Plumchute, and involved a psychic named Noah Sneed contacting the Gelth. The maid, Gwyneth, was a much more minor character at this stage; her brother, Davy, was interred at the nearby Crippingwell Cemetery. It was RTD who suggested making it more of a romp.
- At one point, it was thought that because of rights issues, the new series would not be able to use the Daleks. In this case, the monster in "Dalek" would have been a Toclafane, and it would have been revealed that the Toclafane wiped out the Daleks.
- A deleted subplot from "The Long Game" was to have revealed that Adam's father suffers from arthritis, and the first thing Adam looked up before he looked up "fabulous wealth-making future technology" was potential cures. It was presumably cut because it would have made Adam more sympathetic than he was intended to be. It is possible this inspired Adam's motivations in Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time.
- Simon Pegg was originally slated to play Rose's father, Pete Tyler. However, Pegg was unavailable during the filming of "Father's Day", so his role was transferred to that of the Editor, the human villain of "The Long Game".
- Davies' original pitch for the two-parter "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" cast Jack Harkness as an interstellar alien soldier named Jax, who met the Doctor while tracking a murderous escaped "alien-child creature" in Blitz-era London. The character was also conceived as a serious, hard-nosed figure who would have befriended the Doctor while intimidating Rose.
- "Boom Town" was a replacement for a story called "The New Team" by Paul Abbott (the creator of Shameless), which would have been set in Pompeii. More importantly, it would have revealed that Rose was created by the Doctor to be "the perfect companion". This was never filmed because Abbott couldn't do rewrites and Davies disliked the dark twist about Rose. An entirely different Pompeii story would be made three series later, however.
- Imagine if Eccleston had decided to stay on beyond the first season, who knows how many things would've been different.
Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) era
- The costume department originally intended for Ten to wear some kind of boots, and was initially resistant to David Tennant's idea of him wearing the now-iconic Converse trainers.
- The monster in the pit in "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" was originally going to be the Master.
- In Doctor Who Magazine, Russell T. Davies said that they considered dozens of options for what would be in the pit. Another was Davros. Not Daleks, mind, just Davros being a possibility. They settled for Satan.
- The Ood were created because the prosthetics were cheap originally the Slitheen would've filled the role. Later in "The Doctor's Wife", an Ood again appeared because there was no budget for the new original alien Neil Gaiman had designed.
- Most of the special effects budget for "Fear Her" was given to "The Satan Pit", which resulted in significant cuts (such as a cupboard monster), which is why you never see the dad monster directly. The disappearance of lots of people is communicated via people vanishing just offscreen.
- Stephen Fry was meant to write a Tenth Doctor story set in The Roaring '20s. Let us weep for budgetary problems pushing it forward a season, and then Stephen not having time to rewrite it with Martha instead of Rose. "Fear Her" substituted for this episode in Series 2.
- Martha's home year was originally to have been 1913, which would have made "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" a "back to reality" story for her.
- Wilfred Mott was originally meant to be just a one-shot character. He was only written as Donna's grandfather after Howard Attfield, who had played her father in "The Runaway Bride" and was intended to continue doing so as a recurring character, died suddenly.
- RTD's original notes and concept sketch for the Shadow Proclamation (which appeared on TV as a handful of Judoon and one official, the Shadow Architect) has a huge council chamber containing "every creature we've ever had", including a fifteen-foot adult Adipose, and Margaret Blaine the Slitheen, now a toddler being raised by the Jingatheen family, but still voiced by Anette Badland (who actually recorded the dialogue for her scene). This was axed because it would have used up half the episode's allotted budget in about 30 seconds.
- In the Russell T. Davies book The Writer's Tale, there are places where he goes over the various episodes' production notes and gives feedback on ideas they didn't end up going with. Most notably, he talks about his expanded ideas for Davros, even going into background information and flashbacks, if "Journey's End" were more Doctor-specific instead of a Mega Crossover. Some of the dialogue on the drafted scripts is very awesome:Rose: What happened to you? I mean, your face... your eyes...
Davros: Do you pity me, Ms. Tyler?
Rose: Someone must have, once.
[Or, while still trapped on the Crucible...]
Rose: So how was that sentence going to end?
The Doctor: Which one?
Rose: The one that started with "Rose Tyler"?
The Doctor: "...it's cold out."
The Doctor: Does it really need saying?
Davros: Such intimacy with your companions, Doctor. So different from the man I once knew.
- "Journey's End" had a proposed Mood Whiplash ending like the ones of "Doomsday" and "Last of the Time Lords", where a Cyberman would somehow appear in the TARDIS, and the Doctor would say "What?" three times. The scene was actually shot and is included as a deleted scene on the Series 4 DVDs, before they decided to go with a more somber ending, to put some distance between "Journey's End" and "The Next Doctor" (and also because the Christmas special had been shot much earlier than usual that year, meaning they could put a trailer for it at the end to substitute for the cliffhanger).
- Despair for the alternate Easter specials, which ranged from a space opera featuring an EU race to a horror story featuring alien eggs in a space hotel. "The Waters of Mars" was meant as a Christmas special and was almost a sword-and-sorcery tinged future Earth tale.
- The Tenth Doctor's epic send-off in "The End of Time" was just one option considered. The other possibility was a much smaller-scale one-part story about the Doctor befriending a family of aliens on Christmas Eve, and giving his life to save them from a radiation leak.
- An offer was made to David Tennant by the new production team, stating that if he wanted to do one more series, they'd be happy to have him. Tennant declined, but later stated that if anything COULD have convinced him to stay, it was the knowledge that Steven Moffat was going to be in charge. And had Tennant stayed for that series, "The Eleventh Hour" would have started with Amelia Pond meeting an injured Tenth Doctor, only for Amy to meet him years later unscathed. The season finale would have revealed a Timey-Wimey Ball showing that Amelia had met Ten at the end of his life, on the brink of regeneration.
Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) era
- Steven Moffat originally considered the Eleventh Doctor to be played by a middle-aged actor, someone who was (in his own words) "young enough to run but old enough to look wise", but he and executive producer Piers Wenger were so impressed by Matt Smith's audition that they decided to cast him.
- According to Steven Moffat, the initial plan was to have the Eleventh Doctor in a "piratey" outfit, but Matt Smith wasn't happy with it, until, at the last minute, he discovered his onscreen costume. There were apparently photos of the alternate costume which Moffat showed to Doctor Who Magazine. (The black clothes Matt wore for his initial photoshoot and interview, despite fan speculation, don't seem to have been an option.) Some photos did eventually surface, and turned out to be much more "insufferable Hoxton hipster" than "Jack Sparrow", supporting rumours that BBC Executive Meddling initially wanted to make Smith's Doctor much more of a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Tennant's in concept and characterisation.
- "Vincent and the Doctor" was intended by Richard Curtis to be a very low-key story where the Doctor and Amy simply hang out with Vincent van Gogh for a few days as a pure character piece. Executive Meddling then insisted every episode of the show needed to be about fighting a villain somehow. This rule was finally dropped for Thirteen's era.
- Neil Gaiman's "The Doctor's Wife" was originally the eleventh episode of Series 5, and as such had to be completely rewritten to feature Rory when pushed to the next series. Gaiman has mentioned significant bits of his script that never made it to the screen.
- First, there was supposed to be a scene where they were being sacrificed at the Planet of the Rain Gods when they got the message. Second, Nephew was supposed to be a monster of Gaiman's own creation, instead of an Ood. Third, the (in)famous TARDIS swimming pool would have finally made an appearance. Fourth, Idris as herself (before the TARDIS went inside her) would have been given more screen time. Fifth, the console room at the end was originally going to be a Rebuilt Set of the classic series white console room. All five ended up getting cut due to budget (and the third was doubly shot down when Karen Gillan mentioned that she couldn't swim). A classic series console room would eventually appear in the War Doctor's TARDIS in "The Day of the Doctor", and a more elaborate version would appear in a different TARDIS in "Hell Bent", the Series 9 finale.
- Gaiman also says that he originally wrote this episode as a Tenth Doctor tale, and it had to be retooled for the Eleventh.
- According to some reports, the villain House was originally supposed to be the Great Intelligence as a preview of his return in Series 7, but they couldn't acquire the rights in time.
- Jack Harkness was originally going to be in the Doctor's army at Demon's Run in "A Good Man Goes to War", but John Barrowman was filming Torchwood: Miracle Day at the time. It's often thought that Madame Vastra was created to replace him, which explains why she is rather more sexually flirtatious and less monogamous with Jenny than she is in later appearances.
- In an interview late in 2015, Steven Moffat confirmed long-term rumours that the War Doctor was only created because Christopher Eccleston (amicably) refused to play the Ninth Doctor in "The Day of the Doctor".
- He also wrote an emergency, last-resort script for a 50th anniversary special in case none of the Doctors' actors were willing to participate in it: Picking up from an alternate Cliffhanger for "The Name of the Doctor" in which the Doctor completely vanishes from the space-time continuum after entering his timestream to rescue then-new companion Clara Oswald, Clara is no longer able to remember him and proceeds to encounter "various fictional forms" of the Doctor played by "very famous people", with her memory of the real Doctor jogged by these encounters. Basically, it would have been the denouement of "The Big Bang" expanded into a complete story.
- Moffat toyed with the idea of showing the War Doctor's regeneration into the Ninth Doctor in full detail rather than it being cut off halfway through like in the final episode, but as revealed in an interview, he didn't want to draw out the Ninth Doctor's birth so much as to make it appear as if Eccleston had turned up to film the scene.
- Moffat originally ended the script with the Moment talking to Eleven in the National Gallery because her Bad Wolf form just vanishes after the War Doctor decides to activate it, and he wanted to give it/her closure. But to have a part for Tom Baker to play in the special, Moffat created the character of the Curator; he got the Moment's role in the conversation, and it/her indeed just vanishes.
- There was an effort made to hide the news that Matt Smith would be leaving the show and thus make his regeneration in "The Time of the Doctor" a Twist Ending, but an email leak discussing plans for the next Doctor's first series scrapped this. Had it been kept secret, the central revelation and crisis of "The Time of the Doctor" that Eleven was actually the last of the Doctors' lives now that the Meta-Crisis and War Doctors counted towards his thirteen-life total would have been far more dramatic, since the audience wouldn't know if they were getting a surprise Grand Finale for the show or a huge development and new Doctor that would allow it to keep going.
- Steven Moffat originally had planned an entire Series 8 with the Eleventh Doctor set almost entirely on Trenzalore, but Matt Smith's decision to step back after the end of Series 7 threw a kink to that plan. So instead, Moffat took most of his ideas for that version of Series 8 and condensed them into what became "The Time of the Doctor".
Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) era
- "Kill the Moon" was intended for Series 7B but ended up in Series 8. It's safe to say a lot of changes were made to the script in the interim replacing the Eleventh Doctor with the Twelfth and the Eleven/Clara dynamic with the Twelve/Clara one, and tying it into a completely different Story Arc (Impossible Girl versus Danny Pink/Nethersphere) and home base setting (the Maitland household versus Coal Hill School) to boot!
- The saga of holdover companion Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman) that began late in Matt Smith's tenure went on much longer than originally conceived!
- Coleman initially planned to leave after Series 8, thus Clara's story is wrapped up in "Death in Heaven": Her boyfriend Danny's dead, the Doctor's learned that Missy brought him and Clara together just to make him miserable, and at the end a broken Clara lies to the equally broken Doctor that Danny managed to came back from the Nethersphere and the Doctor lies that he found Gallifrey because each wants the other to be happy. They part ways.
- Then Coleman decided to stay on for the Christmas special. "Last Christmas" reconciles the Doctor and Clara in a Dream World, but the Bittersweet Ending reveals that in the real world she is now an elderly, feeble woman who can't travel with him anymore, with the Doctor spending the titular last Christmas with her in a parallel to her and old!Eleven's reunion in "The Time of the Doctor", the previous Christmas special.
- Then Coleman decided to stay for Series 9, and old!Clara became the last layer of the Dream Within a Dream. Series 9 was her last season, but this raises the question of how different things would have been had it been introducing a new companion as noted above, Steven Moffat admitted in 2018 that "Last Christmas" secondary character Shona was strongly in the running for that position. How would "The Magician's Apprentice"/"The Witch's Familiar" play out with someone who didn't know the Daleks and Missy? How would "Under the Lake"/"Before the Flood" work with a Doctor and companion who weren't Platonic Life-Partners? Might "The Girl Who Died"/"The Woman Who Lived" have been companion-free (Clara is virtually absent in the latter as is)? Who would Bonnie the Zygon have masqueraded as? And biggest of all, what would the overall Story Arc and finale have been?
- Sabrina Bartlett was meant to have returned in another role other than Maid Marian who she appeared as in "Robot of Sherwood", but it never got beyond planning stages or even as far as negotiations with her agents. This was eventually scrapped, as she had a much more major role as Princess Isabella in the first season of Knightfall produced by The History Channel in the U.S.
- This was meant to exploit Sabrina's newfound British popularity, but it didn't work out.
- Ashildr was originally to have been played by Katie Boland, who appeared on Reign, but actor availability meant that the idea had to be cancelled, and also, visa issues for working in the United Kingdom, (since Katie Boland is Canadian), so the role went to Maisie Williams instead.
- Shortly after "Sleep No More" aired, Mark Gatiss went on record as saying he was writing a sequel to it. However, when Series 10 was confirmed as Peter Capaldi's last as lead and Steven Moffat's last as showrunner, he decided to finally write "Empress of Mars", the premise for which he'd had on the back burner for a while. He discussed with the Radio Times could-have-beens about the other stories: "Sleep No More" was originally set in a futuristic stock exchange, and the sequel would have been set in London in The Present Day, revealing that the Morpheus technology was developed then and not in the far future as "Sleep No More" implied and had the exact same harmful side effects on its users.
- Series 9's "Face the Raven" was written as the standalone story "Trap Street", but Sarah Dollard's original script was revised to make it key to the Hybrid Story Arc, serving as the Wham Episode Part One of the three-part finale.
- There were several scenes deleted from this episode's denouement over the course of filming and editing: Originally, the Doctor took Clara's body into a side room (the room he emerges from in the Cliffhanger) to lay it upon a bed, and ordered Ashildr/Me not to mindwipe Rigsy again, as he would have to assume the responsibility of getting it and the news of her death to Clara's family, friends, and coworkers. Second, after the Doctor was teleported away Rigsy finally returned home to his worried wife; asked where he'd been he embraced her and broke down in tears. Finally, the couple and infant daughter visited the abandoned TARDIS (its perception filter allowing his wife to see it too) and Rigsy painted the memorial to Clara. Only Rigsy finishing the memorial, alone, appeared in the final episode as The Stinger. This was probably both for time reasons and because as it was the ending was about Rigsy rather than the Doctor.
- Steven Moffat went into Series 9 and the post-season Christmas Episode intending them as his last works as showrunner, hence the Season Finale three-parter returning the Doctor to his home world at last only to have him once again become a renegade, and parting him from Clara Oswald in a way that precluded grieving at length in future seasons. From there, he used the Christmas episode "The Husbands of River Song" to give closure to her story. In the end, he decided to stay on for Series 10 before calling it quits for good.
- Patrick Ness was asked to write a script for the show, but declined. Instead, he took the producers up on an offer to write the spinoff Class (2016), which aired between Series 9 and 10. Ness' choice not to write the second season was, effectively, the show's death knell.
- Series 10 was originally set to only feature new companion Bill Potts traveling with the Doctor, but Matt Lucas enjoyed playing Nardole in "The Husbands of River Song" so much that he asked if he could appear on the show again, and Nardole became a secondary companion. This came late enough in the game that three scripts "Oxygen", "Empress of Mars", and "The Eaters of Light" had to be revised to include him; notably "Empress of Mars" sidelines him early on.
- Bill Potts wasn't conceived as a lesbian, but Steven Moffat changed this while writing material for prospective actresses to audition with. Originally she was attracted to a man at the university, but her dialogue didn't sound quite right. When he changed her sexuality, it did.
- A Deleted Scene from "The Pilot" featured the Doctor playing guitar specifically, "Clara's Theme" at the bar that Bill and Heather first connect at, neither of them noticing him. The director stated that the idea was to suggest he was bringing them together which would have made the denouement of Season Finale "The Doctor Falls" effectively his act coming back to him.
- In "Oxygen" Jamie Mathieson originally planned for Dahh'Ren to have the head of a spider, but due to budget he was made blue instead. Mathieson commented on Reddit that his species is cheap!
- Much more importantly, Mathieson's script ended with the Doctor's blindness (due to his Heroic Sacrifice for Bill) cured, but in the finished episode the final Wham Line reveals that his treatment in the TARDIS didn't take. Steven Moffat liked the idea of the Doctor's actions having a long-term personal consequence that he'd have to cope with, and made it central to the Monks Trilogy that followed.
- The titular villains of said trilogy ("Extremis"/"The Pyramid at the End of the World"/"The Lie of the Land") were originally conceived as kung fu warriors rather than all-seeing schemers.
- Originally, Winston Churchill was going to be a character in "Empress of Mars" simply because Ian McNeice wanted to play him again (as he had in Series 5 and 6), but neither Steven Moffat or Mark Gatiss could figure out how to work Churchill into the story's 1881 setting.
- If not for a tabloid leaking that John Simm was returning to the show, the Harold Saxon Master's presence in Series 10 finale "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls" would have been a closely guarded secret up to the first episode's airing (The Reveal is part of the Cliffhanger), much the way Anthony Ainley's Master kept making surprise appearances during the Fifth Doctor's era thanks to disguises in-universe (as happens in "World Enough and Time") and promotional materials disguising his presence in the cast out of it.
- Peter Capaldi was asked to stay on for Series 11, Chris Chibnall's first season as showrunner. Had he accepted, he would have become the longest-serving new series Doctor (at least four seasons plus specials) but he was ready to move on, worried his work and the show would suffer if he stayed.
- At last, Steven Moffat intended "The Doctor Falls" to be his last Doctor Who script and work as showrunner, which is why all the recurring characters' fates are neatly tied off by the end. As originally written, it ended with Twelve's regeneration into Thirteen,note Moffat figuring that Chris Chibnall would produce and script the 2017 Christmas Episode as Thirteen's first adventure. This would have been the first time the special doubled as a Doctor's introductory story since "The Christmas Invasion" post-Series 1. Unfortunately, Chibnall wanted to start his tenure with Series 11, and with the BBC's Christmas schedules increasingly packed Moffat realized this raised the threat of not only no Christmas Episode for 2017 but no more Christmas episodes period. Moffat decided not to let the tradition die and, once he'd convinced Peter Capaldi to do one more episode, revised "The Doctor Falls" to have Twelve putting off his regeneration just long enough for the events of "Twice Upon a Time" to unfold.
- Regarding "Twice Upon a Time":
- Moffat seriously considered explaining why the First Doctor's clothes changed to fit the Second Doctor's upon regeneration, but decided it wasn't worth spending time on.
- In early drafts, Bill Potts (or, rather, her Testimony avatar) didn't appear at all since Moffat intended the new character of the Captain to be The Watson for the Doctors, but he decided that her presence would add more "fun" to the story.
- The Twelfth Doctor was going to hug all of the Testimony avatars of his companions Clara, Bill, and Nardole at once and tease that one of them was his favorite but not revealing who, which would have been his final words to them before returning to the TARDIS for his regeneration and been much more lighthearted than the "empty battlefield" speech of the finished episode. But Jenna Coleman could not come to the shooting location due to Victoria commitments, so Moffat came up with an alternate bit for Clara's avatar that could be quickly shot in a studio and edited into the location footage, and rewrote the rest of the sequence from there. This is why her avatar does not share the screen with any other characters, not even the Doctor.
- While Peter Capaldi said in an interview that he hoped his Doctor would encounter both the Mondasian Cybermen and Susan Foreman at some point in his tenure, Twelve only met the former as part of his final Season Finale as a sort of parting gift.
- Neil Gaiman told Digital Spy that he'd been in discussions with Steven Moffat to write a Twelfth Doctor episode, and even had an idea for it, but was unable to due to his work on the TV adaptation of Good Omens.
- Jago and Litefoot's double act from Season 14's "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" was so well-received that a spinoff focused on them was seriously considered at the time. Big Finish Doctor Who eventually realized it in audio form, which quickly became one of their most popular and critically acclaimed ranges.
- According to RTD, we got The Sarah Jane Adventures because BBC executives were pressuring him to do a children-oriented spin-off about the Doctor as a child, which he, like everyone who was actually familiar with the show, thought was a terrible idea.
- Regarding suggestions/assumptions that the Paternoster Gang's heavy presence in Series 7B and Series 8 opener "Deep Breath" was deliberately seeding a spinoff for them, while they warranted lots of Expanded Universe material in short stories, novels, Doctor Who Magazine comics, and especially Doctor Who Adventures long after "Deep Breath", an actual show never materialized (although Big Finish will begin an audio series in 2019). Supposedly this is because Steven Moffat owns the rights to the characters as a trio as opposed to individuals. Moffat himself had proposed a spin-off earlier, but possibly only for the sake of the terrible joke title for a series about a Victorian lesbian reptile woman: Tipping the Scales.
- The whole show! Doctor Who was originally conceived as a series which would avoid clichés like bug-eyed monsters. Then along came the Daleks. And the Daleks' creator, Terry Nation had created the Daleks to avoid the image of an actor in a suit, which Doctor Who would eventually do many times.
- Russell T. Davies expressed interest in utilizing the Raston Warrior Robot from "The Five Doctors", but nothing ever came of it.
- Disney considered buying Doctor Who in the late '80s and early '90s, and was even considering opening up a "walk-through" TARDIS in Disneyland if they did.
- At one point RTD was planning on talking to his opposite numbers in the USA who were behind the Star Trek franchise about doing some type of crossover or charity special, but the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise put an end to it, although the legal and logistical concerns made it a long shot to begin with. This concept was eventually realized in an IDW comic book miniseries.
- Nigel Kneale was once asked to write for the series, but he declined.
- Dennis Potter also considered writing for the show.
- This website has details of most of the unmade episodes.