It promised so much. Doctor Who‘s 23rd season was to open with the Doctor battling old foe The Celestial Toymaker before journeying on to an encounter with popular monsters The Ice-Warriors.
But it never happened like that. Instead, the BBC infamously axed the cult sci-fi show in 1985, halting pre-production of season 23, which was well under way with several commissioned scripts being worked on.
A public outcry forced the BBC to relent, briefly, but when the Tardis did re-appear on the nation’s screens 18 months later it was for a very different series of adventures, collectively known as ‘Trial of a Time Lord’.
The cancelled scripts originally planned for season 23 were permanently shelved, though fans did get a taste of what they’d missed with subsequent Target novelisations of the first three planned adventures: ‘The Nightmare Fair’ by Graham Williams, ‘The Ultimate Evil’ by Wally K Daly and ‘Mission to Magnus’ by Philip Martin.
Yet, as the recovery of missing Who episodes has proved time and again, fans should never say never. Big Finish – which produces licenced audio adventures featuring the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth Doctors – has announced that it is putting right the mistakes of the past and finally making the ‘lost’ season.
Re-uniting Colin Baker as the Doctor and Nicola Bryant as companion Peri, Doctor Who: The Lost Stories will feature eight adventures developed from spiked season 23 scripts and other proposals that never made it to the small screen.
The first release, set for November 2009, will be ‘The Nightmare Fair’. Subsequent monthly releases are as follows:
December 2009: ‘Mission to Magnus’
January 2010: ‘Leviathan’
February 2010: ‘The Hollows of Time’
March 2010: To be announced
April 2010: ‘Point of Entry’
May 2010: ‘Paradise 5’
June 2010: ‘The Space Whale’
For more information, including cast details and full synopsies, visit the Big Finish website here.