Friday, 24 August 2012

Terry Nation's unmade Dalek spin-off series - by @SomebodyImNot

The Daleks are something that everyone, fan or not, associates with Doctor Who. It can easily be said that they saved Doctor Who from an early cancellation, as they were the monsters that brought Doctor Who to the eyes of the public.

During the 1960’s, Dalekmania spread throughout Britain. There were many merchandise opportunities, such as Anti-Dalek water pistols, annuals, and even Blue Peter cake Daleks. In the pages of one such annual, “The Dalek Outer Space Book” there was a story, which featured the character of Sara Kingdom (killed during “The Dalek Master Plan” but alive in this story) and a futuristic army known as the Space Security Service. These characters had fought the Daleks in this story, and Terry Nation was willing to bring this idea to television as a spin off series.

Terry Nation had no copyright on the character of the Doctor, so this spin off would solely feature Nation’s own creations and the SSS. Plans for a colour television series were beginning to take shape, with the role of Sara Kingdom to be filled with Jean Marsh, who had played a similar character in Doctor Who.

A pilot episode, entitled “The Destroyers” was provided, and almost made.
However, the BBC dropped out of the project, and after Nation failed to sell the idea to NBC, the production ground to a halt.

It’s interesting that despite the series not being made at the time, there seemed to be an unwritten rule that made selling Doctor Who stories featuring the Daleks to foreign broadcasters less feasible after the idea was put to the BBC. These facts meant that many of the Dalek stories missing from the BBC archives could have survived if they had been sold abroad, and do not as a result.

If there is anyone wanting to experience the unmade series in some form, Big Finish included an audio recreation of the pilot story as part of their Lost Stories range. 

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