Two classic Doctor Who television stories that didn’t get beyond the pre-production stage are being resurrected this year as full-cast audio productions. Peter Davison and Colin Baker return as the Fifth and Sixth Doctors in two fantastic releases by Big Finish Productions in association with BBC Studios.
Doctor Who has been running for over 55 years and it has inspired and nurtured numerous writers, directors, performers and creatives. Throughout the process of producing the TV series, some stories didn’t make it to our screens. Big Finish Productions is now bringing back two of the stories that did not make it out of the production office in the 1980’s.
The Ultimate Evil by writer Wally K Daly and Nightmare Country by Stephen Gallagher are returning on audio this November. In The Ultimate Evil, Colin Baker’s colourful Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant’s Peri are on a holiday gone awry. Nightmare Country reunites Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor with companion Tegan played by Janet Fielding and Turlough played by Mark Strickson.
Both stories will be produced by the experts at Big Finish Productions. Previously the company have resurrected a number of unmade Doctor Who adventures. These ‘lost stories’ have proved a popular range within the Big Finish catalogue.
The Ultimate Evil by Wally K Daly.
The Doctor and Peri’s holiday plans go awry when they cross paths with the slimy super-salesman Mordant and his scheme to start a war.
This story would’ve been writer Wally K Daly’s first contribution to Doctor Who and was proposed for the ultimately unmade Season 23. That season was abandoned with the programme ‘put on hiatus’ by the BBC. When the show would return to BBC1 it would be with ‘The Trial of the Time Lord’. Daly did however novelise the proposed story with the final product published in 1989 by Target books.
Wally K Daly
“I wrote The Ultimate Evil for TV in 1984 but sadly it was never made because Michael Grade decided to take Doctor Who off the air. I adapted it as a novel some years later, but am delighted to bring it back now as an audio play. It’s proof that it’s impossible to kill Doctor Who!”
Nightmare Country by Stephen Gallagher.
The Doctor wakes up on a planet of relics, a dead world, a hostile world… He has no memory of who he is, or how he got to be here.
He’d better remember soon, because the very structure of reality is at risk and it all has something to do with that strange blue tomb with the light on top.
Unlike The Ultimate Evil, less is known about Nightmare Country. For instance, Doctor Who Magazine 296 published in 2000, was one of few sources to discuss the unmade story. Stephen Gallagher had previously written Warriors Gate and Terminus. Nightmare Country had been proposed for Season 21, Peter Davison’s final season as the Fifth Doctor. However, it was not pursued as it was considered to be prohibitively expensive to realise onscreen. On audio, this is less of an issue. This upcoming release by Big Finish is therefore the first time that the story will be presented to Doctor Who fans in any form.
“Nightmare Country was my detailed pitch for Season 21 and would have been my third story for the show, but for a terse note from the production office that read, ‘You’ve sent us another million-dollar movie and we just can’t do them’. Some ideas you can recycle, some parts you can reuse; but where do you find another show like Who? So my million dollar movie went into the files and I moved on, until the day my and the Doctor’s paths crossed again. Sometimes, it seems, you just have to stay ready and keep the faith.”
Big Finish have previously produced a number of unmade Doctor Who adventures under the Doctor Who: The Lost Stories range. These have included Mission to Magnus, The Nightmare Fair and Thin Ice. All of these titles still remain available at bigfinish.com.
David Richardson, producer of Doctor Who: The Lost Stories
“Can it really be 10 years since The Lost Stories range began? It was one of my first commissions as a producer at Big Finish as I’d proposed to Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery the idea of bringing these missing treasures from Doctor Who’s history to audio. The original intention was to make all of the episodes that would have been Season 23, and although The Nightmare Fair and Mission to Magnus were adapted and released on audio, at the time we were unable to secure The Ultimate Evil.
“Wind forward to 2019 and we now have Wally adapting his own script of The Ultimate Evil, which will be released alongside Stephen Gallagher’s Nightmare Country. The latter was brought to me by Guy Adams who has script edited Stephen’s adaptation, and it’s a wonderful piece of Season 21 mind-blowing fantasy. How brilliant to be able to launch them both in the range’s tenth anniversary year!”
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery, Nicholas Briggs
Producer: David Richardson
Script Editors: (The Ultimate Evil) John Dorney (Nightmare Country) Guy Adams
Directors: (The Ultimate Evil) Helen Goldwyn (Nightmare Country) Ken Bentley
Writers: (The Ultimate Evil) Wally K Daly (Nightmare Country) Stephen Gallagher