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24 September 2014

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Tea Time Travel

Early Ideas

See a BBC memo on the development of Doctor Who. Meet Cliff, Miss McGovern, Sue and the Doctor:

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

In the 1950s kids hid behind the sofa when Professor Bernard Quatermass battled aliens on the BBC whilst ITV gave us Pathfinders in Space - the brainchild of Canadian Sydney Newman.

Fast forward to 1962 and Newman, now promoted to Head of BBC Drama, needed a new Saturday night family series to fit snugly between Grandstand and Juke Box Jury.

Concepts pitched for the show included telepathy, flying saucers, scientific trouble-shooters from the future - and a time machine. We all know who won.

Main stars of the show would be a couple of school teachers - the square-jawed Ian Chesterton and the improbably bouffant Barbara Wright. The teen audience could identify with Susan Foreman, one of their pupils. Even if she was an alien.

Finally, a mysterious anti-hero in the mould of Conan-Doyle’s Professor Challenger would complete the line-up. He would be known only as ‘The Doctor’. Doctor Who?

Travelling in their time and space machine, the TARDIS, the Doctor and co. began their adventures on November 23rd 1963 by voyaging 100,000 years into Earth’s past to help some slightly dim cavemen discover fire.

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