Script for unmade third Doctor Who movie discovered

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According English journalist, broadcaster, author, cultural historian and Doctor Who fan Matthew Sweet in The Telegraph, a long-lost script for a Doctor Who film starring Jon Pertwee has recently resurfaced.

The 1986 script, Dr Who’s Greatest Adventure, was revealed screening at the British Film Institute (BFI). The movie pitted two Time Lords, a young Doctor and an older one played by Jon Pertwee, against giant crab-like crustaceans.

The undeveloped script would have been the third Doctor Who feature film after 1965’s Dr Who and the Daleks and 1966’s Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD starring Peter Cushing as a very human Dr Who.

At a preview screening of both films at the BFI, Sergei and Dmitri Subotsky, the sons of the late writer and producer Milton Subotsky, brought the script for their father’s unmade third feature onto the stage.

Sweet revealed the plot described in the sript:

“A battered police box makes landfall on a lonely beach. The Doctor strides out. He’s a young and unfamiliar incarnation never seen on television – though Hugh Grant won’t have to wait too long for stardom. He runs to help a screaming woman and finds her body reduced to bloody pieces. Another shock soon comes. A second Tardis materialises and out steps a dandyish figure with a shock of white hair. You recognise the actor instantly. It’s Jon Pertwee. The two Doctors stare at each other. ‘Who are you?’ they chorus.”

In Dr Who’s Greatest Adventure, a pair of Doctors are pitted against a swarm of cow-sized flesh-eating crabs that emerge from the sea. When the monsters reach the local Army base, the two Doctors offer to help. The crabs invade a farm, tear apart a submarine and are intelligent enough to throw boulders to trip off a mine field set to stop them. The older of the two Doctors – a role Subotsky intended for Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker – rides an army truck, blasting the creatures with ultrasonic beams, the younger enters the creatures’ nest and dispatches the king with a harpoon.

The large, crablike creatures featured in the script sound strikingly similar to the Macra, a giant crustacean race first seen in the 1967 second Doctor television story The Moonbase but more famous for their appearance in another 1967 second Doctor story The Macra Terror.

Subotsky’s monster crustaceans came from a planned adaption of Guy N Smith’s pulp novel Night of the Crabs (1976) for which he bought the rights in 1977.

After experiencing several setbacks, Subotsky decided to recycle the concept into another Doctor Who movie which he worked on until his unexpected death in June 1991.