A cache of never-before-seen Doctor Who scripts, including one for a serial that was replaced by the first Daleks story, have been unearthed in Herne Bay in Kent.
They were discovered by local prop maker Jason Onion, who found them while researching the town’s links with the BBC sci-fi drama.
The scripts were nestled in a box of papers belonging to the late writer and TARDIS creator Anthony Coburn, who used to live in Herne Bay.
Onion said that he wasn’t initially aware of the significance of his find and believed the scripts to be copies of existing Doctor Who screenplays.
“With the consent of Anthony’s wife, Joan Coburn-Moon, and other family members, the family lent me a box of his work and I saw the scripts, but put them to one side,” he told thisiskent.co.uk. “When I scanned the cover later I realised it didn’t have the right title for the first episode.
“I had a look and as soon as I saw the first few pages I knew it was not the episode that had been televised. I just sat there, and stared and stared. I wanted to cover them with glass. They are unbelievably precious, and I had them in my hand.”
The collection includes two versions of Doctor Who’s very first episode, An Unearthly Child, an alternative second episode and another three scripts including a story about the Masters of Luxor, which was replaced by 1963’s The Daleks.
“You can see that the template for the Daleks came from Anthony,” Onion said. “You can see in these episodes a device to unlock TARDIS, which became the sonic screwdriver, and the science and regeneration and renewal of the body, which were all created in Anthony’s mind.
“This find completes the genesis of Doctor Who from Anthony Coburn’s imagination. The drafts explain the mystery of Doctor Who, his origins, his people and all the background.”
The scripts are currently being held at a secret location and Onion is seeking permission from Coburn’s family to exhibit them publicly later this year.
“It may be possible to arrange something for the 50th anniversary of the series in November,” he said. “It would be fantastic to celebrate Herne Bay’s connection and give Anthony Coburn the credit he deserves.”