Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor faced every manner of Doctor Who monster – but she almost faced one more classic foe in the season 12 episode Praxeus.


Writer Pete McTighe has confirmed that the episode, which saw the Doctor, Yas (Mandip Gill), Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) investigating strange phenomena, was originally supposed to include the Autons.

As he revisits his season 11 episode Kerblam! for a new novelisation, he told about the inspiration for his stories, saying: "With Praxeus, I really wanted to do a plastics story, a story about the impact of plastic on the planet. And I also wanted to do an Auton story.

"Originally, that was going to be an Auton story, that will not surprise you to know. It didn't become that, which is a shame, but I'm pleased – it was weirdly kind of prescient because it was about a pandemic two years before it happened, so that was kind of scary."

McTighe added: "What did happen with the Auton side of it? I think at that time, we were looking at the series as a whole and Chris [Chibnall] was deciding whether there were too many old elements so it went out the window quite early on.

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"And I think the things we wanted to do with it, we wouldn't have been able to achieve on the budget, which was also a problem I had... I think you need a bigger budget to do that."

The Autons in Doctor Who
The Autons in Doctor Who. BBC

The Autons, which first appeared on Doctor Who as part of Jon Pertwee's era, last featured in Matt Smith's season 5 two-parter story The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.

As for Kerblam!? McTighe recalls that Chibnall was keen to take on a "space Amazon" idea, with the pair of them being inspired by The Force Awakens, which had recently been released – "just the energy of that film, the fun of it."

Speaking about returning to the episode for his new novelisation, McTighe went on: "It was a really fascinating process actually. I'd never, ever considered writing a novel but it was also so much easier than writing a novel [from scratch], really, because I had the script as a starting point obviously.

"So, for me, it was really about adding more meat to the story, a lot more backstory, fleshing out the characters a lot more, the set pieces, being able to scale those up was really good because in 45 minutes of fast-paced television on a restricted budget, there's just things you can't achieve.

"But in the novel, I was able to do everything I wanted to do so I kind of see this as the definitive version of the story, it's how I want it to be told."

Kerblam! by Peter McTighe (BBC Books, £9.99) publishes on 13th July – pre-order your copy here.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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