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Doctor Who writer pitched comebacks for two classic villains in modern series

The Mara and the Meddling Monk could have returned, according to writer Peter Harness.

Published: Monday, 11th May 2020 at 1:22 pm

Doctor Who writer Peter Harness has revealed details of an ultimately unmade story featuring a classic monster that he once pitched to then-showrunner Steven Moffat.


During a fan watchalong for his 2015 two-parter The Zygon Invasion / The Zygon Inversion, Harness revealed that after writing 2014 episode Kill the Moon, he "pitched a few different ideas" to Moffat, including one which would've seen the return of the Mara.

A malevolent being that haunts its victims telepathically and feeds on their fear, the Mara could also manifest physically as a giant snake and appeared in two Doctor Who stories in the 1980s, 1982's Kinda and 1983's Snakedance.

Harness also revealed that, post-Zygons, he'd pitched another story that would've revived a classic menace: the Meddling Monk, a recurring Time Lord foe of the Doctor's who last appeared in the 1960s.

It's possible he was joking on that last one – though we seriously hope not...

Harness's tweetalong also featured a number of their revelations and trivia points for fans, including a cut scene from The Zygon Invasion that would have irrefutably established Dimensions in Time, the 1993 Doctor Who / Children in Need skit which saw the TARDIS land in EastEnders' Albert Square, as canonical.

Recalling instances where he'd met his past selves, the Doctor would have referred to the events of 1972/73 story The Three Doctors, 1983's The Five Doctors and, finally, Dimensions in Time, with an explicit mention of EastEnders' character Big Ron.

Less mad but no less interesting was confirmation that the no-nonsense Colonel Walsh (played by Rebecca Front in The Zygon Invasion) had actually started out life as Brigadier Bambera, a character who'd previously featured in the 1989 story Battlefield.

So there you have it – Bambera, the Monk and the Mara all almost returned... and Dimensions in Time's status in canon came close to being definitively resolved. (Of those four possible developments, we're pretty much OK with letting that last one go...)

Doctor Who's next fan watchalong event will be a revisiting of 2008 episode The Fires of Pompeii.


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