There’s no shortage of lost episodes and stories with Doctor Who, but some fans may not know that at one point the fandom came close to getting a radically new Whoniverse, penned by 1996 TV movie producer Philip Segal.


Speaking to ahead of the release of new documentary Doctor Who Am I about the legacy of the film, Segal revealed that had the TV movie been picked up for a full series, he had an entire book of ideas for what could have been.

“Myself, Richard Lewis and Peter Wagg from Max Headroom developed a series bible together, which was 75 pages long, and it was leather bound with the Seal of Rassilon on it! It’s extremely detailed,” he recalled.

The bible itself was named ‘The Chronicles of Doctor Who’ and was written via a series of journal entries from the perspective of Cardinal Borusa, familiar to classic Who fans from his roles in The Deadly Assassin and The Invasion of Time.

The bible appeared to open Segal’s vision of Doctor Who with a political struggle between the Doctor and the Master on Gallifrey, with the former ousted to the wastelands, searching for the Tomb of Rassilon.

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Eventually, The Doctor would have escaped Gallifrey through the theft of a Type 40 TARDIS, one of the ideas closest to the original lore of the show.

Borusa in Doctor Who
Borusa in Doctor Who BBC

There’s a strong emphasis on family throughout Segal’s bible, with the discovery that the Master and the Doctor are half-brothers, alongside The Doctor’s main objective of locating his father Ulysses, whom he believes is alive somewhere out in the universe.

Borusa also played a pivotal role, ascending to President of the Time Lords, and was later revealed to be the Master’s father.

Read more: Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy nearly directed the Doctor Who TV movie

Segal also envisioned radical redesigns of some of Who’s most iconic monsters, including a genuinely quite terrifying Dalek transformation into a spider-like being of metal and organic matter.

Another of these ideas included a more nautical vision of the Cybermen, renamed as ‘Cybs’ and described as “the pirates of the galaxy… slash and burn marauders from the planet Mondas”.

They were planned to debut in a remake of 1982 TV serial Earthshock, alongside a story known as Tomb of the Cybs, where the Master would awaken the Cybs from their slumber.

Likewise, a number of classic stories like The Daemons and The Sea Devils would have been retitled and re-located, with The Daemon Within to be set in Massachusetts and The Depths set in Louisiana.

Some of these details would go on to influence future Eighth Doctor outings such as the depiction of the Doctor’s father Ulysses in the BBC’s series of novels known as the Eighth Doctor Adventures.

Segal’s reimagining of the Daleks can also be found in the Doctor Who Magazine 1997 comic story Fire and Brimstone through a time rift, hinting at the possibility of a parallel Segal universe.

Doctor Who Am I is released in UK cinemas on 27th October, and on Blu-ray, DVD & digital download from 28th November.

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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