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Memories








Dr Who

A selection of my published and recorded contributions to the show, including my 'MYTH MAKERS' video, and the new BBC release of 'DOCTOR WHO AND THE PESCATONS'

My first encounter with ‘The Doctor’ was in 1967 when Peter Bryant, who had taken over as Producer of the show, asked me to join the team as Assistant Script Editor. It was, to say the least, an interesting, and in many ways rewarding experience. I had previously worked as a writer for Peter on BBC Radio, during which time he had commissioned a seven part sci-fi serial from me called 'THE SLIDE' (details of this and the upcoming CD in the Radio section).

During my short period in the job, I was around for several of the classic shows, culminating in the now legendary Gerry Davis/Kit Pedlar story 'TOMB OF THE CYBERMAN', in which I was elevated to the lofty height of full Script Editor. In those days, the BBC did not encourage script editors to write their own shows whilst still working on the production team, and so, at my own request, I left the BBC to write 'FURY FROM THE DEEP'. I do not wish to add any more here about that story because so much has already been written about it. However, I would just like to use this page to correct one or two misapprehensions which have appeared from time to time about the similarity between FURY and THE SLIDE.

I’d like to make it quite clear that I did not submit 'THE SLIDE' as a DOCTOR WHO story, but because of the huge success of 'THE SLIDE' on radio, Peter thought it would be a good idea to do something which used the environment as a theme, and as North Sea Gas was just coming on flow around that time, that’s what I went for. Remember, there were no Mr Oak or Mr Swan in 'THE SLIDE'! And in answer to your many questions about that menacing duo, yes, there were overtures at the BBC at that time to bring them back in the series, but for one reason or another, it just never happened.

The cost of mounting FURY was astonishing, for budgets for filming in those days was miniscule, and when you think that a helicopter had to be used, and fake foam sprayed onto the sea, no wonder I got a few glares from the production crew! However, the late Hugh David did tell me that the scale of it was a challenge that he greatly enjoyed, and, as far as I’m concerned, he met that challenge superbly. But the great joy of getting FURY onto the screen was working with dear old Pat Troughton, who was already a friend, together with Debbie Watling, who had the best scream in the business, and Fraser Hines, who was the best practical joker!

One postscript to 'FURY FROM THE DEEP'. I was only recently made aware that a documentary was made about the show, without my knowledge. I say this because on one of the WHO sites I was accused unjustly of not responding to repeated invitations to be interviewed for the programme, suggesting that I do not respond to requests from either journalists or fans. Those who know me, and have corresponded with me over the years know that nothing could be further from the truth. No matter how busy I am, I will always answer queries, sign books or photographs, or attempt to attend any fans’ meeting whenever I am asked. And just for the record, the same person who made such a comment about me on the net is the same person that I had given permission to use my own personal photographs that I had taken on the beach during location filming of FURY, and so he hardly has cause to accuse me of ignoring him. There is no such thing as my not responding to an invitation to appear in a documentary about my own work. If I did not reply, it is because I had not received the request, and I welcome this opportunity to refute such a discourteous jibe. Like everyone else I do move house from time to time, but I do have an agent and a publisher who will always forward mail to me. So enough of such remarks, ‘cos they just ain’t true!

I know a lot of you WHO fans have questions to ask about my participation in the programme during those early days, such as my non-speaking role in 'THE MOONBASE', the writing of 'FURY FROM THE DEEP' and 'THE PESCATONS', and my anecdotes about working with the cast during those early days, which now seem a lifetime away! Here’s one little story about the first time I was invited to do a WHO convention, which was in Cardiff. My fellow panelists were Debbie Watling, and David Spenser (who had appeared in 'DOCTOR WHO AND THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN'). I was quite nervous to be there facing so many staunch enthusiasts of the show for the first time, so imagine my horror when a young bloke got up and asked me the following: “Mr Pemberton. On such and such a date in 1967, you attended a reading of Episode 2 in the Church Hall in West London. But when you sat down, there was a query about speech 9 on page 42A, and quite a discussion as to how it should be spoken. Could you please tell us a little about that please?’ After a long, dumfounded silence, I replied tongue-tied, ‘Young man, I can’t even remember the year you’re talking about!’ At least the laughter broke the ice. Remember, you fans know so much more than we can remember!

Anyway, if you have any questions about anything regarding the DOCTOR or anything else on this site, please send me an email. I promise not to ignore you! After all, I’m a fan myself.