Book News: Kit Pedler Biography Announced

Written by J. R. Southall Sunday, 01 September 2013

Book News

Miwk Publishing are finding a nice little niche for themselves looking back at some of the slightly lesser well known, and perhaps more interesting “cult TV” of yesteryear, with fascinating books about to be or recently released on such subjects as The Tomorrow People, the Quatermass series and Doomwatch. They also have a rather ‘knowing’ sense of humour, and have chosen to announce their latest title in the following fashion:





Well sort of.

Michael Seely, author of the forthcoming biography of Dr Kit Pedler ‘The Quest for Pedler’ has unearthed something previously unseen since 1966: Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis’ original draft script for the Doctor Who story ‘The Tenth Planet’, unusual because it predates the decision to write out actor William Hartnell. And that’s not all he’s found. 

“I found this script and two more from ‘The Moonbase’ (known then as ‘The Return of the Cybermen’) among a very large collection of Kit's papers which one of his children had kept in their attic. As I looked through it, I realised it was the first draft Gerry Davis prepared when Kit fell ill in June 1966.“ says Michael Seely. 

“The structure is more or less the same, though a lot of the dialogue is different. Some things were cut, especially involving the Cybermen. For example, the Cybermen planned to convert Polly and the Doctor into Cybermen towards the end of the story, and kept them prisoner in what they described as a waiting room. The most eye catching difference is what didn't happen at the end of the episode.“ 

The relevance of this early draft, and the date it was prepared goes some way to illustrating the hasty nature of Hartnell’s departure: “Gerry Davis and Innes Lloyd were always very diplomatic and tactful in their interviews. Both died in 1991, long before 'warts and all' interviews became the norm. We know that William Hartnell was being persuaded to give up the role he loved over the summer of 1966, and that they were sounding out replacements. He only decided to leave in the middle of July, the month after this draft was written.”

Michael Seely is no stranger to the work of Dr Kit Pedler, he has previously written two books (‘Prophets of Doom’ and ‘Deadly Dangerous Tomorrow’ – both available from Miwk Publishing) on the subject of Doomwatch and there’s something here for Doomwatch fans too: “Doomwatch fans will be interested to learn that over five original story lines were among Kit's papers, including several that did not get made. One of these was responsible for the BBC removing Kit's influence over the programme he and Gerry created as a warning over unchecked science and technology. There were a couple of radio plays too, which had been known about but remained a bit of a mystery since they were not made. Unfinished books and short stories, and proposals for television series. Environmentalists, though Kit did not consider himself to be one, and students of the 1970s environmental movement, will be pleased to learn that a lot of his writings, lectures and scripts for TV and radio, also exist within this collection.”

Michael’s biography of Kit Pedler will be released in early 2014 by Miwk Publishing. Authorised by his family and produced with their assistance, the book will tell the full story of Dr C.M.H. Pedler, MB. BS., Ph.D, M.C. Path. A research scientist well known to Doctor Who fans as the co-creator of the Cybermen, but in reality a leading activist and campaigner for more sociably responsible and sustainable scientific research and understanding.

Pedler’s role in Doctor Who is also clarified: “He was not a scientific advisor. Kit wasn't there to throw in the science, or vet scripts for their accuracy. He was there to give plausible science fiction ideas, which Lloyd and Davis had no clue about.

“He argued that we were conditioned to accept whatever science had to offer us as automatically a good thing, and not to enquire deeper. He used to describe himself as a 'defrocked scientist.' His words are still true today.”



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