Giving an in-depth interview in the latest Doctor Who Magazine about his career so far, Mark Gatiss let slip a few tantalising details about his unmade Tenth Doctor script.
Gatiss, who has just been announced as one of the guest stars in this year’s Christmas special, Twice Upon a Time – playing the role of ‘The Captain’ – told DWM about The Suicide Exhibition, as it was titled, a 2008 Series Four episode that was on “verge of production”. Instead, The Fires of Pompeii took it’s place though Mark recalls then Executive Producer Julie Gardner suggested that the adventure could be made as part of the Tenth Doctor “Specials” year in 2009.
Despite a lot of effort on Gatiss’ part, the episode was never made.
So, what was The Suicide Exhibition all about? Well, the magazine describes it an Indiana Jones style adventure involving Nazis in the British Museum during World War Two.
“The title came from this thing I was reading about how, in the First World War, they were evacuating stuff from museums to various Welsh museums. All this precious stuff, they hid in places like salt mines. But what they had in both World Wars was this amazing thing called the Suicide Exhibition. People still needed stuff to see, for spiritual succour. So if they had 300,000 Anglo Saxon pots, they just put some of them out that they could afford to lose! If a bomb fell, it wouldn’t matter, because they had loads of them.”
Gatiss also recalls the early process of script writing on the episode and the feedback from then showrunner Russell T Davies:
“After the first draft, Russell said, ‘Let’s make it the Nazis and do the full Indiana Jones on it.’ The whole museum was a puzzle box of sliding doors and traps and stuff.”
Sadly, this story didn’t make it to the screen but Mark doesn’t harbour any hope that it might one day be produced:
“I would’ve liked to have done it, but it was not to be!”
Doctor Who Magazine #515 is available to buy now.