Author’s note: the following is offered in a spirit of fun and is intended, like Vorg’s Scoop, to amuse – simply to amuse. It isn’t meant to be taken too seriously and is certainly not meant to sneer at those who, perfectly legitimately, enjoy Chris Chibnall’s era of Doctor Who. We’re all enriched by our different opinions, after all.
I just wondered what it might have been like if Chris Chibnall, rather than Verity Lambert, had helmed the early Doctor Who stories.
Here’s what some of them might have looked like…
An Unearthly Child
Schoolteachers Ian and Barbara are worried about one of their pupils, Susan, who isn’t doing too well with her homework. They track her home through the fog to a junkyard in Totter’s Lane, Shoreditch. There, they find a police box and a mysterious stranger: a cheerful, bubbly lady who’s really pleased to see them and welcomes them to her nice junkyard. The stranger explains that she’s called the Doctor and has a time machine called a TARDIS and that she’s a Time Lord, well sort of, but she’s actually recently discovered she’s really the Timeless Child who’s lived for billions of years and has forgotten most of what she did until the last 2000 years or so. This explanation goes on for 10 minutes and the schoolteachers politely try not to look bored. The Doctor had overheard Barbara telling Ian to “use a match” to illuminate the gloom and surmises he must have matches to light cigarettes with; she tells him off for being a smoker and says it’s very, very bad to smoke and he’s setting a very, very bad example to the lovely young people he teaches. Reeling from the harangue, Ian craves a cigarette but he can’t because he’s left his Woodbines in the staff room. The Doctor is, though, very grateful to Ian and Barbara for their concern about Susan’s homework and says it’s very, very important that all children do their homework so that they can all do well at school and go on to live happy and fulfilled lives. (This last speech is delivered straight to camera.)
The Doctor invites Ian and Barbara to travel with her in time and space and they happily agree. They enter the TARDIS and the Doctor re-introduces them to her granddaughter. They travel to prehistoric Earth. The Doctor tells Za that he must be nice to Kal because Kal is from another tribe and is therefore a foreigner and that therefore they must all be nice to him because that would be nice.
The Doctor intervenes in the power struggle between Kal and Za and shows the tribe how to hold elections, based on the proportional representation single transferable vote system. After an entire episode of mucking about with different coloured pebbles being placed into hollowed out stones, Hur (who the Doctor campaigned for) is elected leader and an age of prosperity, with food and fire for all, follows. Ian is overjoyed when he is shown how to make fire by the Old Mother (who knew how to do it all along but wasn’t going to say because she doesn’t like how the men had all the power and got to make all the decisions). A sabre-toothed tiger tries to jump on Za but the Doctor intervenes, tickling it between its ears until it calms down and rolls over on its back so the Doctor can tickle its tummy. She tells the tribe they mustn’t kill and eat beautiful animals like this because they’re beautiful and animals and that animals have rights too, and she shows them which plants they should eat. The whole tribe eagerly embrace vegetarianism. The Doctor and her Fam depart in the TARDIS, but not before the Doctor has given Za a big hug.
In return, Za has given her a big bunch of flowers from the Tribe’s local retailer, The Florist of Fear.
The pacifist Thals will not fight the Daleks, evil intelligences housed in metal casings. Ian tries to organise the Thals into a fighting force. The Doctor is aghast. How dare Ian impose his violent ideas on a peace-loving people? We must respect their viewpoint and never, never try to change anyone’s minds. “Good on you, chuck,” she tells Alydon when he explains his people will not fight the Daleks. The TARDIS crew beam seraphically on the Thals and the Doctor explains to the Fam that they have all learnt something new today: that violence never, ever pays. They wish the Thals all the very best and depart in the TARDIS.
However, the Daleks have by now worked out how to leave their city and they find the Thals and kill them all.
The Edge of Destruction
The Doctor is very cross with Susan when she goes mad and tries to attack Ian with a pair of scissors. She patiently explains to the dim teenager that we must all live in peace and that talking to someone and explaining your point of view calmly but assertively is much more productive than any attempted homicidal assault with domestic implements. The Doctor shows Susan how to use scissors in a much more productive way and the TARDIS Fam all sit down together to cut doilies out of pretty paper.
The Doctor doesn’t want to stop the Aztec practice of human sacrifice because, as she explains, we must respect the Aztecs’ culture, that any deviation from moral relativism is always morally wrong (except when it is to condemn deviation from moral relativism), and that if the Aztecs believe that ripping people’s hearts out will make the sun rise tomorrow, then who are we to say this deeply held belief is incorrect?
However, the Doctor is worried that the practice of throwing the corpses of the recently mutilated off the top of the ziggurat will pollute the environment and might interfere with the delicate balance of the eco-system because pollution is very, very bad. So she distracts the Aztecs from carrying out any more sacrifices by organising a big party where they all sit down together and drink lots of yummy cocoa. A distraught Tlotoxl bursts into tears at this moving scene. The Doctor persuades the Aztecs to elect Cameca as the new High Priest of Sacrifice and everyone lives happily ever after.
The Reign of Terror
The Doctor and her Fam arrive in France during the Revolution. The Doctor applauds the spirit of the Revolution because it will make the lot of the oppressed in France much, much better, and she explains to the Fam how the guillotine is actually a measure designed to improve human rights because it is much more humane than previous methods of capital punishment as it was designed to end life instantaneously. But capital punishment is very, very naughty and should be abolished. The Doctor’s rousing speech gives great comfort to Barbara and Susan and they remember it when they’re in a tumbril on the way to the guillotine.
The Doctor patiently explains to the Fam, too, that there are lots of other good things about the Revolution, especially as it got rid of the monarchy, and the concept of a monarchy is very, very bad because it’s very, very bad that people should live lives of privilege based simply on who their family was rather than on the enlightened principle of a meritocracy where talent will always win out, as we know it always will.
The TARDIS food machine has run out of bread and the Doctor explains that’s all right as it will let them eat cake instead.
The Dalek Invasion of Earth
The Doctor is thrilled to meet Dortman, a scientist confined to a wheelchair, and she patiently explains to him that disabled people are just as good as everybody else, and he shouldn’t stop trying to be a scientist just because he is in a wheelchair. Dortman tells her a) to stop patronising him and b) that no amount of wittering will help defeat the Daleks. The Doctor sulks for the rest of the episode.
The Doctor realises the true extent of the Daleks’ villainy when she learns that their dehumanised human slaves are called Robomen. She goes down to the River Thames by Hammersmith Bridge, where the Daleks like to go sub-aqua diving. A Dalek has just emerged from its daily swim and she patiently explains to it that women are just as capable as men to be reduced to zombies and that the Daleks should make sure that at least 50% of their recruits are women and that they should call their slaves “Robopersons” instead. The dripping but enraged Dalek fires its gun at her and she runs away.
The Doctor meets the Slyther, the Daleks’ pet from their home planet, who snacks on human slave workers. Having made friends with the Slyther, the Doctor leads it by the paw to the lush patches of stinging nettles that grow in abundance in the Dalek labour camp. The Slyther tucks in to the tasty vegetation and decides it likes the taste better than humans and anyway, it doesn’t have to spit the buttons out afterwards. So, there is no need to chuck the Slyther down a mine shaft, which was Ian’s preferred scheme.
When the Daleks decide to blow up half of London with a Dalekanium bomb, the Doctor calls on the help of her cute friend the Pting, who she has brought with her in the TARDIS from another world. The Pting gobbles up the bomb, which then explodes in his stomach and makes him a bit fatter when it goes off. Then the Pting burps and everybody laughs and laughs.
The Daleks realise they are no match for the Doctor and fly their ships back to Skaro, vowing to develop temporal technology so they can pursue the Doctor and her Fam through all of time and space and finally have their revenge.
The Web Planet
The Doctor will not allow the Menoptra to pursue their terrorist campaign against the Zarbi because terrorism is very, very bad and although the Zarbi are insects, we must respect all life. She entices the Zarbi into a big room and locks them all in together, where they will live out their natural lives in peace. When Ian points out this means they will either starve to death or eat each other, she scowls and doesn’t talk to him again for the rest of the story.
But of course, this opens up other parallel worlds in which Douglas Adams wrote for the Second Doctor, Robert Holmes introduced us to the Eleventh Doctor, and Steven Moffat helmed an American reboot in 1996. What other tales from the multiverse would you like to glimpse?