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The Writer of Peter Cushing’s Dr Who Movies Had Planned a Third — and It Wasn’t The Chase

Attending the BFI event on Sunday for the Peter Cushing Dr Who movies, I was expecting some treats. And amongst them was getting to meet original actors Roberta Tovey and Jill Curzon, but the biggest surprise came just before the screening of The Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 A.D., when the sons of the films’ original producer Milton Subotsky, began to delve through a number of papers they’d found in their father’s things concerning the Dalek movies.

Amongst the papers was an original blueprint for the Dalek design for the first movie, and a number of letters to various departments concerning pricings and more. But the most exciting thing was the news that there was a planned third movie for Peter Cushing’s Dr Who.

For many, many years, it’s been speculated that the planned third film would concern the TV story, The Chase. But following on from a poor box office performance of 2150 A.D., the plans for the third movie were abandoned, despite there being a contracted third movie, from a new contract drawn up during the production of the first one.

Milton’s sons explained further:

“People have often asked about the third movie – this first agreement was for two films, as long as [the first movie] was made within a year, then the second option could be exercised… the rights to make the second movie. There was a further agreement that was entered into, to give the rights to make a third movie, which of course was never done, it was on the same terms as the original films, so my feeling is… the option lapsed.”

But it seems they weren’t forgotten by the original creators, as they had produced a script, though it wasn’t, as we’ve believed all along, based on The Chase. Maybe they felt that the Daleks might be a little tired for a third outing or there was now just enough interest to do a different monster. But who would be the villain? Well, if the first film came out in 1965, the next in 1966, then we might have had creatures like the Cybermen if the third film were going to follow suit and come out in the 1967/68 slot. So who was it to be? The Cybermen? Chameleons? Ice Warriors or Yeti?

Actually, the Macra might have been more along the right lines as the third movie’s script was titled “Doctor Who’s Greatest Adventure”, repurposed from a horror film proposal entitled King Crab, though the original title would have been The Night of the Crabs.

But despite a very dodgy sounding title, it would have featured two Doctors, one older and one younger, which was an idea that the television series only did for the first time in 1973 — so maybe Milton Subotsky should be credited for creating the idea of bringing various Doctors together!

It wasn’t too clear if Roberta Tovey as Susan or Jill Curzon as Louise would have returned for the third film, though the actresses said that they would have definitely done it. Or maybe they’d have brought back Jill Curzon’s Barbara, Roy Castle’s Ian, or Bernard Cribbins’ Tom for another outing instead.

Roberta Tovey explained what working on the films were like:

“There were never any dramas. Everyone got on – from Roy and Jennie to Jill and Bernard, everyone got on. There were no tantrums. I think if they’d said yes to another one, Peter would’ve… and we would’ve done another one.”

Curzon, however, said that she doesn’t think it was the smaller box office takings for 2150 A.D. that led to the downfall of the third movie; instead she explained that the director, Gordon Flemyng, father of actor, Jason Flemyng, was doing a lot of work in America, making the move overseas at the same time as she did and that there were never any talks about doing a third Who movie.

But we now know that the script exists, that there were plans in place for a proposed third outing for Peter Cushing’s “most exciting” Dr Who, even if it did feature crabs. Now we’ll have to wait for Big Finish to get the rights and adapt it. Or maybe, it is destined to remain a tantalising little piece of Doctor Who lore that we’ll never get to experience…

Jordan Shortman

The Writer of Peter Cushing’s Dr Who Movies Had Planned a Third — and It Wasn’t The Chase

by Jordan Shortman time to read: 3 min
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