The Radio Times website has reported that a collection of the earliest Doctor Who scripts has been unearthed in Kent by local prop maker and researcher, Jason Onion.
Six documents, hidden for fifty years, were loaned from Joan Coburn Moon – the widow of writer Anthony Coburn – and include two versions of the first episode, An Unearthly Child, an alternative draft of The Cave of Skulls, and the complete scripts for The Masters of Luxor. This ‘lost story’ was ultimately replaced by Terry Nation’s The Daleks but was eventually dramatised last year by Big Finish.
Tom Cole writes: “You can see that the template for the Daleks came from [Coburn]… these episodes [see] a device to unlock TARDIS, which became the sonic screwdriver, and the science [of] regeneration” said Onion. “This find completes the genesis of [the show] from Coburn’s imagination. The drafts explain the mystery of Doctor Who, his origins, his people and all the background.”
Meanwhile, Rob Leigh of the Daily Mirror stated that Coburn was inspired by the sight of a real Police Box outside Televison Centre to devise the TARDIS exterior, and that the scripts provide the original names of the ship and the Doctor’s planet. Susan (originally Suzanne) is also revealed as “a princess saved from another world” and Coburn is hailed as creator of “the cornerstones of Doctor Who that have been expanded on.. ever since”.
Australian-born Coburn, a writer and producer at the BBC from the 1950’s, lived in Herne Bay, and died in Canterbury in 1977, aged just 49.