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Rantings from the Padded Cell

By Jon Preddle

Starting this issue is a new irregular column where I expound the theories about Doctor Who continuity that suddenly spring into my mind while I'm doing the dishes...

How The Peter Cushing Movies Can Belong To The TV Canon...

The two 1960s Dalek movies starring Peter Cushing were remakes of the first and second Dalek television serials, but the only similarity to the TV versions lie in the storylines. The lead character in Dr Who and the Daleks and Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD is not the same Doctor as in the TV series. For one thing, 'Dr Who' was an eccentric human scientist, not a wandering Time Lord from Gallifrey, with two loving grand daughters, Susan and Barbara, and a niece called Louise. He had a time machine called 'TARDIS', not the TARDIS.

But it is possible for both films to be part of the television series; and all it needed was the 'reinterpretation' of a 'goof' that appeared in a 1966 Doctor Who serial:

Speculation: Dr Who was one of several renowned English scientists who, during the early 1960s, worked on a project to build the world's first super-computer. Once the machine went on line for the first time, Dr Who realised that it had the potential to do more than it was originally designed to do. He secretly used the computer to help him with the temporal calculations with which he could build a machine that was capable of travelling through time as well as space. Thus was born 'TARDIS'. The computer even came up with the name, taken from the initials Time And Relative Dimension In Space; being a machine that worked on logic what else would a super-computer name a space/time machine that was bigger on the inside?

Shortly after its assembly Dr Who, his grand daughters and Barbara's boyfriend Ian took TARDIS on its maiden flight to the planet Skaro, where they encountered the Daleks and the Thals. Later, Susan and Louise, Dr Who's niece, accompanied him to a time in Earth's future in which the Daleks had invaded the planet.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, plans were underway to connect the super-computer with other computers all around the world. The computer had by this time been given a name: Will Operating Thought ANalogue, or WOTAN for short.

Four days before Computer-Day on 16 July 1966, a wandering Time Lord known as the Doctor arrived in London with his companion Dodo. When Dodo asked the computer what the initials TARDIS stood for, WOTAN gave the correct response because it already knew the answer. WOTAN incorrectly assumed that the Doctor was Dr Who, one of the men who had designed it.

Later, when WOTAN began taking over people's minds, including Dodo's, it gave her an order: 'Dr Who is required. Bring him here'. She mistook this as an order to bring her Doctor, and she left to fetch him. The real Dr Who was still absent from the Earth at this time which is why he was not at the press conference.

Coincidentally, the second Dalek film had its debut screening on 22 July 1966, ten days later than the date on which the first episode of The War Machines was set!

As for the fact that both Dr Who and the Doctor had adventures with the Daleks that were near identical, we can assume that at least one of them took place in a parallel dimension. In fact the opening scenes of the TV version of The Daleks play in negative so we could say that the negative image was due to this being the parallel dimension, with Dr Who's adventure on Skaro taking place in the 'real' Universe. Likewise, with a bit of retroactive speculation the Dalek invasion in the movie 2150AD could actually be the second Dalek invasion, following the hundred years of war that erupted after time-travelling guerillas from the 22nd century caused the deaths of Sir Reginald Styles and foreign delegates attending a World Peace Conference, as seen in Day of the Daleks.

This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).