Sunday, 24 January 2010

Postcards from Another World 15

Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction.

Part Fifteen: Seasons 34-35 (1997-98)

Doctor Who had been damaged by its dabbling with ‘Americanisation’ in its 33rd season. Top of Philip Segal’s agenda for season 34 was to find a balance between appealing to the American audience (which he had seemingly achieved) and to the core audience in the UK.

Minutes of a production team meeting in the early planning stages of season 34 show a collective agreement was reached on how to restore the balance: the ‘classic’ years of Doctor Who appealed to Americans despite being very British in style and setting. Therefore the American actors and locations would be dropped. The TARDIS set would be kept on (a second redesign would have been very expensive, and impossible to justify so soon), as would McGann’s Doctor.

Daphne Ashbrook’s Grace was written out early in the season, and writer Paul Cornell was invited to create a new Companion for the series, Bernice Summerfield, to be played by British actress Lisa Bowerman. In fact Cornell had created the character several years earlier for an early draft of one of his scripts, and now had the opportunity to introduce her into the world of Doctor Who.

Eric Roberts was not invited to return as the Master, and the character was not used again for several years.

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