Monday, 18 January 2010

Postcards from Another World 9

Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction.

Part Nine: Season 25 (1988)

After Trial of A Time Lord was over, the pendulum had once again swung the way of the production team. Michael Grade was sensationally sacked by the BBC that year (not entirely due to Doctor Who, it has to be said) and it was rapidly confirmed that for the show’s silver anniversary year it would be restored to 13 episodes and with a budget to match. The Sun claimed the credit for this, to the surprise of nobody.

A couple of changes were to be made at the start of this season: Nicola Bryant had decided to move on from the show, and behind the camera JNT needed to find a permanent replacement for Eric Saward - Terrance Dicks declined the post, although he offered to mentor the new guy. Andrew Cartmel was an unlikely choice for Script Editor, as he was a young writer with little experience of script-editing duties. Nevertheless, he was JNT’s choice.

When it came to casting the new female Companion, JNT’s first choice was, unexpectedly, all-but vetoed by the show’s stars Colin Baker and Paul Darrow. Accusing their Producer of attempting to “stunt-cast” Bonnie Langford for the sake of cheap publicity, they raised strong objections and, knowing JNT’s weaknesses, pointed out that she would not be popular among the show’s bedrock fanbase. JNT was wise enough to see things their way, and the Langford idea was dropped.

After auditioning for the part, the unknown actress Sophie Aldred was cast in the role of “Ace.” The first serial of the season, Dragonfire, saw Peri depart the series and Ace join the TARDIS crew in her place.

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