Big Finish is producing a lost version of ‘Genesis of the Daleks,’ based on an original script by Terry Nation.
Yes, you read that correctly. Terry Nation may have passed away in 1997, but his legacy lives on, namely in unproduced scripts which have recently come to light and have now been adapted for radio. One of these is an early draft of ‘Genesis of the Daleks,’ complete with typos, which has been tweaked by writer and producer Simon Guerrier. The audio adventure will star Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, alongside Elisabeth Sladen’s daughter Sadie Miller as Sarah Jane Smith, and Christopher Naylor as Harry Sullivan.
This unused version of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ was originally penned in 1974, when outgoing producer Barry Letts was preparing a roster of scripts for the newly-regenerated Doctor. Fans of the televised version of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ will remember that the story centred on the creation of the Doctor’s deadliest foe, and introduced the popular villain Davros who would go on to become a staple in Doctor Who lore. In the transmitted adventure, the Doctor is sent to Skaro by the Time Lords in order to avert the Daleks‘ creation and stop them from becoming the dominant lifeform in the universe.
And of course, this early version of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ has some similarities to its TV counterpart, but producer Simon Guerrier describes the unused scripts as “exciting, surprising and very different,” adding that “‘Genesis’ is a very visual script packed with striking, stark images,” and that “Nation even makes the stage directions exciting.”
And whilst Terry Nation didn’t write first draft scripts for all six episodes of this version of ‘Genesis of the Daleks,’ he did pen a detailed story outline for the full adventure, which Guerrier has used to complete the audio production. Apparently, this draft version still centres on the Kaled-Thal war as seen in the TV story, but this time it is being fought by teenagers, with the adults being eerily conspicuous by their absence.
Moreover, this ‘new’ version of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ has been re-branded with the evocative title of ‘Daleks! Genesis of Terror’ – a name which is reminiscent of some of the early Dalek comic strips.
And as if a lost version of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ were not exciting enough, Big Finish has also unearthed an early draft of ‘The Ark in Space’ by John Lucarotti. This adventure preceded ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ in Doctor Who Season 12, and although the transmitted version was heavily adapted by script editor Robert Holmes, this early draft takes the listener back to Lucarotti’s original vision, titled ‘Doctor Who and the Ark.’
But as with ‘Genesis of the Daleks,’ certain adjustments have been made to help the story flow on radio. “In ‘Doctor Who and the Ark,’ the directions were more functional,” says Guerrier, “so Jonathan Morris has carefully adapted the script for audio. Though we’ve kept the original episode titles, such as ‘Puffball’ and ‘Camelias’ – I think Tom Baker enjoyed recording those! Oh, and wait till you hear that cliffhanger…”
These new versions of ‘The Ark in Space’ and ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ will be released simultaneously in March 2023 under the ‘Doctor Who – The Lost Stories’ umbrella. They follow on from the earlier release of ‘Return of the Cybermen‘ – another lost story from Doctor Who‘s twelfth season.
Interestingly, this period of Doctor Who has proven to be one of the most popular of all time, and when the BBC started releasing the classic adventures on Blu-ray, Season 12 was the first one it picked. The box set sold out at a dizzying pace, so much so that second-hand copies were selling for astronomical prices on eBay. Eventually, the BBC was forced to re-release the set to meet consumer demand.
So if March 2023 is too long to wait for your ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ fix, you might want to give Season 12 a watch in all its (nearly) high definition goodness. The box set is now available in standard packaging, so you won’t need to remortgage your house in order to buy it.
Will you be listening to the new versions of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and ‘The Ark in Space’ when they come out in 2023? And which is your favourite story from Doctor Who Season 12? Let me know in the comments below.
Pre-order the upcoming adventures here.
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