For the 20th Anniversary of Doctor Who, producer John Nathan Turner had decided to pull out all the stops. Not content with a season themed with references to the programs legacy from the Master to the Brigadier, JNT had a major event planned that would perfectly link the past and present of the series.
Using the recently discovered recording of a long lost episode from the 1960’s, JNT would create new bridging material with currently reigning Doctor, Peter Davison. The ‘missing’ story was entitled ‘The Hidden Planet’ and featured William Hartnell, the first Doctor. Written by veteran scribe Malcolm Hulke (The Silurians), the story was never finished. The ingenious plan would have the first Doctor involved in a gripping mystery on one planet while on a sister sphere the fifth Doctor would be involved in a related adventure. The two Doctors would therefore work together while remaining oblivious to the other’s involvement.
To further sweeten the idea, the entire program would be filmed in Black and White, making the link between Doctors and eras almost seamless.
Sounds great, huh?
When I read about this mega event in Doctor Who Magazine, I was beside myself with anticipation. Doctor Who was enjoying an unprecedented fame and this was just a perfect addition to a fantastic celebratory year.
Except for the fact that the article was an elaborate April Fool’s joke, it would have been perfect, I should say.
With the the viral use of the internet and avid fans, it’s almost impossible to pull a fast one like this on Whovians the world over, but the 1980’s were a different time. That said… who else wishes any number of rumored endings had been true this year instead of the incredibly convoluted cop-out delivered as serious entertainment we had to endure.
The episode unseen is far sweeter, I guess.