The Dark Dimension (unproduced TV story)

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The Dark Dimension, written by fan scholar Adrian Rigelsford, was a planned film commissioned by BBC Enterprises that was to have been released in 1993 to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Doctor Who.

Initial production[[edit]]

Cancellation[[edit]]

The Dark Dimension (later known as Lost in the Dark Dimension[1]) ran into obstacles which prevented it from being produced.

Some of the actors, particularly Jon Pertwee and Colin Baker, were not pleased that their roles were so small (the script featured the Fourth Doctor prominently while the others had small scenes).[2]

The main cancellation of the project fell to a miscalculation in the cost of the programme. A large sum of money had not been added to both the cost and revenue of the project — that of the cost of putting the show on the air. When the calculations were corrected, it became clear that it was no longer viable to produce the film financially.

Attempts were made afterward to lighten the cost of the film by cutting key scenes and restructuring the film entirely - but these eventually fell through. Some minor elements of the scripts — such as characters not being able to be visible because of being in another level of time — were later used in the television story Dimensions in Time.

The story[[edit]]

Far in the future of Earth, most humans have been wiped out. The Earth is left in ruins, the only people left on the planet being a resistance group which has been trying to hunt the creature that has done this to the planet. The group is searching an area, and their leader, Summerfield, suddenly finds a body. It is the Seventh Doctor — murdered by the creature. The Doctor is given a funeral which Summerfield finds fitting, as they are sent floating into sea and lit aflame. With the Doctor gone, Summerfield tells the others that they have to finish what the Doctor started on their own, attempting to send the creature who killed him into the time vortex to be destroyed. However, this would have instead sent him into Earth's distant past, where he would have plotted to change history.

The central idea to the story was that the creature — disguised as the human scientist Hawkspur — would have averted the events of TV: Logopolis so that the Fourth Doctor would have survived his fall instead of regenerating. Hawkspur also would have manipulated politics on Earth for the decades remaining, creating a world where he has ultimate power and a horde of monsters.

The story would have centred on an older version of the Fourth Doctor, the Brigadier and "Dorothy" (all three from the timeline where the Fifth through Seventh Doctors never existed), with shorter appearances by the other surviving Doctors in minor roles, trying to defeat Hawkspur and set the universe right. Returning monsters would have included the Cybermen, Daleks, Ice Warriors and the Yeti.

At one point, the Doctor, Dorothy, and the Brigadier would have been sent through time, encountering the Fifth and Sixth Doctors on the brisk of being erased from history. The former Doctors would have then been kidnapped by Hawkspur. Throughout the adventure, Dorothy would have slowly regained her former memories as "Ace" in the original timeline, culminating in her encountering the Seventh Doctor in a void, where he would he ceased to exist before her. In the same void, the Fourth Doctor would have spoken to a lingering spirit of his third incarnation, who would have given him solace.

The film was to have ended with the Fourth Doctor engaging in a sword fight with Hawkspur. The fight would eventually make it to the roof of the church — the form which the TARDIS would've taken in this alternate timeline — where the Doctor would eventually force the creature out of Hawkspur's body.

The creature would have then mortally wounded Ace, causing the Doctor to use his remaining strength to throw the creature into a vortex opening, not only killing it but erasing it from time. The Doctor would have then regenerated into his Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh incarnations as the original timeline was restored.

The Fourth Doctor and Ace (Daryl Joyce, DWMSE 5)

The Seventh Doctor and Ace would have found themselves at a church, with the Doctor reflecting that they would soon likely forget the alternate timeline. The two would eventually continue their travels in time and space, with the Doctor pondering how humanity has survived so much throughout history and beyond...

The "Summerfield" featured in the story was written to perhaps be an alternate version of the Seventh Doctor's companion Bernice Summerfield from the New Adventures book series. However, the story did not touch upon this and was extremely ambiguous on the topic.

Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart's son, Alexander Stewart, would have a minor role in the film. In the alternative timeline he would have been the boyfriend of Dorothy. At the end of the film, at the church, the Brigadier would have been seen visiting Alexander's grave. In the normal timeline, he died in 1979 at the age of ten.[3]

Monsters[[edit]]

The villain of the story was a creature "Entirely made out of chronal energy". No concrete description of the creature has been given, although multiple people who worked on the project have given basic outlines for how they wanted to depict it. Kevin Davies, who was to work on post-production effects, described it as "The big alien, Death itself" which would "float across the landscape spreading death and destruction beneath it."[1] In the beginning of the film, the resistance group led by Summerfield would try to kill this creature by sending it into the time vortex, only for it to escape into the past, where it would possess Professor Hawkspur in 1936 and travel to the future to save the Fourth Doctor on the Pharos Project.

Special Weapons Dalek concept art (Scifinow #37)

This story was to also feature almost all the classic monsters, with many of them being redesigned or feature totally new developments of the original design. The Ice Warriors were similar to their classic design, however being slimmed down from their bulky armour to a more fitting shape, while also losing the helmet design for proper heads with bulbous white eyes. The Yeti were also similar to their original depiction, with the inclusion of a proper face being the main redesign. In the original script written by Rigelsford, the story introduced a new type of Cyberman, the Cybercommander. Its skeletal design has been commonly associated with the project.

The Daleks also were to have been give a redesign, featuring several white and red Daleks as well as a one-off new special weapons Dalek by BBC Workshop under Tony Harding supervision.[3] A design of this "Special Weapons Dalek" was passed by BBC visual FX assistant Alan Marshall.[4] According to visual effects assistant Mike Tucker, the Dalek guns were going to be computer animated, with bolts "like spears coming out in 3-D."[1]

Characters[[edit]]

Production[[edit]]

About three weeks worth of test filming was done including model and titles effects, and some location filming was also undertaken. 'We were going to go down to Shepperton film studios,' says Rigelsford, 'and have it shot on film on one of the largest sound-stages on Shepperton.'TSV 44[1]

Details[[edit]]

Further development[[edit]]

Adrian Rigelsford wrote a book entitled The Making of the Dark Dimension which contained scripts and concept drawings. However, it repeatedly ran into release problems and has never been published.[1] The Dark Dimension and its production were briefly mentioned in Rigelsford's own Classic Who: The Harper Classics.

External links[[edit]]

Footnotes[[edit]]