Doctor Who: No regeneration in original script for William Hartnell?

by Anna Howell


With the world about to experience its eleventh Doctor Who regeneration as current Time Lord Matt Smith takes his final bow this Christmas Day to make way for the 12th Doctor Who Peter Capaldi, but according to a lost script just discovered the first ever regeneration in the show nearly didn’t happen.

According to SFX when the first ever Doctor, William Hartnell was contemplating leaving, the end of the script, discovered by author Michael Seeley, did not include a regeneration at all.

The author, who is currently writing a biography of Cybermen co-creator Kit Pedler, reportedly told the sci-fi magazine that the script in question is a first draft, written before Hartnell’ made the decision to leave the show, explaining:

“We know that William Hartnell was being persuaded to give up the role he loved over the summer of 1966, and that they were sounding out replacements,

“He only decided to leave in the middle of July, the month after this draft was written.”

In the first regeneration the first Doctor played by Hartnell was eventually seen regenerating into his successor, Patrick Troughton in the fourth and final episode of the 1966 series, which was also the first ever storyline to feature The Cybermen.


Incidentally, as we revealed earlier today, it is reported that The Cybermen are set to make another return this Christmas Day for the next regeneration when Peter Capaldi takes over from Matt Smith, with a stunt performer for the show, Baz parker, taking to social networking site, Twitter, to announce the news, posting:

‘Great to be stunting again for Dr Who in the Christmas special playing a Cyberman!’


Little is known about the Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who, which doesn’t even have a title yet, but Moffatt has praised Capaldi in his new role describing him as “an utterly brilliant, arresting-looking leading man” and “one of the most talented actors in Britain”.

Doctor Who returns for its 50th anniversary celebratory episode on November 23, and then again on Christmas Day for the regeneration.