10 Doctor Who Episodes That Were Almost Completely Different

The Captain Jack comeback that never came to pass...

Doctor Who Twice Upon A Time
BBC

The internet is a glorious place (mostly) that allows us fans to gather and talk about our favourite TV shows, but since most of us don't know what it's like to actually work on these shows, it's hard for us to grasp how complicated they are to produce.

For instance, can you imagine being asked to write an episode of something like Doctor Who? Sure, there are basically no limitations on your story when you're playing around in this universe, but that arguably makes things even harder, because it means that you have to invent pretty much everything from scratch.

It's an unenviable task no doubt, and because of how straight-up difficult it is to create an episode of Doctor Who, a lot of the stories we've seen over the last fifteen years almost turned out completely differently.

Sometimes, this is because the writers had grand visions that needed to be scaled down for financial reasons, but in other cases, it's because an idea that sounded great on paper wouldn't have worked in the final broadcast episode. And that's without even mentioning all the scheduling conflicts and contract problems.

On the plus side, most of these episodes turned out quite well, but for now, let's visit that alternate reality where they look totally different...

10. The Girl Who Died

Doctor Who Twice Upon A Time
BBC

As it stands, Series 9's The Girl Who Died is a relatively small episode. The pre-title sequence features a couple of effects shots where Clara is floating in space, but other than that, the whole thing takes place in a tiny human village with a couple of huts.

That's not to say it's a bad episode. In fact, it's a rather solid one, as is to be expected from talented writers like Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat. It's just a very small-scale episode from a production standpoint, but originally, Mathieson had much grander plans for the story that would've taken the episode way over budget.

In his earliest drafts of the script, Mathieson included a bunch of Valkyries on flying horses, a sequence in which a flying longboat gets attacked by a huge sea serpent, and then, a scene where the Doctor crashes said longboat into Valhalla. It sounds much more action-heavy and fantastical when compared to the final version, but again, the budget meant that none of this stuff was possible to do.

From the sounds of it, those early drafts were completely wacky and over-the-top, a huge departure from the more grounded episode that was eventually broadcast.

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Video editor and writer WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.