10 Doctor Who Episodes That Were Never Made

Mysterious Doctor Who adventures lost to time, space, and production nightmares.

Doctor Who Meets Scratchman
BBC/Brian Williamson

Having been our screens now for almost 60 years and had nearly 900 episodes aired, Doctor Who has managed to inspire and amaze fans with some of the most iconic, unique, and intelligent sci-fi put to television. However, buried deep in the Doctor Who vaults are hidden gems, unmade movies, and discarded episodes that have been lost to time, space, and production nightmares.

Did you know Tom Baker wrote a Doctor Who movie? Or the Fifth Doctor almost helped create the Cybermen? These missing adventures all have interesting stories both on-page and behind-the-scenes.

From unresolved storylines and forgotten showdowns with classic monsters, to rejected ideas and cancelled productions; Doctor Who has had its fair share of quality material exterminated before it ever reached our screens. Thanks to strikes, cutbacks, budgetary concerns and production problems, some of Doctor Who's most intriguing and potentially revolutionary material has never seen the light of day.

Looking at some of the most mysterious and forgotten Doctor Who stories and the strange reasons for them never surfacing, these are 10 Doctor Who Episodes That Were Never Made.

10. Yellow Fever And How To Cure It

Doctor Who Meets Scratchman

In an episode penned by veteran Who-writer and script editor Robert Holmes, the Sixth Doctor was set to battle the plastic menaces known as the Autons. However, the episode never came to be. Thanks to Doctor Who's first cancellation by the BBC in 1985, 'Yellow Fever and How to Cure it' was just one of many mysterious episodes to be lost in a production vortex.

Set to be filmed in Singapore, Holmes' script featured Colin Baker's Doctor facing renegade Time Lords the Master and the Rani, as well as the return of the Brigadier. Having created the Autons back in 1970, this would be Holmes' chance to bring his creations back to menace the Doctor.

'Yellow Fever' saw the Rani allying with the Nestene Consciousness and experimenting on its Autons to make them faster, stronger, and more deadly. This included equipping them with ricocheting bullets and flamethrowers. Imprisoned by UNIT in Singapore would be the Master, who the Doctor and the Brigadier would have to ally themselves with to stop their adversaries. 

However, the production was halted when the BBC announced that Doctor Who was to be on hiatus for 18 months - until Spring 1986. When the show returned after massive fan backlash, there was no budget to film this expensive episode and it was scrapped. Holmes was instead offered an episode in the proposed 1986 back-up serial 'Trial of the Time Lord', titled 'The Mysterious Planet' - but with no Autons in sight.

Robert Holmes sadly passed away in 1986 before 'Yellow Fever' ever saw the light of day, and still no novelisation or audio adaptation of the intriguing story has ever been made.
 The Autons wouldn't return to Doctor Who until the 2005 revival, but the Sixth Doctor would go on to face his plastic foes in various comics, novels, and audio productions in the years after.

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Eden Luke McIntyre is a Scottish writer, editor and script consultant, with an MA in TV Fiction Writing. He writes content for TV, radio, stage, and online, and was appointed as a BBC Writers Room Scottish Voice in early 2020. Eden can usually be found rambling about Doctor Who, The Beatles, and obscure things that no one cares about.