10 Terrible Doctor Who Ideas That Nearly Happened

Doctor Who can do anything, but there are times when it definitely shouldn't.

Tom Baker Meglos Fourth Doctor
BBC Studios

Doctor Who has been going for over 60 years at this point, and the constant churn for story ideas has meant that all manner of good and bad ideas have been tossed aside. And as Doctor Who fans, we often love to ponder these might-have-beens.

What if Sarah Jane Smith had returned for Tom Baker's final season? How would Hugh Grant's Ninth Doctor have tackled the Slitheen? How would Christopher Eccleston have interacted with Matt Smith and David Tennant?

The mind boggles with the possibilities of some of Doctor Who's greatest missed opportunities. However, the mind then recoils at the mention of some of the terrible ideas that almost made it into televised Doctor Who.

An unmade Doctor Who episode where Sarah Jane was murdered by aliens? No thank you. A Christmas special in which JK Rowling's imagination comes to life? Absolutely not.

Thankfully, saner heads often prevail, and such terrible ideas are consigned to niche Doctor Who Magazine features, or WhoCulture lists!

On that note, let's dig into the cream of the crop of Doctor Who's worst unused ideas.

10. The Young Doctor Adventures

Tom Baker Meglos Fourth Doctor
BBC Studios

Keen to cash in on Doctor Who's overnight success in 2005, the BBC tapped Russell T Davies for spinoff ideas.

One concept that was pitched to RTD was a CBBC show that would focus on the Doctor's childhood on Gallifrey. For obvious reasons, Davies declined to pursue the idea further, and developed The Sarah Jane Adventures instead.

It was the right call, as a series of The Young Doctor Adventures would've risked destroying any sense of mystery surrounding the character. For starters, how could you develop a whole show around the Doctor's childhood and not reveal their birth name?

Sure, the Doctor's Theta Sigma nickname from The Armageddon Factor would provide a decent workaround, but then what would their parents call them? What would those parents be like?

And then what would the stories be like? Would we have young versions of the Doctor and the Master running rings around their tutors at the Academy, and having food fights in the canteen?

It sounds like what the BBC really wanted was Harry Potter with timey-wimeyness and TARDISes instead of spells and Quidditch. Thankfully, Russell nipped this one in the bud.

In this post: 
Doctor Who
Posted On: 

Citizen of the Universe, Film Programmer, Writer, Podcaster, Doctor Who fan and a gentleman to boot. As passionate about Chinese social-realist epics as I am about dumb popcorn movies.