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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > The Essential Doctor Who: Robots > MURDER ON THE ROBOT EXPRESS

MURDER ON THE ROBOT EXPRESS

The 1977 classic The Robots of Death was written by Chris Boucher. In 1993 Chris recalled his brief but acclaimed tenure on television Doctor Who in an interview with the fanzine The Hourly Press. Here are highlights of that conversation.
Writer Chris Boucher, pictured in 2003.

Only three of Chris Boucher’s Doctor Who stories made it to the screen, but The Face of Evil, The Robots of Death and Image of the Fendahl, all broadcast in 1977, earned him a place at the series’ top table. Chris was a protégé of script editor Robert Holmes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his work couples a similarly sardonic sense of humour with some of the programme’s most disturbing ideas – and this in an era that was being closely scrutinised by ‘Clean-Up TV’ campaigner Mary Whitehouse. Chris was his mentor’s natural successor in more ways than one, for when Holmes declined script-editing duties on the BBC’s new space opera Blake’s 7 (1978-81), he instead recommended Chris for the role.

As it turned out, Chris also wrote many of the series’ outstanding episodes, including the unforgettable finale, Blake. Then in the mid-1980s, amid growing intolerance towards television science-fiction, Chris achieved the near-impossible by creating the BBC2 drama Star Cops. Although only nine episodes were produced (and largely overlooked), the series has since been recognised for the superior quality of its scripts.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Robots have been an essential part of Doctor Who for six decades. The latest issue of Panini’s lavish Doctor Who bookazine includes features on classic robot stories such as Galaxy 4, Pyramids of Mars and The Robots of Death. Other highlights include interviews with the actors, writers and directors who helped to create some of these episodes. Packed with exclusive content and rare images, this 116-page bookazine is a must-have for fans