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In 1989’s Battlefield the Seventh Doctor was challenged by warriors from another dimension, including one of the most spectacular creatures yet seen in Doctor Who. There were, however, a number of equally impressive pre-production ideas that never made it to the screen…
Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor in Battlefield (1989)
Visual effects designer Mike Tucker. Photo © Karen Parks.

“Battlefield? Oh yeah… The one with the Transformer robot suits. And where the Brigadier is killed by that little guy who turns into a huge demon!”

Not the version of Battlefield that you remember? Well, it might easily have been… Battlefield was the opening story of Doctor Who’s 26th season. Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred were in their third year playing the Doctor and Ace and had comfortably settled into their characters. Behind the scenes, script editor Andrew Cartmel, with producer John Nathan-Turner’s agreement, had brought in a team of new young writers, all of them fully attuned to Cartmel’s mission: to bring an atmosphere of mystery and danger back to the programme.

A key Cartmel collaborator was Ben Aaronovitch, a writer new to television whose spec script Knightfall had so impressed the production team that it landed him the job of writing the previous season’s Dalek story. With its deft handling of elements from the programme’s past, Remembrance of the Daleks (1988) had proved hugely popular, arguably overshadowing the official 25th anniversary story, Silver Nemesis. It was inevitable, then, that Ben would be invited to write another script.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Doctor Who’s creators envisaged a series that would go forwards, backwards and sideways in time. The Doctor’s trips to parallel universes and alternative dimensions have provided the show with some of its best-loved adventures – from its black-and-white beginnings to the latest episodes, starring Jodie Whittaker. Uncover the background to these memorable journeys and explore the greatest stories beyond the television series in this lavish publication, which is packed full of exclusive features and rare images.