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Reality Check

The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve may be missing from the BBC’s archive, but for co-writer Donald Tosh the story’s production is still a vivid memory.
The Doctor (William Hartnell) and Steven in the Riverside Studios tavern set designed by Michael Young.

Donald Tosh has the distinction of being the only surviving writer from the William Hartnell era of Doctor Who. Much of his work on the series went uncredited – as the programme’s story editor, it was part of his job to fix or rewrite scripts as and when necessary.

Former Doctor Who story editor and writer Donald Tosh.

There is reliable evidence that he does, however, share a credit with John Lucarotti on the final episode of The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve (1966), one of the most intriguing of all Doctor Who’s purely historical stories. As Donald explains, this was the type of story that helped to make Doctor Who so appealing to him.

John Wiles, Doctor Who’s second producer, pictured in the early 1980s.
Photo © Marcus Hearn.
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About Doctor Who Magazine

“History sometimes gives us a terrible shock, and that is because we don’t quite fully understand... We’re all too small to realise its final pattern.” Doctor Who’s first journey in 1963 took viewers back to the Stone Age. Since then the TARDIS has visited many other landmarks in a unique chronicle of the Doctor’s favourite planet. Purely historical stories were once a mainstay of the series, but for more than 50 years significant periods in Earth’s past have provided evocative settings for more fantastical adventures. This unprecedented guide takes a trip back in time with the people, places and classic episodes that are essential parts of Doctor Who history.