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Best-known for co-creating the Cybermen, writer and story editor Gerry Davis was also behind The Smugglers and The Highlanders. In this largely unseen interview, conducted in 1990, he fondly remembers two of the liveliest historical stories of the 1960s.
Michael Craze and Patrick Troughton film the scene from Episode 1 of The Highlanders (1966) where Ben and the Doctor discover a spiked cannon.

Gerry Davis was Doctor Who’s story editor from 1966 to 1967, during which time he helped to introduce Patrick Troughton’s Doctor and devised the Cybermen with his friend and writing partner Dr Kit Pedler. Davis also oversaw The Smugglers (1966) and The Highlanders (1966-67), the final purely historical stories of the era.

“I felt that if we were going to do ‘a history’ it was no good going back to something like the Massacre of St Bartholomew, which was a rather gruesome episode and not the subject of romance,” he explained, in clear reference to The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve, the 1966 story co-written by his predecessor as story editor, Donald Tosh. “Whereas I felt that if we could get close to some of the established classics – something like [the Robert Louis Stevenson novel] Kidnapped – there’d be enough boys out there who’d have read the books for them to be familiar with the background.

Former Doctor Who story editor and writer Gerry Davis, pictured in the early 1970s.
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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.