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Several years after creating the Chumblies for Galaxy 4, writer William Emms submitted another story to the Doctor Who production office. This time, however, the robots he devised were rather more sinister…

‘This is an expansion of the idea initially entitled The Harvesters. It does not include detailed incident and character, but only an overall picture for purposes of discussion and later expansion.’ So began an author’s note at the start of the grandiose 12-page document The Vampire Planet, a 1969 proposal headed ‘An Idea for Dr Who by William Emms’.

On New Year’s Eve 1968, Doctor Who story editor Derrick Sherwin had outlined the production team’s revised vision for Doctor Who in the wake of The Invasion, a story set in the near future in which the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) defended Earth alongside the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT). As the series moved into colour, the Doctor would be exiled to Earth and work once again with UNIT’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney). William Emms – then working as a story consultant for BBC1’s Dixon of Dock Green – offered an idea for the new format, employing the same emphasis on robotic devices that had been a feature of his 1965 story Galaxy 4. However, on this occasion the BBC production office decided not to commission any 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