WRITTEN BY CALLUM SHEPLEY
After the cancelation of Doctor Who in 1989, there were many attempts from various different people to try and bring back and revitalise the show. To name a few of these attempts we had the idea of the Nelvana Cartoon in 1990. In 1992 we saw a team trying to make a 90 minute special called Lost in the Dark Dimension (check out my last two articles for details on that story) and we also saw the creation of a minisode crossover with EastEnders called Dimensions in Time. But none of these attempts are quite as wacky and strange as the 1994 Leekley Bible.
The Leekley Bible is the name that refers to a 45 page documentation written up by an American Television Writer named John Leekley. The documentation contains an incredibly detailed insight into Leekley’s idea for what a revived series of Doctor Who could look like. Despite the fact that it may just sound like a crazy Doctor Who fan wanting his favourite show back, John Leekley actually had a rather large chance of making this happen. This, in turn, was because he came into contact with Phillip Segal who was working for Universal at the time, and had been commissioned to bring Doctor Who back.
This proposed series from John Leekley would have acted as a complete reboot of Doctor Who. Despite this, however, a lot of the core concepts of the show would still be remain in place. The Doctor would still travel with a companion, the Daleks and the Timelords would still exist, and many names like Gallifrey and Rassilon would have been exactly the same. Leekley’s series would have seen a lot of differences though, like the Master being Borusa’s grandson, and the Doctor being the Master’s half brother. The series would have gone over some pretty big storylines like the Daleks attacking Gallifrey, Borusa becoming president of the Time Lords, as well as finding out the Master is Borusa’s son.
“A ruggedly handsome young Time Lord named the Doctor discovers that he is the long-lost son of the great explorer Ulysses, but not before the Master becomes the Lord President of Gallifrey. The Doctor must travel with the spirit of Borusa (who can only exist inside the “Time-crystals” that power the Tardis) and find his long lost father to restore the balance of peace across the universe.”
There are many problems with the Leekley Bible, from the many inconsistencies within, to the lack of information we have about it because the documentation has never been released publicly in its entirety. I think my biggest issue with this whole idea though, is the fact that it is essentially a fully fledged reboot of Doctor Who, but for almost no reason whatsoever. Clearly the only reason why a reboot was on the cards, was for the American audience that this new rendition was clearly aiming at.
The biggest insult of all though for this series was that despite it being a reboot of the show, it would still tread quite a lot of ground that the show had already trodden on before. I now want to go onto the episodes that John Leekley proposed for this reboot, but before I do I want to stress that these were not final story ideas – thus they may have never gotten onto screen – and that these stories were showcased purely to envision what the new show could be like.
The Pirates – Based on The Smugglers
The Talons of Weng-Chiang – Based on The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, but would be set in Chinatown in NYC
Earthshock – Based on Earthshock, but with the savage creatures Cybs instead of Cybermen
The Horror of Fang Rock – Based on Horror Of Fang Rock
The Celestial Toymaker – Based on The Celestial Toymaker, but with the Master behind it all in the end
Don’t Shoot, I’m The Doctor – Based on The Gunfighters, but with less historical inaccuracies
Tomb of the Cybs – Based on The Tomb of the Cybermen, but the Master awakens the Cybs from their sleep
The Yeti – Very loosely based on The Abominable Snowmen without the Great Intelligence
Ark in Space – Based on The Ark in Space
The Cybs – The Cybs are invading Mars and the Doctor must work with gold miners in order to stop them
The Outcasts – Loosely based on The Invasion Of Time, focussing on the Gallifreyan Outcasts
An Era of Fire – A hybrid story based on The Reign Of Terror and The Claws Of Axos
The Dæmon Within – Based on The Dæmons, but set in Massachusetts
The Depths – Based on The Sea Devils, but set in Louisiana
Shada – A remake of the lost Classic, Shada
After John Leekley had written the Leekley Bible, he then wrote a script for what he wanted to be the Pilot Episode of the series. This is the one and only episode we know he definitely wanted to have within the series. The pilot episode was called “Father’s And Brothers”, and is a story based on Genesis of the Daleks. “Fathers And Brothers” would have featured the Master killing Davros at the time of the creation of the Spider Daleks, and then the Master adapting and using the Spider Dalek creatures for his own ends.
The reason as to why this didn’t happen came down to poor reception over his ideas. You can understand why these ideas didn’t become a reality, particularly since they have a lot of flaws in them, mostly because of how convoluted they are for new viewers, and how much they alienate the already existing fans.
In conclusion this was certainly going to be an interesting way to continue Doctor Who’s legacy. I think this is an interesting and insightful thing to look into and know about, and I’m glad the Leekley Bible exists because it’s a look into a very different Doctor Who. Would I have wanted this to come to screen though? Absolutely not. It’s certainly interesting, but it’s not good, and if this had happened Doctor Who would have become a very different show, and I don’t think for the better.