They Could Have Been The Next Doctor Who (But They Weren't)

Between the end of 'Classic' Doctor Who and the arrival of New Doctor Who, or so newspaper columnists would have us believe, there was a big massive gap in the TV schedules where 'sci-fi' should have been. Yet every so often, and in fact more often than you’d think, somebody somewhere would try to get a new hit series off the ground. These efforts were, sadly, invariably doomed to failure - for a variety of reasons and not all of them connected to the quality of the shows - but some were more interesting than others and in a couple of cases even managed to generate cult followings that thrive to this day. Even if in some of those cases, you do have to worry about anyone who would call themselves a 'fan'. Here's five of the most, erm, 'distinctive' attempts.

Star Cops (BBC, 1987)

Where it all started to go wrong. Created by Chris Boucher, who had ‘form’ in Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 on one hand and Juliet Bravo and Bergerac on the other, Star Cops was a deliberate attempt to unite two different sets of genre fans with a series that used a subdued near-future setting to create unusual plot twists (e.g. a ‘murder’ case in which the victim has yet to die) for solid detective yarns populated by offbeat characters. It was good enough to have hooked them both too, but behind-the-scenes conflict put the BBC off the series, ridiculous scheduling and dodgy acting - not to mention a rotten theme song which had nothing to do with ‘stars’ or ‘cops’ but everything to do with overwrought production-heavy tuneless eighties soft-rock balladeering - did likewise for viewers, and the good men and women of the International Space Police Force were never seen again.

Interceptor (ITV, 1989)

The only game show to make it onto this list, which may seem strange but if you’re thinking that, then you really have no idea what this show was all about. Typically high concept fare from Chatsworth Television, the people behind the itself already barely explicable Treasure HuntInterceptor involved two competing teams searching for a key to open the other’s treasure-laden backpack, all the while tailed by ‘The Interceptor’ - black-clad stuntman Sean O’Kane, who pursued them in a hi-tech helicopter (along with co-pilot ‘Mikey’) in the hope of zapping their backpacks with a lock-jamming Lazer Quest-style ray gun. Unmissable stuff, not least due to The Interceptor’s fence-vaulting eagle-screeching lunacy and the presence of former tennis prodigy hostess Annabel Croft, who set many an adolescent pulse racing, but that high concept was just too high for the average viewer. It folded after just one series and a Christmas special, by which time Chatsworth were already at work on something called The Crystal Maze.

Jupiter Moon (BSB, 1990)

Hang on, a soap opera? Yes, but this one’s in space! Short-lived satellite station BSB’s attempt at challenging the ratings dominance of Coronation Street and EastEnders related the lives and loves of a group of students at a university situated on, you guessed it, one of Jupiter’s moons, with the cast including the before-they-were-famous likes of Anna Chancellor, Lucy Benjamin and Jason Durr, and the crew including one Ricky Gervais. Not that he puts it on his CV, mind. It was never, ever going to work, even despite the fact that creator William Smethurst was a long-serving producer of enduring (and very much down to Earth) radio soap The Archers. Nonetheless, Jupiter Moon actually somehow managed not only to outlive BSB itself, with the remaining unscreened episodes later picked up by The Sci-Fi Channel, but also to acquite a huge and devoted fan following. The future's really not as sophisticated as it seemed back then.

Crime Traveller (BBC, 1997)

Giddy with the relative success of sci-tech counter-espionage Saturday evening ratings-winner BUGS, the BBC commissioned crime writer Anthony Horowitz to develop another high concept sci-fi smash hit that could run in rotation with it. What they ended up with was... well, where to start? The ‘Crime Traveller’ in question was one Jeff Slade (Michael French), a detective with access to a time machine that allowed him to solve cases by visiting the past. His jaunts into history, however, were governed by a frankly ridiculous set of ‘rules’ ranging from travel into the future being impossible due to it not ‘existing’, to a load of codswallop about some sort of ‘loop of infinity’, all of which simply served to heighten the ‘drama’ and reduce the actual sci-fi thrills, and if implemented in certain other more successful shows would have reduced them to about two and a half episodes in total. Adding to the bafflingness was some pretty ropey acting and a will-they-won’t-they-don’t-ask-me-I-don’t-care romantic subplot. The show’s failure to make it to a second series has often been blamed on a regime change at the BBC, but it could just as easily have been due to the sharply and rightfully declining ratings. Or the ‘rules’, come to think of it.

The Last Train (ITV, 1999)

A trainload of passengers get accidentally cryogenically frozen (erm, if you say so), and wake up decades later to find that they are the only surviving humans, their only hope of further survival in the post-apocalyptic landscape lying in locating the fabled top secret research project known only as ‘ARK’. Derivative, clunkingly realised and mercilessly mocked by Lee & Herring it may have been, but somehow it became utterly compulsive ‘so bad it’s brilliant’ viewing and there are countless fan sites devoted to the series. No, really.

You can hear me and political pundit Mark Thompson talking about The Last Train in an episode of Looks Unfamiliar here.

You can find the full version of this article, covering dozens of other shows including Moon And Son, Virtual Murder, Space Precinct, BUGS, The Vanishing Man, Invasion: Earth, CI5: The New Professionals and many more, in my book Well At Least It's Free, available as a paperback here or from the Amazon Kindle Store here.

The Ten Least Nasty Video Nasties

In 1984, the Video Recordings Act came into force, requiring all home video titles released in the UK to have a certificate from the British Board Of Film Classification. This also had the very much intended effect of more or less outlawing a number of films that had been released prior to the VRA to a wave of public unease. Some of these were obvious candidates for 'banned' status. Others - and there were over seventy of them - were more puzzling, and it was hard to see why Leon Brittan and company felt they posed such a threat to the moral fabric of society. Here, then, are ten of the least likely inclusions on the bafflingly snowballing list of 'Video Nasties,' all of them long since re-released uncut to little public concern or indeed interest...

Possession (1981)

Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani in Cannes-lauded arty psychosexual melodrama about a woman who thinks she might be having an affair with an extra-terrestrial octopus thing. Very much the sort of film that 'makes you think,' mainly about how exactly penetration would have been achieved.

The Funhouse (1981)

Tobe Hooper-helmed conventional-as-they-come scarefest about a group of teenagers trapped inside a low-rent carnival attraction with a carny-conscious madman. Trailered prior to cinema showings of E.T. shortly before elevation to 'Nasty' status.

The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue (1974)

Lake District-set eco-parable in which zombies run up against characters called George and Edna. Resultant 'Hammer House Of Horror' vibe distinctly at odds with the concept of Depraving & Corrupting.

I Miss You, Hugs & Kisses (1978)

Elke Sommer in Canadian-sourced loosely 'true-life crime'-inspired melodrama with dubious honour of being The Video Nasty Everyone Always Forgets. Barely out of TV Movie territory to be honest.

Visiting Hours (1982)

William Shatner heads a Twentieth Century Fox-bankrolled cast in search of a serial killer targeting a hospital-bound intended victim. Shown uncut by ITV only a few years after the 'Nasties' furore.

Contamination (1981)

Italian 'in space, nobody can hear you plagiarise' rip-off of Alien, only with the cunning twist of taking place on Earth; nobody would ever suspect a thing. Now reclassified as a '15'.

Blood Feast (1963)

Campy schlock-pioneering Herschell Gordon Lewis silliness about a caterer possessed by the spirit of an Egyptian goddess with a 'thing' for ridiculously over-the-top gore. Even the notorious tongue-pulling scene isn't that convincing.

Dead & Buried (1981)

Glossy Lorimar-esque 'Hollywood Does Zombies' blandness with requisite quota of big name stars (including stars of the likes of Dynasty, Blue Thunder and St Elsewhere) and screenwriters. Surprising anyone actually noticed it.

The Burning (1981)

Miramax, Thorn EMI, Rick Wakeman, Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, Handmade Films, virtual carbon copy of Friday The 13th. Not exactly what you'd call cheap and nasty, but 'Nasty' it was, due to the accidental release of a hastily-withdrawn uncut version.

The Witch Who Came From The Sea (1976)

Society For Cutting Up Men-friendly genre-free strangeness about a woman who mutilates brutal males, with the aid of solarised flare lenses and some clown make-up. Possibly too eye-hurting to have caused much distress.

Ten Reasons Why The Doctor Who 'Expanded Universe' Is A Bad Idea

How do you decide what's official Doctor Who 'canon'? Not easy, is it? Obviously the televised adventures (and yes, before anyone writes in, Shada) are all that's eligible under the strictest definition, but sometimes you get something that the then-production team clearly intended as a legitimate spinoff; witness RTD's subtle references to events in the official tie-in novels, the countless comic strips and short stories overseen by original showrunner David Whittaker, and that schools radio thing where The Doctor and Sarah Jane have a smackdown with Megron over who knows the most about geology. And then on the other hand, there's Death Comes To Time.

Some fans have gamely tried to map out an 'Expanded Universe', where after much brow-furrowing everything - no matter how self-contradictory - is slotted in around the TV episodes proper. The problem with this is... well, where do you stop? Tom Baker was a bit Doctorish when presenting The Book Tower, so should we be counting that? What about that fan fiction you wrote as a youngster that started with a Cyberman 'bursting through' a room? Does that Big Finish play about an imagined future Britain run by inept public school idiots mean that the current Tory administration should be considered 'canon'? Does anyone even care about Abslom Daak - Dalek Killer??

Of course not. And here's ten reasons why the 'Expanded Universe' is a bad idea...

Terry Nation's Dalek Annual 1977

Start looking into this 'Expanded Universe' business, and one of the first things you'll come across are character profiles that have been heftily beefed up through the incorporation of backstory details gleaned from spinoff books, plays and what have you. Whether you like it or not, this would also have to include those late seventies Dalek Annuals, which presumably slipped under the approval radar while Terry Nation's attention was focused on Blake's 7. Particularly worthy of elevation to 'canon' status is the 1977 offering, in which they elect to dispense with all of that pesky 'extermination' business in favour of pissing about with phone number-based secret codes.

Not So Old by Roberta Tovey

Numerous attempts have been made to incorporate the mid-sixties Dalek films into proper continuity, with the 100% human Peter Cushing-essayed bumbling inventor 'Doctor Who' variously passed off as a Next Doctor-esque tribute act, an interloper from another dimension, or even a memory loss fever dream thingy. As part of the movie-pushing publicity blitz, Film Susan Roberta Tovey recorded an in-character pop song celebrating her time-travelling antics with her troublingly-monickered grandfather. On the flipside was an equally in-character number in which the time vortex-straddling fourteen-year-old outlines her desire to 'do things' to a much older man, on the proviso that he doesn't tell her mother. Possibly not something that the BBC would be happy to have attached to the Doctor Who franchise right now.

Jason & Crystal from The Ultimate Adventure

Go on, admit it, we'd all have loved to have seen comic strip-derived talking penguin Frobisher, platform-straddling Lara Croft inspiration Bernice Summerfield, or that chain-smoking girl-chasing proto-Inner City Unit beatnik geezer from the Eighth Doctor Novels make an appearance in the show proper. And that's just the tip of the Non-TV Companion Iceberg; there's probably even some people out there who'd make a case for TV Comic irritants John and Gillian, or those 'Blaxploitation' blokes from the Pertwee strips. But does anyone really want any further exposure for that Kylie and Jason-infringing pair who conducted a confusingly trapeze-enabled romance-in-song beneath the stars to the accompaniment of Tetraps and Veroids hoofing it up in that bizarre late eighties stage play? No, thought not.

Daleks And Cybermen

For some reason, the question of who would win out of the Daleks and the Cybermen was a particularly vexing one for eighties-based correspondents to Doctor Who Magazine's question and answer page Matrix Data Bank. Long before RTD had even thought of Army Of Ghosts, this issue was addressed by a set of twenty plastic snap-together, well, Daleks and Cybermen, of rare proportional correctness to boot. These were made by Citadel Miniatures, and possibly had something to do with the sanity-defying Doctor Who role-playing game, though nobody's really got enough cerebral stamina to check. In case you were wondering, the cover illustration appeared to show a Cyberman being trounced by a Dalek with a controversial 'water pistol' weapon attachment, whilst his Cyber-pal looked on in alarm. Well, that's that question answered, then.

Son Of Doctor Who

From Anthony Coburn's hastily rejected second ever story in which some robots 'did' Daleks only more boringly, right up to that Stephen Fry business nobody's ever really got to the bottom of, the history of unfinished or rejected Doctor Who scripts is a long and fascinating one. But by their very nature they're not part of the show continuity proper, and often for editorially sound reasons to boot, and any attempt to tie them in with what actually did make it to screen is an absolute non-starter. Start making too many claims for them, and you'll also have to invite William Hartnell's insane idea for a story in which he met his 'evil twin' progeny - and thus conveniently had to have double the screentime - along for the ride. If the production team never took that seriously, then neither should you.

"And Greetings To You From The Time Lords!"

According to some sources, any non-series appearance in which The Doctor remained entirely in character throughout should be considered 'canon'. Presumably this also extends to Hartnell-doppelganging cheese-scoffing Five Doctors First Doctor stand-in Richard Hurndall, who - bless him - made a great many promotional appearances despite apparently possessing an almost complete lack of comprehension of anything at all to do with the character. Worse still, an equally true-to-the-role Jon Pertwee once met up with the original cast of The Tomorrow People, and you really don't want Kenny getting involved. And speaking of in-character promotional appearances...

The Frog Chorus

In August 1975, a decidedly Doctored-up Tom Baker hosted the BBC's long-running celebrity-fronted clip show Disney Time. This ended with him being handed a note from The Brigadier, leading directly into the forthcoming Terror Of The Zygons. We're now in a crossover of televisual 'universes', with other canon-by-association hosts of Disney Time including Paul Daniels, Paul 'Dinners' McCartney, Jim Davidson, Bing Crosby and Rod Hull and Emu. This presumably allows all of their artistic works in through the back door, from The Bunco Booth to that song in praise of Page 3 Girls, and given that Emu's Broadcasting Company featured its own running Doctor Who parody fuelled by bin-hewn Daleks, we're really opening a can of canonical worms there.

Teen EastEnders - Solid Ground

There is a surprisingly large contingent of fans who will argue until they are as blue in the face as McCoy in his opening titles that the ludicrous Children In Need-supporting 3D music hall hoedown Dimensions In Time is in fact a proper legitimate instalment of Doctor Who, and not a bit of played-for-laughs frippery like you thought. Dimensions In Time was, of course, a crossover with a sort of imagined 'dark future' EastEnders, in which characters made much mention of Albert Square-based events from years gone by. This effectively means that the entire history of EastEnders is as 'canonical' as The Vervoids, including this cheapo BBC Books tie-in novel about Sharon Watts trying to track down her 'real' parents. There's not a single mention of a battered broad-brimmed hat in it!

Graham Linehan

Alan Moore's graphic novel series The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen is literally bursting at the seams with characters from and references to all shapes and forms of classic literature and cult TV. Needless to say, given Moore's interest in the show and 'form' on Doctor Who Magazine, there are are tons of appearances by everything from Silurians and Torchwood Three to a stray Second Doctor and an hallucination-derived Dalek. Also making an appearance in one volume is comedy scriptwriter and Twitter Policeman Graham Linehan, seen being forcibly ejected from a bookshop by his fictional creation Bernard Black. By a process of six degrees of separation, we're that bit closer to having Ricky Gervais accepted into 'canon', and that can't happen.

The Sleeze Brothers

In the late eighties, for reasons best known to themselves, Doctor Who Magazine went seriously overboard in pre-publicising an imminent comic strip cameo by Deadbeat and El Ape Sleeze, the not-at-all Blues Brothers-inspired Graphic Novel creations of John Carnell and Andy Lanning. None of the readers were really that bothered. But they're in your Expamded Universe now, and you've just got to like it...

Ten TV Opening Titles That Promised More Than They Delivered

A good set of opening titles can rope in viewers and set the mood for a TV show perfectly. That's providing, however, that they actually bear some relation to the show they're attached to. Over the years there've been many that gave a misleading impression of the contents, looked as though they belonged to something else entirely, or, in some extreme cases, made great play of something that never so much as appeared in the show itself. We're talking edgy satire introduced by some bloke carrying curry past a tramp, promises of rural backwoods horror undermined by endless scenes of attractive youngsters having 'issues', and the discovery that, at least in animated form, Oliver Hardy can fly by flapping his arms. Here are ten of the most fraudulent, ill-fitting and just plain bewildering, and that's not even getting started on the likes of Spaced and Lost that just didn't bother having one at all...

Odd One Out

Guess-centric low-level-prize Paul Daniels-fronted game show introduced by onomatopoeic Ronnie Hazlehurst theme music, not-particularly-computery 'computer' graphics, and a procession of montages of premise-explaining still photos showing the host puzzled, then halfway there, then finally identifying the odd one out. You may like the opening titles; you may like the show itself not a lot.

Pebble Mill At One

Jaw-dropping ITC-rivalling anything-can-happen-in-a-lunchtime-chat-show quick-cut montage of presenters haring around in sports cars, people jumping from windows, rollerskaters bursting through reception and Spike Milligan being 'zany', all of it set to the most inappropriately blockbusting music of all time. Except whenever you were off school, when it always seemed to be laid-back thesps plugging the latest BBC costume drama and Roger Whittaker doing New World In The Morning.

Ask The Family

Sitar-underscored psychedelic migrane-inducement with stylised fractal-design playing cards rendered against Modern Jazz raga, looking and sounding as though it should be the 'cartoon bit' in a big-screen freak-out, but actually giving way to Robert Robinson sedately quizzing 'father and youngest child only' about what the time would be if you took off in Moscow and landed in Tokyo after a brief stopover in Helsinki. And an extra point for being so weird!

The Flintstones

Prehistoric animated tweeness and cause of widespread viewer bafflement over fact that, throughout the opening AND closing credits, Fred and company are accompanied by a Dino-cahooting sabre-tooth tiger, unpreturbed by the car being upended by that giant rib but famously taking umbrage at being put out for the night. It's even namechecked in the theme song, yet rarely - if ever - sighted in the show itself.

Return Of The Saint

Secret agent revivalism heralded by a marvel of pre-CGI visual trickery, wherein Simon Templar's 'Pin Man' emblem takes on animated form in a live-action setting (complete with shadow), walloping tracksuited henchmen and jumping onto moving lorries before finally relieving some foxy chick of her feather boa. Cue mass younger viewer switchoff when it then gave way to Ian Ogilvy doing 'espionage'.


Animated feline anti-socialness from perrennial second-stringers Ruby Spears, originally packaged with somewhat more ectoplasmic supporting feature Dingbat And The Creeps. The BBC purchased it in humdrum cat form only, but nobody thought to amend the end credits, leading to widespread younger viewer confusion over why that vampire dog, walking jack-o-lantern and skeleton with a sink plunger on its head never appeared in the show.

Once Upon A Time... Man

Speaker-rattling Bach overload and audacious animated gambit showing evolution of man - from creation of the universe (with baffling cameo by seventies puppet bear Barnaby) to the moment the earth went 'fut' - terrifies unsuspecting school holiday viewers out of their wits. Unasked-for something-got-lost-in-translation history lesson from meddlesome chimp/bloke with long white beard/robot calendar thing doesn't.

Stop Look Listen

Tarrant-narrated fly-on-the-wall 'look at life' schools TV double-whammy; to the accompaniment of a sub-Focus zapping synth and 'angry' flute workout, you'd get either the show logo with a strobing zoom effect straight out of late seventies disco, or a starkly-animated self-drawing face in zany rainbow shades. Neither of which quite reflected the 'social science'-tinged musings on someone who repaired telegraph poles that followed.

Brass Eye

Much-copied - usually by 'straight' news shows - satire-fanfaring assemblage of swirly current affairs graphics, clips from the show itself, and Liam Gallagher flicking a v-sign, only with a little-noticed hidden bit. Watch closely, and you'll see a hefty amount of extracts from what appears to be an unused sketch, featuring Morris bothering John Major at an anti-drugs rally, then chasing a man along a rooftop waving some 'cake' around. Whatever was going on, it was probably more exciting than that 'Drug Office' drudgery.

Play School

Pre-school Hamble-equipped opening voiceover clearly refers to 'windows one, two, three, four', visually reinforced by all known incarnations of the accompanying stylised house, but in the show itself - no matter what That Bloke In Work Who's Good At Pub Quizzes might insist - there were only ever three; Round, Arched and Square. This might well have changed with the notorious early eighties makeover, but frankly nobody could be bothered checking.

Ten TV Pilots That Didn't Fly

Sometimes, you'll hear about a forthcoming TV show called something like John Lloyd's Newsround or World In Acton. Then when you finally see it, it's called Have I Got News For You or In Bed With Medinner and is more or less a different programme. Other times, you'll buy a DVD on the strength of an 'unbroadcast pilot', only to find out it's basically the first episode with a different credit font. What, though, of the shows where the pilot almost got it right, but still had one or two details that caused last-minute backroom brow-furrowing? Here's ten of the least seen, yet most interesting, tryouts for what eventually became hugely popular TV series…


Wars Of The Roses-set throne-grabbing chicanery with different Baldrick. Uses much the same script as the first episode proper, only without any of the lavish location filming, and comes across as an uneasy mish-mash of The Black Adder and Blackadder II. Evidence of this historical diversion is notoriously not recorded in any extant Encyclopaedia Blackaddica, reportedly due to an unspecified party blocking its use even in clip form.

Vic Reeves' Big Night Out

Charmingly unpolished straight-up transfer of original stage show. Long list of very slightly different stuff includes location filming, starry 'showbiz' backdrop, early version of the 'Let's Have A Little Bit More' song, and Luther Vandross trying to eat a slipper. Even more disorientating than the show itself, and about as far removed from Shooting Stars as you can get. Mysteriously absent from the 'Complete Series' DVD, along with about twelve million other things.

Doctor Who

BBC entrust technically demanding new sci-fi show with 'crotchety' star to young and inexperienced producer and director. Pilot episode comes back with unlikeable characters, malfunctioning scenery, technobabble dialogue and frankly ridiculous bleeps and thunderclaps all over the theme tune. BBC roll eyes and order young and inexperienced producer and director to try again. Second time's the charm. It's thanks to this kind of forward thinking that we got the Voord.

The Day Today

Shaky first attempt at making very visual TV show out of very non-visual radio show. Most of the characters and gags are just about there, but it looks and sounds like it was made for about seven pence, while Chris Morris looks about twelve. Most of it ended up reused in the series, with the notable (and puzzling) exception of multi-handed After Dark sendup 'Debate 2000.' See also the Brass Eye pilot, which despite being more whimsical than the eventual series was rejected by the BBC as 'too savage.'

Not The Nine O'Clock News

Bonkersly unrecognisable jamboree of hastily jettisoned ideas that nearly went out. The introductory gag about a 'cheap tatty revue' was worryingly accurate for this far-from-cutting-edge topical satire with a huge ensemble cast (boasting only Atkinson and Langham from the show proper) and proto-Spitting Image puppets, which was scheduled but then pulled when someone called a general election and a rethink ensued. Good news for those who like actual cutting edge topical satire. And trucking.

Fawlty Towers

Moderately different we're-running-short-of-ideas-now first attempt at A Touch Of Class. When it was originally taped, Polly was introduced as a philosophy student in a variant on the 'flogging something to departing guest' scene. Post-show humming and harring by Cleese and Booth led to them going back and reshooting a couple of scenes to make her into an art student. Would it still have become a comedy classic without this last-minute rethink? Erm, yes.

Spitting Image

Latex lampoonery with a slight difference. The first couple of episodes, under the short-lived producership of Tony Hendra, were weird enough, but for the very first edition they went one weirder, and showed it to a studio audience. However, the audience didn't laugh enough, doubtless due to Hendra-occasioned weirdness, so they dubbed on the taped reaction to rubber-faced ribaldry-toting warm-up man Phil Cool instead. And then took it off the broadcast version altogether.

Camberwick Green

Puppet-essaying test shoot later repurposed as fully functional Peter Hazel The Postman episode. Which you've all probably seen dozens of times, but have you ever noticed the not-like-the-other-episodes giveaways like the scenery wilting in stop-motion under the studio lights, the context-free presence of a Wicker Man-esque ritualistic 'Post Office Dance', or - most disconcertingly - that the puppets all have mouths?? And not static mouths, either. Don't have nightmares.

30 Rock

Dry-run shenanigans for series about dry-run shenanigans. Compared to the actual transmitted first episode, this one's pretty much all there, except that they're working on a show called Friday Night Bits with Jenna DeCarlo, and the Jenna DeCarlo in question is played by erstwhile Saturday Night Live Fey-pal Rachel Dratch. With almost postmodern irony, she 'tested' badly and was replaced for the series by Jane Krakowski as a differently-surnamed Jenna.


Overlong rambling doodle-in-the-margin-heavy demo version of first episode proper. Matt and his different wife discover their friend is a radioactively-charged Islamic extremist sleeper agent, Isaac hacksaws his own hand off due to 'heroin,' and 'Paul Sylar' shows up at the end in a silly hat. Ruthless concept-editing resulted in the peerless first season, but after that they just seemed to fling all the rough unworkable ideas in regardless.

You can find more about Camberwick Green and early Doctor Who in Well At Least It's Free, available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.