Mark Gatiss has had his hands in much of ‘Doctor Who’ for the last decade or so. He’s an integral writer for the series, having penned several memorable episodes, and this coming holiday season he’ll make a fun on-screen appearance, when he gets the chance to act alongside both Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor (in his final episode in the role) and David Bradley’s First Doctor.
In speaking recently with Doctor Who Magazine, Gatiss spoke at length about an episode of the series that he wrote that never made it to production – but one that sounds pretty darn cool! Created back in the late 2000s and intended for use in the fourth series (season) to star Tenth Doctor David Tennant, Gatiss recalls the episode, entitled ‘The Suicide Exhibition,’ fondly:
“The title came from this thing I was reading about how, in the First World War, they were evacuating stuff from museums to various Welsh museums. All this precious stuff, they hid in places like salt mines. But what they had in both World Wars was this amazing thing called the Suicide Exhibition. People still needed stuff to see, for spiritual succor. So if they had 300,000 Anglo Saxon pots, they just put some of them out that they could afford to lose! If a bomb fell, it wouldn’t matter, because they had loads of them. After the first draft, [then-showrunner] Russell [T. Davies] said, ‘Let’s make it the Nazis and do the full Indiana Jones on it.’ The whole museum was a puzzle box of sliding doors and traps and stuff. I would’ve liked to have done it, but it was not to be!”
Sounds like a pretty cool episode, no? Sadly, the episode was bumped from the production schedule, but fortuitously for ‘Doctor Who’ fans, it was replaced with a fairly seminal episode: ‘The Fires of Pompeii,’ which brought us the first acting appearances (in different roles, of course) of future DW mainstays Karen Gillan (destined to become companion Amy Pond) and Capaldi himself. Now that’s what I’d call “good karma.”