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TARDIS Index File

Robert Gould

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RealWorld

Robert Gould was a minor British television writer of the 1960s and 1970s who never actually delivered a completed script to the Doctor Who production office, but nevertheless had a dubious distinction in Doctor Who history. He was the first person to make a formal charge that the programme's production office had plagiarised his work.

Some time between 4 February and 26 March 1964 production, he took up his case with Head of Serials, Donald Wilson. Gould alleged that Terry Nation, via script editor David Whitaker, had, in his script for "The Screaming Jungle", used his idea of a planet where plants were at the top of the evolutionary chain. He believed that since he had told Whitaker about this idea in a 4 February story conference, Whitaker would have had time to pass it on to Nation before the recording of "Jungle".

Whitaker's defence, in a 26 March memo to Wilson, apparently put paid to any possible lawsuit, however. In it, he flatly stated that Nation had independently arrived at using vegetation in the third episode of The Keys of Marinus, and that Gould's vaguely-defined idea has itself been derivative, anyway. According to Whitaker, Gould's 4 February story conference had yielded no specifics about the potential storyline, and that Gould's notion of a planet where "plants treat people as people treat plants", had immediately reminded both him and Verity Lambert of The Day of the Triffids.

Prior to this dispute, Gould had been the second of three writers who tried to write a story of the Doctor and his companions being greatly reduced in size. He had been relieved of that task by Whitaker on 4 February when it proved too difficult. Ultimately his failed assignment would be completed by Louis Marks' Planet of Giants. (REF: The First Doctor Handbook)

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