TARDIS Index File

The Pitch of Fear

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The Pitch of Fear
Pitch of fear
Main character(s): Sydney
Featuring: Mr Borusa
Key crew
Release details
Premiere broadcast: 13 November 1999
Format: 1x4 minute comedy sketch
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none The Web of Caves

The Pitch of Fear was a comedy sketch parodying the pitch meeting for, and initial 26-year run of, Doctor Who.

Summary Edit

"BBC HQ 1963"

Mr Borusa sees Muffin the Mule out of his office, declaring that "I'm sorry too". He then thanks Sydney for coming, who delivers his pitch for a series Borusa mistakenly pronounces "Drwhoo".

Sydney then discusses his idea, about a "man who can travel anywhere in space and time", only for Borusa to ask if it's a game show. He seems disheartened when discovering it is in fact science fiction, and believes that the idea of the TARDIS being bigger on the inside "has been done". Sydney continues however, whilst Borusa uninterestedly listens until it is described as a "family show".

After some thought, Sydney says that he envisages the show to run for "26 years", and has it all worked out, describing the Doctor's first three incarnations as a "crotchety old man", a "cosmic hobo" and a "dashing dandy", who can be played by Jon Pertwee who becomes available in 1970, but must be released by 1974, due to Worzel Gummidge.

Describing the Doctor's costume, Sydney states that it must be "exactly right", but after that, "anything goes", confirming to Borusa that it will spoil the mystery, and so suggest question marks on his lapels. This also makes him think of a knock knock joke, which Sydney does not get.

Whilst thinking of suitable actors, Borusa begins humming to himself, and calls in a man who knocks on the door, and then drums his fingers on Borusa's desk. All of this forms the theme tune for Doctor Who.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

Individuals Edit

  • The name Borusa is obviously a reference to the Time Lord of the same name. Likewise Sydney is a reference to Sydney Newman.
  • At the beginning of the sketch, Mr Borusa is showing Muffin the Mule out of his office.
  • Mr Borusa has a BAFTA award behind his desk.
  • Mr Borusa mentions they're looking for a show to go between the football results and Juke Box Jury, programs which Doctor Who did indeed air between when it first started.
  • Sydney states the Doctor will begin as a 'crotchety old man' before regenerating into a 'cosmic hobo' three years later, then three more years after that will regenerate again into 'a dashing dandy with a mane of white hair and a strange old-young face'.
  • Sydney mentions that Jon Pertwee will have to leave the show in 1974 as he will have to appear in Worzel Gummidge.
  • Sydney states that they need to get the Doctor's clothes exactly right when the show begins but as it goes on they can just have him wear anything, listing "jumpers", "cricket whites" and "clown costumes" (costumes worn by the Seventh, Fifth and Sixth Doctors respectively) before stating this will indeed spoil the mystery of the character. Mr Borusa then suggests putting question marks on his lapels, which were worn by the Doctor beginning with the latter part of his Fourth incarnation until the end of his Sixth.
  • Mr Borusa tells Sydney the classic "Knock knock. Who's there? Doctor. Doctor Who?" joke. Sydney doesn't get it.

Food and beverages Edit

  • Mr Borusa and Sydney both drink whisky.

Story notes Edit

  • This was the first of three sketches produced for BBC Two's Doctor Who Night, alongside The Web of Caves and The Kidnappers.
  • Paul Putner's character is never named during the sketch, and so his credit here as "Man with Clipboard" is purely descriptive.
  • The initial broadcast of the sketch featured a line in which Sydney stated that towards the end of the classic series, they could just get "any old f*cker with an equity card" to play the Doctor. Mark Gatiss is stated to have regretted this line as soon as he saw it broadcast, and allowed the sketch to be included on The Beginning DVD set on the condition that the exchange be cut.

Home video releases Edit

All three Doctor Who Night sketches, along with The Corridor Sketch, starring Nicholas Briggs, were released as a special feature on the An Unearthly Child disc of the DVD box-set, The Beginning.

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