Featured on the BBC Antiques Roadshow on December 31 at the end of last year, the script – for Doctor Who and the Tribe of Gum, by Anthony Coburn – is now on offer at Aston’s Auctioneers of Dudley in the West Midlands on May 3, estimated at £5000-8000.
The episode was broadcast on the BBC on November 23, 1963. The four episodes, all shown at 5.15pm on consecutive Saturdays, were titled An Unearthly Child, The Cave of Skulls, The Forest of Fear and The Firemaker.
It introduces William Hartnell as the First Doctor along with companions Carole Ann Ford, Susan Foreman and Jaqueline Hill, who discover the Doctor and his time-space Tardis ship in a junkyard in contemporary London.
The script is 43 pages long complete with blue pencil annotations by Hartnell. The vendor’s grandfather - a builder - discovered the script while refurbishing William Hartnell's flat in Mayfield, East Sussex, before the actor moved to Kent. It was among items being thrown out.
The grandfather gave it to the present vendor, knowing his interest in Doctor Who. He described himself on Antiques Roadshow as an avid viewer at the time and still one today.
On that programme, expert Chris Yeo said: “This is the DNA of Doctor Who; the genesis of Doctor Who.”
According to bbc.co.uk: “President Kennedy had been assassinated the day before the broadcast of the first episode of this story. This shocking news rather overshadowed the start of a new science-fiction series.
“As a result, and also partly due to a power cut in one part of the country, viewing figures were quite low. So, it was decided that the first episode would be shown again immediately before the screening of the second episode the following Saturday.”
The unfinished Shada series
But fear not if your interest as a Doctor Who fan is more in the hundreds than thousands of pounds when it comes to estimates: a Welsh auction house also has a selection of scripts on sale.
In its March 2 auction in Cardiff, Rogers Jones is offering rarer scripts from a series that was never shown at the time, the 1979 Shada series from the Tom Baker era. They are offered in one lot estimated at £200-400.
It was written by Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame. He wrote one other Doctor Who story, The Pirate Planet, broadcast in four weekly parts from 30 September 30-October 21, 1978.
The Shada scripts parcel is inscribed with director's notes. It has been consigned by Betsan Roberts, widow of the the late Pennant Roberts (who was credited as director), on behalf of the charity Shelter Cymru.
The intention was for Shada to be the final serial of the 1979-80 season. Shada, which was filmed in Cambridge, was created for the end of that 17th series. But strike action at the BBC meant studio scenes were never completed and the episodes were abandoned.
At the end of last year bbc.co.uk reported that Baker had returned to complete that unfinished story 36 years after it was abandoned. The BBC said: “It will be released on BBC Worldwide with the original footage combined with new colour animations and voiceovers to complete the story. The newly recorded lines from Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as his companion, Romana, will follow the original script by Douglas Adams.”
Shada was released as a digital download on November 24.
Both Aston’s and Rogers Jones are two of the salerooms which have been experiencing recent success with the increasingly popular entertainment collecting field.
Last January Aston’s sold a 1953 War of the Worlds film poster for £18,000, while Rogers Jones hit the headlines thanks to a remarkable collection of 1940s film posters they offered in September which were in an incredibly vivid condition.