Even as David Tennant’s tenure as the Time Lord draws to a close, and Matt Smith’s debut as Dr Who in the popular BBC science fiction series draws near, there are fears of a backlash against the new Doctor by supporters of his predecessor. “Fans of the series are notoriously factional and partisan,” explains Jake Tifter of the Alternative Dr Who Appreciation Society (ADWAS). “They all have their favourite incarnation of the Doctor and are prepared to go to any lengths to defend their reputations.” Indeed, two years ago fierce fighting erupted at the Dr Who exhibition in Blackpool, when fans of Third Doctor Jon Pertwee clashed with supporters of Ninth Doctor Christopher Ecclestone. “It looked like a ruck between a bunch of Victorian homosexuals and a convention of sociology lecturers,” recalls Tifter. “All these guys in frock coats and frilled shirts having a punch up with a gang of Mancunians in black leather jackets. It got really nasty, one Ecclestone lookalike nearly lost his eye when a Pertwee clone threw a sonic screw driver at him. The police had to intervene and more than fifty Doctors were arrested.” The BBC is confident that there will be no repetition of these scenes when Tennant hands over to Smith. “As nobody has actually seen the Eleventh Doctor on screen yet, there won’t be any Matt Smith fans for Tennant fans to clash with,” a spokesman claimed. However, persistent rumours that Tennant is to feature in a Dr Who film, stealing the thunder of Smith even as he commences his run as the Doctor, could fuel the nascent rivalry between supporters of the two Doctors, Tifter believes. “Having two rival Doctors on screen simultaneously is a recipe for serious unrest amongst the fans,” he opines. “Look at what happened when they made those two Dalek movies with Peter Cushing as the Doctor in the 1960s – at least two cinemas showing them were burned down by fans of William Hartnell, who was playing the Doctor on TV at the time!” However, as the ADWAS man points out, this wasn’t the last time that there was the threat of two rival Doctors fighting for the fans’ affections. “Back in the early 1990s, when the TV series was off the air, there were numerous attempts to mount a film, or get a new TV version off the ground,” he explains. “At one point surreal writer/director David Lynch was linked with a Dr Who film project, and rumours abounded that the Doctor was to regenerate into a wardrobe, or even a Welsh dresser, with a talking fish as his companion. But in 1993, completely out of the blue, two new TV series, featuring different Doctors were announced – all hell broke loose!” This time, instead of fans clashing, the announcement resulted in the unseemly sight of two Time Lords brawling in a Soho bar.
“It all kicked off when an unknown actor, David Burton, announced that he was to be the new Doctor,” says Tifter. “ In fact, for several weeks he drove around in a car with sandwich boards proclaiming this fact attached to the roof rack, and even claimed that he had shot a new pilot film for the series.” These pronouncements provoked the wrath of ‘forgotten Doctor’ Ron Feague, who had been attempting to get various Who – related projects off the ground for several years. As chronicled in The Sleaze, Feague had briefly been cast in the role in 1974, as a replacement for Jon Pertwee (see Dr Who). However, a series of sensational sex scandals led to his being dropped before his initial story was completed, and the part being re-cast with Tom Baker. A furious war of words erupted between the two men, with Burton calling Feague a has-been and Feague responding by challenging Burton to show his unseen pilot film to the public or, failing that, a nude wrestling match. Consequently, in October 1993 Burton stormed into ‘Madam Kitty’s’ massage parlour in Soho, where Feague was enjoying the £30 hand-relief special with his favourite masseuse, ‘Handy Mary’ Timpkins. There remains some confusion as to the purpose of Burton’s visit. According to Tifter, some witnesses claim that he was clutching a videotape and was going to show Feague his pilot, others believed that he intended to take up Feague’s challenge of a nude wrestling match. In the event, neither happened. “According to eyewitnesses, as Burton stormed in, Feague leapt up off of the massage table, letting his towel drop to the floor”, recalls Tifter. “Burton suddenly stopped, a look of awe and fear spreading across his face as he saw the size of Feague’s whang – apparently his eyes were bulging out of his head. Without saying a word, he turned on his heel and rushed out of the building!” Needless to say, Feague crowed about his victory, casting aspirations upon the supposed size of Burton’s manhood. Burton’s response was swift, two weeks after the massage parlour incident, he burst into the saloon bar of ‘The Miller’s Reel’ – a notorious Soho drinking den – where Feague was entertaining potential backers for his film project, including noted dominatrix ‘Naughty’ Sarah Spankbottom, Westminster Madam Joan ‘Hand Warmers’ Hardy and local pimp Frankie ‘Linen-Lifter’ Proudly.
Burton knocked Feague to the ground and proceeded to administer several Venusian karate kicks before being hauled off by Proudly. Feague managed to crawl to his feet, and attempted to put a Sontaran death grip on his opponent before resorting to trying to loosen his nuts with his sonic screwdriver. Feague was only stopped from doing more damage when Hardy pulled him off – for which she charged him £20. The brawl was eventually ended by the arrival of the police. Whilst Burton escaped through the toilet window, Feague ended up spending several hours in police cells. Nevertheless, it was Burton who abandoned his claim to the role of Dr Who , with no more being heard of his supposed pilot film. Ironically, of course, Feague’s TV project was never made,either. “Its a pity really”, muses Tifter. “Rumour has it that he was aiming for a new hard-edged, more adult approach. The script was supposedly written by Ted Lewis, the author of Get Carter, and featured the Doctor returning to Gallifrey – which looked like a Northern steel town – seeking his brother’s killer, and uncovering a holographic porno-film ring run by The Master. Johnny Quean, who produced his abortive TV episodes was to be creative consultant”. Following his failure to secure backing for this project, Feague has been forced to work on a series of adult-orientated straight-to-video releases. Several, including Re-erection of the Phallics, Attack of the Cyberwhores, The Horn of Nimon and The Seed of Doom, have been Dr Who themed – and the subject of legal action by the BBC. Feague’s former producer, Quean, has been less fortunate. He was last heard of selling himself to Ukrainian sailors in Harwich for £5 a time, claiming that his backside was like the Tardis – “much bigger on the inside than the outside”.