David Whitaker

Last updated 09 January 2020

David Whitaker (1928-1980)
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David Whitaker

Born: Wednesday 18th April 1928
Died: Monday 4th February 1980 (age: 51)

An Adventure in Space and Time: Biography

David Whitaker was born in KnebworthHertfordshire.

He was the first Script Editor for Doctor Who, working on the first fifty one episodes in the series.  In that capacity he was responsible for some of the most iconic elements of the programme, still present in the current series.

He also wrote a number of Doctor Who serials himself. His scripts for the series include The Crusade (1965), The Power of the Daleks (1966) and The Evil of the Daleks (1967), The Enemy of the World (1967/8) and The Wheel in Space (1968, from a story by Kit Pedler). Other Dalek work included writing the Dalek comic strip in the children's magazine, TV Century 21, and the 1965 stage play The Curse of the Daleks.

In 1964, Whitaker became the first person to write a novelised adaptation of a Doctor Who serial (ultimately, more than 150 such books would be published over the next 30 years). His book, Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks, was based upon Terry Nation's teleplay for the first Dalek story. Later in 1973Target Books purchased the rights to the novelisation and issued it under the jacket title Doctor Who and the Daleks.

In 1965, Whitaker wrote his second Doctor Who novelisation, this time based upon his own script, The Crusade. Both books were originally published by Frederick Muller, with the Dalek story also having a paperback release by Armada; in 1973 Whitaker's books (along with a third novelisation by Bill Strutton based upon The Web Planet) were republished by Target Books, launching its prolific series of novelisations.

At the time of his death, Whitaker was undergoing treatment for cancer. He died leaving his novelisation of his 1968 serial The Enemy of the World only partly finished and his plans to adapt The Evil of the Daleks never coming to pass. The adaptation of The Enemy of the World was completed later by Ian Marter, andThe Evil of the Daleks was eventually adapted by John Peel and released in 1993.