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Malcolm Hulke (21 November 1924 – 6 July 1979) was a British television writer and author of the industry "bible" Writing for Television in the 70s.[1] He is remembered chiefly for his work on the science fiction series Doctor Who although he contributed to many popular television series of the era.

Malcolm Hulke
Malcolm Ainsworth Hulke

(1924-11-21)21 November 1924
Hampstead, London, England
Died6 July 1979(1979-07-06) (aged 54)
OccupationWriter, author



His first major television work was a series of early 1960s children's science fiction serials – Target Luna, Pathfinders in Space, Pathfinders to Mars, and Pathfinders to Venus – which he co-wrote with Eric Paice for the British ABC television company. The producer of the series was Sydney Newman, who was later responsible for the creation of Doctor Who as Head of Drama at BBC Television.

His first produced script for Doctor Who was in 1967, though he had submitted proposals earlier.[2] In addition to the Pathfinders series[2] and Doctor Who, Hulke contributed scripts to The Avengers,[2] The Protectors, Danger Man,[3] Crossroads,[4] football soap United![5] and Gideon's Way.[6]

His scripts for Doctor Who were known for avoiding black-and-white characterisation and simplistic plotting. Military figures are usually presented unfavourably – Invasion of the Dinosaurs and The Ambassadors of Death both have a general as the ultimate villain. One of his best-known contributions to the series is Doctor Who and the Silurians. This story depicts an encounter between the human race and the remnants of a technological reptilian race that ruled Earth in prehistoric times. Hulke avoids casting either side as heroes or monsters.

He was a friend and mentor to Terrance Dicks, with whom he collaborated in 1962 on The Avengers episode "The Mauritius Penny", which was Dicks' first television credit; The War Games, Dicks' first Doctor Who script, and on the non-fiction book The Making of Doctor Who.[7]

He also contributed to Target Books' range of Doctor Who novelisations, adapting many of his scripts before his death, as well as 1973's The Green Death. Hulke's novelisations were noted for providing a wealth of additional background detail and character depth. He wrote a screenwriting manual, Writing for Television, which was released posthumously in 1981.


He was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain,[8] but may have later resigned, possibly after the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956.[9] His politics remained firmly on the left, and was reflected in his writings.[10]

In January 2015 Five Leaves Press published a short study of his work Doctor Who and the Communist: Malcolm Hulke and his career in television, written by Michael Herbert.

Doctor Who stories written by Malcolm HulkeEdit


Starring Patrick Troughton:

Starring Jon Pertwee:


  • Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters (1974) (adapted from Doctor Who and the Silurians)[16]
  • Doctor Who and the Doomsday Weapon (1974) (adapted from Colony in Space)[17]
  • Doctor Who and the Sea Devils (1974)
  • Doctor Who and the Green Death (1975) (adapted from The Green Death, written by Robert Sloman)
  • Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion (1976) (adapted from Invasion of the Dinosaurs)
  • Doctor Who and the Space War (1976) (adapted from Frontier in Space)[18]
  • Doctor Who and the War Games (1979)

Hulke also wrote a pilot for a planned radio series starring Peter Cushing as Dr. Who in the late 1960s titled Journey into Time which was also produced, however the recording is now lost.[19]


  1. ^ "A Beginner's Guide to Book Collecting". Retrieved 26 March 2015.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e "Malcolm Hulke". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  3. ^
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  7. ^ Mark Gatiss. "Mark Gatiss on his earliest Doctor Who memories and writing about the show's origins in An Adventure in Space and Time". RadioTimes. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  8. ^ Ben Aaronovitch Remembrance of the Daleks, London: WH Allen, 1990 [2013], p.iv
  9. ^ Michael Herbert Dr Who and the Communist: the politics and work of Malcolm Hulke, Lipstick socialist
  10. ^ Michael Herbert Dr Who and the Communist: the politics and work of Malcolm Hulke, Lipstick Socialist
  11. ^ a b c "Malcolm Hulke (1970's) - Doctor Who Interview Archive". Doctor Who Interview Archive. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  12. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 7, Doctor Who and the Silurians, Part 7". BBC. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
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  19. ^ Foster, Chuck (15 January 2012). "Missing Radio Script Discovered". Doctor Who News Page.

External linksEdit