This is for all you Doctor Who nerds on this board, of which I am one.
Back in the 1980's, the Canadian animation company, Nelvana Productions, based out of Toronto, was briefly involved in trying to do a Doctor Who animated series.
Nothing came out of it, but some extremely intriguing concept art with remarkable new visions for Cybermen, Daleks, a teenage black Companion, a 'morphing' K9 and a couple of unique versions of the Doctor. It's beautiful, it's intriguing and it's mysterious, because after a couple of days of web browsing, those concept drawings are pretty much all we know about it.
You can find the concept drawings, by the way, on the net. Just google 'Nelvana' and Doctor Who. I'm assuming that if you're a hard core Whodunnit, then you've seen them.
So.... in terms of context, here's what I can tell you.
Nelvana Productions was started in the 1970's by a couple of indy film makers and an animator, doing interesting little shorts and specials. They seemed to have done okay.
Their big ambitious breakthrough project - Rock and Ruin, a sort of funny animal rock opera with lovecraftian subtexts stapled onto romeo and Juliet, cost about 8 million but failed. I remember seeing it, it's genuinely ambitious and quirky.
Their other early mark was the animated section of the Star Wars holiday special that featured Boba Fett's first screen appearance. I don't really care that much - Boba Fett's always been my poster boy for 'Why wearing a jet pack is such a bad idea.' But it's a historical thing.
They had their ups and downs in the eighties.
Between 1985 and 1987, they did two Star Wars franchise animated series - Droids and Ewoks. Droids seems at least somewhat sophisticated in concept and execution, lasted 13 episodes. Ewoks made it to a second season, but that season dumbed down fast.
Then they had their big score with the Care Bears movie. A lot of their business model as animators seemed to be licensed toy and media products, although they would dip into various experiments.
From what I can sort out, the Doctor Who project seems to have floated around in mid-eighties, roughly between 1985 to 1987. I can't pin it down more tightly than that. Some sources have it in the 90's, but those seem unlikely.
As far as I can tell, Nelvana's commercial and production interests were geared towards American sales and American markets. So Doctor Who was an interesting choice, given that it's largely unknown to the mainstream. I think that their interest was probably piqued by PBS running and capitalizing heavily on the series in the 80's, and the cult status it had acquired there.
It's ironic because around the time that Nelvana was sniffing around, the series was in trouble in England. This would be the broad time frame of the budget freeze or cutbacks, Michael Grade, Colin Baker's troubles, the hiatus, etc.
Still, I think that they'd have been taking a rather big risk, given that they weren't being backed by a toy company or tapping into a mainstream market franchise.
On the other hand, they were still young enough, they might have had a reputation for and interest in quirky satisfying projects. And Doctor Who might have given them a degree of freedom that they didn't get from working in the Lucas garden. (I'm not suggesting that the Lucas connection get butterflied - that's pre-established).
Mid eighties animation, including Saturday afternoon animation was in a sort of golden age. It was still marketed and aimed at the children's and early teen demographic, but you had genuine characterization, credible animation, continuing stories.
So while I shudder at the thought of a 'Carebears' level Doctor Who, it's more likely from the drawings and from what we know that they could have done something quite fun.
And that's all I've got so far.
So my first question is - does anyone have any more knowledge of the Nelvana project? Specific time periods? How it originated? Who was involved? Was there any kind of bible or write up beyond the concept drawings - there must have been? Why it got turned down? POD's that might have made a difference? Anyone out there with expertise in 80's era animation industry?
So, I'm throwing it open to the collective intelligence, if there is such a thing. How about it people. Thoughts - ideas - notions - contributions?