Therefore, its known narrative elements are not a part of the Doctor Who universe as we, on this Wiki, choose to define it. It may have been the basis for a similar story in another medium, however — and that story may indeed be valid.
- This article is about the general background of The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance. For narrative details about the story itself, see the article about Farhi's original script and the article about the subsequent audio adaptation.
The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance is a single-episode First Doctor story by Moris Farhi which was submitted to David Whitaker during the first season of Doctor Who. It was never seriously considered for production on television, but it has since seen public release both in print and through an audio adaptation by Nigel Robinson.
In February 1963, prior to his involvement with Doctor Who, then-future story editor David Whitaker read some early plays by Moris Farhi, following a chance meeting with the young writer at an event sponsored by the Writer's Guild of Great Britain. In response, Whitaker sent back notes on the plays and encouraged Fahri to continue writing. At the end of 1963, Fahri wrote back to Whitaker, offering to write a spec script for Doctor Who. Whitaker politely declined this offer, because he simply didn't have the money in the budget to buy a spec script. Nevertheless, Whitaker did write to Donald Wilson to secure £50 for Farhi as "writing encouragement". Perhaps sensing that Farhi would write a spec script anyway, he noted to Wilson that the principle of the payment would be that "we would probably never use his script". And, indeed, when Farhi arrived for a meeting with Whitaker on 6 January 1964, he came with the script entitled, The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance. Whitaker rejected the storyline as unacceptable for Doctor Who on 24 January. Nevertheless, Whitaker was impressed enough with Farhi's effort to encourage him to submit further ideas to the production office. This offer resulted in Farewell Great Macedon.
A "lost story"?
The question of whether Arc was actually commissioned is not straightforward. The specific content of the play was definitely not commissioned in the way that Doctor Who scripts commonly were. Whitaker had never discussed the plot with Farhi, he hadn't asked Farhi to write the script and he had made it plain that he couldn't ask Farhi to write any spec script. Thus, it appears that he had no prior knowledge of what Farhi was bringing to his office. However, Farhi was technically paid for his time, if not for the specific script.
It is thus incorrect to view it as a "lost story" —at least not in the sense of Farewell Great Macedon or The Nightmare Fair. The internal memorandum between Whitaker and Wilson show that Whitaker wasn't actually considering anything Farhi might have brought to that initial meeting for production. It is therefore best viewed as a paid, but un-commissioned and un-produced work. In other words, it really was a spec script, even though Whitaker had protested that he couldn't ask Farhi to write such a thing.
- Lost stories archive at A History of Time (Travel)
- Farewell Great Macedon. Nothing at the End of the Lane. p. 9-10.