'They say that there's no such thing as a truly original idea ... and there is some truth to that. The reason that you can't copyright an idea - only the application of an idea - is because no copyrighter can guarantee that the idea has never been thought of before. Just recently I was discussing this very issue with BBC Wales as they have had to invoke a policy of strict non-reading for submitted Dr Who scripts. Being such a popular show, the Beeb gets hundreds of submissions from would-be screenwriters. Problem is ... there are only so many ideas out there so if they turn a script down and then commission a script with a similar idea, the first author starts screaming 'Infamy! They've nicked my idea!' All of which means that none of the hundreds of packages recieved at BBC Wales gets opened any more - they just get returned to sender. It's all very sad as the greatest Dr Who story of all time may well be sitting, unread, in some mail out-tray in Cardiff even as I write this. But that's the way it is.'
If you want to write for Dr Who, write something else.
Trust me ... I have this absolutely from the horse's mouth. All of which brings me back to the curiously plunger-less Dalek in the photo above. The poor mutilated alien beastie stands in the foyer of television centre in Wood Lane, London. I asked what had happened to the plunger expecting to hear that a bunch of hoodie-clad schoolkids on a visit had made off with it. Instead, I was told that there'd been a blocked sink in one of the tea rooms ...
It may be that I was being had over. It may be a future urban myth. But I can't help but hope that when a BBC employee was in serious need of some plumbing aid, a Dalek - and its uniquely equipped right arm - came to their rescue.