The Quest for Pedler: The Life and Ideas of Dr. Kit Pedler
by Michael Seely
For many people, Kit Pedler is best remembered as the man who created the Cybermen for Doctor Who, a real life scientist who was brought in to act as an advisor and bring some science to the fiction. The Cybermen were his ultimate scientific horror: where the very nature of a man was altered by himself, by his own genius for survival, creating a monster. Pedler was that rare animal, a scientist with an imagination. He liked to think 'What if...?'
With two doctorates to his name, and as Head of Anatomy at the Institute of Ophthalmology investigating the nature of the retina, Dr. Kit Pedler began to share the suspicions being voiced in the 1960s towards the role of the scientist in society, who saw research as an end to itself and left the moral dilemmas to the politicians in a world where the people were conditioned to accept an intolerable environment. He was at the beginnings of the 'Soft' or 'Alternative Technology' movement that wanted to develop a sustainable science that would not deplete the world of its natural resources or poison the environment with its pollution.
Together with his friend and writing partner Gerry Davis, he created the hugely successful and controversial BBC1 drama series Doomwatch, which captured this fear and frightened the adults as much as the Cybermen scared the children.
The series changed his life and launched him as a prophet of doom, whose stories uncannily predicted real life ecological accidents and disasters and became a much sought after pundit in the press and on television.
Resigning from the Institute, Pedler turned his back on the world he had spent his adult life working in, and spent the rest of it campaigning for a real Doomwatch, to stop the unnecessary and cruel animal experiments in the laboratory (which he himself had seen in his earlier academic days), experiment in what we would now call eco-friendly housing, alternative technology and began to change his own relationship to the world. This lead to his book The Quest For Gaia, published in 1979 where he envisaged how a Gaian life-style would work in the post-industrial age. He also designed and built a nuclear bomb in rural Kent.
Before his premature death in 1981, he had just finished a documentary series for ITV called Mind Over Matter, which was the first serious look at the world of the paranormal through the eyes of his enquiring and rational, but imaginative mind.
With contributions from his family, friends, colleagues and critics, this book tells the story behind a fascinating, charismatic, complicated, and demanding human being; a natural teacher who didn't just want to pontificate about the problems facing the world in a television or radio studio, but actually do something practical about them.
The Quest for Pedler is due for publication in 2013.
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Product Code: MIWK116