I recently re-watched the Patrick Troughton story, the Invasion, which included two animated reconstructions of missing episodes.
As many Doctor Who fans know, the BBC rather mercilessly erased many of the adventures of the first and second Doctor. Fortunately, all stories have surviving audio recordings. When they did the Invasion, a classic Cybermen story, it seemed that perhaps we would at long last be able to enjoy these lost stories in something at least approximating their intended form, but then nothing seemed to come of it.
This past week, the Reign of Terror was released again with two episodes restored. I’m waiting for my copy to arrived next week, but this first Doctor story is a straight historical (no monsters or aliens) and is… Umm. Lets say it’s not at the top of any fan’s list of episodes they want to recover.
The choice of the Invasion made sense. Not only is it one of the most iconic Cybermen stories ever made, it’s also the introduction of UNIT, a staple of the third Doctor’s tenure. The choice of Reign of Terror is mystifying.
We’ve been told the animation is very expensive. If so, surely they should concentrate on highly sought after stories, at least initially.
Here’s the story that, to me, seems like the biggest no-brainer of the bunch: The Tenth Planet. A four-part first Doctor story with only one part missing that not only introduces the Cybermen for the first time, it ends with the Doctor’s first regeneration! That’s a story at the top of fans’ lists!
About a week ago, information began leaking out that another missing classic, The Ice Warriors was going to be released to DVD using telesnaps recreations – that is productions stills displayed on the screen while the soundtrack plays on. This is massively disappointing. Why even bother? Worse, if they release animation of a unwanted and unloved episode, why screw over a classic like the Ice Warriors? It seems perhaps we’re not to expect more animated stories.
And then a wild thing happened, this weekend at the annual Gallifrey 1 convention in Los Angeles, it was announced that Tenth Planet is the next to be animated and restored!
Hurray! But what the hell are they thinking with the Ice Warriors? Lets hope they clear this up sooner rather than later. I’m quite prepared to purchase every animation-restored episode of Doctor Who!
Edit: 2013-02-18 Here’s the official mention that Ice Warriors is a telesnap reconstruction. Hat tip to Simon for finding that.