A classic 1960’s Doctor Who story is being resurrected from the ‘missing’ list by BBC Worldwide as an animated project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the shows first regeneration, when William Hartnell changed into new Doctor, Patrick Troughton, in The Power of the Daleks.
BBC Store will début the six animated episodes of the completely lost story (some short clips have been returned to the archives over the years, but no full episodes exist) at 5:50pm on November 5th 2016, exactly 50 years after the opening credits rolled on episode one of Power on British TV. That night the people of Britain were introduced to the first ever regenerated Doctor, with character actor Patrick Troughton giving a very different performance to his predecessor. This was a whimsical, scruffy, mysterious and mercurial Doctor, referring to himself in the third person a number of times over the course of the first part of the story. But the introduction of his oldest foes, the Daleks, soon showed that despite the differences in face, form and personality, this ‘new’ Doctor was still the same man underneath.
The decision by BBC Worldwide to animate a full six episode story is a major one. In the past, a couple of episodes per story seemed to be the limit of what they were willing to animate, with releases such at Troughton tales The Invasion, The Moonbase, The Ice Warriors and Hartnell’s The Reign of Terror and The Tenth Planet all having episodes animated to cover the missing parts of those stories. More recent releases with missing material, The Web of Fear and The Underwater Menace, haven’t even had this treatment, being made available with basic reconstructions using photographs from the lost episodes. So putting out a full six episode story is big news for fans of the first two Doctors. If this proves a success, it may lead to other stories being animated using the soundtracks, which exist for all the missing stories through fans off-air audio recordings. The stories with the most missing material are Marco Polo (all 7 episodes) and The Daleks Master Plan (9 episodes out of 12), all other stories have at most six lost episodes, the same as Power of the Daleks.
This does appear to finally put to bed any rumours of episodes from Power of the Daleks having been found, and also hopes of finding any in the future. Professional episode hunter Philip Morris, of Television International Enterprises Archives Ltd (TIEA) has already returned 9 previously lost episodes in 2013, completing the story Enemy of the World and almost completing The Web of Fear (episode 3 was found by him, but went missing before he could recover the episodes and may have been passed on to a private collector). He continues to travel the world, exploring old archives and trying to track down lost TV and film. Recently he revealed at the Starburst Film and TV event in Manchester that he has found an episode of the BBC adventure series The Troubleshooters (1965-1972), so there are still chances of more Doctor Who being out there. But if BBCWW are animating Power of the Daleks, it must mean that TIEA do not have any episodes of that story and if Philip Morris can’t find it, who can?
The animated Power of the Daleks is being produced by the same team that brought the animated Dad’s Army episode, A Stripe for Frazer, to the BBC Store earlier in 2016. This has proved to be a big hit and it is hoped that Power, which hits BBC Store on 5th November, with a DVD release coming on 21st November, will be similarly received. So Christmas is coming early for fans of vintage Who!