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!
News was released tonight (22nd January 2016) via the Radio Times website that Steven Moffat will be stepping down as showrunner of Doctor Who after writing and executive producing Series 10. This series will début in Spring 2017, with just a Christmas special shown in 2016. Further, Series 10 will comprise 12 episodes, but nothing was mentioned of a 2017 Christmas special.
That could fall under the purview of the new showrunner, announced as being Chris Chibnall. The BBC’s official Doctor Who twitter feed confirmed Chibnall, best known among the British TV watching public for the detective drama Broadchurch, starring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman, will take over from Series 11 .
Chris Chibnall is known to fans of Doctor Who though for a number of episodes in recent years. He wrote 42 for David Tennant’s 10th Doctor in Series 3 and four episodes for Matt Smith, The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood (Series 5), Dinosaurs On A Spaceship and The Power of Three for Series 7. He has yet to write for the 12th Doctor.
He has also written for the expanded universe too, with eight episodes from the first two series of Torchwood, including Cyberwoman and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. His further TV credits include the football drama United and episodes for another BBC time travel series, Life On Mars.
Nothing was said about whether Peter Capaldi is expected to return as the Doctor for Series 11, though he has previously committed to Series 10.
Series 9 of the relaunched Doctor Who saw the second full season of Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor and Clara adventuring across time and space. Given the critical acclaim but mixed reactions to Series 8, all eyes were on Series 9 to establish the new direction of the show.
After a couple of years where episodes were mostly self-contained, Series 9 took the bold move of having mostly two-parters, with only episodes nine and ten being classed as stand-alone (and even then, episode ten led into the series finale). This format appears to have been a success, allowing for stronger storytelling and character development over a longer time.
The stand-out performance of the series award must go to Peter Capaldi. Having established a spiky and sarcastic personality for his incarnation in Series 8, this time he gives us a Doctor who has mellowed slightly. He still does not suffer fools, gladly or otherwise, but now he wears the hoodie seen in Last Christmas more often, plays an electric guitar whilst alone in the TARDIS and can even instigate a hug, in moderation. Some have said that in Series 8 he was playing the Doctor, while in Series 9 he was being the Doctor, but I would argue that the Doctor we see from The Magician’s Apprentice onwards is a man more at peace with himself and Capaldi’s portrayal is reflecting this as he has settled comfortably into the role.
He is also given the interesting challenge of a one-handed episode in Heaven Sent, the first half of the finale. Here the Doctor is alone after the events of Face the Raven, having been transported to a mysterious fortification surrounded by sea and haunted by a creature from his own past in the silent Veil. Handled by a lesser actor this could have just been the Doctor talking to himself for almost an hour, but Capaldi puts in a superb performance here in this unusual setting and rises to the challenge with aplomb.
Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald had been through two major storylines in Series 7 and 8 respectively (The Impossible Girl and the Danny Pink romance) so the focus shifted away slightly from her this time, and more onto the relationship between the Doctor and Clara. We saw a more reckless Clara in Series 9, taking chances in the firm knowledge that the Doctor would always find a way to save her. On a couple of occasions he mentions having a “duty of care” towards her but she still rushed headlong into trouble, until it finally caught up with her in Trap Street on 21st century Earth, when she took on the death sentence imposed on old friend Rigsy (Jovian Wade) and the Doctor was unable to save her. Well, until he returned to Gallifrey and broke the rules in Hell Bent anyway.
Of the many guest stars with major roles in Series 9 the one that made the most impact was Maisie Williams as Viking girl Ashildr. Making her debut in the fifth episode as the titular Girl Who Died, she was made immortal by the Doctor in an effort to save her life. The following story, The Woman Who Lived, showed the Time Lord and his TV audience the consequences of his actions, with Ashildr having become hardened and bitter during her 800+ years of life. In that time she had seen everyone around her die, including her children, which brought forth the resolution never to have any more. At the end of that story she had recovered some of her feelings and pledged herself to look after the people that the Doctor left behind. Which is exactly what she was doing when they next crossed paths in the 21st century, looking after and protecting a community of aliens stuck on Earth in Face the Raven. But now she had a secret and her betrayal of the Doctor had the knock-on effect of causing the death of Clara in the process. Their final meeting, in Hell Bent, happened after the Doctor had used Time Lord technology to save Clara. They met at the very end of the universe, as two ancient beings watching the end of everything. Then, after the Doctor’s memory of Clara was erased, Ashildr was seen heading off with Clara aboard a stolen TARDIS, heading for who-knew-where.
Throughout this ongoing story, each new encounter with Ashildr showed her slightly changed by the intervening time, more grown as a character and a person. That this worked so well is down to Maisie Williams as an actress, investing each meeting with a step up in maturity until you could almost believe that these tales had been filmed quite some time apart, rather than in reasonably close proximity, time-wise. Such range in a young actress is hard to find and impressive to see played out on screen.
There were other significant guest performances throughout the series. The opening two-parter, The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar, saw a number of returning friends and enemies, including Michelle Gomez as Missy (the female incarnation of the Master), Jemma Redgrave as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (who would return again later in the series), Julian Bleach’s Davros, and his Daleks.
Again we get a delightfully dangerous and batty, in equal measure, tour-de-force from Michelle as Missy. She puts a great amount of energy into her portrayal and just when you think you know what to expect from the character, she turns things on a sixpence and that makes for an entertaining unpredictability. It was especially fascinating this time to see her paired with Jenna’s Clara for the majority of the two episodes. Their relationship added a certain spark to the storyline, giving it a neat counterpoint to the Doctor/Davros scenes of the second episode.
Speaking of which, much kudos should be given to Julian Bleach for providing us with an understated and universe-weary Davros, not the ranting maniac from the past but a man worn down by time and expectation from his ‘children’. That he makes the audience feel sorry for the evil creator of the Daleks is the true power of his amazing performance. He bounces well off Capaldi’s Doctor in their segments together and gives depth to the character of Davros, a depth that hints that it might be possible for the Doctor to finally have a hand in his redemption. That it was (mostly) a trap for the Doctor adds an extra layer of cunning and manipulation that comes almost as a shock after what has already passed between them. Bravo!
The casting of a deaf actress, Sophie Stone as Cass in Under the Lake/Before the Flood, could be seen as a stunt but it is weaved neatly into the storyline of the episodes in such a way as to make it a significant part of the tale. In the scene where Cass is stalked by the ‘ghost’ of Moran in Before the Flood, it is the vibration of the axe dragging behind him that tips her off to the danger, as she cannot hear the sound of it. Also the fact that Lunn (Zaqi Ismail), Cass’ translator, isn’t allowed into the shuttle and therefore doesn’t receive the message that is central to the story becomes pivotal. Cass is also shown to be a strong leader of the group when she takes over after the death of Moran in the first couple of minutes.
As mentioned above, Jemma Redgrave returns as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, along with UNIT, for a more substantial part in the story The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion. This picks up the threads left dangling after the 50th anniversary tale The Day of the Doctor by giving details of the peace deal hammered out between UNIT and the Zygons at the end of that story. Ingrid Oliver also returns as Osgood, despite us having seen her ‘death’ at the hands of Missy in the Series 8 finale, Death in Heaven. This it turns out was one of a pair of Osgoods, one human, one Zygon, who had been established by the Doctor during the negotiations as the guardians of the peace. Keeping the uncertainty of whether the Osgood who survived is the human or Zygon is a neat twist and fits neatly into the story concept of it not mattering who belongs to which species, that their actions determine who they are. Both Jemma and Ingrid give their usual superb turns as their respective characters and hopefully we shall see them again in future stories.
The Zygon two-parter also gave Jenna Coleman an opportunity to stretch her acting muscles in an unusual direction as she plays Zygon duplicate Bonnie for most of the story. Bonnie is a cold and precise creature and Jenna gives her a chilling edge through most of the second episode, after she is revealed in the approach to the cliff-hanger. The interactions between Bonnie and Clara are also very well played in their intensity.
Looking at the writer’s for Series 9 it is a mixture of the experienced (Steven Moffat obviously, Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse), more recent conscripts (Peter Harness, Jamie Mathieson) and those completely new to Who (Sarah Dolland, Catherine Tregenna). Of these probably the most impressive is Harness with the Zygon two-parter, after his innovative Series 8 debut episode Kill The Moon. With speculation increasing about Moffat’s replacement when he does decide to step down, Peter Harness must surely be putting his case forward with these much appreciated episodes, with the fans at least. Worthy of mention also are Dolland and Tregenna, the first two female writers employed on Doctor Who by Moffat, both of whom turned in interesting and thoughtful scripts.
On the whole, despite the drop in the ratings experienced across the whole twelve episodes, Series 9 has been a critical triumph. Even the episodes that might not have been so well received, such as Sleep No More, have been bold and experimental in their telling. Also, some new ideas worked better than others. Capaldi looks very natural with an electric guitar, which featured in about half the episodes of the series. Less successful with fans were the sonic shades, which was possibly why right at the end of Hell Bent we got a new sonic screwdriver. But the positives bode well for Series 10, to which both Moffat and Capaldi are committed, though a filming schedule has yet to be confirmed and it appears currently that at least part of it will stretch into 2017. A new companion has also to be announced and that will attract much interest and speculation from the fans and the media.
So, the future (and the past and present) look bright for the Doctor Who with a spiky but mellowing 12th Doctor out in the universe. Long may he pilot the TARDIS into new and challenging adventures!
Over the weekend of the 24th and 25th October, in the German town of Kassel, Doctor Who fans gathered from across Europe to meet and greet some of their heroes at the first ever dedicated convention in the country, Timelash.
Through the hard work of three people, Pascal Salzmann, Ralf Schmidt and Simone Violka the idea of Timelash was brought into reality via numerous crowd-funding ventures. Then a location was found, guests were approached and booked, plus the thousand and one other jobs of trying to organise a convention began.
But it all proved a huge success over a very well attended and enjoyed weekend. A great mix of guests from the series, both Classic and New, entertained the fans throughout. These included writer Terrence Dicks and Script Editor Andrew Cartmel, the 8th Doctor Paul McGann, 1980’s companion Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown), Davros actor Terry Molloy, voice of the Daleks (among other monsters) Nicholas Briggs and Paternoster Gang member Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint).
One of the organisers, Pascal Salzmann, said of the weekend…. “I still cannot believe the enthusiastic response by everyone who attended the convention. Everyone is coming up to me, thanking me for bringing Doctor Who to Germany. And as you can clearly see, it was about time! When we started to plan this event we wanted it to be a convention where fans would meet, dress up, have fun together, see their stars and talk to them in a familiar atmosphere. We basically wanted to create an event that we would like to attend, as we are fans. And I am glad it worked.”
Away from TV other aspects of Doctor Who were well in evidence. Jason Haigh-Ellery, executive producer for Big Finish audio was there, alongside author Nev Fountain who has contributed a number of stories for them. Also present was all-rounder Toby Hadoke, well known for his stage show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, as well as moderating DVD commentaries and some roles for Big Finish.
More specific to German fans was voice actor Michael Schwarzmaier (6th and 7th Doctors) who provided dubbing for the classic series on the TV network and Kai Taschner, who is the dubbing director for Doctor Who during the 9th Doctor and first 10th Doctor series.
One of the fans in attendance, Tony Chamberlain from Cardiff, had this to say about the event weekend. “The venue, the panels, the displays, the guests…..everything about the convention was carried out flawlessly. Full kudos to Pascal, Simone and all the other organisers for a great weekend.”
Overall, the convention has proved to be a huge success, with most of the guests expressing the wish to return. Indeed, any fans wishing to attend Timelash 2 should set aside the weekend of October 15th and 16th 2016 in their diaries, as the organisers get busy planning for the next event.
On the weekend of 26th and 27th September, Philip Morris was amongst the guests at the Pandorica convention in Bristol. This is the man who found and returned nine previously missing episodes from the stories Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, part of the Patrick Troughton era, just ahead of the programme’s 50th anniversary in 2013. But it now appears it should have been ten episodes!
One of the things Mr Morris revealed over the convention weekend was that despite what was said at the time of the return, that episode three of Web had not been on the shelf with the other episodes, it actually was there when he discovered the lost gems. Web 3 went missing while he was negotiating for the return of all the episodes to the UK, taken by the manager of the TV station in the city of Jos, Nigeria, where they were found. The manager later denied knowing anything about “missing episodes”, a phrase that had not previously been used in his presence.
It appears that Philip Morris shared his discovery with a handful of people he trusted, one of whom alerted someone else who seems to have got in touch with the manager at Jos, leading him to take one of the film cans and investigate further. It also seems that he passed on the can. It was said at the convention panel that the episode was now in private hands and could be in Australia and that inquiries about it were ongoing.
Now Philip Morris has shared a photograph he took of the film cans in situ with the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group on Facebook. Looking at the cans there are twelve, all obviously of the same type and style, one of which (the fourth one down) clearly displays the production code PP (Enemy of the World) on its side. These are the two episodes that were already in the BBC archives, Enemy 3 and Web 1, and the ten episodes of the two stories that were missing at that time. Sadly, one still remains missing. This statement was released by the Facebook group, along with the image…
“On the second anniversary of the release of the newly-recovered and restored “Enemy Of The World” and “Web Of Fear”, Philip Morris, Executive Director of TIEA has authorized us (The Doctor Who Missing Episodes Group on Facebook) to release this photograph of the twelve film cans which he originally discovered in Jos, Nigeria.
“This photo was taken immediately after Phil had discovered the film cans and verified that the film reels inside matched what was on the labels.
“As you are no doubt aware, one of these film cans – the one containing Episode 3 of “The Web Of Fear” – went missing in between when this photo was taken (in late 2011) and when the cans were delivered to the central collection point in Abuja, Nigeria. The location and disposition of this film can and its contents is currently unknown.”
There were some other interesting items discussed in the two panels attended by Philip Morris. He told the audience that he had been to every country that had officially bought Doctor Who in the 1960s and 70s, and was now following up information on audition prints. These were episodes sent out to countries that were not currently buying the series, as a ‘taster’ of what was available to them. It is known that a couple of episodes of Marco Polo were sent to Iran, and four episodes of The Reign of Terror were found by Paul Vanezis in Cyprus in the 1980s, a country that never bought that serial. And the first time he found a film can marked as an “audition print” was an episode of The Goodies, though he did not say where this was.
He also confirmed that any finds and returns would be dealt with through BBC Worldwide and that BBC Cardiff and the New Series team were not involved on any level. Back catalogue stuff is not part of the Cardiff remit, they just concentrate on the production of new adventures for the Doctor. Also discussed was the omni-rumour, which was ‘a load of nonsense’ and that the return of all 97 currently missing episodes was ‘unlikely’. Though interestingly he did say he was ‘pretty sure’ that The Feast of Steven, the seventh episode of the epic Dalek Master Plan and the one episode never sold abroad, was copied to film. It has always been thought this episode was never copied.
On the subject of damaged prints he repeated something he originally said on the message board of the Facebook group last year, that the only time he has ever found a Doctor Who print with advanced damage beyond saving was a monochrome copy of episode two of The Ambassadors of Death, thankfully not something that is missing. This totally scotches a recent rumour doing the forum rounds that while lots of missing episodes were found, many were suffering with vinegar syndrome.
Philip Morris was once contacted by a private individual wanting to buy any and all episodes of Doctor Who he had found to that point, which he flatly refused. He does not get paid by the BBC for what he finds, funding comes from contract work done by TIEA. When asked about social media he said that the work was more important than what anybody says on a twitter account, though he did highlight that some libellous comments were ‘in the process’ of being investigated. It was also stated that for everything someone makes up, he has to answer for it!
The search is still going on, but will not last forever. He loves surprising people and has some surprises in store, which everybody will learn about in time. Feedback from fans is positive on the whole and he repeated a favourite phrase, ‘believe it when you see it’.
The Philip Morris panels were very well received on the weekend and audio recordings have made it onto the forums now, along with transcripts, which have been well received by many.
STOP PRESS – Full statement on Web 3 by Philip Morris himself, as sent to the DWME Group this evening.
Hi Guys, the picture you see is one I took after checking the 12 Doctor Who film cans in Jos in 2011. All film leaders were checked to ensure cans matched their contents, this is a practice we follow in fine detail with due care shown. All programmes held at this station were physically checked by myself and my own team. No undue attention was drawn to the Doctor Who prints by myself or any of my staff, however I instructed one of my trusted team to ensure the Doctor Who prints were hidden until authorisation for retrieval could be obtained.
However two prints, one QQ3 Web of Fear 3 and another spare print were taken from one of my guys by a guy at the station who took the two prints to his office. This was reported to me within hours. I was not unduly concerned I knew their location. I have to admit I was really excited and told somebody I thought would not leak any sensitive information – big big mistake. Within 4/5 days the station had been named online. Fortunately by this time our job was done, however what of Web 3? I physically searched Jos again, asked the guy who took the films where they were. Initially he denied all knowledge until I produced the picture-he just looked at the floor and said he put them back on the shelf.
I didn’t believe a word, and took the pictures and with one of my colleagues and went straight to the top of the NTA, however the guy simply denied it. That is until earlier this year when I returned to Nigeria. I met the same guy again so I asked him directly – he just laughed and said “I don’t know anything about missing episodes”.
I firmly believe this episode is in the hands of a fan and we will trace it. I hope this goes some way to explain why I must maintain a certain level of security around TIEA and its work.
As filming for Series 9 draws to a close, Special Agent Chamberlain 006 has been out and about in sunny (yes, I was surprised too) Cardiff, tracking down the production crew to their not-so-secret location of ‘Eddie’s American Diner’ on Mermaid Quay. Here is what he found…
Suggestions are that this is filming for the final episode/episodes of the series, though it is also possible that these scenes could fit in anywhere. I guess we will all know by Christmas!
The first new trailer for the forthcoming Series 9 has been released by the BBC onto YouTube today. 90 seconds of intriguing glimpses, sounds and quotes (including the one at the top of the page).
We also know when the new series will start, September 19th. This puts it four weeks later than last year and if there are no breaks will mean there is just a three week gap between season finale and Christmas episode this year.
Featuring old enemies and new aliens, as well as an interesting and mysterious encounter at the very end of the trailer, it can be viewed here….