With many of the episodes still missing from the Hartnell and Troughton era of Doctor Who fans are left mainly to their own imagination in most cases to fill in the blanks left by their absence. This wouldn’t be so painful a truth to accept if not for the snippets of information surrounding the lost episodes that make them sound so brilliant. Short excerpts of off-air recording by fans or clips retained from Blue Peter only rub salt in the wound that perhaps the best of classic Doctor Who remains largely unseen by modern fans. The grandeur of Marco Polo, the horror of the Web of Fear, the sprawling epic that is the Dalek Master Plan are hinted at from scripts, audio cds and still images.
From the two Yeti adventures to the first regeneration story, it’s all lost… possibly forever.
In 2006, the incomplete Cybermen story the Invasion was released on DVD with the option to view animated sequences depicting the lost parts. It was a marvelous experiment that made fans mad with wonder at what could come next but alas nothing has due to the cost associated.
That has not stopped aspiring animators from rising to the challenge however, as this stunning animation promo reel shows (Troughton fans get ready to stifle bitter-sweet tears as key moments from iconic episodes are shown in full motion).
The DVD releases of existing complete stories possibly reaching completion in a few years, the BBC will be faced with the question of where to take the DVD line. When the Invasion episodes were animated by Cosgrove Hall (Danger Mouse, Count Duckula), the thinking was that the cost was far too high for additional material to be animated, but with Doctor Who a major money maker for the BBC and the amount of releasable material dwindling, maybe that opinion will soon change.
I’d love to see a complete animated version of Web of Fear, The Faceless Ones, Power of the Daleks and more if it met the high standard of the above test reel.