The most iconic episode of Doctor Who (after the introduction of the Daleks) is the changeover from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton in ‘The Tenth Planet.’ The four part adventure set in a secluded polar base under siege from strange cybernetic aliens is a classic in its own right, but the final part includes a moment that would go down in TV lore when lead actor Hartnell fell to the floor of the TARDIS and was fazed out of existence via a video effect, leaving an entirely new face on the screen.
Sadly, all but a few short clips still exist in the BBC vault from this story, but shortly fans will have the opportunity to review this adventure in its entirety thanks to a new process of animating the missing episode. This will mark the second incomplete story to be released on DVD with animated segments filling in the gaps (Invasion and Reign of Terror being the other two). If this avenue is explore more fully, there are many more incomplete stories that could once more see the light of day and gain exposure to a new audience!
I only just learned that surviving clips and part three of Galaxy Four will be included in The Aztecs Special Edition (only the existing parts, no animated sequences), so it is an exciting time for fans of classic Doctor Who!
Currently, there are 106 missing episodes from 1963-69, mainly impacting the run of Patrick Troughton who played the Doctor from 1966-69.
The following stories from the First Doctor era starring William Hartnell are still incomplete: Marco Polo, The Reign of Terror, The Crusade, Galaxy 4, “Mission to the Unknown”, The Myth Makers, The Daleks’ Master Plan, The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve, The Celestial Toymaker, The Savages, and The Smugglers
From the Second Doctor era starring Patrick Troughton, these gems are lacking material: The Power of the Daleks, The Highlanders, The Underwater Menace, The Moonbase, The Macra Terror, The Faceless Ones, The Evil of the Daleks, The Abominable Snowmen, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear, Fury from the Deep, The Wheel in Space, Invasion and The Space Pirates.
Even more exciting news is that The Ice Warriors may be next in line!
To rounds of very enthusiastic applause, a warm and appreciative crowd saw clips from the animated episode, during panels hosted by Dan Hall (Pup Ltd and commissioning editor of the Doctor Who DVD range) and Austen Atkinson of Australian based animation company Planet 55 Studios. During the panels a number of animated clips were shown, including the famous William Hartnell regeneration scene (see images below) and other behind the scenes material. Video from the animated episode will be available next week on doctorwho.tv. Fans reacted very positively to the material, as well as to queries from Dan Hall as to whether more missing episodes should be subject to similar animation in the future. Mr Hall noted however that while the existing business model for BBC Worldwide DVD releases did not currently allow more than two episodes a release to be animated that future options for allowing the release of more animated material may become more feasible at some later stage.
Also featured on the panels were Planet 55 Studios animators Colin Bennett, Josh Campbell & Chris Chapman who discussed the painstaking hours of work required to recreate the missing episode of The Tenth Planet as well as the two animated episodes from the newly restored Reign of Terror DVD. Austen Atkinson confirmed that work on the animated Tenth Planet episode was likely to be completed in the next month with the DVD release due in the second half of 2013. Dan Hall also confirmed that an announcement on whether the missing episodes of the forthcoming The Ice Warriors DVD would be similarly animated will be announced in the near future, also on doctorwho.tv.