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An early birthday present for Doctor Who fans

Two more stories found

From Patrick Troughton era

It’s wonderful news

There has been some fantastic news for Doctor Who fans in its 50th anniversary year with the news that 9 more lost episodes have been found. This brings the number of missing episodes down to 97.

Even better news is the fact that they almost complete 2 stories from Patrick Troughton’s second year as the Doctor. Until the discovery of “Tomb of the Cybermen” in the early 1990s, no complete story from this season existed. This year has seen the release of another story from this era, “The Ice Warriors”, with the missing episodes being animated, we now have a run of 3 almost complete stories as the 2 stories that followed, “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” being the stories recently discovered.

These 2 stories are of additional interest as they were directed by people who would become legendary figures for Doctor Who fans.

Salamander looks

Much like the Doctor but is

Ruthless Dictator

The first story, “The Enemy of the World” was directed by Barry Letts who would later go on to produce Doctor Who during the Jon Pertwee era. Until now, only one episode of this story existed and in a global spanning story, the episode that we had is easily the least interesting of the six. This story is discussed by Barry Letts in his autobiography “Who and Me” and some lessons that he learned about how Doctor Who was made and how it may be improved. Something as simple as changing from making an episode a week to two episodes a fortnight made a big difference (especially in relation to sets that sometimes got damaged when they were stored). There was a set problem in the episode that existed which lead to a strange scene of someone under guard being kept in a hallway where he ate a meal. This story also features a doppelgänger, allowing Patrick Troughton to play both the Doctor and the tyrant Salamander with a finale that leads directly into the next story. This story also features an early Doctor Who appearance of an actor who plays villains and officious jobsworths exceptionally well, Milton Johns. He would star in two more Doctor Who stories, both in the Tom Baker era, “The Android Invasion” and “The Invasion of Time”. Had the Harry Potter films been made in the 70s or 80s, he would have been an ideal Severus Snape.

The Yeti return

And Lethbridge-Stewart enters

In the underground

The second story, “The Web of Fear”, is interesting for a number of reasons. One being that the enemy is the Great Intelligence (first encountered in “The Abominable Snowmen”, the story that preceded “The Ice Warriors”). The Great Intelligence has also reappeared in the new series of Doctor Who. Web of Fear also introduces a character who would become one of the most popular characters in the series, although in this story the Brigadier has yet to be promoted and is Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in this story. The Great Intelligence used robotic Yeti to carry out its plans and inside one of the furry suits was the man who would go on to be the much-loved Sergeant Benton of U.N.I.T., John Levene. This story was directed by Douglas Camfield. Camfield has directed many of the most fondly remembered stories form the classic era. There is a very good extra about Douglas Camfield on the recently released “Terror of the Zygons” DVD. The set design on Web of Fear is very good, so good that the production team almost got into trouble after being denied access to film on the underground, they reproduced the underground so convincingly that those who had denied the access thought they had filmed there anyway.

The soundtracks for both these stories have been available with Frazer Hines providing the linking narration for both stories but it is a pleasure to view these lost stories again. Both stories are available to download, the still missing episode 3 of The Web of Fear features the soundtrack and telesnaps, from iTunes but there will be a DVD release for both stories.

Happy 49th Anniversary

Today (23rd November 2012) is the 49th anniversary of Doctor Who and so to celebrate I thought I’d repost a guest post featuring amazing artwork and memories from when the very first episode was aired. Click here to read this wonderful post.

If you want to join me on my quest to watch Doctor Who from the beginning, then click here to see my journey beginning.

Over the weekend I am going to enjoy the very first episode once more and listen to the 49th story of the classic series, The Space Pirates written by Robert Holmes. Sadly this is another of the stories missing from the archive.

I will also watch the 49th story of the new series, Victory of the Daleks written by Mark Gatiss (who I think would be a brilliant Master if the powers that be wished to bring him back as a nemesis of the Doctor rather than the insane Master previously seen.

Happy anniversary Doctor Who and to quote the Brig, “Splendid chap, all of them.”

This old body of mine is wearing a bit thin

Anniversary

Of the Doctor’s very first

Regeneration

As you may know, Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary next year but today is an anniversary of almost equal importance. That is because today, October 29th, is the anniversary of something that happened that would allow the show to continue although the lead actor was leaving the series.

“Change my dear. And it seems not a moment too soon.*”

October 29th 1966 saw the screening of episode 4 of “The Tenth Planet”. Sadly this episode is one of those missing from the archives but fortunately the transformation scene itself does still exist (yay for BBC children’s programme “Blue Peter”).

Plans were afoot to replace William Hartnell and may have been carried out a few stories earlier at the conclusion of The Celestial Toymaker (which would have worked within the confines of this story but it would be a trick that would be difficult to repeat) but it wasn’t until a few stories later (and the following season) that the first change of the Doctor was to take place.

The new production team of Producer, Innes Lloyd, and Script Editor, Gerry Davis, were looking to bring the adventure aspect of the show back to the forefront, rather than the previous year’s science fiction leanings, with The Tenth Planet being the first of what would be a staple of the stories during Patrick Troughton’s years as the Doctor, The Base Under Siege.

It was also an unusual decision to recast the lead by a completely different actor rather than a lookalike. This was to prove to be an inspired idea as you can then let the Doctor behave in a completely different way and would start the never ending discussion of “who is the best Doctor?”

At the time of the Doctor’s renewal (regeneration was not referred to until third Doctor, Jon Pertwee’s farewell story) and little was known about where the Doctor came from (again, it was during the Jon Pertwee era, and his final season at that, before his home is named as Gallifrey) and it was Patrick Troughton’s finale that introduced us to the Time Lords. How much of this mythology would have remained unknown had the Doctor never changed? Probably none.

So let’s celebrate the changing face of Doctor Who…

“Splendid chap, all of them” as the Brigadier has said.

Here is a list of the regeneration stories to date although you may notice that there hasn’t been an onscreen regeneration from 8th Doctor into 9th. (as of 2012)

  • The Tenth Planet (1st Doctor into 2nd)
  • The War Games (2nd Doctor into 3rd [although 3rd Doctor isn’t actually seen])
  • Planet of the Spiders (3rd Doctor into 4th)
  • Logopolis (4th Doctor into 5th)
  • The Caves of Androzani (5th Doctor into 6th)
  • Time and the Rani (6th Doctor [sort of] into 7th)
  • 1996 TV Movie (7th Doctor into 8th)
  • Parting of the Ways (9th Doctor into 10th)
  • The End of Time –Part Two (10th into 11th)

*spoken by 6th Doctor just after he has regenerated.

Anniversary shows

23rd November is a very special date for Doctor Who fans. It is the anniversary of the very first episode. Here I will look at the episodes that occurred on the anniversary or the stories either side of it.

It is interesting to note that only 3 other stories were broadcast on the 23rd November itself, none of the stories being the multi Doctor anniversary stories; The Three Doctors (10th Anniversary) and The Five Doctors (20th). The 25th anniversary story, Silver Nemesis, however WAS broadcast in 23rd, a year after the previous season’s Dragonfire was broadcast on the anniversary date. That’s 2 out of the 3 stories (the third being The Invasion which coincidentally is also a Cyberman tale as was Silver Nemesis).

But if Daleks are more your thing, then 8 stories featuring the fearsome pepper pots are on the list (with a further 2 stories featuring a brief appearance by the Daleks). In the early years, you were almost guaranteed a Dalek story on the anniversary with the Daleks starring in 3 anniversaries in a row.

But things changed in1969. The show went out in colour and the schedule was different. The 1969 anniversary had the finale of Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Doctor finishing the season in June with Jon Pertwee’s debut going out at the start of 1970.

It would be 1975 before a story was transmitted during the anniversary week, in this case it was The Android Invasion written by none other than Dalek creator Terry Nation.

The rest of the 1970s found the anniversary falling between two stories but without the season gap of the early 1970s.

1980 saw The State Of Decay being transmitted around the anniversary date but the cycle of the early ’70s returned with the season gap occurring over the anniversary.

The 20th anniversary story, The Five Doctors, was a specially made feature-length story that was broadcast in the U.S. on the 23rd but wasn’t broadcast in the UK until 25th.

Once Doctor Who returned after an 18 month hiatus in 1986, it was on air during the anniversary and depending on how you view the season, is it during the Trial of A Time Lord or between Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe?

Then the two Sylvester McCoy stories followed that were broadcast on the day itself (the aforementioned Dragonfire and Silver Nemesis).

The final story of the classic series was a 3 part story called Survival. All three parts make it onto the anniversary list because the anniversary for 1989 was between parts 1 and 2 and as the third part was the final story for many years, it was the anniversary story by default.

Then came the tv movie, broadcast in May 1996 and the default anniversary tale until the show’s return with Rose.

Which brings us to the new series of Doctor Who. Again the schedule saw the series aired in the first half of the year meaning that the stories either side of the anniversary were the season finale (and a return of the Daleks) and the Christmas special. Usually the gap would be about 6 months, until…

…This year saw the series being shown in two separate blocks which meant that the season finale was shown in the beginning of October.

It sounds as if next year, the season will start later making me think that by the time of the 50th anniversary in 2013, the show will again air an episode on (or near) the 23rd November.

What will YOU be doing to celebrate the Doctor’s anniversary?

Doctor Who Anniversary Stories (UK air dates)

1963 – An Unearthly Child **

1964 – The Dalek Invasion Of Earth (1- 21/11, 2-28/11)

1965 – The Daleks’ Master Plan (2-20/11, 3-27/11)

1966 – The Power Of The Daleks (3-19/11, 4-26/11)

1967 – The Ice Warriors (2-18/11, 3-25/11)

1968 – The Invasion (4-23/11) **

1969 – The War Games (10-21/6/69) change of schedule

1970 – Spearhead From Space (1-3/1/70)

1970 – Inferno (7-20/6)

1971 – Terror Of The Autons (1-2/1)

1971 – The Daemons (5-19/6)

1972 – Day of the Daleks (1-1/1/72)

1972 – The Time Monster (6-24/6)

1972 – The Three Doctors (1-30/12)

1973 – The Green Death (6-23/6)

1973 – The Time Warrior (1-15/12)

1974 – Planet Of The Spiders (6-8/6)

1974 – Robot (1-28/12)

1975 – The Android Invasion ( 1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1976 – The Deadly Assassin (4-20/11)

1977 – The Face Of Evil (1-1/1)

1977 – Image of the Fendahl (4-19/11)

1977 – The Sun Makers (1-26/11)

1978 – The Stones Of Blood (4-18/11)

1978 – The Androids Of Tara (1-25/11)

1979 – The Creature From The Pit (4-17/11)

1979 – Nightmare Of Eden (1-24/11)

1980 – State Of Decay (1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1981 – Logopolis (4-21/3)

1982 – Castrovalva (1-4/1)

1982 – Time-Flight (4-30/3)

1983 – Arc Of Infinity (1-3/1)

1983 – The King’s Demons (2-16/3)

1983 – The Five Doctors (25/11)

1984 – The Twin Dilema (4-30/3)

1985 – Attack Of The Cybermen (5/1)

1985 – Revelation Of The Daleks (2-30/3)

1986 – The Mysterious Planet 1 (6/9)

1986 – Terror Of The Vervoids (4-22/11)

1986 – The Ultimate Foe (1-29/11)

1987 – Dragonfire (1-23/11) **

1988 – Silver Nemesis (1-23/11) **

1989 – Survival (1-22/11, 2-29/11)

1989 – Survival (3-6/12) (1990-1995)

1996 – TV Movie (27/5) 1996-2004)

2005 – Rose (26/3)

2005 – The Parting Of The Ways (18/6)

2005 – The Christmas Invasion (25/12)

2006 – Doomsday (8/7)

2006 – The Runaway Bride (25/12)

2007 – Last of the Time Lords (30/6)

2007 – Voyage of the damned (25/12)

2008 – Journey’s End (5/7)

2008 – The Next Doctor (25/12)

2009 – The Waters of Mars (15/11)

2009 – The End of Time (1-25/12)

2010 – The Big Bang (26/6)

2010 – A Christmas Carol (25/12)

2011 – The Wedding of River Song (1/10)

**aired on 23rd November