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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.

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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.

Galaxy Four

The Drahvins and Rills

Stuck on a dying planet

But who will escape.

Here we are at the start of the third season and at the start of a run of lost stories. Until recently, only six minutes of footage from episode 1 existed but episode 3 has been discovered [click here for details]. The soundtrack of this story does exist and has Peter Purves (Steven Taylor in this story) providing linking narration.

This story concerns two races of beings who have crash landed on a planet that is on the brink of destruction. On arrival, the Doctor, Vicki and Steven are accosted by a robot that Vicki christens a “Chumbley”. They are “rescued” from the robot by one of the races, the Drahvins, blonde haired women who are determined to take the other race’s, the Rills, spaceship by force. The Rills have managed to repair their ship but lack the fuel needed to take off.

During the course of the story, it comes to light that the destruction of the planet will occur a lot sooner than the Drahvins have calculated and also that the robot Chumblies are robot servants for the Rills, a peaceful ammonia breathing race who are more than prepared to offer space on their ship for the Drahvins.

The Doctor attempts to help the Rills and rescue Steven, who is a hostage on the Drahvin spaceship. Can he do this before the planet explodes…?

This story could be seen as the first (but not the last in this season) “high concept” science fiction story with many of the previous stories being adventure stories set on another planet whereas his has the central message of “don’t judge by appearances” at its core. Doctor Who was growing up…

  1. Four Hundred Dawns
  2. Trap Of Steel
  3. Airlock
  4. The Exploding Planet

 

When 108 became 106

The number 108 has a particular resonance with Doctor Who fans. For many years this number represented the number of missing episodes from the Doctor Who archive. The missing stories, dating from the 1960s, are from the black and white era of Doctor Who when episodes were routinely wiped so that the videotape could be reused in an effort to save on the costs. For more about the missing episodes, I heartily recommend the book Wiped by Richard Molesworth.

That number is now 106 with the discovery of two missing episodes. One of the episodes is from the William Hartnell story, Galaxy Four and the other features Patrick Troughton in The Underwater Menace.

Galaxy Four sees William Hartnell’s Doctor accompanied by Maureen O’Brien as Vicki and Peter Purves as Steven Taylor and also features the infamous Chumblies. Some extracts from episode one are on the Lost In Time DVD but the episode that was found is episode three.

The Underwater Menace sees Patrick Troughton’s Doctor accompanied by  Anneke Wills as Polly and Michael Craze as Ben and by new crew member, Jamie McCrimmon. The episode found pre-dates  Episode 3 (also on the Lost In Time DVD), as it is episode 2 of this 4 part serial and in being so is now the earliest episode to feature Patrick Troughton with all episodes from his first two stories, The Power Of The Daleks and The Highlanders missing.

This is the first discovery since episode 2 of the Daleks Master Plan was returned in 2004.

For more information about the discovery, please listen to this special edition of the Doctor Who podcast here.

It will be interesting to see what they will look like after the amazing restoration team get to work on them but if you want to have a sneak peak, click here.

This discovery gives Doctor Who fans hope that somewhere, there may be more treasures to be found and that magic number will keep on decreasing.

If you think you may have information about missing episodes, please contact missingepisodes@drwho-online.co.uk or click here

Marco Polo

An epic journey

Travelling across Cathay

With Marco Polo

After the rather odd edge of destruction, we now go back in time and visit Marco Polo. This is also the first story that I haven’t seen. [click here for more info about the wiped stories] The narrator for this particular story is William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton in the story.

The TARDIS has broken down once again (but this time without any deliberate sabotage) but as the crew are in the Himalayas, they must seek shelter before they freeze to death. The TARDIS has no way of providing heat and it is a chance encounter with Marco Polo that saves them. He is travelling through Cathay (China) in order to met Kublai Khan. Amongst the travellers accompanying Marco Polo is Tegana, supposedly a peace envoy but he is the villain of the piece. The Tardis is taken from the Doctor in order to be a gift to Kublai Khan in order to allow Marco Polo to return home. The TARDIS is refered to as his flying caravan despite the fact no one has seen it fly. This seems to be taking an awful lot on blind faith, Marco Polo doesn’t even venture inside.

The finale doesn’t directly include the crew as Marco Polo fights Tegana who has tried to kill the elderly Kublai Khan.

This story is unusual as it takes place over many weeks as the crew accompany Marco on his travels and once more, the TARDIS is kept out of action, preventing it from being an easy escape route. The early episodes tend to have the adventure starting as a result of the crew being unable to leave rather than deliberate actions on their part. Keep an eye out in the coming stories as to how they start. The TARDIS of this story sounds as if it would fail the Gallifreyan equivalent of an MOT.

The writer of this story was John Lucarotti, his first of three William Hartnell stories. These stories (Marco Polo, The Aztecs and The Massacre) are all historical stories and among the very best  historical stories of the first Doctor’s era. Had the historical stories remained a part of Doctor Who, I would hope that the production team would have called on him again (and often). He also provided the story for the Ark in Space for Tom Baker’s first season, but the script was largely re-written by then script editor, Robert Holmes.

  1. The Roof Of The World
  2. The Singing Sands
  3. Five Hundrerd Eyes
  4. The Wall Of Lies
  5. Rider From Shang-tu
  6. Mighty Kublai Khan
  7. Assassin At Peking

Wiped ~ a short note about the missing stories

For those of you who may not know about the history of televised Doctor Who (or those who may want a refresher (and even those who know – please add your thoughts and comments below)) the BBC thought that the cost of videotape was prohibitive and not seeing the potential of the future video and DVD markets decided to reuse the videotape once the program was deemed to be finished with. Many programs from this era of television are missing, such as “Not only but also” and “Dad’s Army” to name but two. The stories that are available to view today often have interesting stories behind them. Some were about to be destroyed in the late 70’s just at a time when a Doctor Who archivist/fan became involved with the program and saved them from the black hole of missing stories. Other stories have been found due to the overseas sale of the program. Often a copy was made to be sent to a country for broadcast there after which it would then be sent to the next country and so on. Some copies have been found in the oddest of places as a result. But sometimes complete stories have been lost in their entirety but occasionally clips turn up that may have been cut from an overseas broadcast if the censors in that country deemed something to be too violent. Even when the stories have been found, it takes an awful lot of hard work to clean up the picture into a state where it can be commercially sold.

But what about the soundtracks?

If you have clicked on the stories that I have watched on my quest, usually you will be taken to their DVD page but sometime you will be directed to that story’s soundtrack. Where did these come from? Simple. The fans. Some Doctor Who fans (in the pre-VCR stage) recorded the program onto audiotape as it was live on air. Some have been done better than others, there is a very interesting DVD extra on The Invasion which goes into more detail. This DVD set is interesting as most of the episodes of this 8 part story exist but 2 parts are missing. Here, they are recreated in cartoon format (still in monochrome) with the artists working from camera scripts to know what the general idea of the scenes will look like. This is the first (and so fay only) story to be completed in this manner. If you wish to see other stories that exist only in part, then check out Lost In Time which also has extras relating to the lost stories. The audio soundtracks also have an additional voice to give guidance to the story especially in the more visual scenes. In all but one story, the narrator is one of the actors who played a companion in the story. (The exception is The Macra Terror which is narrated by sixth Doctor, Colin Baker). There are even a few stories which are available as both DVD and audio soundtrack.

A book on my wish list is Wiped by Richard Molesworth (who does a lot of work on the DVD releases).