Day 35 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – 5 Serials You’d Swap for Missing Episodes



The success on iTunes of the recently recovered Troughton era serials, The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, has conclusively shown that 45 year old monochrome Doctor Who can successfully compete against the best current release TV shows.  An article in the UK’s Mirror newspaper states that in the first three days after the release of the two stories 10,000 series pass downloads were sold.  Presumably this figure is for sales in the UK only. The article goes on to state that to date there have been 73,000 episode downloads.

The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear have only been released on iTunes in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Enemy is due for release on DVD in late November and Web is due sometime in the New Year. Rumours continue to surface that Marco Polo may have been recovered and is soon to be released.

Doctor Who retro posters courtesy of Radio Times designer Stuart Manning -

Doctor Who retro posters courtesy of Radio Times designer Stuart Manning –

In the light of Doctor Who’s missing episodes hysteria the Doctor Who Mind Robber today looks at 5 Serials that you’d swap for missing episodes. Even the most rabid of fans acknowledge that the output of Doctor Who has never been consistent.  Some stories are brilliant whilst others would have been best left unmade. As 97 episodes are still claimed by the BBC to be missing from their archives, which extant episodes would you willingly ditch for a recovered one?

5. The Sensorites

The Sensorites is the most unloved serial of Season One Doctor Who.  In a documentary included in the Special Features of the DVD release comedian Toby Hadoke described the serial in the following way:

The Sensorites.  Poor, unloved, The Sensorites.  Nestling, lost somewhere, down the back of the fans’ collective sofa.  There it lies at number 7 in the first heady year of Doctor Who.  It didn’t even have the decency to be wiped so we could all mourn its loss, and imagine how brilliant it must have been.  It’s not a story anyone really talks about.  We certainly don’t know that much about it …

Little more needs to be said.

A scene from The Sensorites

A scene from The Sensorites

4. The Ark

Although beautifully directed The Ark has undoubtedly the worst monsters in Classic Series Who, the Monoids. In my review I described the Monoids like this:

Also travelling on the spaceship are an assortment of animals and the Monoids, a peculiar mute race whose most distinctive feature is their one eye.  This single eye is in their mouths, or at least what would’ve been their mouths if they had human anatomy. These eyes are actually painted ping pong balls which the actors held in place with their mouths.  Now that’s ingenious small budget special effects for you!  On the top of their heads is a long Beatles style mop top wig, whilst the rest of their bodies are clothed in green ill fitting garb. They have webbed hands and feet and move slowly.

An unfortunate Monoid in The Ark

An unfortunate Monoid in The Ark

3. The Keys of Marinus

The Keys of Marinus is the second of two little regarded serials in Doctor Who’s first season.  The six parter was among the more expensive stories to produce as each episode took place in a different location of Marinus. Season 16’s The Key to Time is not dissimilar.  Unfortunately the variety of locations makes for a disjointed serial and the chief monsters, the Voord, are what young people today might best describe as “rubbish”. With wet suit clad bodies and swimming flipper feet their most redeeming features were their quite unusual heads.

A Voord with Susan in The  Keys of Marinus

A Voord with Susan in  The Keys of Marinus

2. The Space Museum

In my review of The Space Museum I discussed the DVD extra, Defending the Museum.  In it the writer Rob Shearman outlined his devotion to The Space Museum which rests solely upon the assumption that the story is a parody of William Hartnell era Doctor Who episodes. The aggressors, the Moroks, are little more than morons who invade a planet only to turn it into a museum for their past achievements. The rebels are excruciatingly bad.  Dressed in black polo neck jumpers, they look like students in a coffee bar.  Vicki starts a revolution only because she’s bored and the native Xerons don’t need a great revolutionary, just a locksmith! That The Space Museum can only be appreciated if it’s considered a parody says much for the low esteem in which it’s generally held. The serial is unlikely to be missed.

The Doctor hiding inside the casing of a Dalek exhibit is one of the best parts of The Space Museum

The Doctor hiding inside the casing of a Dalek exhibit is one of the best parts of The Space Museum

1. The Web Planet

I was so utterly bored by The Web Planet that I couldn’t even find the enthusiasm to review it. The best parts of the story are William Hartnell’s “Billy Fluffs” and when an extra ran slap bang into a camera and it wasn’t edited out. This fan made compilation clip, however, is brilliant.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.


8 responses »

  1. When I first found out about missing episodes (during the 1980s), ‘The War Machines’, ‘Power of the Daleks’ and ‘Tomb of the Cybermen’ felt the strongest personal loss as all three had impressed me greatly as a child. To my utter joy two of these three have subsequently been recovered, and if through some Faustian pact it were possible to also recover ‘Power’ then I’d gladly sacrifice, say, ‘The Keys of Marinus’ to get it back.

    • On the same subject, I would also trade “The Dominators” for… just about ANYTHING. Even for Episodes 1 and 3-6 of “The Space Pirates” which, just based on the recons, are much, much better than the surviving Episode 2…

  2. Wow I soooooooo disagree with this list “The Sensorites”, “the ark” and “the Keys of Marinus are actually part of my very favourite First Doctor serials and i liked “the web planet” and loved the first episode of the “space museum”

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