Tag Archives: Missing Episodes

Doctor Who Missing Episodes – Steve Roberts Clarifies List Ripping Incident & Believes Marco Polo Found

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Last Weekend saw the annual Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles, California celebrate its 25th Anniversary. Amongst the many panels at the three day event was one entitled “Sherlock Morris & the Case of the Missing Episodes” on Saturday afternoon. The five member panel comprised of Steve Roberts, Damian Shanahan, Greg Bakun, Steven Schapansky and Jon Preddle.

Twitter, social media and Doctor Who forums were set alight following Doctor Who Restoration Team member Steve Robert’s theatrically dramatic on-stage destruction of an omnirumour list.  Many assumed from this symbolic act of paper tearing that Roberts was debunking all rumours of the recovery of any of Doctor Who’s 97 currently missing episodes.  Thankfully Roberts has clarified his theatrics in an audio interview released yesterday by Radio Free Skaro.

Radio Free Skaro claims to be the “most popular, most prolific and charmingly irreverent  (but never irrelevant) Doctor Who Podcast around”.  The three Canadians, Warren Frey, Steven Schapansky and Chris Burgess, have produced 408 podcasts since August 2006. Yesterday’s podcast is entitled “The Case of the Missing Episodes” and includes interviews with Steve Roberts, and missing episodes experts Damian Shanahan (Australia) and Jon Preddle (New Zealand).

Radio Free Skaro

The interview with Steve Roberts is enlightening and clarifies the circumstances surrounding the Gallifrey One panel incident. Roberts told Radio Free Skaro’s Chris Burgess and Steven Schapansky (with whom he shared the stage for the panel) the following,  

(The omnirumour) is apparently now a list of the state of every apparently recovered missing episode and what stage of restoration they’re apparently at and when they will be released.  It’s a very interesting document full of internal logic errors  … I printed it out and went through some choice episodes … and ended up theatrically ripping the piece of paper and throwing it on the stage.  It was literally to get a good audience response which it did.

Roberts went on to state,

I absolutely believe that Phil (Morris) has found more Doctor Who.  And Phil is a very secretive guy and he won’t have told anyone what he’s got.  He hasn’t told us what he’s got.  He hasn’t told my team.  He hasn’t told Paul Vanezis … So if we don’t know, how do all these other people suddenly know in such detail the apparent state of these things?  It doesn’t make any sense to me.

Roberts further said that Marco Polo is the story most likely to be found because there were more copies sold than other serials.  He then stated,

It’s my opinion that Phil definitely has found Marco Polo.  I have no evidence whatsoever to back that up because I’ve not seen anything, He’s not told me that.  He’s not told any of my friends or colleagues that but I just think that he will have …He hasn’t come out and said “I’ve definitely got more Doctor Who” but in the statements he’s made he says “It’s a great time for Doctor Who fans.  Expect the unexpected”. He’s very positive … He’s definitely got more. He’s not leading anyone on because he’s not that sort of person.  He will give things back, I’m sure, when it suits his business, the BBC, whatever when the time is right.  I don’t know what his game plan is.  I’m sure he has one.

You can listen to Radio Free Skaro’s interview with Steve Roberts here.  Photos are courtesy of the Radio Free Skaro website, http://www.radiofreeskaro.com.  No copyright infringement is intended.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2014.

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Is Marco Polo the Latest Recovered Missing Serial?

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On 24 October The Doctor Who Mind Robber pondered if Marco Polo had been recovered. It was around that date that it was first revealed that a reconstruction of part of the much sought after serial would appear in Mark Gatiss’ docudrama, An Adventure in Space and Time. Given the amazing coincidence of the Great Intelligence’s return in Series 7 after a 44 year hiatus and the recovery of The Web of Fear, a BBC marketing missing episodes programme could not be ruled out. Was Marco Polo yet another example of the Beeb self promoting its recovered monochrome product?

The Great Intelligence's return heralded the recovery of The Web of Fear. The Eleventh Doctor )(Matt Smith) with the Great Intelligence (Richard E. Grant) in The Name of the Doctor

The Great Intelligence’s return heralded the recovery of The Web of Fear. The Eleventh Doctor )(Matt Smith) with the Great Intelligence (Richard E. Grant) in The Name of the Doctor

On the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who and riding on the extraordinarily positive reviews of An Adventure in Space and Time, now would be the perfect occasion to announce the recovery. Certain external signs are very reminiscent of the days prior to the announced recovery of The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear. Two UK newspapers, the Mirror and The Telegraph, are both reporting the recovery of the seven part serial. The Mirror is claiming the recovery of a fan recorded 16mm cine recording of all the episodes. The silent recording is said to have been made by recording direct from the television screen using then commercially available equipment.  As the BBC already holds fan recorded audio of all missing episodes, restoration has involved dubbing this sound to the audio free film.

The Radio Times cover for the missing Doctor Who serial Marco Polo

The Radio Times cover for the missing Doctor Who serial Marco Polo

It was the Mirror which was the first mainstream newspaper to announce the October recovery. Although their facts were wildly incorrect, within a week the BBC had officially announced the recovery of two serials. Is their a kernel of truth in the Mirror’s claims?

Moreover, several prominent Doctor Who fan forums have closed their missing episode threads. This is exactly what happened in the days preceding the October announcement.

The Doctor Who Mind Robber posted this cartoon last time the Missing Episode threads were closed

The Doctor Who Mind Robber posted this cartoon last time the Missing Episode threads were closed

Will a recovery of  Marco Polo be announced on tonight’s BBC3 Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty? Or perhaps it may wait until the British Film Institute’s Missing Believed Wiped event on 21 December?  Only time will tell!

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Day 28 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – Top Ian Chesterton Quotes

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Ian Chesterton was the Doctor’s first male companion and a science teacher at Coal Hill School. The training of his discipline made him particularly sceptical of the Doctor’s claims when first they met. Some of Ian’s best dialogue was in the early days of Doctor Who when he found the belligerence of the old git almost unbearable. Join the Doctor Who Mind Robber as we explore 10 of Ian’s best moments.

An Unearthly Child (Episode 1)

(Ian and Barbara enter the TARDIS for the first time)

Ian Chesterton: But it was a Police Telephone Box. I walked right round it. Barbara, you saw me.

The Doctor: [to Ian] You still think it’s all an illusion?
Ian Chesterton: I know that free movement in time and space is a scientific dream I don’t expect to find solved in a junkyard.
The Doctor: Your arrogance is nearly as great as your ignorance.

The Doctor: You don’t understand, so you find excuses. Illusions, indeed? You say you can’t fit an enormous building into one of your smaller sitting rooms?
Ian Chesterton: No.
The Doctor: But you’ve discovered television, haven’t you?
Ian Chesterton: Yes.
The Doctor: Then by showing an enormous building on your television screen, you can do what seemed impossible, couldn’t you?
Ian Chesterton: Well, yes, but I still don’t know…
The Doctor: Not quite clear, is it? I can see by your face that you’re not certain. You don’t understand. And I knew you wouldn’t! Never mind.

Ian Chesterton: Let me get this straight. A thing that looks like a police box, standing in a junkyard, it can move anywhere in time and space?
Susan Foreman: Yes.
The Doctor: Quite so.
Ian Chesterton: But that’s ridiculous!

Ian and Barbara with the Doctor in An Unearthly Child

Ian and Barbara with the Doctor in An Unearthly Child

An Unearthly Child  (Episode 2) – The Cave of Skulls

(The TARDIS Crew arrive in pre-historic times and soon realize that they don’t even know the Doctor’s name)

Susan Foreman: We’ve left 1963.
The Doctor: Oh, yes, undoubtedly. I’ll be able to tell you where presently. Zero? That’s not right. I’m afraid this yearometer is not calculating properly. Hm! Well, anyway, the journey’s finished.
[looking at Ian on the ground]
The Doctor: What are you doing down there?
Barbara Wright: What have you done?
Ian Chesterton: Barbara, you don’t believe all this nonsense.
Susan Foreman: Well, look at the scanner screen.
The Doctor: Yes, look up there. They don’t understand and I suspect they don’t want to. Well, there you are. A new world for you.
Ian Chesterton: Sand and rock?
The Doctor: Yes. That’s the immediate view outside the ship.
Barbara Wright: But where are we?
Ian Chesterton: You mean that’s what we’ll see when we go outside?
Susan Foreman: Yes, you’ll see it for yourself.
Ian Chesterton: I don’t believe it.
The Doctor: You really are a stubborn young man, aren’t you?
Ian Chesterton: All right, show me some proof. Give me some concrete evidence. I’m sorry, Susan. I don’t want to hurt you, but it’s time you were brought back to reality.
Susan Foreman: But you’re wrong, Mr. Chesterton.
The Doctor: They are saying I’m a charlatan. What concrete evidence would satisfy you? Hmm?
Ian Chesterton: Just open the doors, Doctor Foreman.
The Doctor: Eh? Doctor who? What are you talking about?

Ian Chesterton: Just a minute. You say we’ve gone back in time?
The Doctor: Yes, quite so.
Ian Chesterton: So that when we go out of that door, we won’t be in a junkyard in London in England in the year 1963?
The Doctor: That is quite correct. But your tone suggests ridicule.
Ian Chesterton: But it is ridiculous. Time doesn’t go round and round in circles. You can’t get on and off whenever you like in the past or the future.
The Doctor: Really? Where does time go, then?
Ian Chesterton: It doesn’t go anywhere. It just happens and then it’s finished.

Barbara Wright: You’re very quiet.
Ian Chesterton: I was wrong, wasn’t I?
Barbara Wright: Oh, look, I don’t understand it anymore than you do. The inside of the ship, suddenly finding ourselves here. Even some of the things Doctor Foreman says…
Ian Chesterton: That’s not his name. Who is he? Doctor who? Perhaps if we knew his name, we might have a clue to all this.

Susan, Barbara, the Doctor and Ian

Susan, Barbara, the Doctor and Ian in An Unearthly Child

An Unearthly Child (Episode 3) – The Forest of Fear

The Doctor:: You seem to have elected yourself leader of this little party.
Ian Chesterton: There isn’t time to vote on it.
The Doctor:: Just as long as you understand that I won’t follow your orders blindly.
Ian Chesterton: If there were only two of us, you could find your own way back to the ship.
The Doctor:: Aren’t you a tiresome young man?
Ian Chesterton: And you’re a stubborn old man. But you will lead. The girls in between and I’ll bring up the rear. Because that’s the safest way.

The Doctor and his companions in The Forest of Fear

The Doctor and his companions in The Forest of Fear

The Daleks (Episode 2) – The Survivors

(Ian and Susan are confronted by the Daleks for the first time)

Dalek: You will move ahead of us, and follow my directions. This way. Immediately! I said immediately!
[Ian begins to run away]
Dalek: Fire!
[they fire at him]
Ian Chesterton: My legs! My legs!
[Susan runs towards Ian]
Dalek: Stop!
[to Ian]
Dalek: Your legs are paralyzed. You will recover shortly, unless you force us to use our weapons again. In that case, the condition will be permanent.
[to the Doctor and Susan]
Dalek: You too, help him.
Ian Chesterton: My legs, my legs. I can’t use my legs!

Ian's legs are paralysed in The Daleks

Ian’s legs are paralysed in The Daleks

The Daleks (Episode 2) – The Survivors

(Ian and realizes that the Doctor has foolishly put all of the crew in danger by lying about the TARDIS’s fluid link)

The Doctor: We need… We need drugs to be treated.
Ian Chesterton: But where are we going to find them?
Susan Foreman: The TARDIS will have to take us to another time and place, where we can be cured.
Ian Chesterton: But don’t you remember? We can’t move the ship until we find the mercury for the fluid link!
The Doctor: For the fluid link, yes. Yes, I’m afraid I cheated a little on that. I was determined to see the city, but everybody wanted to go on, and well, to avoid arguments, in short, there’s nothing wrong with the fluid link.
Susan Foreman: What? Grandfather, do you mean to say that you risked leaving the ship just to see this place?
Ian Chesterton: You fool! You old fool!
The Doctor: Abuse me as much as you like, Chesterton. The point is… we need an immediate return to the ship, and I suggest we leave at once.
Ian Chesterton: We’re not leaving until we’ve found Barbara.
The Doctor: Very well. You may stay and search for her if you wish, but Susan and I are going back to the ship. Now, come along, child.
The Doctor: All right, carry on, fine. How far do you think you’ll get without this.
[holds up the fluid link]
The Doctor: Give that to me!
Ian Chesterton: Not until we’ve found Barbara.
The Doctor: Give it to me I say!
Ian Chesterton: No. It’s time you faced up to your responsibilities. You got us here. Now I’m going to make sure you get us back.
The Doctor: Chesterton, this is…
Ian Chesterton: We’re wasting time. We should be looking for Barbara.
Susan Foreman: He’s right, Grandfather. We are wasting time.
The Doctor: Child, if only you’d think as an adult sometimes… Oh, very well, very well. Let’s go, then. Let’s go.

Barbara, Susan and the Doctor in episode 2 of the Daleks, The Survivors

Barbara, Susan and the Doctor in episode 2 of the Daleks, The Survivors

The Daleks (Episode 5) – The Expedition

(Ian is frustrated that the Doctor always gets his name wrong)

The Doctor: I’m afraid my little trick has rather rebounded on me. What you might call tempting providence, Chesserman.
Ian Chesterton: Well, don’t worry about it now, Doctor. It’s happened.
The Doctor: Yes. Well, at least you’re not vindictive.
Ian Chesterton: Well I will be if you don’t get my name right.
The Doctor: Hmm?
Ian Chesterton: It’s “Chesterton”.
The Doctor: Yes. Hey?
[irritated]
The Doctor: Yes, I know that.

The TARDIS Crew in The Expedition - Episode 5 of The Daleks

The TARDIS Crew in The Expedition – Episode 5 of The Daleks

The Reign of Terror (Episode 5) – A Bargain of Necessity

(Ian has difficulty believing that his word will be accepted)

Léon Colbert: Now be sensible. Save yourself from the guillotine.
Ian Chesterton: You wouldn’t believe my story anyway.
Léon Colbert: Suppose you let me be the judge of that. How did you get to France?
Ian Chesterton: You really want to know, eh?
Léon Colbert: The truth?
Ian Chesterton: Oh yes, it’s the truth all right.
Léon Colbert: You swear it?
Ian Chesterton: Yes, I swear it! I flew here with three friends in a small box. When I left England it was 1963.

The title card for the animated episode 5 of The Reign of Terror - A Bargain of Necessity

The title card for the animated episode 5 of The Reign of TerrorA Bargain of Necessity

The Reign of Terror (Episode 6) – Prisoners of Conciergerie

The Doctor: Our lives are important, at least to us. But as we see, so we learn.
Ian Chesterton: And what are we going to see and learn next, Doctor?
The Doctor: Well, unlike the old adage, my boy, our destiny is in the stars, so let’s go and search for it.

Ian found himself imprisoned in The Reign of Terror

Ian found himself imprisoned in The Reign of Terror

The Romans (Episode 4) – The Inferno

Ian: I’ve got a friend who specialises in trouble. He dives in and usually finds a way.

The TARDIS Crew in The Romans

The TARDIS Crew in The Romans

The Web Planet

I’ve seen a colony of ants eat their way right through a house. That size, they could eat their way through a mountain. Why are they that big?

The Doctor and Ian in The Web Planet

The Doctor and Ian in The Web Planet

The Crusade (Episode 2) – The King of Jaffa

(Ian is knighted by King Richard of England).

Richard the Lionheart: [tapping his sword on each of Ian’s shoulders] In the name of God, St. Michael, and St. George, we dub you Sir Ian, Knight of Jaffa. Arise Sir Ian and be valiant.
[holds out his hand and Ian kisses it]
Ian Chesterton: Your majesty.

Sir Ian of Jaffa is knighted by Richard the Lionheart in The Crusade

Sir Ian of Jaffa is knighted by Richard the Lionheart in The Crusade

The Crusade (Episode 4) – The Warlords

(Ian saves the Doctor’s life by pretending to betray him)

Ian Chesterton: I am Sir Ian, my lord, Knight of Jaffa. I know this villain’s treachery… and hearing that you were looking for him, I followed you.

(Later, as the party return to the TARDIS)

Ian Chesterton: …Any more cracks about knighthood, and I’ll carry out that execution!
The Doctor: Well, my dear boy, I must say I think you’ve earned a good knight’s sleep!

The Doctor and King Richard in The Crusade

The Doctor and King Richard in The Crusade

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Day 30 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The Top 5 First Doctor Stories

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5. The Aztecs

A Special Edition of The Aztecs was released earlier this year which included an abridged reconstruction of Galaxy 4, together with episode three which was recovered in 2011. The Aztecs has long been held in high esteem by fandom and is a superb example of the historical dramas that the BBC has always brilliantly produced. Set in South America during the time prior to Spanish settlement, the serial tells the story of Barbara’s determination to change history. In a quest to satisfy her penchant for bracelets, Barbara donned a snake bangle discovered not long after the party disembarked from the TARDIS.  Mistaken by the locals as the reincarnation of the high priest Yetaxa, her extraordinary knowledge of history and modern sense of morality naturally saw her rile against human sacrifice. From the beginning the Doctor’s objective was to ensure that history was not rewritten.  This was the first serial in which the parameters of “fiddling” with time and space were examined.  Barbara’s refusal to conform to the Doctor’s direction that “time can’t be rewritten.  Not one line” very nearly had fatal consequences for the Crew. Henceforth there would be limits on the TARDIS Crew’s actions.

Ian was lucky to escape with his life in The Aztecs

Ian was lucky to escape with his life in The Aztecs

4. The Tenth Planet

The First Doctor’s final story, The Tenth Planet heralded a number of firsts – Doctor Who’s first regeneration, the introduction of the Cybermen and the prototype for the Second Doctor’s “base under siege” formula. Rumours abound that the missing fourth episode, which features William Hartnell’s regeneration, has been recovered.  The DVD of the story has recently been released featuring an animation of episode four.  I wonder if a Special Edition, with the (alleged) recovered episode four, should be expected soon?

The DVD cover art for The Tenth Planet

The DVD cover art for The Tenth Planet

3. The Massacre

The Massacre is completely missing from the BBC Archives, although some of the current missing episode rumours suggest that it has been recovered.  Set in 1572 France, the serial chronicles the Doctor and Steven’s adventures during the Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy (the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre) in which thousands of protestant Huguenots were massacred in a religious war lead by Roman Catholics. William Hartnell plays two roles in The Massacre – both the Doctor and the Doctor’s evil doppelganger, the Abbot of Amboise. As this is a historical drama it can almost be assured that the set design and costuming was brilliant.  The story is the only example in monochrome Doctor Who of a single companion accompanying the Doctor.  It also introduces new companion, Dodo Chaplet, in the last 10 minutes of the final episode.

The Doctor and Steven in The Massacre

The Doctor and Steven in The Massacre

2. An Unearthly Child

The first Doctor Who serial, An Unearthly Child introduced the strange adventures of a belligerent old man, the Doctor, and his grand-daughter, Susan Foreman. Possessed of a time machine which externally resembled a Police Call Box, the Doctor’s Ship was larger on the inside and capable of both time and space travel.  Coal Hill school teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, barged their way into the TARDIS (an acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space) whilst looking for their student, Susan.  Fearful that the teachers would reveal his secret, the Doctor kidnapped the pair as the TARDIS was seen to dematerialize for the first time.

Episodes two, three and four of the serial are more properly known as The Cave of Skulls, The Forest of Fear and The Firemaker. The Doctor, Susan and their two unwilling companions find themselves in pre-historic times and at the mercy of a tribe of cavemen who have lost their knowledge of fire making.

The first TARDIS Crew in An Unearthly Child

The first TARDIS Crew in An Unearthly Child

1.  Marco Polo

I’m going out on a limb here nominating a completely lost seven part serial as the Top First Doctor story.  As outlined in our post Missing Episodes – Has Marco Polo Been Recovered?  last week, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this classic serial has been recovered and restored, and finds its way onto the iTunes playlists before Christmas.

The fourth Doctor Who story, Marco Polo was directed by Waris Hussein who was also responsible for the first serial, An Unearthly Child. As far as the BBC is presently letting on, all that remains of Marco Polo are some stunning colour photographs taken on set and the fan recorded soundtrack.  In the days prior to home video recording and commercial VHS releases, the only way that a fan could re-live a Doctor Who episode was to listen to the reel-to-reel audio recording which they’d made during the episode’s original transmission. Incredibly, around half a dozen fan recorded collections remained extant and were located during the 1980s and 1990s. It was during those decades that fans became cognisant of the BBC’s destruction of its television heritage and went searching for what remained.  Thanks to the endeavours of a small group of hard-core fans who religiously recorded Doctor Who each Saturday evening, aficionados of Who were now able to listen to long lost episodes.

Is Marco Polo really as good as fans who watched the original and only transmission remember?  Certainly the audio suggests something very special.  Hopefully we’ll all be able to soon judge for ourselves.

Marco Polo is the earliest missing Doctor Who serial

Marco Polo is the earliest missing Doctor Who serial

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

The Daleks’ Master Plan

Sara Kingdom in combat mode in The Daleks' Master Plan

Sara Kingdom in combat mode in The Daleks’ Master Plan

The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

The image at the top of this post is a painting by Francois Dobois depicting the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. No copyright infringement is intended.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Day 34 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – 5 Best Doctor Who Radio Times Covers of the Sixties

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The Radio Times is a weekly radio and television programme guide which has been published in the UK since 1923. Owned and published in house by the BBC until 2011, the publication is now owned by Immediate Media Company.  Prior to the deregulation of British television listings in 1991 the Radio Times only carried listings for BBC radio and television programmes.  Since then the magazine has comprehensively listed programmes on all networks.

The first article published by the Radio Times on Doctor Who discussed the exciting new adventure series starring William Hartnell

The first article published by the Radio Times on Doctor Who  on 21 November 1963 discussed the exciting new adventure series starring William Hartnell

Doctor Who has been represented in more Radio Times covers than any other programme, with 29 issues featuring Who on its cover.  Today the Doctor Who Mind Robber will review the five best Doctor Who Radio Times covers of the Sixties.

5. Marco Polo

The Radio Times cover for the missing Doctor Who serial Marco Polo

The Radio Times cover for the missing Doctor Who serial Marco Polo in February 1964

4. The Power of the Daleks

The return of the Daleks were worth a Radio Times Cover story

The return of the Daleks was worth a Radio Times Cover story when the Second Doctor’s first serial, The Power of the Daleks, was broadcast in November 1966.

3. The Tomb of the Cybermen

The Cybermen soon found themselves on the Cover of Radio Times

The Cybermen soon found themselves on the Cover of Radio Times in this feature about The Tomb of the Cybermen in September 1967

2. The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Daleks appeared in their second Doctor Who serial in November 1964.  The Dalek Invasion of Earth featured in this cover

The Daleks appeared in their second Doctor Who serial in November 1964. The Dalek Invasion of Earth featured in this cover

1. The Enemy of the World

A rare colour cover for 1960s Radio Times saw Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor in

A rare colour cover for 1960s Radio Times with Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor in The Enemy of the World in January 1968.

As a comparison with the current era, here’s a September 2012 cover of the Radio Times featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory.  The Daleks are still a major draw card.

A September 2012 Radio Times cover for the premier Series 7 episode, The Asylum of the Daleks

A September 2012 Radio Times cover for the premier Series 7 episode, The Asylum of the Daleks

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

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

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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 - http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-10-11/doctor-who-missing-episodes-retro-poster-designs

Doctor Who retro posters courtesy of Radio Times designer Stuart Manning – http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-10-11/doctor-who-missing-episodes-retro-poster-designs

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.