There’s a huge number of First and Second Doctor episodes of Doctor Who that simply don’t exist anymore. Now even if you aren’t a fan, you should understand the tragedy of any sort of at least decent entertainment being lost forever. It’s a great shame, and while we hold out hope that missing episodes will be found again (and some have been, as recently as 2011), we fans of the series know the reality all too well, and know that it just isn’t likely.
That’s why fans like me are placed that the BBC have began hiring companies to do animated versions of missing episodes. The first up were the two missing episodes for the Second Doctor story, “The Invasion“. This was followed this month with the released of “The Reign of Terror“, with the two missing episodes there animated by, of all people, Big Finish.
But something was wrong here. Those were decent stories, sure, but the elephant in the room was “The Tenth Planet“. This is one of the most historically significant stories in TV history, being the first where we have one Doctor transition into another. It’s how the show has lasted for 50 years, and while three of the four episodes exist in full, the fourth and final is missing from the BBC archives. Many fans, like myself, have wondered aloud why the BBC chose to animate other stories and ignore this one.
Well, thankfully that’s no longer the case, as this past weekend an animated version of the missing episode was announced, meaning that we shall soon be able to enjoy the story in full on DVD. Why this wasn’t done sooner is anyone’s guess, but at least it’s being done now.
This does raise a question, however. Later this year, all complete stories of Doctor Who will be available on DVD. We know that “The Ice Warriors” will be released at some point this year, but we don’t know if the two missing episodes for that serial will be animated. There hasn’t been any official announcement, so my guess is not, but if that’s the case, why not? Since there’s now three stories with animation as precedence, surely these ones should be animated, too?
I guess we will find out soon enough if more animated versions of the many missing stories are provided. I certainly hope they are, since to me that’s the best way to enjoy the missing stories. But even if they aren’t, at least we have “The Tenth Planet” to look forward to. At last. At long, long last.