What is the Bonus Mini-Episode Included on The Macra Terror DVD?

Will The Wheel in Space be animated after The Macra Terror? Attentive DWC readers will have noticed this special feature on the forthcoming Blu-ray of The Macra Terror. Listed as “Bonus Mini-Episode: A 10-minute animated short, built around an otherwise lost Doctor Who episode from 1968 starring Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines,” this looks to be the short introduced at the British Film Institute’s ‘Missing Believed Wiped’ event, last November.

Produced by Charles Norton and directed by AnneMarie Walsh, the short is based on the now lost first episode of the 1968 story, The Wheel in Space. This six-episode story closed Season 5 with the Cybermen  ̶  whose Tomb had made for such a memorable series opener  ̶  and is notable for introducing us to the popular companion, Zoe Heriot (Wendy Padbury).

Now, DWC contributor, Joe Siegler has pointed out that a DVD of Wheel has been available to pre-order in the US since 21st August 2018. Although many think that DVD is the 2017 Britbox telesnap reconstruction, dare we hope that this 10-minute featurette is a teaser for an upcoming release?

It seems unlikely, given this tweet from Rob Ritchie, an animator who worked on The Macra Terror. In the tweet (dated 5th November 2018), Ritchie excerpts the following comments, apparently from Norton, that the short “is not a tease of anything other than a single standalone 10-minute mini-episode, made specifically for the BFI…”

Prophetically, Norton goes on to speculate that the piece will “probably be included as a special feature on a future DVD and/or Blu-ray at some point,” before stressing that “it is not part of any larger project to animate the rest of The Wheel in Space. And we haven’t found any of the lost episodes either.” So, will this seemingly definitive statement quell Doctor Who fans’ optimism? Of course not.

One good solid hope’s worth a cart-load of certainties.