At the BFI screening of The Underwater Menace over the last weekend, it’s been confirmed that more Doctor Who animations of missing episodes are in the works.
And what’s more, it sounds like they’ll be included on the Blu-ray complete season sets known as Doctor Who: The Collection.
Numerous people were at the event, including composer and sound restorer, Mark Ayres; producer, Paul Hembury; and director and animator, AnneMarie Walsh. There was even a recorded message from Anneke Wills, who played companion, Polly, in The Underwater Menace.
Many episodes of 1960s Doctor Who were wiped — indeed, noy just of Who, but of countless shows across the BBC — in an effort to reuse tapes and cut down on storage space at a time when repeats or commercial availabilities of these stories weren’t even a fantasy. Some episodes have since been found, including two of The Underwater Menace, but there still remains 97 missing from the archive.
All four episodes of this Second Doctor story have been animated and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 13th November, accompanied by the two found episodes (i.e. Parts Two and Three).
So while the animations took a bit of a break, it now seems we’re full steam ahead again. And there are lots of candidates for animation — right now, The Celestial Toymaker is most notable, seeing as the titular character is going to be in the 60th anniversary specials next month. Marco Polo and The Daleks’ Master Plan are obvious candidates too, although I’d especially like to see The Smugglers and The Wheel in Space.
Let’s see what the future holds…