Half a century after their initial broadcast, lost 'Dr Who' episodes get new lease of life

Six episodes, which introduced the second Doctor, have just been remade by the BBC as an animated miniseries

Half a century after their initial broadcast, lost 'Dr Who' episodes get new lease of life

A Dalek faces off against Patrick Troughton, the second actor to play the Doctor on 'Dr Who' [YouTube]

While Whovians will have to wait until Christmas to get a glimpse of a new episode of Dr Who, the beloved BBC sci-fi series today sees the DVD release of one its lost episodes, remade in stark monochrome animation in honour to its original TV broadcast.

Half a century after it was first aired on the BBC, The Power of the Daleks remains one of the most important runs of episodes in the show’s history, despite remaining all by unseen in the decades since. One of the 97 episodes of the classic show that was deleted and lost to history when British TV executives failed to grasp how popular the Doctor, his sidekicks, and the steps-avoiding enemies would go on to become. While audio recordings of many of the episodes exist, as well as various different versions of incomplete stories, it is impossible to view them as they were originally broadcast.

The main reason why the episodes were destroyed was because the BBC execs behind the show never fathomed that Dr Who’s fans would ever want to watch them again, with the producers not expecting Dr Who to still be producing new episodes, include spin-off series, decades later. But the show remains one of the most enduring favourites for the BBC, which has prompted some problem solvers to come up with more unusual ways to allow every Dr Who anorak and completist to round off their viewing experience.

To wit, the BBC has just released a new collection of a six-episode miniseries that first debuted in 1966, turning to animation in order to remake the footage lost. The series takes place just after Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor, has regenerated and extended his life, with Anneke Wills and Michael Craze as his companions Polly and Ben. The trio ends up trying to solve a murder mystery on a space colony, with the Doctor coming face-to-face with his most notorious enemy.

The loss of a broadcast-standard copy of The Power of the Daleks has long been a sore spot for serious Whovians, seeing as it is the first time in the long-running series that the plot device of the doctor regenerating – which has allowed the show to keep running since the 1960s – was used. But the decision to reproduce the episodes with animation – admittedly on a small budget – has delighted fans, with the BBC praised for keeping the style of the show in keeping with the low-budget aesthetic of the original.

Peter Capaldi will return as the 12th Doctor for this year's Christmas Special, set for broadcast on Christmas Day, with a new season of the show coming in April 2017. 

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