Category Archives: Doctor Who

The Tenth Planet episode four to be animated for DVD release

The Tenth Planet animated stillTHE TENTH PLANET – the Doctor Who story that marked the close of the William Hartnell era – is to have its missing fourth episode animated for DVD release, BBC Worldwide has confirmed.

Broadcast in October 1966, The Tenth Planet was the first story to feature iconic foes the Cybermen, the first to introduce the concept of regeneration and the last to feature the First Doctor as the series’s lead. The final installment of the story, episode four, has been missing from the BBC Archives since the mid-1970s and is possible the most sought-after of the lost Doctor Who episodes because of its historical importance to the show.

The missing episode four will be animated by Australia-based Planet 55 Studios, which used its patent Thetamation process to recreate the lost episodes 4 and 5 of Hartnell adventure The Reign of Terror for its DVD release last month.

Doctor Who range producer Dan Hall said: “It’s a real thrill to be bringing such an iconic Doctor Who episode back to life. Without the events established in The Tenth Planet episode 4, there would be no Doctor Who as we know it!”

The Tenth Planet DVD is set to be released in late 2013 and is expected to also include a reconstruction of the missing episode using existing telesnaps which featured on the VHS release in 2000.

A selection of stills from the new animation work-in-progress can be seen via a gallery on BBC Worldwide’s official Doctor Who 50th Anniversary website.

There is also a showreel available to watch on the Planet 55 website featuring a scene of the First Doctor stalked in the snow, inspired by The Tenth Planet.

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Lost Doctor Who footage and musical performances by the Spencer Davis Group unearthed

RARE behind-the-scenes footage from Doctor Who has been discovered.

The brief clip shows movie Doctor Peter Cushing preparing to battle arch foe the Daleks during the making of an early big-screen adaptation of the long-running sci-fi series.

The precious black and white footage, taken on the set of cult sixties film Dalek Invasion of Earth: 2150 A.D., also captures director Gordon Flemyng — father of actor Jason — behind camera as he talks with stunt-men and plans out the movie’s climatic final scenes.

The material is the first to be uncovered documenting the 1966 film and forms part of a ‘lost’ TV show found recently in the possession of a collector living in Wales.

Though the BBC wiped the master-tape of A Whole Scene Going, a copy of the magazine show — also featuring an interview with Flemyng and musical performances by the Spencer Davis Group — was made and found its way on to the collector’s circuit.

Classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope, which recovered the unique 16mm film print in conjunction with the Tim Disney Archive, said the find will “delight” Doctor Who and vintage music fans alike.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope said: “A Whole Scene Going is an exciting TV find on two fronts.

“For Doctor Who fans there’s a fascinating glimpse into the making of feature film Dalek Invasion of Earth: 2150 A.D., showing Peter Cushing as the Doctor on the set along with director Gordon Flemyng and lots of Daleks.

“For music lovers there are priceless performances by classic British beat band the Spencer Davis Group as well as American singer/songwriter Judy Collins.

“Sixties pop shows were routinely shown live or wiped after transmission so it’s great to find one that slipped past the eraser’s magnet!”

Tim Disney of the TDA said: “How this print came into existence or found it’s way to a Welsh village, we’ll never know.

“However, one theory is that it could have been film recorded by BBC Wales from the network feed down the line from London for transmission at a later date.”

A Whole Scene Going was a short-lived TV teen culture show hosted by Wendy Varnels and Barry Fantoni.

The recovered edition, from March ’66, captures Flemyng at Shepperton Studios while directing an action-packed finale involving Horror icon Cushing and an army of Robomen thwarting a Dalek plan to drop a giant bomb into the Earth’s core.

Cushing played the Timelord — currently portrayed on TV by Matt Smith — in two Flemyng-directed films during the height of “Dalekmania”, also starring in 1964’s box-office hit Doctor Who and the Daleks.

Interspersed with the footage is an interview with Flemyng — who died in 1995, aged 61 — revealing that he preferred making “entertainment pictures”as opposed to more high-brow films, but “didn’t take them any less seriously”.

The emergence of A Whole Scene Going has also got music fans excited with the discovery of a rare interview with the Spencer Davis Group, who also perform chart-topping single “Somebody Help Me Now” in the studio.

Kaleidoscope and the TDA — who bought the film print privately from the collector — are currently in the process of returning a digital copy to the BBC Archive.

Eager fans will get the chance to see the recovered footage for the first time in more than four decades at Kaleidoscope’s next screening event, taking place in Stourbridge, West Midlands, on Saturday, June 9.

Tim Disney of the TDA added: “Dr Who was not the primary draw for us in recovering this programme, but the content of the programme as a whole — the exciting period of popular culture it reflects and it’s place in the history of British television.

“Thankfully, after the collector discovered he had a unique TV recording he was keen to ensure it would be returned to the BBC archives, turning down silly money offers to deal instead with Kaleidoscope and the TDA.”

To see a clip from the recovered show visit www.timdisneyarchive.com. For more information about the screening visit www.kaleidoscope.org.uk.

Click here for full contents of the recovered episode of A Whole Scene Going.

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Power of the Daleks Re-imagined

THE first episode of a fan-made re-imagining of lost Doctor Who story The Power of the Daleks has been released online.

The unofficial remake of the 1966 Patrick Troughton adventure has been produced by the same team responsible for successful stage versions of other missing classic Who stories including Evil of the Daleks and The Dalek Masterplan, with support from TNT films.

The production features Nick Scovell as the Doctor, reprising the role some 15 years after his debut as the Time Lord in acclaimed 1997 fan production “The Millennium Trap”, and guest stars Barnaby Edwards, Nick Briggs and Lisa Bowerman. Music has been provided by regular Big Finish Productions composer Martin Johnson.

Episode two of the three-part remake will be released online on July 14, followed by the final installment in September.

There will be a chance to see all three episodes together as a high-definition ‘movie’ version (with added post-production effects) at special charity convention Power: Reimagined, taking place in Fareham on September 1, 2012. Confirmed guests include the Doctor Who Restoration Team, Michael Troughton and Anneke Wills, who appeared in the original Power of the Daleks serial as companion Polly.

Tickets are available now and proceeds will go to Cancer Research UK and Children In Need. For more information visit www.power-convention.co.uk or the Power of the Daleks Facebook Page.

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COLLECTOR TAKES THE MISSING MICKEY: WEEKLY ROUND-UP

PRESENTING some stories of interest from the past week . . .

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New Doctor Who Recon Trailer For Wheel In Space

WHEEL MEET AGAIN: A promotional photo from The Wheel in Space showing the Cybermen and new companion Zoe (Wendy Padbury).

A NEW CGI trailer for classic Doctor Who story The Wheel in Space has become an internet hit.

The clip imagines what the sixties adventure would have looked like if made by Alien director Ridley Scott.

Lasting two minutes, the “creepy” black and white animation features scenes of popular Who foes the Cybermen set to the soundtrack of Scott’s acclaimed 1979 horror film.

The video has had thousands of views on YouTube since being uploaded on New Year’s Day and shows how far reconstructions, or ‘recons’, of missing Doctor Who episodes have come.

Animator Iz Skinner made the trailer as a ‘taster’ for a forthcoming recon of the Patrick Troughton story and says she was trying to reinstate the “scariness” of the episodes.

She said: “When I read that Ridley Scott had actually worked for BBC Television in the 1960s, I thought it would be fun to imagine how he might have made a trailer for this great story.

“I felt that the Alien soundtrack in some way reinstated the scariness of this episode for the modern generation who might not know how terrifying and exciting these stories were when they were first broadcast.”

Originally broadcast from April 27 – June 1, 1968, only episodes three and six of this six-part story are currently held by the BBC.

Telesnaps and fan-made audio recordings of all episodes, however, do survive and have been utilized by Iz and fan-group Loose Cannon Productions to recreate as much as possible the look and feel of the show.

“The trailer is made up of a small selection of the clips I’ve been animating for the upcoming Loose Cannon release,” said Iz, who has based her work on continuity stills and the “expert advice” of fellow LC members Derek Handley, Dean Rose and Russ Port

“I do think a semi-photo realistic episode is entirely doable,” added Iz.

“I say semi-photo realistic because for the most part I’d say that you would still know it was CG, particularly with the characters.

“I now have a motion capture set-up in my living room which allows me to act out scenes and give a more natural movement to my characters.”

READ ON: Iz Skinner has also made a CGI trailer for Doctor Who story The Web of FearDoctor Who trailer recreated with CGI. There is a full set of telesnaps to all six episodes of The Wheel in Space over on the BBC’s Classic Doctor Who website.

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Doctor Who Story The Ambassadors Of Death Restored Back To Colour

CLASSIC DOCTOR WHO adventure The Ambassadors of Death is set to be seen in colour for the first time in 40 years.

Restoration experts are in the final stages of converting all seven episodes back from black and white, and hope to deliver the recolourised copies to the BBC “within weeks”.

A DVD release of the 1970 story, starring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, is expected to follow.

Though originally made on two-inch colour videotape, six episodes of Ambassadors were only retained in the BBC archives as inferior 16mm b&w film recordings.

New technology, however, has revealed that these and some other black-and-white telerecordings still retain information that can lead to the restoration of the missing colour.

Steve Roberts of the Doctor Who Restoration Team, an independent group contracted by the BBC, has been overseeing the painstaking process of unpicking the colour signal and bringing one of the Time Lord’s vintage stories back to life.

Speaking to Wired magazine, Roberts, 35, said: “It seemed almost impossible. But when they made the black-and-white recordings, they didn’t filter off the colour carrier, which for the last few decades has been nothing more than an annoyance.”

The technique, developed from an idea of James Insell, a preservation specialist at the BBC’s Windmill Road archives centre in west London, has already been successfully applied to episodes of Dad’s Army, Are You Being Served? and another Doctor Who story – episode three of Planet of the Daleks.

But recolouring episodes 2 – 7 of The Ambassadors of Death (tx March 21 – May 2, 1970) has proven the Restoration Team’s biggest challenge to date.

With much dedication and skill, team member Richard Russell used the weak signal on the films, appearing as a pattern of faint ‘chroma’ dots, to reverse-engineer raw colour pictures that could then be retouched frame by frame.

“It’s very, very labour intensive – several hundred man hours’ work every episode,” said Roberts, who is the team’s supervisor and a BBC senior engineer.

He adds that a new “quadrant editor” is helping them to produce better source material upfront and that they hope to deliver the Ambassadors episodes to the BBC “within weeks”.

A DVD release is expected to follow, though it is not currently on schedule for 2011.

Prior to 1978, the BBC junked many vintage episodes of Doctor Who featuring actors William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee in the lead role.

Today, 108 episodes are missing.

Episode one of Ambassadors is the oldest episode of Who surviving on its original transmission tape.

The only remaining copies of the other six episodes were b&w film recordings and poor-quality domestic colour NTSC recordings made from a US broadcast in 1977 and severely affected by a rainbow-coloured pattern of interference.

Now that Ambassadors has been restored, only seven episodes from the Pertwee era remain in black and white (The Mind of Evil 1 -6 and Invasion of the Dinosaurs 1).

READ ON: Read the original Wired story – Time-travel TV: The mission to regenerate Doctor Who in colour. The Doctor Who News Page has also covered the announcement – The Ambassadors of Death DVD developments. Learn more about the colour restoration process on Wikipedia.

You can see an example of the rainbow interference present on the domestic colour copies of The Ambassadors of Death below:

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Wiped! Doctor Who’s Missing Episodes

A NEW book examining how episodes of Doctor Who came to go missing, and then turn up again, is released this September.

Wiped! Doctor Who’s Missing Episodes is written by Doctor Who Restoration Team member Richard Molesworth and published by Telos Publishing.

You can find out more about the book, including a brief interview with the author, over in the Out Now section.

Here’s the official blurb:

In the 1960s, the BBC screened 253 episodes of its cult science fiction show Doctor Who, starring William Hartnell and then Patrick Troughton as the time travelling Doctor. Yet by 1975, the Corporation had wiped the master tapes of every single one of these episodes. Of the 124 Doctor Who episodes starring Jon Pertwee shown between 1970 and 1974, the BBC destroyed over half of the original transmission tapes within two years of their original broadcast.

In the years that followed, the BBC, along with dedicated fans of the series, began the arduous task of trying to track down copies of as many missing Doctor Who episodes as possible. The search covered BBC sales vaults, foreign television stations, overseas archives, and numerous networks of private film collectors, until the tally of missing programmes was reduced to just 108 episodes.

For the first time, this book looks in detail at how the episodes came to be missing in the first place, and examines how material subsequently came to be returned to the BBC. Along the way, those people involved in the recovery of lost slices of Doctor Who’s past tell their stories in candid detail, many for the very first time.

No more rumours, no more misinformation, no more fan gossip. The truth about Doctor Who’s missing episodes can now be told in full!

  • Wiped! Doctor Who’s Missing Episodes, by Richard Molesworth, is out September 2010, priced £15.99 (+p&p). You can order a copy from Telos Publishing.

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Weekly Round-up – 02/05/10

FRAGMENTS OF HOLLYWOOD

SNIPPETS from missing silent-era movies were screened as part of the first TCM Film Festival, held in Hollywood, last Sunday (April 25).

The program “Fragments (1916 – 1929)” featured a rare collection of scenes, reels and segments from lost silent films restored by the Academy Film Archive and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Included in the line-up were tantalizing clips from Clara Bow silents Red Hair and Three Weekends, early John Ford film The Village, Colleen Moore comedy Happiness Ahead, and Roman Novarro romance A lover’s Oath.

Trailers for 1928’s The Patriot, directed by Ernst Lubitsch and particularly notable for being the only best picture Oscar nominee that no longer exists as a complete or near-complete print, and Beau Sabreur, starring a young Gary Cooper, were also screened.

There’s a story on “Fragments” over at The Los Angeles Times.

MORE OUT OF THE UNKNOWN ON YOUTUBE

Last week’s round-up featured a link to the only surviving clips from Out of the Unknown episode Liar!, this week’s features a link to what’s left of Satisfaction Guaranteed.

YouTube user ‘snhbuk’ has uploaded the only extant footage from the series 2 episode, broadcast 29/12/66. The Isaac Asimov story was adapted for the small screen by High Leonard.

The clip lasts for 1’22” and is a scene featuring Wendy Craig (Claire Belmont) being introduced to her new domestic robot TN-3 or Tony (Hal Hamilton). Basic audio restoration work has been on the soundtrack:

http://www.youtube.com/snhbuk#p/a/u/1/zhqrdxooOd0

Also, ‘snhbuk’ has updated his video containing the remaining footage from ‘The Caves of Steel’ (tx 4/5/64), a BBC adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s novel of the same name broadcast as part of BBC2′s anthology strand Story Parade. We now get to hear star Peter Cushing speak:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3HXyJhXpPo

RARE COMPUTER GAME ON EBAY

ONE OF only three copies of PlayStation 1 game NBA 2 Ball still in existence has come to light and is being auctioned on eBay.

Between 500 – 1,000 copies of the PSP game were given away at the 1998 NBA All Star Game at Madison Square Garden, New York, but almost all have been lost.

As Multiplayer Games.com posts, only two others are left, “one in the hands of the original programmer, and the other in the hands of a writer at Game-rave, his copy now unfortunately cracked in two.”

The third copy was bought at the time by an NBA fan for $5 from a friend, whose father had won two copies of the ultra-rare demo at the event.

It is now being sold on auctioning site eBay, with a starting bid of $300.

DOCTOR WHO HOAX

There was a minor flurry of excitement this week among Doctor Who fans after a poster on forum Gallifrey Base claimed to have footage from two missing TV adventures.

Writing on the Shada section of the forum, ‘Jethryk’ asserted that he had come into possession of 8mm home recordings of episodes of Patrick Troughton stories “The Abominable Snowmen” and “The Ice Warriors”, following the death of his grandfather.

It later emerged ‘Jethryk’ was a hoaxer. The thread on OG has now been deleted.

Looking back, the signs that this was another Who hoax (there are many, unfortunately), were clear:

  1. The poster claimed not to have much knowledge of Doctor Who, but at the same time knew enough to name himself after an item mentioned in Tom Baker story “The Ribos Operation”, one specifically concerned with a confidence trick.
  2. The poster said he would have access to the material shortly and would update the forum accordingly. In other words, dangling a carrot and making the gullible drool in anticipation.
  3. When the day came to prove his claim, the poster failed to provide clear evidence.
  4. He then tried to back out by further claiming the footage had gone to a private buyer – a trick to keep the flame of hope burning regardless of the current outcome.

This is a cruel deception but the lesson is clear: don’t be lured in by stories of discoveries until confirmed by a member of The Doctor Who Restoration Team. The best procedure is to point the poster in the direction of the RT, who have strong links with the BBC, and then wait for things to take their course.

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New Feature Posted

FAN-MADE reconstructions of missing episodes of Doctor Who are getting ever more watchable and sophisticated.

Wiped shines the spotlight on one such recon, of the end scene of ‘Power of the Daleks’ episode five, and speaks to the talent behind it – amateur computer animator Jon Brunton.

You can find it on the Features Page or click Power Of The Daleks Power Reconstruction Spotlight.

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Doctor Who Documentary

BBC Radio 4 is giving Doctor Who fans and missing episode enthusiasts in general a special Christmas treat on Boxing Day.

The station is airing Doctor Who: The Lost Episodes in its regular Archive On 4 spot this Saturday, December 26, with presenter Shaun Ley investigating the story of the BBC’s flagship show’s missing heritage.

For the documentary, journalist and self-confessed Who fan Shaun interviewed attendees at this year’s Missing In Action convention, but criminally did not include the series’ number one fan Ian Levine, through whose intervention many early episodes were saved from destruction.

Apart from that rather glaring oversight, The Lost Episodes seems like it will be an enjoyable, insightful broadcast. Here’s the official blurb:

“As a new era begins for Doctor Who, Shaun Ley investigates the story of The Lost Episodes.

“Many diehard Doctor Who fans will be familiar with the number 108. This is the number of episodes from the Sixties which are still missing. When the BBC went through its film archive in 1978, it found that more than 200 black-and-white episodes, recorded between 1963 and 1969, had disappeared. This is the story of the recovery of some of those lost episodes and the search for those that are still missing.

“In the early years of Doctor Who, programmes were recorded on videotape which was recycled because it was expensive. But many were also transferred to film and sold to be broadcast around the world. In this programme, Shaun Ley meets the amateur archivists who have scoured the globe for those elusive film cans. He finds out how the first episode of The Crusade (broadcast in March 1965) turned up in New Zealand, and he hears from some of the actors whose work on the early series was wiped, including Pauline Collins, Peter Purves, Bernard Kay and Deborah Watling.

“Where the films have been lost, there are still the audio recordings made by children, Shaun included, who sat in front of their televisions with a tape recorder. The best of these have been cleaned up and used to reconstruct the soundtracks of the missing episodes. But the audio and the still photographs can’t replace the real thing and the question remains – how many episodes will eventually be found?”

  • Archive On 4 – Doctor Who: The Lost Episodes airs Boxing Day, Saturday 26 December, 8-9pm on BBC RADIO 4

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