Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #34 takes a look at THE MISSING EPISODES of THE FIRST DOCTOR.
For fans who are new to the series, or who are still learning about the history of the program, it should be noted that many of the original television episodes starring William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee no longer exist in the BBC Archives.
This is because in those days the BBC would literally erase the original videotapes on which the episodes were recorded, in a process which is known as “wiping”. The purpose of the widespread practice was primarily to save money on videotapes, the result of which is many now classic British series are gone forever or heavily fragmented. Series affected include Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s Not Only… But Also, Spike Milligan’s Q5 and several episodes from Peter Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes series.
In the case of Jon Pertwee’s run on Doctor WHo, black and white film existed of a few of his episodes like “Ambassadors of Death” and “Terror of the Autons”; these have since been colorized in home video release.
However, in the case of both William Hartnell’s and Patrick Troughton’s respective times on the program, many classic and key episodes such as “The Celestrial Toymaker”, Troughton’s first appearance as the Doctor and even the very first appearance of the iconic sonic screwdriver no longer exist in their original televised format.
Many of these episodes only exist in audio format or as “telesnaps”, which are images captured from the episodes. Over time with the release of video and DVD, there have been attempts to restore these episodes for home video release. In the 1990’s, with either linking sequences by some of the actors who starred on Doctor Who giving a narrative to connect episodes with the aid of telesnaps, or most recently animation studio Cosgrove Hall creating an animated supplement for those missing stories using the original audio from those respective shows, the holes have gradually been filled in for the Doctor Who archive.
This Special Edition issue of DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE looks at the William Hartnell era and many of the episodes that are currently missing from their respective stories, such as all the episodes of “Marco Polo”, episodes four and five of “The Reign of Terror”, episode two of “The Crusades”, all four episodes of “The Smugglers”, and episode four of “The Tenth Planet”. The latter was not only the first appearance of the Cybermen, but it was the last appearance of William Hartnell as The First Doctor.
Luckily the very first regeneration sequence remains intact for posterity. Shamefully, the episode is missing as a whole.
Filled with information about these episodes, this issue is a must have for both fans who grew up watching the classic series either on the BBC or on PBS, and for fans of the current series who really wish to know the history of the series.
Come on down to Annie’s during normal business hours and pick up your copy today!!