The Tenth Planet was the last story to feature William Hartnell in the role of the First Doctor. The story is also significant because not only does it feature the show’s first ever regeneration sequence but also was the first story to feature the Cybermen who became popular with fans of the sci-fi series.
The four-part story also featured Anneke Wills and Michael Craze as companions Polly and Ben. Three episodes are currently in the BBC archives with the fourth episode – Hartnell’s last as a series regular – missing. BBC Worldwide will release The Tenth Planet later this year and that missing fourth episode will be re-created via animation. “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!” says Dan Hall of BBC Worldwide when he announced the DVD release.
The Tenth Planet will not be the first story to have its missing episodes replaced with animation. In 2006 the Patrick Troughton story The Invasion, which also featured the Cybermen, had two of its episodes re-created via animation. Although the release proved popular with fans the cost of re-creating the episodes was said to put pay to further such releases.
However, within the past few months a second DVD release featured episodes re-created via animation; The Reign of Terror. With today’s announcement regarding The Tenth Planet fans of Doctor Who will be hoping for further such releases re-creating long-lost episodes.
Over 100 episodes from the early years of Doctor Who are currently missing from the BBC’s archives. While such episodes do occasionally surface it is unlikely that all of them will be found. The episodes are missing from the archives because of the common practice of wiping that took place in television in the 1970s; the BBC was not the only broadcaster to destroy episodes of its most popular programmes. In the 1970s there was no such thing as video releases and with repeats less frequent broadcasters saw little reason to keep copies of programmes in their archives once they had been sold abroad.
[Written by Doug Lambert, source: Doctor Who Newspage]