So much of Doctor Who’s early past is lost to time – not in the romantic, time-travel sense, but in that old BBC archival policies meant that the original records of the earliest years of Who in the ‘60s were wiped, leaving nearly 100 episodes seemingly gone forever. But one tiny slice of vintage Who is getting a revival next month.
While the original footage of over 90 episodes from Doctor Who’s first two Doctors has been lost, many have the unique case of having their audio live on, mainly through the dedicated work of fans who recorded the episodes on broadcast (ah, the heady days of a pre-home video world!) – and the BBC has re-released several “lost” stories by pairing that audio with newly created animation. Now, it’s planning to do the same again according to Doctor Who News, with a missing Patrick Troughton tale: “The Wheel in Space.”
Well the cats out of the bag since the @BFI have announced it. They’re screening a mini episode of the wheel in space ep 1 at their next missing believed wiped event... I best get back to finishing it @WhoFrazer #doctorwho #animation #missingepside pic.twitter.com/LD2HFoY5sX
– Rob Ritchie (@Robritchie409) November 5, 2018
Only two of the six episodes that make up “Wheel” – a Cyberman story that introduced the second Doctor companion Zoe Heriot, played by Wendy Padbury – currently exist in the BBC’s archives. But for the first time, a 10-minute slice from the first episode (which is still missing) is being prepared for a screening at the British Film Institute in London next month as part of the BFI’s “Missing Believed Wiped” programming, a regular event examining the history of missing TV in the UK and the efforts being made to bring parts of British media history back to life.
The sequence will eventually be included as part of a BBC DVD release in the future – just as this small snippet, according to Rob Ritchie, one of the team who worked on the animation, rather than as part of a wider attempt to restore “The Wheel in Space” through animation. But for now, another missing slice of Doctor Who history is getting a bit of a regeneration.