Back in the olden days, when DVD home releases hadn’t become a thing yet, the BBC in all its cunning purged the classic Doctor Who episodes from their archives. But when the series returned in 2005 and once again soared in popularity, the network found itself in the awkward position of having deleted crucial stories from the canon timeline.
97 episodes from classic Who are missing, all of which are from the show’s first six years. That number might seem insignificant at first, especially for a sci-fi franchise that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. Nevertheless, it’s still a heartbreaking realization for many Whovians considering the fact that most of these lost chapters are from William Hartnell’s First Doctor and Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor eras, or to put it more plainly, the titular character’s formative years in pop culture.
The good news is that the BBC is continuing to restore these missing episodes via animation, to the point that they completely brought back The Power of the Daleks, a missing serial that involved the Second Doctor going toe to toe with his ancient enemies at their prime. Now, the studio has announced The Evil of the Daleks will be the next story to receive this treatment, and it’ll release in DVD/Blu-ray format on September 27th.
The only surviving chapter from that particular arc was the second episode, but luckily, the network has managed to hold on to all seven audio recordings that’ll help them recreate the serial. Here’s the official synopsis:
“The Doctor (Patrick Troughton) stars alongside his travel companion Jamie (Frazer Hines) in this recreation in which the TARDIS has been stolen. The story unfolds as the Doctor and Jamie set out to find the missing time machine, bringing them face to face with a very old enemy – the Daleks, who have a new masterplan to conquer the universe. The Daleks force the Doctor to help them on their quest to ‘humanise’ themselves into deadlier living weapons. This particular story is notable for introducing the Doctor’s new companion Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling), first seen in the surviving second episode, and also for presenting the Dalek Emperor.”
Former showrunner Steven Moffat once attributed the tragedy of the missing episodes to a sense of enigma that’d make the character more compelling in the long run, explaining that soon there wouldn’t be “a single person who has watched all of Doctor Who.” But while that’s an admirable sentiment, I get the feeling that most fans would want to have more of the missing episodes restored, if for no other reason than getting more adventures with two of their favorite Doctors.