Classic Doctor Who suffered from the BBC’s shortsightedness when it came to archiving material, with many of the episodes from the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton era destroyed. While a number of them have since been recovered, or restored as animated or audio versions, live action recreations have typically been impractical. One standalone episode, 1965’s Mission to the Unknown, has now been remade as a fan project though, something we delved into last week. The BBC were supportive enough to run it on their YouTube channel as well, 54 years to the date since its original broadcast, and you can check it out up above.
The recreation was made by academics and students at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. Mission to the Unknown is notable for acting as a prequel to the epic 12-part serial The Daleks’ Master Plan, and for not featuring the Doctor or any of the series’ regular cast. To this end, the episode lends itself better to being recreated than other parts of the show, and also benefits from a restricted location that fits within a college budget.
As an episode, Mission to the Unknown is set on the planet Kembel, where a range of species meet the Daleks to plot a galactic takeover. An undercover security team from a future Earth attempt to sabotage the plot, but are overwhelmed by the Daleks’ Varga plants, suffering gruesome transformations. One of the team does manage to send out an SOS message before being exterminated by the Daleks, though.
The 25-minute serial is effective for a low-budget experiment, right down to recreating the BBC sets of the 1960s, and arguably does justice to the material. Given the remaining gaps in the Doctor Who archive, projects like this are welcome surprises, even if recreating episodes with the main cast is still unlikely to happen. The closest we’ll probably get is the recent appearance of the First Doctor alongside Peter Capaldi, as well as the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time.
Source: The Guardian