In my last post I looked at what were generally considered to be “classics” of the “Classic” era (1963-89) of Doctor Who. As I have become more familiar with the Hartnell and Troughton eras, it has become obvious that a lot of the lost episodes were at least worth investigating, and some might be considered classics in themselves.
In total 106 episodes are currently missing from the first two doctors’ eras, and it seems unlikely that any more will be recovered. So how can you enjoy them?
Well you need a little dedication and persistance, but here are several ways:
- First check out which serials are missing here at Wikipedia
- There are novelisations of all of these stories available from the usual places. Example for “Marco Polo” from the first season.
- The audio soundtracks from the original TV episodes still exist, and many are available individually as CDs or download (E.g. Marco Polo). There are also 5 boxed sets of CDs containing between them all the missing serials, along with some interesting additional info as data on the CDs e.g. original scripts.
Sometimes, however, you need a visual cue to really engage with the story even in audio form. The official BBC Doctor Who website has hidden away in the “Classic” section, a number of “photonovels” that are basically still pictures with captions to tell the story. Some of them have links to sound effects, but these are clearly from another era, as they are Real Audio links which most broswers no longer accept. These give a surprisingly good feel for the stories.
In addition, the episode guide at the BBC Doctor Who website also gives additional insights into each story. (Example: Marco Polo). Strangely, there is another, separate, episode guide also on the BBC DW site, that contains further different information about each of the old episodes. These often include a picture gallery, and sometimes even video clips. (Example again, Marco Polo).
Finally, there is the synthesis of the soundtracks and available clips and photos, in the form of fan-made “reconstructions” (or recons). These are certainly unofficial, and no doubt infringe BBC copyright, but appear to be tolerated by the Beeb. These are made by various groups of fans, but one of the best collections is by Loose Cannon Productions who have a full collection covering all the missing serials. You can find them from various sources that you might expect, such as their website, on video sharing sites like YouTube. If you really like them, the whole collection is floating about the internet in one big 8GB torrent. It’s not too difficult to find.