While the hunt for missing episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s continues, one story will be resurrected in an animated form next year.
Doctor Who News reports “The Macra Terror” — a 1967 Doctor Who story starring Patrick Troughton as The Doctor, Anneke Wills as Polly, Michael Craze as Ben and Frazer Hines as Jamie — will come to life as an animated adventure in March of next year. The BBC even confirmed the news by posting a short teaser on the Doctor Who YouTube page.
Most of the 1967 season, including Hines’s introduction as Jamie, is missing from the BBC archives. In the 1970s, many recordings from the previous decades were scrapped by the Corporation in an attempt to free up some storage space for newer programs. The wisdom at the time suggested archival material, like early Doctor Who and Z Cars, would never again air or have any commercial value. As a result, Doctor Who stories from 1963 to 1972 were discarded without any regard to their significance. Some episodes and stories have been recovered thanks to intrepid searchers who found international film copies in places like Nigeria and the United States.
In the years since the home video boom, the BBC’s commercial arm has commissioned animated episodes to fill in gaps to mostly-surviving stories like 1964’s “The Reign of Terror” and 1968’s “The Invasion.” The first complete animated restoration of a missing Doctor Who adventure was the 2016 release of “Power of the Daleks,” Troughton’s first story as The Doctor. Each of these recreations feature the broadcast audio from the original transmissions. Many of these are sourced from fans who held tape recorders up to the televisions the evenings these episodes were originally broadcast. “The Macra Terror” is another such case.
Animating “The Macra Terror” suggests further reconstructions of missing Troughton stories are on the way. Which will be wonderful for fans of the Second Doctor and Jamie. Maybe the next one can be his first story, “The Highlanders.”
While “The Marcra Terror” will definitely debut in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD in March 18th. It is unclear if the same can be said for US distribution; though both regions tend to release Doctor Who material very close to one another.