Lost Doctor Who stories to be “brought back” as animations

Two previously lost Doctor Who serials are to be “brought back” as animations as part of the show’s 60th-anniversary celebrations, according to reports.

William Hartnell’s penultimate story The Smugglers, and Patrick Troughton’s third adventure, The Underwater Menace are to be released on Blu Ray and DVD as animations, according to a report in The Mirror.

The episodes were originally transmitted by the BBC, but the tapes have since been lost along with other Doctor Who serials from the classic era. Although some parts of the stories have been recovered they are incomplete.

An insider told The Mirror: “Fans have been delighted as the show’s fourth season has been slowly restored through animated episodes.

“Only 10 of the 43 broadcast episodes still exist, so we’re getting to see the missing classics.”

The BBC has restored episodes as animations in the past including The Web of Fear, The Moonbase and The Abominable Snowman among many others but in 2022 it looked as if the project may not continue after it was reported that there had been an end in the funding to the project. However, it appears new funding may now have been found.

There’s lots to look forward to for Doctor Who fans in 2023, most notably the return of the TV show for three 60th anniversary specials in November. The three episodes, which will be overseen by returning showrunner Russell T Davies, will star David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor after his shock return in the final moments of The Power of the Doctor. The episodes will also feature Catherine Tate reprising her role as Donna Noble as well as Yasmin Finney as Rose and Neil Patrick Harris as an unnamed enemy.

A trailer released on Christmas Day 2022 revealed other returning characters as well as enemies including Beep the Meep.

The 60th specials will be followed by the first full episode starring Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor, accompanied by his new companion Ruby Tuesday, who is played by former Coronation Street star Millie Gibson. They will begin their adventures in space and time around the festive period of 2023, with the rest of Doctor Who season 14 expected in 2024.