THIS is The List. Kasterborous brings you the Top 10 missing Doctor Who stories we’d like to see returned and why. Get your space-time visualisers tuned in and imaginations fired up as we dream about what may be out there gathering dust in the dark…
Note: I’m avoiding stories where we’re only missing a single episode. So while some of us would consider trading a kidney to see Tenth Planet Episode Four, I’ve not included it as a missing “story” per se. Enjoy!
10. The Highlanders
The last historical until Black Orchid, this Caledonian tale introduced one of the most popular companions the show has known – Frazer Hines’ performance reportedly convinced the crew to keep him on as a regular, giving one of the strongest on-screen pairings between a Doctor and companion. The stakes are high with incarceration, and attempted slavery in the aftermath of the Jacobite uprising. And who could resist Patrick Troughton, finding his way into the part he’d transform into a television franchise, doing turns disguised as both a German Doctor-von-Wer (as you do) and a kitchen maid. A bonkers romp.
9. Galaxy Four
The recovery of episode 3 has merely whetted the appetite. Bouffant space-vixens versus peaceful inter-galactic walruses (and both with flawless RP) and Bill Hartnell thoroughly enjoying himself – this is the traditional parable on not judging a book by its cover as only ‘60s Who can tell it. And there are Chumblies. Chumblies!
8. The Wheel in Space
Cybermen looking more vacant and menacing, and sounding more evil than ever before; this story also introduced Zoe as brainy space-totty to baffle our highlander hero. Wheel in Space is eerie, claustrophobic and very much of its era. Dashing space crew, retro-future fasion sense and cybermats populate this mostly missing slice of cyber-Who. Want!
I know it’s a re-imagining but just take a look at the tribute Alien-style trailer for Wheel above (ending with a highly chortlesome adapted tag line)…
7. The Celestial Toymaker
Horror legend, Michael Gough’s Celestial villain is a tragic loss to surviving Who. One of the most inventive premises for a story and unique production designs. Sinister clowns and Avengers-style kookiness and the fabulous Carmen Silvera, more familiar as Renee’s tone-deaf wife from ‘Ello ‘Ello, starring among the Toymaker’s play things. We want it back!
6. Fury from the Deep
Menacing heart beats and a monster realised from foam and thrashing rubber. This story bid farewell to Victoria, introduced the sonic screwdriver and took the base-under-siege format to the seas. Notable for the ambitious location filming (like the recently recovered Enemy of the World) and a rather self-referential solution to the threat – spoilers! – using the companion’s screams to destroy the monster.
Plus the surviving censor clips from Australia demonstrate some surprisingly sinister possessed lackeys gassing a victim to death – a potential classic we may never see.
5. Marco Polo
Polo is the earliest missing story and one where we’ve been taunted with the sumptuous colour photos of the costumes and set that survive. The TARDIS lashed to a horse-drawn cart, Bill with his original beloved ensemble and seven episodes of the most gorgeous gal on ‘60s tea-time telly – you can’t say no to more Babs! And if this is (as rumoured) recovered we will, of course, begin a campaign to have it colourised…
4. The Daleks’ Master Plan
This needs no explanation, but we’ll give you one regardless: Epic, vast and the show’s boldest venture into Space-opera.
It represents the Daleks at their most politically underhanded and re-introduced Peter Butterworth’s Meddling Monk, alongside the magnetic Jean Marsh’s only outing as a companion in three Who roles spanning the classic series. Space ships, aliens, other-worldly jungles and bumper twelve episodes of it. Sorely missed.
(And if we never have it returned, at least we can indulge in our very own comic adaptation, by Rick Lundeen!)
3. Power of the Daleks
A key story in the show’s history, introducing a new Doctor for the first time – no one knew whether Doctor Who could continue with a new actor in the role or what the audience would make of Troughton replacing their Saturday TV hero. But he made it work and solidified the 50-year-old format we have today.
Not only is this Troughton’s first story but it’s a classic Dalek caper we may never see – deviously claiming “I am your servant” to gullible humans and covertly manufacturing an army. Power leaves a huge gap in the show’s history.
2. The Abominable Snowmen
Now that we have almost the whole of Web of Fear, our eyes have greedily looked back to The Abominable Snowmen and the Doctor’s first scrape with the Great Intelligence. A megalomaniacal alien entity (apparently originating in a Victorian garden with a young Dr Simeon) has possessed the head of a Tibetan monastery deep in the Himalayas and constructed an army of remote control robots disguised as legendary local monsters to terrorise the monks. Pure genius, and the most atmospheric use of the toilet flushing sound since – um -toilets.
1. Evil of the Daleks
We only have episode 2 of 7 from this Season 5 stunner, and what a tease it is. Ben and Polly have just left, as the great buddy-movie pairing of the Second Doctor and Jamie hits its stride. All the stops were pulled out for Pat’s first season finale and from the surviving behind-the-scenes footage, the epic civil war on Skaro didn’t disappoint (unless, like the moon landings, it was faked). The first and arguably most impressive appearance of the Dalek Emperor, the brilliant contrast of futuristic alien war machines patrolling a wood-panelled Victorian home and the utterly adorable humanised Daleks Alpha, Beta and Omega who *dare* to question. From Gatwick, to an antiques store, to a 19th Century mansion to the planet of the Daleks, this is as ambitious as it is bonkers and we would love to see it returned.
Keep those fingers crossed that some of the above gems are lying patiently in the basement of some unassuming overseas relay station and that they will live up to the images conjured by novelisations and audio recordings.
But what about you, Kasterborite? Have we got it wrong? What’s in your list, and which stories do you MOST want to see returned to the archive and why?