Published on June 3rd, 2014 | by Philip Bates

No DVD Release for The Underwater Menace?

Prepare to get annoyed, flabbergasted and suspicious: it seems that partly-missing classic, The Underwater Menace, may not get a DVD release.

Those following the “missing believed wiped” saga will know that episode two of the Second Doctor serial was found and unveiled to eager Whovians in 2011 alongside “Airlock,” episode three of Galaxy 4. With two of the four now in the archives, we were all expecting animation to accompany them and for a DVD release to be issued to the Classic line later this year. Amazon even listed it for pre-order.

However, Steve Roberts, project leader of the much-loved Restoration Team, seems to have dashed all hopes when he told TVShowsOnDVD:

“[W]e’re the team that remasters the episodes for DVD release and even we don’t have a clue what’s going on with TUM now. From where we’re standing, it’s looking like the range is dead.”

Previously, the last we heard, animation was being halted as the studio doing it “having other higher priority projects.” Even more mysteriously, the above trailer for The Underwater Menace was included on The Moonbase DVD.

So what in the name of Rassilon is happening?!

There are a few options to ponder. Perhaps the range is dead and we won’t get to see it alongside our Second Doctor collections after all. If so, we should all be very disappointed with the BBC. But realistically, would they do that to us?

Perhaps the Restoration Team aren’t being used for this release. It’d certainly be an odd move, if so.

And finally, here’s fuel for the Omnirumour (ongoing rumblings that a vast amount of previously-missing Who has now been found, including Marco Polo): that the other two episodes have been found and they’re still trying to make a deal with Phillip Morris so have delayed the DVD.

Smoke and mirrors, or bitter disappointment? I know which I’d prefer…

(Thanks to Joe)

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About the Author

When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.




39 Responses to No DVD Release for The Underwater Menace?

  1. Harry M VanHoudnos says:

    As a fan of the Classic Era, more than the new Era, I would have LOVED to see The Underwater Menace restored! But the fact that they have put it on hold again, DOES make one wonder: Is there are problem with the material that they are working from? IS there more material that has been found and they are not telling us? HOW ABOUT SOME ANSWERS! Straight answers, not this, “Oh, its not being done, but others are”. FANS WANT ANSWERS, not being lead around like animals with rings in their noses!!

  2. Mark Quinn says:

    I just looked, and it’s still available to pre-order on amazon.com……. One review, says the two missing episodes replaced with animation… Curiouser and curiouser.

    • Al says:

      Amazon reviews are very suspect at times. You can’t review something that hasn’t been released yet!

  3. Lucas W says:

    As much as I would like to see this dvd eventually, my overriding cynicism tells me that the BBC is the sort of company to say “it doesn’t make commercial sense, so let’s not bother”. Would they do that?

    • TimeChaser says:

      Considering they released The Moonbase, which is also missing 2 out of 4 episodes replaced with animation, that sort of reasoning falls flat.

      • John Miller says:

        But it was under different circumstances.

      • graham says:

        Maybe the Moonbase didnt sell very well.

    • Endy says:

      Sorry, Is that the BBC who gave us Doctor Who in the first place and have lovingly restored many episodes of classic Who even re coloring some? They have made some money much of which has gone into making some of the most fantastic drama made anywhere in the world. Like all big organisations they are not without fault but we would be a poorer place without them. Perhaps they are so fed up with the attitude of some fans they have decided not to bother anymore. Who could blame them.

  4. Christine says:

    Please let it be smoke and mirrors…having said that however I do wish we would get some real answers. The fact is, this kind of messages just feeds the omnirumour unnecessesarily. It looks so simple: if there will be no animated episodes, why not release the episode as an extra on another DVD or even both episodes as a separate DVD and perhaps even a feature with the story behind the non-presence of animated episodes? I am sure a way could be found that does make commercial sense!


  5. I wish they would at least release the episode they found back in 2011 on itunes or something. Yes I’d love to see/have a collectable DVD, but to be able to watch the episode would be consolation enough for me if they have to wait to animate/find/aquire the rights to, the other episodes in the story.

  6. TimeChaser says:

    Do they plan on releasing it in the mental hospital we’ll all end up in after they drive us insane with all this yes/no/maybe crap?

  7. Ian Scales says:

    This is a shock if true. Any email we can write to in order to ask for clarification or have a moan or beg or whatever?


  8. Why don’t they just out the episode or even the two that exist on iTunes now so people who want to and have not seen it illegally can buy and download it / them. The BBC are shockingly bad at business and making money back from Doctor Who that they desperately need for both future Doctor Who episodes and new material funded by a Doctor Who.

  9. simon magellan says:

    Seems strange to have created a trailer if they couldn’t guarantee a release, for whatever reason, but then the BBC is a pretty amateurish organisation at the best of times, so perhaps not so surprising. Personally am a believer in the cock up theory of history rather than the conspiracy, so think it’s likely they’ve hit problems with the animation and or the video.

    One thought – given its success on iTunes, is the BBC perhaps going to go this route and release it there instead of on DVD? I would be surprised if they don’t begin to release all the stories in digital format very shortly…

  10. Colin says:

    I treat Steve Roberts’ comments with respect, but also understanding that he may not know much more than we do, given (as I understand it) he’s not a BBC “insider.” True, if the BBC commissioned the “Restoration Team” for the job, he’d know well before we do. So all this says is that Steve has not received any calls for any restoration work on Classic Who since “Web of Fear” and “Enemy of the World,” and, given that all the complete stories are now on DVD, he has no reason to believe the Classic range is an on-going concern. One phone call could change all that. Which leads me to think (hope) that the latter is true: there’s at least one more episode of “The Underwater Menance”–and maybe other Who stories–in Mr. Morris’ haul, but until they are sure they can release them, nothing’s being done.

    No other explanation makes sense to me. The BBC have been very forthcoming with other missing episodes, knowing how eager Who fans are to see them–especially since Ep 2 of “The Underwater Menance” is the earliest example of a Second Doctor episode currently in existence. I can’t believe that they don’t have a plan to release it; the only question is how? They haven’t gone the iTunes route (which would seem an obvious choice if they wanted to release it without a DVD release), which suggests to me there’s more to come.

    Maybe I’m being overly optimistic… but if someone has a better explanation…?

    • Al says:

      Is it possible licensing and royalties might be holding it up? Maybe the estate of one of the actors is causing a delay?

      • Colin says:

        I’m sure the reasons for the delay between discovery and announcement of missing episodes are largely legal–licensing, royalties, estates, etc. I can’t imagine Phillip Morris enjoys having to keep quiet about things he has found. If he loves these shows as much as we’re led to believe, I’m sure he’s bursting to let us know what he has discovered. I would be! :)

  11. The 2.5th Doctor says:

    I’m also angry that Classic Doctor Who is really expensive. Anybody else?

    • Al says:

      Considering the valued added, no not really. And most releases in Canada are in the $25 range. Web of Fear was only about $18.

    • Gary McCartney says:

      Nope, I think Doctor Who DVDs are cheap as chips. Way cheaper than VHS 20 years ago. And as for the restored picture quality – amazing. Look at “The Green Death”. Not a favourite story, but the picture is amazingly good bearing in mind in is 40 years old. Plus the extras… Dr who classic DVDs are some od the best value DVDs on sale. So dont be so stingey!!

      • Harry M VanHoudnos says:

        LOVE the extra material from classic Who! Especially the info text material. That gives you a insight into the show that you don’t get with Nu Who DVD’s.

        • mrjohnm says:

          I like the ‘pop-up’ text extras during the show itself! Of course, I have to watch the show first because the text often distracts me from the story.

  12. Mark O'Driscoll says:

    My own opinion on UWM not being released is because the Beeb are hanging around, hoping that Philip Morris finds the remaining episodes.
    I think that they had already paid for the Moonbase animation, but were still hoping for the missing episodes from that story to turn up. And as PM goes round more archives and TV stations, the Beeb are expecting more finds and are holding back on expensive animation.

    But seeing as PM has not returned anymore episodes and has only made cryptic comments, then we and the BBC must wait on him and hope!


    • This is the most likely answer..

  13. Elton Townend Jones says:

    I hope it will be released (in fact I can’t imagine it won’t be), because it’s a cracking episode.

  14. rickjlundeen says:

    Any number of reasons, I suppose for this.

    1. PM is holding out for more money.
    2. The BBC has found out that there’s very little profit in doing another expensive animated AND restored classic adventure, so forget it.
    3. They’re still in the process of cataloging everything they’ve before giving an official announcement.
    4. There are no more episodes that have been found and maybe they’re waiting to include TUM on some other DVD release, maybe for the new series 10 the anniversary next year, as a bonus bit and it’ll be cheaper for them. After all, they already have the other ep out on DVD already in the Lost in Time collection.

    My guess, the most likely is #2.

    • TimeChaser says:

      Animation would be wonderful, but I would still settle for a Reconstruction of Eps 1 & 4 a-la Web of Fear 3. As long as they get it out to the fans, do we really care either way?

  15. vortexter says:

    So if anymore missing eps turn up from a dusty shelf in a far off country, they are just going to sit on a dusty shelf in this country? What incentive is there for missing episode hunters now?

  16. castellanspandrel says:

    The episode can be seen online – seek and ye shall find.

    I know it’s not as good as owning a DVD copy, though.

  17. quigonj2014 says:

    Over at Gallifrey Base, several people contacted the BBC directly. This was the response:

    ———-
    Originally Posted by Red Ripper
    I contacted the BBC about the issue and was sent this email.

    “Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace is in development and when we have any further news, it will be shared first on our official website”

    According to them the title is still in line for being released at some point.
    ———–

    on May 25th there was also this exchange:

    Originally Posted by AlMiles
    But they spent money on the Galaxy 4 extra (recon) for The Time Meddler then didn’t use it – things were only reversed when Air Lock turned up. So there is a precedent for WW/2entertain to buy extras and decide not to use them.

    to which Chris Chapman of the Restoration Team said:

    I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that.

    ————

    I think we will see the disc eventually.

  18. CrimsonAvenger says:

    Honestly I just wish the BBC would put the 19 oop DVDs back in print here in the US. I wanted to but some of them but now I can’t get them. They pretty much lost me as a customer. If Underwater Menace isn’t ever released then Ill be equally unhappy .

    • mrjohnm says:

      Just because a DVD is OOP doesn’t mean you can’t find a copy. Look on-line and in used dvd/cd stores, you’ll probably get lucky!

  19. quigonj2014 says:

    CrimsonAvenger, try wbshop.com. They seem to get the OOP titles in every so often and sell them at good prices.

  20. Jayman says:

    This just pisses me off. Episode 2 is the only episode I don’t own, and I want to see it.

  21. Howard Railton says:

    I wonder if a letter campaign to the channel that showed Unearthly Child over the anniversary week might get Underwater Menace ep 2 onto a late night screen, or even let us see it in the same way they showed Web of Fear. Not to release ep 2 of Underwater Menace seems particularly mean of the BBC.

  22. mrjohnm says:

    This doesn’t have much to do with the story, but if the BBC are ever able to release all of the classic Who on DVD, wouldn’t it be great if they started releasing animated DVD’s based on the Paul McGann audio stories? This would give those of us begging for an 8th Doctor series something to be happy about! (sorry about the preposition there!)

  23. Simon Anthony says:

    I was told, in August 2013, that my contribution to the DW 50th anniversary would be included in UNDERWATER MENACE – for release in July 2014. I have just done a search for it online and found this thread. Gloom…

    • preserver says:

      There seems to be quite a few folk who are involved (on some level) with the Underwater Menace DVD. So I would suggest it is a delay.. perhaps fresh ep’s have been found or the BBC guys are having a breather…It was a huge 2013! And TUM will ‘surface’ in due course …
      :)

  24. mark duncan says:

    Consider – would it be financially viable to restore excerpts as opposed to complete episodes? Or orphan episodes like “Airlock”, “The Underwater Menace: 3″, and others? Not unless they formed part of, say, another “Lost In Time” DVD box set…? Unlikely? Remember the media coverage concerning the previous Troughton DVDs (and their subsequent success) and now imagine an entire box set being announced?

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