The Underwater Menace

No Animation for The Underwater Menace?

Prepare to get annoyed.

Planet 55, the company responsible for previous DVD animations of missing episodes, including William Hartnell’s regeneration story, has issued a statement that appears to dispel rumours that they’re working to bring The Underwater Menace to DVD:

There have been many queries about Planet 55 Studios’s work on Doctor Who and whether we are doing any more.

To date, Planet 55 Studios has completed work on three Doctor Who animated reconstructions for BBC Worldwide’s DVD range: The Reign of Terror, The Tenth Planet and, most recently, The Moonbase.We really enjoyed creating those but they are the only Doctor Who stories Planet 55 Studios have worked on and there are no plans to work on any more.

At the moment the company is focused on animation projects completely unconnected to Doctor Who.”

As most of you will know, as of 2011, two out of four episodes from the Second Doctor tale now exist in the archives; previously, when only two episodes were missing, those were animated. This could mean a number of things.

Firstly, a new company could be involved. That seems unlikely, however, seen as Steve Roberts of the Restoration team previously stated: “[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.”

Has the BBC just forgotten about The Underwater Menace, and if so, why?! There’s certainly call for an as-completed-as-possible collection!

Similar to the DVD release of The Web of Fear last year and the shoved-together Galaxy 4, we could be in for a reconstruction, comprising of audio and telesnaps. If that’s the case, I’m quite disappointed.

Otherwise, this could add further fuel to the ‘omnirumour’; that many more ‘missing’ episodes have been found by Phillip Morris and co., so the BBC don’t want unnecessary expense, when they could simply wait for the two other episodes to be fully restored.

It does seem that something, uhm, fishy is going on, especially as it was reported in the past that animation of The Underwater Menace was being carried out. Heck, there was even a DVD trailer for the story…!

Your thoughts, as ever, below please.

(Thanks to DrWhoNews.)


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.

'No Animation for The Underwater Menace?' have 25 comments

  1. August 7, 2014 @ 1:58 pm rickjlundeen

    A different company worked on the animation for the Ice Warriors and yet a different one again for The Invasion. So it’s quite possible someone else is animating it, I don’t see what the big deal is….


  2. August 7, 2014 @ 2:10 pm Colin

    The fact that they put a trailer for TUM on a DVD tells me they haven’t forgotten about it. We understand a trailer isn’t a guarantee. Schedules change, and things happen that prevent plans from panning out. However, a trailer does at least imply intention, so I would hold out that a TUM DVD release will happen at some point.

    To Mr. Robert’s assertion that “the range is dead,” with all due respect, I think that’s a bit rash. Certainly, as an on-going concern, this is probably true. But it’s not really Steve’s place to declare on the range in this way. That’s more the domain of Dan Hall/BBC Worldwide. They may well call Steve up tomorrow and commission him to work on POWER OF THE DALEKS (I can dream, right?); then the range will suddenly spring to life again.

    If I recall correctly, The Aztecs SE came out prior to Philip Morris’s recent finds. My guess is that the Beeb were planning to animate the missing episodes of TUM, but then decided to wait and see what’s in the haul. Indeed, I would venture to suggest that until Mr. Morris is in a position to let the BBC know what Who he has recovered, we won’t see any further DVD releases. As soon as that happens, though, expect the range to get very lively. :)

    That’s what I think, anyway.


    • Christian Cawley

      August 7, 2014 @ 2:16 pm Christian Cawley

      As we understand it (and cannot say too much) there will be future releases. And there are other teams capable of reconstructing old videos and films…


      • August 7, 2014 @ 4:06 pm Colin

        You may know something I don’t, but in any case, I think Philip Morris’ comment that “the winds are blowing in the right direction” gives us hope that there’s cause for future Who DVDs. And even if there’s nothing more from his latest find, as you say, there are others that can do the clean-up work, and other animators that could reconstruct missing episodes. Personally, I’d like to see Pixar have a go. That would be awesome (and awesomly expensive). :)


  3. August 7, 2014 @ 2:30 pm Simon King

    There is a five minute preview of a never seen before DVD release before the screening of Deep Breath. Related?


    • August 8, 2014 @ 7:33 pm crimsonavenger12

      The only things before Deep Breath in theaters are a 10 minute making of documentary and a prequel.


  4. August 7, 2014 @ 3:47 pm Howard Railton

    We need action on this so that we don’t allow the BBC to procrastinate forever and never let fans see this returned missing episode. Perhaps fans should mount a campaign, ask when it’s coming out whenever Moffat et al., do phone-ins etc. Otherwise, we’ll never see it and that’s a disgrace.


  5. August 7, 2014 @ 3:53 pm TimeChaser

    I hope we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out what’s going to happen with The Underwater Menace on DVD, one way or the other. I can understand them wanting not to say too much just to eventually let people down if say the remaining lost episodes are not in ‘the haul’ or are too degraded to do anything with, but at the same time saying nothing at all is still playing with fan expectations and its frankly gotten well past the point of being tiring.


  6. August 7, 2014 @ 3:55 pm TonyS

    There is a saying: “be careful what you wish for”. Even assuming that we fans possess the clout to bring about a change from BBC and secure the release of “The Underwater Menace”, should we?

    There is clearly activity going on below the surface. What this will bring about, we do not know. It might produce the release of the entire story (and possibly many more)

    One other thing, some of us were about in 1967 and remember it when it was first shown. Now I am not for a minute suggesting that I don’t want to see “The Underwater Menace”. But it isn’t that good a story!


    • August 7, 2014 @ 4:11 pm Colin

      I was a couple of years away from being around in 1967, but I will concur that while TUW has some nice moments, it isn’t in my top 5 of stories I want to see recovered. However, it is the oldest Troughton story for which we have any episodes, and we’re already half-way there to it being complete. I say, unless Power of the Daleks shows up, it’s worth the effort.


    • August 7, 2014 @ 4:36 pm TimeChaser

      No matter if a story is among the good or the bad, I was born long after the 60s and after many episodes were junked, and I would personally love to see the hole in my collection filled as much as possible. Just because TUM isn’t among the cream of the crop doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be able to have it available again.

      That’s how I feel at least. :)


    • August 8, 2014 @ 7:53 am TonyS

      I agree with both of you and was at pains to say that I was not advocating the non-release of TUM.


      • August 8, 2014 @ 4:06 pm TimeChaser

        I realize that, no worries. It’s not always easy to get the emotions of your words across over the internet. I wasn’t suggesting you were saying they shouldn’t release TUM.


  7. August 7, 2014 @ 4:19 pm captnjackharkness

    It is listed for pre-order sale on Amazon, here in the U.S., and has been for quite a while!


  8. August 7, 2014 @ 5:50 pm Jayman

    Wish they would just release the episode reconstruction or no reconstruction. Episode 2 is the only episode I don’t own.


  9. August 7, 2014 @ 6:00 pm Chronomalix

    If anything, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve needs an animated adaptation. There’s nothing left of it put promotional stills. I’ll wait as long as it takes for that one.


    • August 7, 2014 @ 6:43 pm TimeChaser

      You and me both. That’s top of my list for missing Hartnells.


  10. August 8, 2014 @ 4:17 am Jayman

    There is the audio of The Massacre guys just in case you were not aware.


    • August 8, 2014 @ 4:08 pm TimeChaser

      I was aware, thanks. :) I have considered getting it for some time.

      I also have the Target novelization, but the ending is rewritten from the original TV version.


  11. August 8, 2014 @ 8:12 am Ian Gettings

    I hope it is all for good reasons, such as more episodes being found, but I’ve kinda stopped following all that circus anymore until something is officially announced. Episode 2 is on Dailymotion, I think, or has been for ages and it seems much better than 3. A shame if this story is never completed one way or another. (The Massacre audio has a weird effect of episode 4 having a background sound of episode 3 playing – not always noticeable, but it comes through from time to time)


  12. September 21, 2014 @ 6:05 am Garry

    Actually I am quite disappointed about animation for the underwater menace that haven’t released at that time but after that the similar DVD release was quite impressive and hope that this sort of animation work will be seen in future for sure:)


  13. October 3, 2014 @ 11:28 am Mark Duncan

    Assuming the implications are true – i.e.: PM has recovered the lost TUM episodes and thus another complete early Troughton exists – should we forego the iTunes route and go straight to DVD? I never bought “Enemy of the World” or “Web of Fear” via iTunes as the DVD collection remains my favourite part of Dr. Who’s ‘collectability’ aspect. Am I alone in this desire or not?


    • October 3, 2014 @ 3:22 pm Ranger

      No, I am with you on that, Mark – though I fear that for me it is because I am old and a luddite and don’t want to be faffing around with download thingies and getting my knickers in a twist. I can just about handle DVDs, so that’s my preferred option.


      • October 6, 2014 @ 3:29 pm Mark Duncan

        I’m sure we’re not the only ones (I’m not a techno-phobe, I just like DVDs). Outwith the return of complete stories, there will almost certainly be orphan episodes and clips – a second “Lost In Time” box set would be ideal and more fun than trying to watch episodes on a smartphone screen on the train. (iTunes is great, but you can’t put it on the shelf with your collection.) My dream is that PM has uncovered enough individual episodes and clips allowing for a BBC4 documentary and / or DVD box set.


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