Rumour: lost Doctor Who episodes to be animated for 60th anniversary

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According to sources cited by Nicola Methven of The Mirror, the BBC will bring back two lost Doctor Who episodes in animated form to mark 60th anniversary of the programme.

Two Season 4 stories from the 1960s, The Smugglers and The Underwater Menace, are to be animated and released on Blu-ray and DVD.

The 1966 First Doctor (William Hartnell) story The Smugglers is the first serial of Season 4 and is companions Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly’s (Anneke Wills) first trip in the TARDIS, which materialises on the coast of seventeenth-century Cornwall to an encounter with avaricious pirates.

The 1967 Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) story The Underwater Menace is the fifth serial of Season 4. Ben and Polly are joined by fellow companion Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines). The TARDIS arrives on an extinct volcanic island to find a lost civilisation hidden underground.

The original tapes for both four-part stories were destroyed after transmission. Episodes two and three of The Underwater Menace have been recovered but only brief clips from The Smugglers exist.

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

The Mirror story claims there is a new source of funds after BBC America stopped funding animated versions last year. They report that the animation deal is not related to the agreement with Disney+ to stream future series of Doctor Who.

They also claim that the BBC has plans to colourise certain stories from the Hartnell and Troughton eras (1963-69), for broadcast next year and that this is likely to include the very first story, An Unearthly Child.

Doctor Who will return in November 2023 with three 60th anniversary specials starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor. In the following festive period, Ncuti Gatwa will star in his first full Doctor Who episode as the Fifteenth Doctor.