Doctor Who – Lost in Time Collection

  • Series Title: Doctor Who
  • Season: Multiple
  • Episodes: Multiple
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: BBC
  • Cast: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton
  • Format: Standard, Black and White, DVD, NTSC

The Lost in Time Collection also known as The Missing Years Collection is one thing from Doctor Who that I actually avoided collecting for a long time, and even once I bought the collection on DVD, it was a while before I sat down to watch it. This is a collection of incomplete Doctor Who stories, so I thought it would be hard to watch, or at least confusing. It’s definitely weird to watch partial stories, but it’s also amazing how well the individual episodes stand up.

Disc 1 is the William Hartnell Years and includes:

  • The Crusade Parts 1, 3 (with the audio only for parts 2 and 4)
  • The Daleks Master Plan (parts 2, 3, 11)
  • The Celestial Toymaker (part 4)

Special Features include:

  • Surviving Clips (usually censor clips)
  • 8mm off-screen footage
  • 8mm location footage
  • Who’s Who

Disc 2 and 3 is the Patrick Troughton Years and includes:

Disc 1 (Troughton)

  • The Moonbase (Episode 1, 3 audio only), Episodes 2 and 4
  • The Underwater Menace – ep. 3
  • The Faceless Ones Eps. 1, 3
  • Evil of the Daleks ep. 2

Special Features

  • Surviving Footage
  • 8mm films
  • Off-Screen Footage
  • Power of the Daleks trailer
  • Who’s Who

Disc 2 (Troughton)

  • The Abominable Snowmen (ep. 2)
  • The Enemy of the World (ep. 3)
  • The Web of Fear (ep. 1)
  • The Wheel in Space (ep. 3, 6)
  • The Space Pirates (ep. 2)

Special Features

  • Surviving Clips
  • 8mm Film – color (The Space Pirates, Fury from the Deep)
  • The Missing Years Documentary
  • Who’s Who
  • Location Film
  • Raw film trims
  • Commentary Tracks

The good news is that some of these stories have subsequently been released. “The Moonbase” is now available on DVD with animation filling in for the missing episodes (with the original audio). “Power of the Daleks” came out on DVD last year – animated in both black and white and color versions. “The Underwater Menace” is available on DVD, but with telesnap re-creations (with original audio) of the missing episodes rather than animation. “Enemy of the World” and “Web of Fear” were found and released on DVD, though “Web of Fear” is still missing one part – and the DVD includes original audio and telesnap recreations rather than full animation. Still it is good news that between this collection being released and now more stories have been found or re-creations were made using animation and the existing audio. Personally, I’d love to see all the Doctor Who stories re-created with animation.

I thought “The Daleks Masterplan” would be very slow, but each of the three episodes is in a completely different location. On the other hand, there is a lot of “McGuffin, McGuffin who’s got my McGuffin” going on. Well, the Doctor has it (the core of the Time Destructor) but everyone wants it back. But it’s still interesting – and I never knew The Meddling Monk was in “The Dalek Masterplan”. Also, one of the surviving episodes does feature Nicholas Courtney as Bret Vonn; and another features Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom.

I also enjoyed “The Crusade” more than I thought I would. I’ve never been a fan of the time period of the Crusades – launching a genocidal war against people because of religion just seems so dumb. However, “The Crusade” works because Julian Glover plays King Richard, and Jean Marsh plays his sister, Joanna. The scenes between the two of them especially are full of fire. Marsh’s Joanna is feisty and knows her own mind. When Richard, the King, proposes marrying her off to the Saracen to avoid more bloodshed – she’s having none of it, and even threatens to take her case to the Pope. This feels a bit off – as a medieval woman and a noble, Joanna should be used to the idea of arranged marriages, even if she objects to her proposed husband. Since the last part is missing we don’t know what happened, though history tells us the Crusades weren’t successful and bankrupted England.

For Troughton the collection starts with “The Moonbase” which we now have and clips from “The Underwater Menace” – which was released but with only telesnap re-creations of the missing episodes, not full animation (I want a special edition that’s animated.) I did get to see two parts of “The Faceless Ones” and I’d love to see it finished with animation. That episode features Wanda Ventham as an airport officer, and. Pauline Collins as a girl who’s brother disappears. Ventham was in “UFO” and is better known now as Benedict Cumberbatch’s mother. Collins played Sarah the housemaid in “Upstairs Downstairs” and the spinoff “Thomas and Sarah”.

“The Abominable Snowmen”, very confusing; and two parts of “Wheel in Space” a very “futuristic” episode featuring cybermats (they are adorable! The Adipose of the Classic Era) and the Cybermen, also something about meterorites hitting a space station unless they shoot them out of the sky with lasers. ??? But it was great to see Zoe’s first story! “The Space Pirates” was a bit confusing, because it’s a middle episode that survives – but it’s also exactly what it says on the tin: Pirates…in…space! “Evil of the Daleks” also looked really, really interesting, and as it’s Victoria’s first story, I’d like to see more of that and “The Abominable Snowmen”.

What’s good about this collection though is several stories on it as “lost” have subsequently been released, either with animation, with telesnap reconstructions, or newly discovered. Whooot! I know it may not be economically feasible but the collector in me would love to see most of the Missing Classic Who episodes released as animated stories (incorporating any surviving episodes).

Overall as a collection, Lost in Time, is more an oddity and something for collectors and completists (yes, I am both). But, it’s interesting how well the individual episodes stand up even when all we have left are a few episodes here and there and not complete stories.