The Doctor was reborn, the Doctor was erased, the Doctor is back – long live Doctor Who: The Power Of The Daleks.
After not having been seen since its TV debut 50 years ago and long thought lost in an ill-advised BBC tape purge during the mid-1970s, the first six episodes of the story detailing the adventures of Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor makes its return to the small screen November 19 on BBC America. With a mash-up worthy of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s innovative band Gorillaz, restored original audio has been mixed with old-school animation and unabashed enthusiasm to bring this six-episode limited series to life. The result, as I say in my video review above, is quite charming and actually sometimes spectacular, with the Doctor’s greatest foes at some of their most fearsome.
Now, this isn’t the first time the BBC has restored lost Doctor Who episodes, but in taking on a full serial, it is by far the most ambitious such project and, as of yet, the most important.
First airing on November 5, 1966, the opening of Power Of The Daleks marked the first slight of narrative hand that brought aboard new actors to playing the mischievous Time Lord via what has become know as “regeneration.” With Troughton replacing the original Doctor played by William Hartnell, this was certainly a pivotal part of the long-running series that now sees Peter Capaldi playing the 12th Doctor – so for it to be lost, as were dozens of other episodes of Doctor Who and more BBC shows, was a television tragedy of sorts.
Well, thanks to a never overplayed hand by current-day director Charles Norton and comic artists Martin Geraghty and Adrian Salmon, the Beeb has turned tragedy into triumph – and, as some of the few remaining clips and photographs from 1966 make clear, even improve on the low-budgeted original here and there. Having been available for download in the UK since November 5 and shown in select theatres on this side of the pond earlier this week, Power Of The Daleks works both as something to watch over the next six weeks or to DVR and binge.
You can see more of this resurrection in my review above, but make sure to check out Doctor Who: The Power Of The Daleks this weekend. It’ll make you feel like a Time Lord as the hidden past comes alive again.