Doctor Who’s first regeneration gets unlost

Posted by CB Droege

The animated remake brings the first doctor’s story to a close.

About a month ago, we discovered that 2|entertain, the company responsible for putting classic Doctor Who episodes out on DVD, had commissioned an animated remake of The Tenth Planet - part 4, a lost episode, which happens to be the final episode for the first actor who played the iconic character.

The episode is to be included in a DVD release of the four episode arc. The animation has been commissioned from Planet Studio 55, and follows a realistic styling intended to reproduce the episode shot-for-shot, with some illustrations drawn directly from the remaining episode stills and clips.

"It’s a real thrill to be bringing such an iconic Doctor Who episode back to life," said 2|entertain’s commissioning editor, Daniel Hall. "Without the events established in The Tenth Planet episode 4, there would be no Doctor Who as we know it!"

Anyone who follows Doctor Who knows that the Doctor’s occasional regenerations are an important part of the themes of the show, and the expression of the character’s alien nature. The idea of his ability to regenerate was developed 47 years ago, when William Hartnell, the original actor in the role had to drop out of season four due to poor health.

In the final episode of season 3, the character fell to the floor of his ship, the TARDIS, and became another man in appearance. The process wasn’t given a name or explained as an integral part of his life-cycle until later, but it still became an important part of Doctor Who lore, which is why the disappearance of that episode reel over 30 years ago is such a blow to television history, and what has made it the second most sought after ‘lost’ television reel for the BBC - the first being their recording of the 1969 moon landing.

Now, via doctorwho.tv, 2|entertain has released this clip showing the regeneration itself near the end of the episode. It’s the first time that modern fans of the show will have been able to see the full scene, even if it’s not the original:

The rest of the episode, as well as the three preceeding it, which make up the Tenth Planet storyline, in which the Doctor faces the Cybermen for the first time, will be hit DVD sometime this fall as part of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary celebration.