Doctor Who has been an institution of British television for more than fifty years now, but there are big gaps in surviving content from the early days thanks to a BBC archive purge back in 1974. Even some of the biggest serials in Who history were lost to time when the original negatives were destroyed. Luckily for fans who have wanted a look at Patrick Troughton's first venture as the second Doctor, a restoration of his debut story is in the works, and it'll be available sooner than we might have guessed. "The Power of the Daleks" will premiere on November 12 on BBC America.
"The Power of Daleks" will make its way to the airwaves for the first time in the 21st century on November 12. It will then be available for streaming on the BBC America App and BBCAmerica.com for those who aren't able to catch it live. The debut of Two originally kicked off in November of 1966, so the restoration will coincide with his fiftieth anniversary.
Back in 1966, the concept of a main character surviving his own death to be played by a different actor was completely new. Patrick Troughton replacing William Hartnell as the Doctor was an unprecedented twist to keep a show going even when it should fall apart, and it's been a travesty that Two's first adventure through space and time had been lost to the ages. The restoration means that Who fans will get to see Two team up with companions Polly and Ben to battle the dastardly Daleks on the planet of Vulcan.
Of course, the destruction of the original Doctor Who negatives back in 1974 does mean that we'll never see the entire serial as it actually aired. A lot of the content is gone for good. Fortunately, enough of the original remains that BBC has found a way to fill in the gaps. Using a combination of original audio recordings, photographs, film clips, and new animation, "The Power of the Daleks" will be a complete - if somewhat unusual - story.
The animation will be obvious, and the serial won't look exactly as it did to Brits who caught it live in 1966. Given that it actually only aired once in the U.K. and was only sent overseas to New Zealand and Australia, however, even a crude recreation of "The Power of the Daleks" would be a treat. If the first look is any indication, we're in for much more than crude animation. We won't be confusing animated Two for Patrick Troughton's Two, but it shouldn't be too hard to suspend disbelief. All in all, the "Power of the Daleks" restoration is worth getting excited about as its fiftieth anniversary approaches.