I am a huge fan of black and white footage and firmly believe it should be used more as a medium in its own right. I’m also persuaded that certain stories would lose certain of their potency and fear factor if they were in colour – Tomb of the Cybermen being the first example that springs to mind. So to date I have not been persuaded that reproducing any of the first six seasons of Doctor Who in colour would be a good idea.
Today however I came across this archive photograph on Twitter and was astounded. My initial reaction was that it didn’t quite scan to see that generation of Cybermen in colour – but the more I looked at the picture, the more I nodded in approval. It looked good – it looked like what I imagined a Pertwee era serial to feature the Cybermen would have looked like.
And that got me thinking – why not colourise The Invasion? Although the U.N.I.T. era has its root in much earlier stories – The War Machines, The Faceless Ones and The Web of Fear being the obvious instances – there is no doubt that The Invasion was the building block for Season 7 and the creation of the U.N.I.T. family, and has a better claim than any other story from the first six seasons for continuity with the Pertwee era. While the Black & White version must of course remain to be enjoyed ‘as is’, I realised to my surprise that I actually wanted to watch The Invasion in colour – I have joined the lunatic ranks of Doctor Who fans begging the BBC to take my money! But I think that this story has the potential to be awesome in colour, and act as a wonderful bridge between Seasons 6 and 7. Of course, if they wanted to do the same for the other three serials I have mentioned, I would have no objections either!
There are of course two important caveats to this request:
1. It has to be done well to be worth the investment. Otherwise you end up resenting a poorly executed product and contrasting it unfavourably to the original, rather than appreciating a new expression of a classic story. In practice, that probably means improving the colourisation standards on stories such as The Ambassadors of Death or The Mind of Evil first before taking on a story that was never even filmed in colour to begin with.
2. The BBC need to find or animate the currently missing episodes first. I think I speak for all fans when we say that we want to be able to watch all of the classic episodes in some format before they go changing the ones we’ve already got!