I hadn’t anticipated that anything in the world of Classic Doctor Who would happen when I disappeared off to an internet blackspot with work. So you can imagine my surprise to discover that the campaign to #savethefishpeople has borne fishy fruit, and led to the announced release of The Underwater Menace on DVD.
I confess that I remain somewhat dubious – as of the time of writing there is no information as to whether the missing episodes 1 and 4 will be animations, telesnap reconstructions, or (worst case scenario) entirely missing – which makes it all the more crazy to consider that you can pre-order the DVD on Amazon for £19.99 without knowing what you will be getting!
So where then are we at? Is this what the BBC were referring to when they said they were doing their best to bring more Classic Doctor Who? I would be disappointed if so, and would remind the BBC of my suggestions for what to do now that the Classic catalogue appears to be completed – I’d like to see The Crusades released in the very least, and see no reason why the entirely catalogue could not be released in some restored form in future.
The elephant in the room however is the omnirumour – it quite simply will not die. The BBC could have nipped this one in the bud by spelling out quite clearly the form that episodes 1 and 4 would be appearing in. They haven’t – and so fandom is filling in the gaps and wondering if the story may even be released in full. Such speculation is hardly new – the same was pondered when The Moonbase was released in 2014, and with the repeated on-off saga of the release of The Underwater Menace. I admit (reluctantly) that I find it hard to imagine that the BBC would have kept the recovery and release of the episodes under wraps without the information leaking out. There’s also the fact that if they do intend to release The Underwater Menace without any missing episodes, it will inevitably lead to more questions.
So in that regard – very little has changed. The speculation won’t stop until we have some sort of definitive statement. But one nevertheless senses that the end is in sight …