It didn’t take long for the BBC Enquiry Team to get back on my Monday email asking whether the animation of currently missing Dad’s Army episode A Stripe For Frazer was an indication that more missing episodes of Doctor Who were due to be animated. Their reply reads:
Thanks again Daniel – the PR department are hoping to make further announcements concerning CLASSIC DOCTOR WHO titles later in the year but cannot comment at this precise moment in time. I’m a big fan myself so am keeping fingers crossed!
DVD Enquiry Line
At first glance this seems no different to the non-answers and prevarication we have had thus far, but I am oddly encouraged by the warmth, enthusiasm and expectancy of this reply. It is clear that the range is not yet dead, but not as clear what the BBC plan to do next.
I’ll briefly address the pertinent suggestion that the DVD Enquiry Line team are alluding to the release of existing material in new special editions, or as complete season boxsets. I don’t doubt that the BBC will indeed be planning this if their past form is anything to judge by – witness the many releases of Spearhead from Space in its multi-varied forms. I would say that while they undoubtedly have this in mind, it doesn’t quite seem to quite scan with their evasiveness thus far. So I think the question remains: “What have the BBC got up their sleeves?”
There are 97 gaps to fill (less if you count those already animated), and while the BBC have demonstrated their willingness to animate a lost Dad’s Army episode, they showed remarkable reticence with The Underwater Menace, and distinct taciturnity with regard to future releases. The question begs – why the secrecy? Although we can only speculate in the absence of concrete information, I am inclined to be hopeful rather than pessimistic and disinclined to believe that the absence of a firm rebuttal is simply bad expectations management by the BBC.
My prediction (which is just that – I have no special insights or sources!) is that either new material is in hand, but it is not certain whether it can be used, or that there is a good lead on material but it is not certain that it can be recovered. I would additionally predict that the BBC are warm to the idea of reconstructing the currently missing episodes, and will eventually fill the gaps in the back catalogue … but until they know the extent of Philip Morris’s search, they dare not take the risk of animating a story that may then show up again.
So … we continue to wait. But for the first time in a while, I am actually feeling more hopeful than despondent. Hopeful that maybe, just maybe, we will get to see something new in the next 12 months …