The lost Doctor Who episode “Mission to the Unknown” has been regenerated! The original 1965 episode might be lost forever, but students at the University of Central Lancashire remade it with the same production values.
The students from the Media Department made it as part of an assignment to learn the experience of TV production. Nicholas Briggs even went to provide the voices of the Daleks. Former cast members Peter Purves and Edward De Souza attended the filming.
A Brief History of The Lost Episodes
There are currently 87 episodes of Doctor Who missing. In the 1960s, the BBC didn’t see value in many of their shows and erased the videotapes for recycling. This was before they realised shows like Doctor Who could be worth tens of millions of pounds. You can bet they’re not making that mistake ever again, not when every new show is a potential franchise.
Mission to the Unknown is one of the Holy Grails of the lost episodes. It’s the only episode without The Doctor, the TARDIS or his companions in it. Producer Verity Lambert made it to give the regular cast an extra week’s holiday. It served as a prelude to The Daleks’ Masterplan, the longest story in the series’ history at 12 parts.
Watch the Recreated Show Here
It’s possibly one of the grimmest, most downbeat episodes of Doctor Who ever written. Terry Nation wrote it as a backdoor pilot for a possible Dalek TV series he wanted to pitch to US networks. He wanted to sell a show about the Space Security Force hunting Daleks. Alas, that never happened.
The episode looks and feels like a show from 1965, apart from the must slicker pacing and camerawork. The crisper picture quality of digital video also looks much better than the original version ever looked.
And in typical Doctor Who tradition, the makers of the episode were completely open in showing exactly how they made it.
This is the beauty of the BBC and Doctor Who’s mission to educate and inform. The BBC has always made the show available as an educational resource. This also a good way to nurture future writers, actors, producers and filmmakers.
And when you think about it, this is the only episode of Doctor Who to come out in 2019.