It’s been seven months since BBC America aired the last new Doctor Who episode, where we found out she had a lot more lives than she thought.
Normally, it’s not a concern because it’s about this time fans start the countdown to the Christmas episode. Instead, people wonder if they’ll ever see another episode due to the coronavirus.
For now, they’ll get an interesting look at a lost episode from 1967, returning as a two-part animated special.
“The Faceless Ones” (aired October 7 and 8) has been missing for decades, due to the BBC getting rid of old episodes. Thanks to combining the audio with new animation, fans old and young enjoyed this story about aliens kidnapping young people at Gatwick Airport.
It may be a longer story than current fans usually see, but in the old days stories unfolded over four to six weeks. Here, the channel showed all six episodes in two big chunks, even cutting out the credits in some of the episodes.
Unlike the previous animated special (“Power of the Daleks”), which was in black and white, this is in color. The character design approximates the real actors in a decent manner. There’s not much facial expression, though. It’s no wonder it was presented as part of the “Comics Couch”, because it did remind some of a motion comic. Still, it was a great chance to see a lost story.
Here’s the trailer:
Now here’s a comparison of a scene from the original with the animated version (from “TheTimelessNerd’s” YouTube Channel):
It’s not exactly a shot-for-shot recreation, but the story still flows well. BBC Video had an animated version of “The Macra Terror“, and it also changed a few scenes from the original version. This is actually an advantage, because it allows them to include special effects the BBC would’ve had a tough time creating in the 1960’s.
This web site also had a chance to compare the original version of episode three (found in the “Lost in Time” DVD set) with the animated version. Even if both are played at exactly the same time, fans will notice a difference. The real version has the Doctor with frost on his face when the aliens try to kill him with freeze gas, but the animated version doesn’t. Some of the scenes are composed differently, and the audio is adjusted to fit the animation. Otherwise, it’s a good recreation. The original episodes are expected to be part of the DVD release later this month.
There’s also some “Easter eggs”. Note the “wanted posters” in the first two minutes of the first episode. There’s also a newspaper that has a story about a threat being defeated in a previous episode, and an airline logo that would not have existed in 1966.
This story is also the swan song for Ben and Polly, who had been the Doctor’s Companions for a year but decide to leave (but don’t have to explain to others where they’ve been). It also featured Pauline Collins as Samantha, a brash girl looking for her brother. The producers had hoped she’d join the show but she declined. She’d go on to many roles, including Queen Victoria in a David Tennant episode, “Tooth and Claw”.
If Collins did stay, imagine her taking on the Daleks and the Yeti. It would have been a different series.
The special also included a promo for a Doctor Who marathon this holiday season leading up to the Christmas special which will feature the Daleks.