If there’s one thing the early “Doctor Who” series has plaguing it is that the BBC decided to wipe out 253 of its episodes. While many have been recovered, there are still 97 episodes still missing, meaning there are stories where all of its episodes are missing. One of these stories is “The Power of the Daleks” where all six episodes are missing. Because there is surviving audio, scripts, a few minutes of footage and still frames, the BBC decided to make an animated version of this story and release it on DVD to the delight of fans.
After the events of “The Tenth Planet,” The Doctor has changed into a different person. Ben and Polly don’t believe he’s the real doctor and they are nervous around him. They arrive on a planet where The Doctor witnesses the murder of someone who is an “inspector” and him and co. get taken into the colony. What they find there is a scientist named Lesterson who is trying to open up what appears to be a spacecraft. Inside this craft are the Daleks. On top of that, there is also a rebel group that is trying to sabotage the colony.
The story itself one of the top Daleks story even if we know what the danger will be. While this isn’t the first time The Daleks have tricked other races to help them in their plans (“The Daleks’ Master Plan” was. This is the second) and there would be many more times where this happens, it’s still a great story. The rebellion plot ties into The Daleks being there perfectly, the motivations of each character make sense and the whole thing is great to watch.
Patrick Troughton is a woefully underrated Doctor. He’s funny, has a sharp tongue, full of energy and is a great actor altogether. Not to mention him constantly playing the recorder to annoy Ben is hilarious. It’s a shame that the majority of missing episodes are his.
The only real downside to the story is that some of the minor characters aren’t that interesting or memorable. Their purpose is more like being lackeys to than actual characters even if they have names. This is common in “Doctor Who” though, and the majority of these characters die horribly. Not to mention Polly constantly being kidnapped gets old fast.
While it’s great that the BBC released this story animated (with more hopefully to come,) they could’ve chosen a better animation studio. The animation is horrible. The characters are stiff, move very little and are overall lifeless. Not to mention they have default facial expressions that look goofy (The Doctor’s is him smiling even when he’s in front of a Dalek.) It’s recommended to watch the color version which makes the animation a little watchable whereas the black and white version is horrendous.
There are some interesting bonus features on the DVD. Obviously, there’s a making of and audio commentary, but there’s also animation tests, photo gallery, Dalek voice sessions and surviving footage. Of course, the best parts are the Dalek voice sessions (hilarious) and the surviving footage. While it’s great that these exist, watching the surviving footage just makes you want these episodes to come back.
While the animation is horrible, it’s a great service that the BBC made to the fans to animate this lost gem. It has a great story with an underappreciated doctor and it has The Daleks in it. Hopefully this is a sign that the BBC will release other lost stories on DVD, but obviously, they need to find a better animation studio before they do that.