Another “lost” story from the early days of Doctor is coming back to us, in animated form, as Doctor Who – The Faceless Ones will be released in 2020.
The Faceless Ones, are a race of body snatching aliens, the Chameleons, who take the form of what ever world they are invading, and the Doctor must figure out what they doing at Gatewick Airport and stop them from taking over the Earth.
Two of the story’s six episodes, the first and the third, still exist complete, but both will be animated in color for the upcoming release.
This will be the first time that animated material will be produced to replace complete existing episodes. The original black and white live action version of episodes 1 & 3 will be included with the DVD’s special features.
The penultimate serial of the show’s 4th season, The Faceless Ones originally aired in the spring of 1967. It also was the last serial to feature companions Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills). who started traveling with the First Doctor (William Hartnell) in The War Machines, the final story of the third season.
One of the great tragedies in the history of broadcasting, was the BBC’s (and other producers) decision to junk thousands of hours of material. At the time the idea of home video was as unimaginable as time travel is today. So due to the lack of storage, hundreds of episodes of Doctor Who’s early year were junked, the master video tapes were wiped to be reused for production, and the film copies, used to sell the show overseas by the marketing department were burnt (As by that point the show had begun to filmed in color, and sales of the black and white era had greatly decreased.
In a case of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing, each department figured it would be alright because the other department would have the episodes.
The Faceless Ones joins The Power of the Daleks and The Macra Terror, also both from the show’s fourth season, in being animated and released on DVD, but fans hopeful that all of the series 97 missing episodes will be animated will probably be disappointed.
Charles Norton, the animation producer/director on the Doctor Who reconstructions suggested that it might not be feasible to restore all 97 missing episodes.
“In the ’60s, particularly the Hartnell era, they used to do historical epics and they were great because the BBC had the resources to do that… you’d have hordes of extras and ornate costumes from the massive BBC costume store. “When you’ve actually got to draw it, particularly on a budget, and you’ve maybe only got a year to do it, it does get a little bit tricky!”
While announced, no date, other than 2020 has been given for the DVD release. It is available for pre-order on Amazon, in the UK