Not all episodes of Doctor Who survive in their original forms; many were lost to the simple economy of having their master tapes wiped for reuse by the BBC. There are a good many of them that exist only in audio transcription form. Audio of many of the missing episodes remains thanks to the diligence of the show’s fans, a number of whom have donated their recordings to the restoration effort.
Unfortunately now the animated restoration process has hit a major snag.
The collaborative project between BBC Studios and BBC America had made much progress towards giving die-hard Whovians a complete library of stories, but that looks as if it might now be cut short.
The Mirror reports that BBC America has pulled its funding from the project, meaning only the one story already in development will be released this year: The Abominable Snowmen (which recently dropped a teaser trailer).
The animated episodes continued until just recently. The latest entries in the series of releases include last year’s The Evil of the Daleks and Galaxy 4, following Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor and William Hartnell’s First Doctor respectively.
In 2020 new titles were headed to BritBox, including two recent animated retellings of lost Doctor Who episodes.
The premium streaming service is a joint venture by the BBC and Channel 4, hosting some of the UK’s most famous TV dramas and comedies, including an archive of classic Doctor Who episodes. Missing from the archives for decades, the classic Doctor Who stories The Faceless Ones and Fury from the Deep are once again available for fans to enjoy with all-new animated visuals.
If BBC America has withdrawn its support of the Doctor Who animated specials, it’s possible that another funder could step in to save the project.
The loss of support is because the BBC license fee that pays for programming will be abolished in 2027 and funding frozen. This happened in an announcement by the British Culture Secretary . The change is made at the direction of the Prime Minister, who is in political trouble, partly over this decision.
The BBC will have to negotiate with the government over an entirely new funding model when the final license fee funding deal expires in 2027 – with potential options including a subscription service, part-privatisation, or direct government funding. The public should prepare for the BBC to provide less high-end drama and sports coverage, pad schedules with cheaper programmes, and potentially close some channels or services altogether. The BBC has already been cutting costs in recent years.
50 episodes of the 97 missing ones have been restored via animation to date. Alternate sources of funding for the restorations are being sought, but there is no clear path forward yet.
David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.