Doctor Who fans rejoice, for the next animated missing story is now on its way! Since 2006, Producers of Doctor Who DVDs have been releasing partly or entirely missing classic Doctor Who stories with new animated episodes! The latest in this line is the William Hartnell story Galaxy 4, where the Doctor and companions Vicki & Steven face off against the Drahvins and the Dalek knock-offs; The Chumbleys.
Between 1967 and 1978 the BBC would routinely delete archived programmes in order to make space for new shows to be recorded. As a result of this cull, 97 of 253 episodes from Doctor Who‘s first 6 years are currently missing, all of them Black-and-White stories starring either William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton as the 1st and 2nd Doctor respectively.
However, whilst many episodes are still missing their original footage, all audio from the stories has thankfully been saved over the years, allowing companies to animate new footage that matches the original audio. This started in 2006 with the partly animated release of The Invasion. Since then, we have annually received new animated classic episodes, the past few all being Patrick Troughton stories; The Macra Terror, The Faceless Ones, and Fury from the Deep.
Now we are finally back adventuring with the 1st Doctor, in a story that many fans have wanted to see fully completed for years. Galaxy 4 was previously available to watch through a combination of existing footage and tele snaps on the special features of the Special Edition release of The Aztecs.
Now the entire story is receiving a complete animated overhaul, which will available to watch both in Black and White and in colour! Galaxy 4 was the 1st serial of Doctor Who’s 3rd season and originally aired in 4 weekly episodes from 11th September to 2nd October 1965. The animation may be new, but as always the audio is still the original 1965 recordings, meaning the late Hartnell can reach audiences again in a whole new way!
We already have a preview of the artwork that’s going to be used for the DVD release! The story will be available to purchase both in-store and online in DVD, Blu-ray, and Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook on 15th November. There will also be a special screening of the 4 episodes at the BFI Southbank on 7th November!
Joining Hartnell as the Doctor are Maureen O’Brien and Peter Purves as companions Vicki and Steven respectively. The story centers around the TARDIS landing on a planet drifting too close to 3 suns, facing imminent destruction. To make matters worse, the Doctor and co. get caught in the middle of a war between the race of warrior women known as Drahvins, the reptilian Rills, and their adorable robot teapots known as Chumbleys.
Bless the Chumbleys, they were designed as a potential competitor to the Daleks, but seeing as they’ve never appeared in another story since Galaxy 4, it’s not hard to guess why they never reached the same success. Still, we love them all the same, and they have gone on record as 12th Doctor actor Peter Capaldi’s favourite monster (though he may have been joking).
The Drahvins want to steal the Rill spaceship to escape the planet’s death throes, and enlist the Doctor’s help, which is forced to give when Maaga, the cunning Drahvin leader, keeps first Vicki and then later Steven as her hostage. Even though the Doctor is determined to broke a peace deal between the two sides in this conflict and help everyone escape safely, Maaga doesn’t trust him, or the RillsBBC
The 2-disc DVD release will also include all surviving footage from the original story, as well as tele snap reconstructions of episodes 1, 2, and 4, a making-of documentary and audio commentaries from cast and crew, and more!
After a gap of many years, it is very exciting to bring the era of the First Doctor back into the animation world. Galaxy 4 is one of the most traditional adventures of 1960s Doctor Who and it’s been a real honour to work on this alternative version which hopefully reflects those technicolour thrills that sci-fi movies of the ’60s had but wich Doctor Who’s monochrome TV limitations couldn’t yet achieveGary Russel, Big Finish
Galaxy 4 is now available to pre-order via Amazon ahead of its release on 15th November 2021. Will you be picking up a copy? Let us know in the comments!