The Power of the Daleks is not only one of the most popular early Doctor Who stories, it’s one of the most important. It introduced the concept of regeneration to the series, allowing it to continue indefinitely. And….it no longer exists, at least in its complete form.
The six episodes that make up the story originally aired in 1966, when the original Doctor, William Hartnell, left the show and was replaced by Patrick Troughton…and to explain it, they came up with a creative way to pull off the change. Given that, you’d think the BBC would have made sure to archive it, but that’s not how the business was run back then. Videotape was expensive and it was frequently reused for different programs. Much of what we have for early Who exists due to collectors who found pre-VCR ways to capture TV footage, or station affiliates who made copies or forgot to return their reels.
Unfortunately The Power of the Daleks somehow fell through the cracks despite its importance to the mythos. What does exist are the audio, some pictures of the set and a few film clips. That’s why the BBC is gathering all these elements together to create an animated version of it. This version will first appear in theaters on the 50th anniversary of the episode, thanks to Fathom Events.
“Ahead of the premiere on BBC AMERICA, it is a rare treat to be able to bring the lost episode, Power of the Daleks, to life using modern animation techniques. Doctor Who cinema events have been incredibly successful, and this is extraordinary opportunity to allow a new generation of fans the opportunity to experience this classic adventure for the first time,” said Soumya Sriraman, EVP, Franchise and Digital Enterprises, BBC Worldwide North America.
“We’re pleased to continue our long-standing and successful partnership with BBC AMERICA to bring more fantastic Doctor Who content to the big screen,” said Fathom Events Vice President of Programming Kymberli Frueh. “The Whovians are always one of our biggest and most passionate groups of fans at the cinemas.”
If The Power of the Daleks isn’t playing near you, it’ll air on BBC America shortly afterward. The screening takes place November 14, followed by its BBC America premiere on November 19.