Lost Doctor Who episode recreated by Preston university wins award

A 1965 episode of the longest-running sci-fi favourite has been painstakingly recreated by UCLan and has won national acclaim.

By Jessica Hubbard
Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 10:52 am
Marco Simioni plays Marc Cory as he is surrounded by the dreaded Daleks.
Marco Simioni plays Marc Cory as he is surrounded by the dreaded Daleks.

Students, graduates, and staff came together to authentically recreate the missing episode 'Doctor Who: Mission to the Unknown' with sharp attention to detail.

The episode, which was premiered by BBC Studios on the official Doctor Who YouTube channel in October 2019 to mark the anniversary of the episode, received plaudits from The Guardian, Sunday Times Culture Magazine and, of course, Doctor Who Magazine.

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Now the 25-minute episode has been awarded a Special Jury Prize at the Learning on Screen Awards 2020.

The prize is presented to entries which demonstrate outstanding content, production and technical ability.

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Behind the scenes shots of film crews in Preston recreating Doctor Who lost epis...

"They brought a mythical piece of television back to life.”

The cast and crew on set for the recreated episode during 'Sci-fi in a week'.

Created in just five days as part of the 'Sci-fi in a Week’ project, the episode saw four sets built inside UCLan's Media Factory where all the props and costumes were made.

Acting students and graduates took on the roles of various characters while media technology students were involved with lighting, camera, sound and editing.

Professor Andrew Ireland, UCLan pro vice-chancellor for students and teaching, directed and produced the episode after the BBC and the Terry Nation Estate granted special permission - Terry Nation Estate holds the rights to the monsters that appear in the story: the dreaded Daleks.

Professor Ireland said: “Winning the Special Jury Prize is wonderful recognition for everybody involved as they put so much energy, professionalism and talent into this project in such a short amount of time – replicating and learning from the production challenges inherent in 1960s television practice.

Paul Stenton playing Malpha in UCLan's 'Doctor Who: Mission to the Unknown'.

"I’m a Doctor Who fan myself and I know the reaction to the episode was really positive among fans but to also receive this award and acknowledgement is fantastic."

Professor Ireland said the team kept everything 'as close to the original' as they could by recreating exactly everything from props and costumes to the acting style, pace and camera techniques.

"It was filmed to simulate the low-resolution, black and white look of the era and we were able to use the audio from the original recording to inform stage directions, timings, and the mood of the piece,” professor Ireland said.

Nicholas Briggs, the voice of the Daleks since the series returned in 2005, voiced the Daleks for the special episode while Peter Purves, who played the Doctor’s companion in 1965, and original cast-member Edward de Souza visited the set and took part in a Q and A with those involved.

The recreated episode has now been viewed more than 200,000 times.

The lost episode was unusual because none of the regular cast, including The Doctor, played by William Hartnell, appeared.

Originally written as an introduction to the 12-part story 'The Daleks' Master Plan', it featured Edward de Souza as Space Security Agent Marc Cory and his efforts to warn Earth of the Daleks latest plot.

'Mission to the Unknown' is one of a large number of missing Doctor Who episodes but, unlike some that have been returned to the BBC, it is thought it will remain lost forever because it was never sold or distributed overseas.

The Learning on Screen Awards 2020 were hosted by the British Universities and Colleges Film and Video Council.