Julia Smith, Doctor Who's second female director, passed away in mid-June. Smith worked on two Who stories -- The Smugglers and The Underwater Menace. She is better known for co-creating the soap operas EastEnders and Eldorado.
What video releases are forthcoming?
In the UK, The War Machines is due up in June (including the missing material newly recovered in Australia which, while not making the story complete, will mean it will be in its fullest form since the Seventies) and The Happiness Patrol in August. A boxed set of the E-Space Trilogy (Full Circle, State Of Decay, and Warriors' Gate) looks to be on tap for October with Timelash to follow in January, Battlefield in March and The Mind Of Evil (in black and white) in May. Colony In Space and Horror Of Fang Rock are also reported to be due up in 1998. Meanwhile, CBS/FOX in North America has scheduled The Sea Devils (two tapes), The Monster Of Peladon (two tapes), Destiny Of The Daleks, The Leisure Hive, Warriors Of The Deep and Paradise Towers for May. On the Australian front, it looks like The Monster Of Peladon and The Hand Of Fear will be coming out in May, with The King's Demon's/The Five Doctors Special Edition due out in July as a boxed set with Doctor Who playing card. The Leisure Hive is set for October and the restored The War Machines is due in January.
What's happening with the deleted videos?
In 1996, BBC Video deleted much of their Doctor Who catalogue after suspending new releases in February. This was to allow current stocks of the videos to run down so that they could be rereleased under a unified appearance. It was believed that this would finally begin in June, when BBC Worldwide is planning a massive relaunch of Doctor Who merchandise. Reports are now circulating, however, that some retailers are already offering select tapes.
Will there ever be any more audio releases from BBC Worldwide?
Yes! With BBC Worldwide's big relaunch of Doctor Who merchandise in June, it seems the Missing Stories Audio Collection will also receive a new lease on life. If successful, these may occur at a rate of one per month. Furthermore, the release of audio tapes of the old Target novelisations will definitely be resumed, with the novelisation of the TV movie read by Paul McGann up for June (ISBN 0 563 38148 5, catalogue number ZBBC 1998), Kinda read by Peter Davison appearing in August, and Vengeance On Varos narrated by Colin Baker slated for November. Audio versions of the original BBC Books Doctor Who novels are also under consideration.
Is it true there will finally be more laser disc releases soon?
Yes. Encore, a laser disc company which also has an outlet in Australia, began releasing Doctor Who laser discs in October. The Ark In Space is now available, with Day Of The Daleks due out on April 21st. Spearhead From Space and Terror Of The Zygons are finally scheduled again (after being postponed numerous times); they're both now on the slate for August. All the laser discs are prices at 21.99 pounds each; there is no word yet on whether these discs will be made available for the North American (NTSC) market.
Has even more lost footage been recovered?
Happily, yes. When ABC in Australia originally aired many Doctor Who stories, the censorship board excised a signficant number of scenes deemed unsuitable for young viewers. These cuts were safely stored on 16mm film, however, and were recently unearthed and returned to the BBC Archives. Particularly gratifying is that The Dominators, previously missing just a few scattered scenes, is now complete. The War Machines, which was previously thought to have similarly benefitted, is actually still missing a few segments. Known recovered material comes from: The Smugglers: 1, 2, 3 (including the scene where Cherub murders the Churchwarden); The War Machines: 3; The Highlanders: 1 (including a hanging scene); The Underwater Menace: 1, 2, 3; The Macra Terror: 2, 3 (including Polly being attacked by the Macra); Fury From The Deep: 2, 4, 5 (including Mr Quill and Mr Oak's attack on Mrs Harris); The Wheel In Space: 4; The Dominators: 4, 5; and black-and-white material from the Pertwee era, including The Ambassadors Of Death: 1 (none of which is new material, however) but reportedly extending at least up to The Mutants. (Note that, contrary to previous reports, no color Pertwee material has been found.)
Separately, it seems Jan Vincent-Rudzki will be returning a five-minute segment of Galaxy 4: 1 to the BBC Archives. Rudzki received the footage as thanks for his help on the Lively Arts: Whose Doctor Who? documentary in 1977. He had long been keeping it out of common circulation to use as trade for any newly-discovered footage (thereby trying to prevent the kind of "hoarding" with which he was consequently accused by many fans), but has apparently relented. This clip, along with other rare footage, may be included as part of a special BBC Video release in the near future. What's going on with the radio plays?
A third radio story, starring Tom Baker, written by Eric Saward and exploring the origins of the Cybermen, was proposed. Latterly, reports suggested that BBC Radio 2 had refused the project. More recent information, on the other hand, indicates that virtually all new proposals for BBC Radio programming have been put on hold until October due to the recent restructuring of the BBC. (In fact, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain has lodged a complaint over the length of this delay.) Indeed, a recent item in the Radio Times hinted that the radio plays were indeed still an ongoing concern. It must noted, though, that Tom Baker has reportedly stated that he would only be interested in doing the radio story if he were to play the Doctor in a totally new manner, as he does not want to simply retread old ground.