Doctor Who saved by audio “pirates”

Friday, 27 June, 2008

This is an amazing story on two levels.

First up, the BBC almost wantonly destroys 108 archived episodes of its classic science fiction production, Doctor Who, from the 1960s.

Why? Because they wanted to create storage space for copies of newer programmes, and obviously didn’t want to find larger facilities to store all their archived productions.

However some of the old Doctor Who shows have now been partially restored, thanks to fans who, way back in the 1960s, used to tape record each episode, meaning audio recordings at least of the old shows remained.

By combining the audio recordings with hand-drawn 2D animations, the “lost” episodes are, one by one, being re-created by dedicated Doctor Who fans.

Garrett Gilchrist is a director and artist based in the US, where he has produced a series of low-budget movies. For the past eight months he has been working on an ambitious project to restore to life an episode of the lost 1967 Patrick Troughton epic, Evil of the Daleks. “The Invasion DVD was such a gift to fans, such a wonderful project,” he says. “The first thought in everyone’s mind was, ‘So, when are you animating the rest of them, then?’ ” Working from a basis of hand-drawn 2D animation, Gilchrist has created a series of artworks of all the main characters needed and has worked them into the animation. “I use a very painstaking method, working very closely from photos,” he says. “Everything has to match the original photo perfectly. I wanted my animations to look like a painting come to life – looking just like the original actors, only with cartoon lines around them.”

Painstakingly amazing.

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