The Doctor Who animation range continues… and this time it’s William Hartnell’s turn in Galaxy 4!
BBC Studios have announced that the next animation in their Doctor Who range is due on the 15th of November. And it’s Doctor Who: Galaxy 4 starring William Hartnell as the Doctor! They’ve also revealed the cover artwork alongside a sneak peak of the release’s content. The new animated release will be available online and in store on DVD, Blu-ray and a Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook, available to pre-order now from HMV, Amazon, Zavvi and Rarewaves.
Following the success of the existing animations, Galaxy 4 fills another gap in the Doctor Who library. The story originally aired in four weekly episodes from the 11th of September to the 2nd of October 1965 but the BBC lost it from their archive soon after the programme’s original transmission. However, the third episode, Air Lock, came to light in 2011. Meanwhile, home audio recordings of all the episodes also exist thanks to young fans in the 1960s. This audio has now been used to create a brand new fully animated presentation of the entire classic story.
Meanwhile the original live action Air Lock has been lovingly restored for this release. Five minutes of surviving footage from the otherwise lost first episode, Four Hundred Dawns, has also been restored.. Both feature in a reconstruction of Galaxy 4 presented alongside the animated version. This reconstruction uses the audio and still images to recreate the serial as closely as possible to its first transmission.
Trapped on a dying world with two alien ships, the Doctor will have to decide who to trust if anyone is to escape alive
In Galaxy 4 the Doctor (William Hartnell) and his companions Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) and Steven (Peter Purves) land on a planet on the verge of total annihilation as it drifts too close to the three suns which it orbits. Trapped on the planet with them are the Drahvins, a race of beautiful warrior women, and the deeply alien, reptilian Rills. Both claim the other side initiated the exchange of fire that downed both their ships on the planet. But who should the Doctor trust? And can even the TARDIS free them from the planet’s hold in time?
With only one of the ships repairable, the Drahvins and the Rills may have to choose whether to escape together, or to die together. The Doctor is determined to broker a peace deal between the two sides and help everyone escape safely. But the Drahvins’ leader Maaga doesn’t trust the Rills… or the Doctor.
Gary Russell, Big Finish Creative’s Executive Producer for the 2021 production described it as an honour to bring Galaxy 4 back to life. “After a gap of many years, it is very exciting to bring the era of the First Doctor back into the animation world,” he says, “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 moves of the ’60s had but which Doctor Who’s monochrome TV limitations couldn’t yet achieve.”
The new two disc release of Doctor Who: Galaxy 4 will include
- All four episodes, newly animated in full colour
- All four animated episodes, presented in black and white to match the surviving material
- Remastered surviving live action episode Air Lock
- Remastered surviving clip from Four Hundred Dawns
- Still image reconstructions of episodes Four Hundred Dawns, Trap of Steel and The Exploding Planet
- Audio commentaries
- Making Of documentary
- Finding Galaxy 4 documentary
- Photo gallery
- Production subtitles
A special screening BFI screening of Galaxy 4 will be held at BFI Southbank
BFI Southbank will host a special screening of all four episodes of the newly animated story Galaxy 4 on the 7th of November 2021; tickets go on sale on the 16th of September at 11:30 to BFI Champions and Patrons, at 12:30 to BFI Members and at 16:00 to the general public.
UPDATE: The Official Doctor Who YouTube channel have now released the teaser trailer for Galaxy 4