As a lifelong science fiction fan, I took a surprisingly long time to start watching Doctor Who. I finally started in August 2017, in part because most of the classic episodes are airing on our local RetroTV affiliate, and I can record them on my home-built PVR. I want to share how I am watching the classic part of the series. This post will just address the First and Second Doctors.
The classic series aired from 1963 to 1989, consisting of multi-episode “serials,” before being revived by a TV move in 1996 and a full-fledged continuation of the series in 2005 that is still running.
I started with the very first episode, “An Unearthly Child,” which is the first episode in a serial sometimes known as 100,000 BC, and am now partway through the Second Doctor’s tenure, currently watching The Wheel in Space. Most of the classic series airs on RetroTV, but several stories do not for one of two reasons. I discuss them below and how I have or will see them anyway.
- The serial is a partial or complete victim of BBC wiping.
- [LC] Ten serials have no complete episodes and are reconstructed by a group called Loose Cannon, using audio recordings (which exist for all serials) and any existing photographs or clips. I only discovered these reconstructions after I had started watching the series, so I have not yet gone back and watched the first two. You can find the reconstructions at the links below.
- [BBC] Five serials are partially missing (some episodes survive) and have an official reconstruction from the BBC, sometimes including animated reconstructions of the missing episodes. I rent these through Netflix DVD. Yes, Netflix still rents DVDs! Note that some of these also have Loose Cannon reconstructions. I only discovered these reconstructions after I had started watching the series, so I have not yet gone back and watched the first one.
- The Reign of Terror (Netflix DVD)
- The Tenth Planet is one of the few DVDs not available from Netflix; however, my local library accepted my purchase request for it!
- The Underwater Menace, like The Tenth Planet is not available from Netflix, but my local library accepted my purchase request for it!
- The Web of Fear (Netflix DVD)
- The Invasion (Netflix DVD)
- 11 serials are partially missing and do not have official reconstructions. The the surviving episodes are available on three Lost in Time DVDs; I am watching the surviving episodes on the DVDs and the missing episodes via the Loose Cannon reconstructions.
- Lost in Time: The William Hartnell Years (Netflix DVD) [LIT:H]
- Lost in Time: The Patrick Troughton Years, Disc 1 (Netflix DVD) [LIT:T1]
- Lost in Time: The Patrick Troughton Years, Disc 2 (Netflix DVD) [LIT:T2]
- [NL] Three serials from the first two Doctors are for some reason not licensed for Retro TV. Most of these are also available on Netflix DVD. I think that all of these plus the episodes airing on RetroTV are available online through Britbox or the Britbox Amazon channel.
I am currently partway through the Second Doctor’s tenure; he has suffered the most from the BBC wiping. I am currently watching The Wheel in Space.
The table below lists all the serials featuring the First and Second Doctors. If you are trying to watch all of Classic Doctor Who yourself, you can follow this list. The entries in the “How” column correspond to the codes in square brackets above.
In acse you doing receive Retro TV, I think Britbox has all of the episodes listed below as PVR and NL.
|1.01||An Unearthly Child||PVR|
|1.03||The Edge of Destruction / Inside the Spaceship||PVR|
|1.05||The Keys of Marinus||PVR|
|1.08||The Reign of Terror||BBC|
|2.01||Planet of Giants||PVR|
|2.02||The Dalek Invasion of Earth||BBC (NL)|
|2.05||The Web Planet||PVR|
|2.06||The Crusade||LIT:H + LC|
|2.07||The Space Museum||BBC (NL)|
|2.09||The Time Meddler||PVR|
|3.01||Galaxy 4||LIT:H + LC|
|3.02||“Mission to the Unknown”||LC or Animation|
|3.03||The Myth Makers||LC|
|3.04||The Daleks’ Master Plan||LIT:H + LC|
|3.05||The Massacre of St Bartholemew’s Eve||LC|
|3.07||The Celestial Toymaker||LIT:H + LC|
|3.10||The War Machines||PVR|
|4.02||The Tenth Planet||BBC|
|4.03||The Power of the Daleks||LC|
|4.05||The Underwater Menace||BBC|
|4.06||The Moonbase||LIT:T1 + LC|
|4.07||The Macra Terror||LC|
|4.08||The Faceless Ones||LIT:T1 + LC|
|4.09||The Evil of the Daleks||LIT:T1 + LC|
|5.01||The Tomb of the Cybermen||PVR|
|5.02||The Abominable Snowmen||LIT:T2 + LC|
|5.03||The Ice Warriors||LIT:T2 + LC|
|5.04||The Enemy of the World||BBC (NL)|
|5.05||The Web of Fear||BBC|
|5.06||Fury from the Deep||LC|
|5.07||The Wheel in Space||LIT:T2 + LC|
|6.02||The Mind Robber||PVR|
|6.05||The Seeds of Death||PVR|
|6.06||The Space Pirates||LIT:T2 + LC|
|6.07||The War Games||PVR|