The big news this month is the release of The Macra Terror – a second Doctor story currently missing from the BBC archives. All four parts were wiped to save space back in the 60s, meaning they aren’t available to watch anywhere! Luckily, the audio for the entire adventure was recorded by a fan and with the help of some rare clips and stills, it has been animated for us all to enjoy!
Fast Macra facts
- The serial was first aired in 1967 – the seventh story of the fourth series of Doctor Who.
- The Macra Terror features the second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton and his three companions: Polly – Anneke Wills, Ben – Michael Craze and Jamie – Frazer Hines.
- It was the first story to feature the Doctor’s face in the title sequence.
- The Macra returned to Doctor Who in Gridlock (2007) – 40 years after their original appearance!
- The whole story has been released in animation on DVD, Blu-ray, Steelbook and downloadable in colour and black and white, available from March 25th 2019
Anneke Wills (Polly, companion to the First and Second Doctors) spoke all things Macra and Who at the press launch:
Anneke excitedly revealed details about the original Macra props; ‘They were huge, clunky creatures made of papier-mache. Patrick took one look and said ‘We’re going to have to cover this with Polly’s blood curdling screams!’ She went on to gush about Patrick’s portrayal of the Doctor, saying that she thinks it’s his iconic voice that makes him so distinct, ‘It’s frightfully posh!’ She continued to say that ‘If it hadn’t been Patrick who took over the role of the Doctor, we wouldn’t be sitting here today – we should always be grateful to him.’
‘I felt curious’ was her response when she found out she was being animated. ‘In a way you remove yourself, because it’s not about you.’ She did have one qualm though – the animation team just didn’t manage to get her eye makeup right! ‘I want to take you back to the storyboard and show you how I did my make-up. It was the eye make-up of the time, a false eyelid.’ We totally agree, those wings have to be on point!
Anneke and Frazer both praised the hard work of the team and enjoyed the animation immensely – it was wonderful to hear her speaking so fondly of our favourite show.
The Animation Journey
- The BBC Studios team, headed up by Charles Norton and Paul Hembury (Executive Producer, BBC Studios) decide which missing story will be animated – this depends on time, budget and the detail and scale of the episodes.
- Sound extraordinaire Mark Ayres enhances and cleans up the sound recordings available from the story’s first transmission. This includes slightly adapting the recordings as they can sometimes be muffled or bad quality.
- Artist Martin Geraghty draws each character down to every movement they make. Charles Norton said of the work; “(Martin) Draws every single facial expression, every mouth shape, every eye blink, every frown, every smile – from every single angle for each character.” Phew – that’s a LOT of work!
- They even have a library full of different hand gestures – the Second Doctor takes up alot of room!
- Sun and Moon Studios animate Martin’s drawings to bring them to life, using an animation tool called ‘Toon Boon’
- After months of hard work, everyone’s work comes together to create a fully animated, complete set of episodes for The Macra Terror – ready for fans old and new to enjoy
We were lucky enough to watch episode one of this epic adventure in advance of its release, so what did we think?
The Macra Terror animation is an exciting addition to any Doctor Who fan’s DVD collection, bringing to life a missing part of one of our favourite eras of the show. The team at BBC Studios have done a fantastic job of creating smooth, detailed animation that works brilliantly for the adventure. You can really tell the difference in quality from the last animated story – Power of the Daleks – with the use of new software and a bigger budget as well as more time to produce.
As Doctor Who fans who weren’t alive in 1967, it feels like such a treat to have an insight into a story we once thought we’d never lay eyes on. Episode one is pacy, with a mystery apparent as soon as the team set foot outside the TARDIS and capture an escapee from a colony. Snappy scenes, quick-fire dialogue and plenty of action set the story up against some of our favourite Second Doctor stories. As for the Macra in animation? We’re pretty sure it’s the best they’ve ever looked! Now, when can we see even more Ben and Polly please…