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Missing Doctor Who episode is filmed at UCLan

Paul Stenton playing Malpha

A lost episode of Dr Who has been performed by students and staff at Preston’s university.


Mission to the Unknown is a missing episode of the hit BBC drama.

The episode, from 1965, is unusual as it was the only single episode story in the entire 26-year original series run.

The Doctor at the time was William Hartnell, but he wasn’t included in the episode.

The 25-minute show is one of a large number of missing Dr Who episodes, but Mission of the Unknown was never sold or distributed overseas.

UCLan’s pro vice-chancellor for digital and creative industries Dr Andrew Ireland directed and produced the episode.

The BBC and the Terry Nation Estates, which holds the Rights to the Daleks, gave special permission for the episode to be recorded.

Nicholas Briggs shows a student who to do the voice of the Daleks!

Audio recordings of the episode exist but no original footage has survived.

Dr Ireland said: “I’m a huge Doctor Who fan and this episode in particular has always held an air of mystique for me because it experimented with the notion of the Daleks carrying their own storyline without the Doctor present.”

“We kept it as close to the original as we possibly could, so everything from the props and costumes to the acting style, pace and camera techniques are designed to be very 1960s.

“It was filmed to simulate the low-resolution, black and white look of the era and we’ve been able to use the audio from the original recording to inform stage directions and the mood of the episode.”

See a clip showing the episode being filmed

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Former Doctor’s companion Peter Purves, who was in the show in 1965, and original cast member Edward de Souza, attended half-way through the week to see the filming.

Edward de Souza, who featured in the 1965 lost episode, Dr Who companion Peter Purves and voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs

Peter said: “This is an absolutely wonderful project, even more so as this episode was a one-off introduction to the massive 12 part ‘Dalek Master Plan’.

“I can remember at the time that we (That is me and Bill Hartnell) were a bit miffed not to be included in any way at all, but actually it was a nice week off in the end. I am intrigued to see what has been done and hope it could be a precursor to more reconstructions in the future.”

UCLan graduate Marco Simoni, who is playing Marc Cory in this lost episode, with Edward De Souza, who played the same character back in 1965

The Doctor’s current companion has a UCLan link with Mandip Gill, who is an acting graduate from the university, playing opposite Jodie Whittaker.

Mandip said: “I am really excited to not only see this lost episode finally, but to see what the team has created in just five days of rehearsals and filming. I am very proud of UCLan, it gave me a lot and I am thrilled to see it also give back a lost part of sci-fi history. Who knows where it could end up.”

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Dr Ireland added: “We will give the BBC a copy of the episode and hopefully one day it may become available for people to see. Who knows? To achieve what we have in the time we had is a massive achievement and I want to thank everyone involved for all their efforts.”