The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine reveals that the release of 1967’s story ‘The Underwater Menace’ to DVD has sadly been cancelled.
Episode 3 has already been released in 2004 as a part of the ‘Lost in Time’ set but since the second episode was returned to the BBC in 2011 fans across the world have been excited to see an episode thought lost forever. Anneke Wills, who played companion Polly in the story, confirmed via her Facebook account back in March that an audio commentary and documentary were recorded back in 2013. Even the cover art had been designed as seen in DWM 488. The release had been due at some point during that year but was pushed back until 2014 and subsequently to 2015 before being removed from the release schedule.
It is understood that animation company Qurios, who had provided the animated episodes for ‘The Ice Warriors’ release, was due to create animations for ‘The Underwater Menace’ too. However, the company was liquidated last year and as a result the entire DVD release has been cancelled.
This is a huge disappointment to fans like myself who have not had the fortune of attending one of the few screenings of the episode and as a result remains the only existing episode that I have yet to see. There has been plenty of support from fans imploring BBC Worldwide to release the episode with an online petition gaining over 2,750 signatures submitted in May which has yet to receive an official response. For the story not to be released at all is a huge shame and frankly nonsensical. Effort has already gone into producing a commentary and documentary but that now appears to be money wasted. Whilst I would’ve been pleased to see the animated episodes they were not what would’ve made me buy the DVD. As a fan I was keen to see what is the earliest surviving performance from Patrick Troughton in the lead role.
Hopefully episode 2 of ‘The Underwater Menace’ will be released by the BBC, be that as a DVD release, on iTunes or in some other format but for the time being it appears that, despite what the trailer on ‘The Moonbase’ suggested, it is not going to be coming soon.