Doctor Who animation director Gary Russell has addressed the looming hiatus for reconstructions of lost stories, following news that BBC America will no longer co-finance these projects.


Earlier this year, it was reported that the loss of funding would mean that no further animated projects would be commissioned – though understands that future productions could yet go ahead if BBC Studios secures another partner.

Since 2006, a number of Doctor Who stories that are either entirely or partially missing from the archives have been recreated with new animated visuals being matched to the existing soundtracks. The work has been completed by a number of different teams, most recently Big Finish Creative.

Speaking at a BFI Southbank screening for the final – for now – release, a new animated version of 1967 story The Abominable Snowmen, the project's co-director Russell said it was "a shame" that no further reconstructions were planned, adding: "From Big Finish's point of view, this is it for us – I'm just very glad that we went out on one of the best Doctor Who stories of all time and we got the chance to animate that."

Doctor Who: Abominable Snowmen
Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen in animated form. Doctor Who/YouTube

Touching on the possibility of future animations, he said: "The Invasion was 2006, there was a long gap, and then there was another little flurry as they did The Tenth Planet and The Reign of Terror and The Moonbase... and then there was a gap, and then there was Power of the Daleks, and then there was [another] gap, and then there's six that we've just done. So these things are cyclic."

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Some of the most recent missing adventures brought back to life using animation include Galaxy 4, The Macra Terror and The Web of Fear. Out of 253 episodes from Doctor Who's first six years, 97 remain missing in their original form, due to the BBC's policy of junking archive programming between 1967 and 1978.

In the same BFI Q&A session, Russell also revealed why character designs were altered for the animated version of The Abominable Snowmen, explaining it would "rectify [a] mistake" made by the original live-action production.

Read more about Doctor Who:

Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen is available now on DVD, on Blu-ray and as a limited edition steelbook.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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