Doctor Who: The Celestial Toymaker Is the Pick of the Week

It seems completely crazy to me now, but for years the BBC did little to no archiving of their television series. Numerous episodes of all kinds are now completely lost. Large chunks of the first few seasons of Doctor Who, one of the most recognizable series in the history of television, no longer exist. The BBC simply taped over or destroyed the master reels. From a historical perspective, it makes sense. Tapes were expensive to store and no one had any idea how long television would last or that anyone, decades later, would be interested in watching those programs. Still, it is a massive loss to our culture.

Buy Doctor Who: The Celestial Toymaker Blu-ray

Luckily, a few smart folks did at least record the audio from some of these shows and there have been various attempts to recreate those old Doctor Who stories with missing reels in a variety of ways. The Celestial Toymaker was the seventh story of the Third Season of the classic series. It features William Hartnell as the Doctor and Peter Perves and Jackie Lane as his companions Steven and Dodo. Michael Gough plays the Toymaker, a celestial being who likes to play deadly games. The first three episodes are missing with only the fourth episode remaining intact. Audio versions of the story have been previously released, but now they have created a completed animated version of the story using the original audio. There is no word yet if the release will include the intact episode in its original form as an extra.

Presumably, this one is coming out now because the Toymaker was recently featured in The Giggle, part of the series 60th anniversary specials. Whatever the reasons, I’m always on board with new Who.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Querelle: Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s final film before his death is a queer fantasy about a sailor on shore leave who finds himself in a strange club where his fantasies can become reality. Or something. The Criterion Collection is giving it their usual wonderful presentation.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire: A sequel to Godzilla vs. Kong whereupon the two monsters stop fighting each other and team up to fight an even greater threat. Looks like stupid fun.

Remembering Gene Wilder: Kino Lorber is releasing this biopic of the late actor which is filled with never-before-seen clips and interviews.

Immaculate: Sydney Sweeney stars in this horror film about a Catholic novice who takes her vows at an Italian convent only to discover that things aren’t as pleasant as they first seem. Also, she’s the new Virgin Mary or something. It is pretty standard Gothic horror stuff until the last 20 minutes or so, but by golly, those last 20 minutes are completely insane in the best possible way.

Battle Kaiju Series #3: Ultraman Vs. Gomora: Mill Creek continues releasing episodes of the cult favorite Ultraman series, this one features all of the episodes in which he battles Gamora.

Mute Witness: Arrow Video does its thing with this 1990s thriller about a (what else?) deaf-mute who accidentally witnesses a snuff film being made. When she tells the police what she saw, she finds herself in trouble with the Russian mafia.

Mat Brewster


  1. Gordon S. Miller on June 10, 2024 at 4:54 pm

    Very surprised they didn’t have this available last year shortly after the special aired

  2. Mat Brewster on June 10, 2024 at 8:37 pm

    I thought about that too. I wonder if there wasn’t some issue that occurred keeping them from being able to get it out in time. That or Davies kept it such a tight secret they didn’t know the Toymaker was going to reappear until it was too late to get it out in time. Or something else. Who knows?

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