Lost in Time - DVD Boxset

The last release of 2004 is 'Lost in Time', a three-DVD boxset containing all eighteen of the so-called 'orphaned episodes' - those that are from stories where 50% or less of the episodes still exist. This boxset sees the first commercial release of 'Day of Armageddon', the second episode of the epic twelve-part adventure 'The Daleks' Master Plan' which was returned to the BBC in January 2004. Both the UK and the US will be getting this boxset in time for Christmas, although the US buyer will have the choice  to buy the contents as a single disc of the William Hartnell episodes and a double disc of the Patrick Troughton episodes as well as in a three-disc boxset.

'Lost in Time' brings together eighteen episodes in total, sixteen of which are from a mixture of original 16mm film recording negative and prints, with the remaining two from 35mm film recording negatives. With the exception of 'The Lion', the badly damaged first episode of 'The Crusade' which was loaned back to the BBC for copying onto video in 1999, all of the transfers are brand-new Spirit telecine transfers from the best surviving materials, which have been meticulously cleaned up and VidFIRE processed. However, 'The Lion' has undergone some additional cleanup to further reduce the severity of the large scratch that runs most of the way through the episode. Click here to view comparison images between the VHS and remastered versions.

In the case of the two stories for which half of the episodes exist - 'The Crusade' and 'The Moonbase' - the audio recordings of the remaining episodes will also be included on the disc.

In addition to the episodes, an extras package including six commentaries, behind the scenes footage, surviving clips from other missing episodes, an extended version of our 1998 documentary 'The Missing Years' and other interesting items has been put together. Amongst these are recently discovered gems such as the BBC1 trail for the first episode of 'The Power of the Daleks' and the film trims from the last episode of 'Fury from the Deep', as well as the full version of Tony Cornell's 8mm colour film taken on set during the filming of that episode.

The full breakdown of the three discs looks like this:-

Disc 1


(Audio Only)

(Special Features)

Disc 2


(Audio Only)

(Special Features)

Disc 3


(Special Features)


Technical Notes

With the exception of 'The Lion', all the episodes went through a similar process of remastering and restoration. All of the films were either the original film recorder camera negatives or the best surviving print, sometimes loaned to us by private collectors. The first stage is a 'one-light' transfer to Digital Betacam videotape using the Spirit telecine. The one-light process involves setting the telecine controls so that the black and white ends of the picture are clear of the clippers but still have a decent dynamic range, then transferring the film roll in one pass to tape. This saves unnecessary wear on the precious film elements and cuts down on the telecine time, which is at least twice as expensive as tape time.

Once the episodes are down on tape, a tape to tape grade and edit is carried out to bring the picture to the correct levels, edit out 'dirty cuts' caused by the film recording process (usually at least one frame was removed on every picture cut) and a light automated dirt, sparkle and grain reduction carried out via DVNR. At this stage, we consider the episodes to be at length and 'locked', so it's then safe to make copies for use in commentary recording, subtitle preparation and sound cleanup.

The episodes are digitally dubbed off to DVCam tape, which is then used as the basis for the audio remastering work. Completed audio is delivered back as either AIFF audio files or DVCam again and  is laid back to the remastered pictures at the end of the process.

The pictures are delivered on Digital Betacam for manual cleanup of the remaining dirt and sparkle and the fixing of more advanced faults such as film recorder off-locks and dropouts in the original videotapes used to make the FR's, then finally they are VidFIRE processed.

Disc 1 Notes

The Crusade: 1 - 'The Lion'   This episode was the only one that did not go through the Spirit transfer process. As the print was very badly damaged, it was considered best to use the transfer we had done on the wetgate telecine in 1999 as the basis for further work - see the article here. The 1999 tape was regraded for better consistency and more dirty cuts removed than previously. General deblobbing and further scratch removal was carried out. We attempted to improve the worst aspects of the major damage, but due to severity and lack of time, the results are still far from perfect. End credits were not replaced. Because of the obvious film damage still remaining, we considered that VidFIRE processing would be pointless, so it has been left as film.

The Crusade: 3 - 'The Wheel of Fortune'  - This episode was sourced from the original 16mm FR negative. Two noticeable phosphor burn marks on the FR screen were rotoscoped out. The film insert of Ian in the desert were out of phase and showing severe physical damage (heavy tramline scratching)  but were improved as much as possible. Several minor off-locks repaired. End credits not remade due to duration of Barbara's face and lack of time to achieve seamless result.

The Daleks' Master Plan: 2 - 'Day of Armageddon'   - Sourced from the 16mm print returned in January 2004. Generally reasonable quality - quite sharp, but also grainy. Four  tramline scratches throughout episode of fluctuating severity were rotoscoped out where possible. Film sequences reinstated from the original 35mm camera negatives. Credits remade.

The Daleks' Master Plan: 5 - 'Counter Plot'  - Sourced from the 16mm print found in the eighties.   One off-lock repaired. Credits remade.

The Daleks' Master Plan: 10 - 'Escape Switch' - Sourced from the 16mm print found in the eighties. Three phosphor burns on FR screen left due to time restraints. Credits remade.

Remade caption for The Celestial Toymaker:4The Celestial Toymaker: 4 - 'The Final Test'   - This was taken from the print returned by the ABC in the eighties. Three major and two minor off-locks repaired. Comparison of off-air audio confirmed that a frame either side of the worst off-lock had been removed from the print, so these were restored by motion-estimating new frames using Twixtor.  A camera shadow on the robot's face at one point was painted out, but this could have been better with more time! Arbitrary duration of five seconds decided on for re-instated 'Next episode' caption, which was missing from the existing print. According to all the existing paperwork, the next episode caption read 'Holiday for the Doctor', rather than 'A Holiday for the Doctor' (which appears on-screen in the next episode). It was decided to go with the paperwork in this case. Only one clean frame survives for the background before the cut to the actor credits so a clean background plate had to be rotoscoped from the frames with credits overlaid. This then had to have motion added to bridge the gap and finally grain was added to match the film stock, with the caption added over.

Extras - New transfers of the film sequences for 'The Daleks' Master Plan'. All the other clips were from a variety of sources - the Australian censor cuts, clips from episodes of 'Blue Peter' etc. The location footage for 'The Smugglers' was a transfer done a few years back from the 16mm film print shot by the owner of the farm used as the location. The 8mm off-screen footage, shot during the ABC transmissions in the seventies, was courtesy of Jan Vincent Rudzki and had been transferred back in 1998 when we were working on 'The Missing Years'. The William Russell introductions were originally part of the VHS release of 'The Crusade' and can be seen if the 'Play All' option is selected on disc 1.


Disc 2 Notes

The Underwater Menace: 3 - Sourced from the BBC print. It was not possible to produce satisfactory "clean" background of Zaroff for remade credits in time, but original credits on FR are very indistinct -  therefore the old credits were dissolved into remade ones with the fade to black.

The Moonbase: 2 - Sourced from the BBC print. End credits remade. No other notable problems.

The Moonbase: 4 - Sourced from Ian Levine's print. End credits remade. This better quality print was missing the 'Next Week' caption, so this was reinstated using the BBC print as template.

The Faceless Ones: 1 + 3 - 'Reign of Terror' VHS boxset versions re-used - see that article for more information.

The Evil of the Daleks: 2 - transferred from Gordon Hendry's print. Black tramline scratch throughout episode (about 1/4 way from left of screen) removed where most visible, but still occasionally visible due to time constraints.

Extras - All general clips sourced as per Disc 1. The trail for 'The Power of the Daleks' was discovered at Windmill Road by Andrew Martin in 2003. It was recorded by accident at the beginning of a film recording of the programme that it preceded. Unfortunately the film recorder was stopped and then restarted part-way through the trail, so it is not complete. However, Mark Ayres was able to get some more dialogue out of the recording and the video was cleaned up and repaired as much as possible. 'The Last Dalek' was a film shot by Tony Cornell during the Ealing studio filming for the story and is accompanied by a commentary from Visual Effects designers Michealjohn Harris and Peter Day (previously used on 'The Seeds of Death' DVD).


Disc 3 Notes

The Abominable Snowmen:2 showing emulsion damageThe Abominable Snowmen: 2 - Transfer of the best print. Film sequences reinstated from the original 16mm camera negatives. Large tramline scratch throughout episode (fortunately only significant for studio scenes) with intermittent severe emulsion damage. These were rotoscoped out where possible. The previous VHS version had been heavily zoomed in, presumably to hide the scratch. Credits remade.

The Enemy of the World: 3 - Sourced from the original FR negative. Four off-locks fixed. Many dirty frames at shot changes repaired by retiming the incoming or outgoing shot. The 1967 videotape must have been in very poor condition (see the article on 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' for similar problems) as this episode had huge amounts of dropout despite being otherwise very good.

The Web of Fear: 1 - Re-used from the 'Reign of Terror' boxset

The Wheel in Space: 3 - Sourced from David Stead's print. Clean titles dissolved into superimposed sequence with Wheel model as no clean footage of the Wheel exists in the correct duration. Credits remade.

The Wheel in Space: 6 - Sourced from the original 35mm FR negative and 35mm magnetic soundtrack. Titles replaced as above. Jump cut where the Doctor, Leo and Tanya are looking for Jarvis on the monitor "smoothed". Credits remade. (during which it was discovered that the clip of 'The Evil of the Daleks'" comes from the end of episode one rather than the start of episode two,  as there are three extra frames of Kennedy at the start of the shot).

The Space Pirates: 2 - Sourced from the original 35mm FR negative and 35mm magnetic soundtrack. Film inserts reinstated. One missing frame on the FR restored (during first scene with Milo on the LIZ 79).

Extras - All general clips sourced as per Disc 1, with additional censor clips from the New Zealand find. The location film for 'The Abominable Snowmen' was transferred in 1993 for use in 'Thirty Years in the TARDIS', but the rights were not able to be given at that time, so it was never used. The 8mm colour film of 'Fury from the Deep' in studio was once again shot by Tony Cornell. The 'Fury from the Deep' trims were discovered by Andrew Martin and are presented here both in their raw form and edited into a package with stills, audio and snippets of Cornell's film to give a flavour of how the attack by the Weed Creature in the final episode might have looked. 'The Space Pirates' clips include newly-discovered sequences from episode one, uncovered accidentally by Ralph Montagu when he was searching for Dad's Army materials, and presented here synced to the original off-air audio. 'The Missing Years' is essentially exactly the same documentary that we produced in 1998, but it has a new section at the end which details the two episodes recovered since then and interviews the New Zealand fans responsible for the recovery of 'The Lion'.

Note for owners of the region 1 set (US / Canada) - there is a fault which causes the picture to judder for a while around ten minutes into 'The Wheel of Fortune' (episode three of 'The Crusade'). This fault is NOT present on either our submitted videotape masters or the region 2 set. It appears to have been introduced downstream of us in either the standards conversion or authoring for the region 1 release.

Copyright Steve Roberts, 10 October 2004