With the dust not yet having settled on BBC Worldwide’s decision not to include Ian Levine’s animated “reconstruction” of the legendary unfinished Tom Baker story SHADA on the forthcoming DVD release of The Legacy Box set (see our report on the unlicensed animation here), Levine has this week announced his next project. And it’s a doozy.
The Daleks’ Master Plan was a twelve-episode long William Hartnell story that broadcast during the three months spanning Christmas 1965, and due to the fact that it was never sold to the overseas markets, it’s long been held as one of the least likely Doctor Who serials ever to return in full to the BBC (although the entire story was wiped in the 1970s, three of the twelve instalments do in fact now exist in the archives).
The following message this week appeared on Ian Levine’s Facebook profile, even though he must still be reeling at the BBC’s choice not to take him up on his offer (which would have allowed them to use his Shada animation on that story’s DVD release for free):
“Okay this is an important and serious request. Once we finish the current private Doctor Who projects (Yellow Fever, Gallifrey, etc) we are going to properly animate the entire Dalek Master Plan. But I need to find a few serious people who can chip in and help, or it’s not going to happen. The standard will be as good as anything you have ever seen. Please please no public replies, only by private message. It’s in a very worthwhile cause, despite the letdowns over our wonderful Shada. And please remember that one day, eventually, there will be someone different and more receptive at the BBC.”
The message was accompanied by some early character artwork from the proposed animation, which Levine has kindly given us permission to reproduce here (see below).
The trouble is, of course, that such animations are costly (Shada reportedly eating up something in the region of £25,000, most of which came straight out of Levine’s own pocket), and with the powers-that-be at BBC Worldwide currently not minded to use Levine’s projects in their plans for the DVD range, even if The Daleks’ Master Plan does get completed, the chances are, no one will ever get to see it.
Which would be a huge shame. The BBC are highly unlikely to ever embark upon such an ambitious scheme themselves, so the chances of a completed 12-episode story ever surfacing in an official capacity are extremely slim. Indeed, Levine has also had the single-episode prologue to the Dalek story (Mission to the Unknown) animated (our report here), so the release could potentially cover all thirteen instalments – which would include the series’ first ever “Christmas Special”, the 25th December 1965 episode The Feast of Steven.
Nevertheless, Levine’s tenacity and optimism must be applauded. The very idea that projects such as a completed Shada or Daleks’ Master Plan could even exist must give us hope that one day we might be permitted to see them.
And if you can’t wait that long, and have a spare couple of grand lying around the house, you could always advance matters by getting in touch with Levine via Facebook or Twitter and chipping in yourself...
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