Set in the frozen Antarctic, The Tenth Planet is not only the First Doctor’s Regeneration story but the making of Doctor Who history.
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If your curiosity was piqued by David Bradley‘s appearance as the original Doctor in the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special, then this ties things together. When we see the First Doctor in the opening scenes of Twice Upon A Time, it’s taking place in the Doctor’s last moments near the end of The Tenth Planet as he returns to the Tardis to Regenerate.
The Tenth Planet
The Tardis lands at a South Pole space tracking station in December 1986 (still some 20 years in the future of it’s broadcast date). When a routine space mission goes wrong and a new planet (Mondas) appears in the sky it becomes a battle to save the world and it’s inhabitants from the invading Cybermen. One that turns out to be the final battle for William Hartnell‘s Doctor.
The First Doctor’s final story was originally broadcast over 4 episodes. Unfortunately the final part is also one of the infamous Doctor Who ‘missing’ episodes from the BBC Archive. Only the Regeneration sequence, a handful of short scenes and the audio currently remains intact. Consequently the missing parts of the final episode have been painstakingly reconstructed in animated format for this DVD.
The Tenth Planet is a milestone in the history of Doctor Who. It introduces the ingenious concept of Regeneration (though it wasn’t known as that immediately), allowing for the lead actor to be legitimately replaced on screen as a bonafide part of the story’s plot.
The Doctor is dead. Long live the Doctor.