Doctor Who official logoCopyright BBC Studios, 2022
Doctor Who official logo Copyright BBC Studios, 2022

BBC Studios have announced the home video release of a brand new animated recreation of the classic Doctor Who story “The Celestial Toymaker,” a 1966 story that pits the Doctor (William Hartnell) and their companions Steven (Peter Purves) and Dodo (Jackie Lane) against the eponymous villain the Toymaker (Michael Gough) — who recently made his onscreen return for the show’s 60th anniversary.

New animation

Cover for The Celestial Toymaker animated recreation on Blu-ray.Copyright BBC Studios, 2024.
Cover for The Celestial Toymaker animated recreation on Blu-ray. Copyright BBC Studios, 2024.


The story sees our heroes abducted by this mysterious being who then pits them against his own agents in various games with their freedom on the line. Famously, the first three episodes in this adventure have been lost while the fourth episode was later found and saved. The only ways for fans to fully enjoy the story was through a novelization, an audio CD reconstruction, or through episode reconstructions using production stills and surviving show audio.

Scene from The Celestial Toymaker featuring the First DoctorCopyright BBC Studios, 2024
Scene from The Celestial Toymaker featuring the First Doctor
Copyright BBC Studios, 2024

Now, fans can enjoy the story in full in animated form in both black and white and color with a whole host of extras such as an introduction by Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor), audio commentaries, a pdf containing camera scripts, and more. Including the reconstructions of the first three original episodes and a newly restored version of episode four.

The Celestial Toymaker Steelbook coverCopyright BBC Studios, 2024
The Celestial Toymaker Steelbook cover
Copyright BBC Studios, 2024

What are missing episodes?

Much of TV and film from the 60s and earlier are lost to time through various reasons. For Doctor Who, this was mostly due to the BBC scrapping episodes of their TV shows to make room for storage. A lot of saved Doctor Who episodes from this era come from copies found in other countries where they were sold for broadcast. The practice of reruns for shows wasn’t generally the norm around this time and home media certainly wasn’t a thing yet.

Scene from The Celestial Toymaker featuring Steven and DodoCopyright BBC Studios, 2024
Scene from The Celestial Toymaker featuring Steven and Dodo
Copyright BBC Studios, 2024

Episodes for the First and Second Doctors — Hartnell and Patrick Troughton respectively — were the primary victims of these practices. Currently around 90+ episodes are missing from the BBC archives. Some of these stories have received animated recreations over time, while there are still a few that have yet to get this treatment. Still, it’s wonderful that there are ways fans can enjoy these adventures in spite of tragedy.

Hopefully one day every missing adventure will be available in animation.

The Celestial Toymaker will release June 10, 2024 and is available to pre-order from Rarewaves and Zavvi, and from Amazon on DVD, Blu-ray and Steelbook and HMV on DVD, Blu-ray and Steelbook.

Are you excited for this new animated outing?

Doctor Who (2023-) is now streaming on Disney+ in the US and globally. You can watch Classic Doctor Who in the U.S. on Britbox as well as Tubi TV. Revival-era Doctor Who (2005-2022) and its spinoffs, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood, are available on MAX. Other modern spinoffs such as CLASS can be bought on Prime Video, and K9 can be streamed on Tubi TV. All of the above, minus K9, are streaming in one place on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Keep up with all of The Beat’s Doctor Who coverage by clicking here.