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Between 1999 and 2011, a dedicated group of experts and fans attempted to rewrite history by replacing some of the series’ less-convincing effects using digital technology. Their efforts produced mixed results.

After nearly half a century of operation, the BBC’s Visual Effects Department closed in 2003. Given that fact, if you were asked to name the last Doctor Who story on which the department worked, then you might hazard a guess at the likes of Ghost Light or Survival, from the tail-end of the show’s original run in 1989.

Mike Tucker

Actually, just before it closed the department found itself providing brand-new effects for a trio of stories from across the first three decades of Doctor Who’s run – The Dalek Invasion of Earth from 1964, The Ark in Space from 1975, and Earthshock from 1982. This was because these stories were released during the first few years of Doctor Who’s emergence on DVD, and the flexibility of the new medium brought with it the opportunity to watch the stories with some of their visual effects replaced.

Steve Roberts

In the VHS era, Doctor Who fans had just been grateful to get a story in its complete episodic form, rather than as some hacked-down compilation. By the end of the 1990s much more care was being taken with the releases, thanks to the Doctor Who Restoration Team – an unofficial group of fans working within the television industry, whose various forms of expertise ensured Doctor Who stories looked as good as the archive sources allowed.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

Special effects can transport audiences to alien planets, render familiar surroundings unrecognisable and bring terrifying monsters to life. Doctor Who has been at the forefront of such television trickery for more than 50 years. This richly illustrated publication celebrates the series’ greatest effects and meets the people who created them. From the trailblazers of the 1960s to the digital artists of today, here is the story of Doctor Who’s journeys into the impossible.