This week I finally caught up with the last of William Hartnell's appearances as the first Doctor Who. Of course, he did briefly appear in The Three Doctors years later but this is his last adventure on the show in the central role. In general I enjoy Hartnell in the role but I've always felt that the show didn't come into its own until the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, came along.
As for the story, it is truly odd! Beyond it being the first time that we see the Doctor regenerate it also introduces one of my favorite Doctor Who villains - the Cybermen. That is fantastic all on its own, although this early appearance is really quite strange considering how different they looked just a few years later. Truly, the look of the Cybermen changed quite a lot over time and, in my opinion, got better as those changes went along. The story takes place in 1986 on Earth in an international military station giving the secondary cast the chance to try on various accents - for the most part quite well.
The DVD release of this story is quite good. The final fourth chapter is missing except for the recovered audio track and on this release the full audio is used and the chapter is recreated through animation to give us the chance to see the entire story. I always enjoy these animated reconstructions of missing episodes of the early Who. Even when it's odd and a little dull to see these animated characters run through their often stilted paces it's still fantastic to actually finally be able to see some of these 'lost' stories in a kind of complete form. I can't say The Tenth Planet is one of my favorite Doctor Who stories or even one of my favorite William Hartnell Doctor Who stories but it's not bad. If I can find the novelization that was published in 1976 I think I'll pick it up and read it. The book is apparently based on the original script and so there are some significant differences!