The statistics say that Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor, made 120 episodes between 1966 and 1969. Today there are 63 missing.
In the 70's a lot of B&W tv was purged by TV companies with the idea that no one would ever want to see them ever again. (No one in the 1970's foresaw the market for cable tv or home video I guess.)
This has lead to nearly every lost Troughton story gaining a notoreity amongst fans for being a 'classic'.
Of course many of these imagined appraisals are going to be false but the story of Tomb of the Cybermen's recovery is the greatest comeback of any DW story ever.
In late 1991, damaged 16mm film prints of this 4 parter were found in the vaults at Star Television in Hong Kong. Quickly, the films were returned to the UK and cleaned up for a rush release on VHS. In Britain, the video went straight to No.1 on the UK charts. In Brisbane, my local video store reported they had never sold more of any video title (with the single exception of the original Three Tenors video). Tomb of the Cybermen went straight from being the most sought after missing episode to the biggest selling DW video up to that point in time.
Does it live up to the classic status? Many modern viewers complained about some poor visual effects and the repetition of some scenes. But I believe they missed the point. This was meant to be a once a week tv serial, made for peanuts. That made such criticism pointless. The strength of this story lies in the characters and their scheming. The sense in which the group of scientists become both physically trapped in the Tomb complex (when the chamber seal closes and the Cybermen are revived and in control) and they are trapped by, in turn, their ambition or their mistakes is profound. The interplay between the Doctor and his new companion Victoria (in episode 2 particularly), who met the Doctor and had her father killed by the Daleks in the previous episode, is an outstanding, touching, human moment in Doctor Who years ahead of the emotion of the current 2005-7 series.
If this story is difficult to appreciate, I say it is due to its age and its being out of context of the surrounding episodes of the series (The Evil of the Daleks, The Abominable Snowmen). But its significance to fans is unalloyed. This is a Doctor Who classic, no doubt!!!
The story has a chilling excitement summed up by Captain Hopper (the spaceship pilot) who remarks: "I want to get out of here with my skin still fitting tight all over." The key to appreciation is to overlook the visuals and let it feed your imagination.
it's good to revisit these old dr who stories they are quite entertaining in their own right
I am not a Dr. Who buff and have only watched the recent 2005 series but found this to be fairly entertaining.
These old Dr. Who shows are apparently like plays with several cameras rolling so that people flubbing lines and so on get left in.
It has some great special features that describe how it was restored from damaged prints.