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December 7th, 2023 60 comments

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Doctor Who The Celestial Toymaker Animated Steelbook

Available to order from, and other selected retailers.

BBC Studios continues to offer Doctor Who fans the opportunity to extend their collection by announcing the latest release Doctor Who: The Celestial Toymaker on DVD and Blu-Ray. The two-disc set contains the third season story as well as special features. This classic series stars the First Doctor, William Hartnell and companions Peter Purves as Steven Taylor and Jackie Lane as Dodo Chaplet, with Michael Gough as the Toymaker.

Fans of Doctor Who have long lamented the loss of the original 1966 master recordings of all except one of The Celestial Toymaker. BBC Studios have carefully created an animated presentation of this lost classic story using off-air audio recordings of the missing three episodes.

The Celestial Toymaker sees the Doctor and companions separated when they come up against The Toymaker. While the Doctor plays the Trilogic Game, Steven and Dodo are forced to play seemingly childish but ultimately dangerous games with the aim of being reunited and getting back to the TARDIS.

All episodes have been animated in both colour and black and white and include original film elements which have been fully restored.

Special features include:

Disc One

  • Episodes 1-4 – Animation – Black and White
  • Episodes 1-3 – Reconstruction
  • Episode 4 – Original 1966 Episode newly restored
  • New Audio Commentaries

Disc Two

  • Episodes 1-4 – Animation – Colour
  • Making The Animation
  • Doctor Who Escape Room – Team First Doctor
  • Sylvester McCoy Introduction for episode 4 as per the original VHS release
  • Photo Gallery
  • PDF Material including camera scripts

Categorised under: Blu-ray, DVD, Featured



  • D84

    February 19th, 2024 - 10:10am

    With the cover for the “Standard” BluRay leaked on Amazon US – do we think we’ll see the official cover art reveal across all 3 (DVD/BluRay/Steelbook) this Thursday?

    Thought’s on release date?

    End of March may still be plausible at this point?

    • Gordon

      February 19th, 2024 - 1:10pm

      I’d like to think we will get it sometime this week. It can’t be too far away.

  • C

    February 12th, 2024 - 8:44pm

    Expect a delay on this. Apparently only two episodes of this are currently completed. Very worrying. Could also affect the BFI screening, I imagine.

    • Gordon

      February 13th, 2024 - 1:14am

      Haven’t heard of any delays but considering the tight turn around on some of these animations it would not be a surprise if they were currently still working on it. A bit concerning regarding how it will affect the quality of it. Wouldn’t be the first time they worked on it right up to release. Power was pretty much delivered days before release.

    • D84

      February 13th, 2024 - 9:56am

      Oh no that’s not good

      I don’t think we have seen a release date announced on this as yet – this could be why

      I’m sure the finished product will be the best it can be – although I appreciate there are a few that are not a fan of the style

      I’m reserving judgement until I see it

  • Nathan c

    February 12th, 2024 - 8:19pm

    Just a quick question does anyone know how the bfi screenings work is it just 2 episodes they show or all 4 episodes as I’m going to the one In march

    • C

      February 12th, 2024 - 8:43pm

      All four, with interview panels in between, followed by a compilation of VAM after,

  • D84

    February 7th, 2024 - 10:21pm

    Do we think we will see a cover art reveal tomorrow?

    • Gordon

      February 8th, 2024 - 12:40am

      Hope so.

    • SV7

      February 8th, 2024 - 10:30am

      Fingers crossed!

  • D84

    January 16th, 2024 - 9:24am

    Do we have any dates rumoured or confirmed for a BFI screening on this one?

    • Gordon

      January 16th, 2024 - 9:26am

      Nothing confirmed yet

    • Gordon

      January 16th, 2024 - 9:33am

      Looking at dates on the bfi website. There is nothing listed on Saturday 17th of February for nft screen 1 till 6 pm so that’s a possibility. None of march is listed yet.

    • D84

      January 16th, 2024 - 9:46am

      Fair enough thanks for the info Gordon

      17th Feb could be a possibility – this was announced early December so that’s 3 months ish – plausible. Wouldn’t expect this to come out until March at the earliest though.

      I’m sure it will get posted on here about 2 seconds after its confirmed on the BFI site when tickets go up for sale 🙂

    • Gordon

      January 27th, 2024 - 12:25am

      BFI screening just announced for Saturday 2nd march. Looks more and more likely a march release then

    • Anon

      January 27th, 2024 - 12:35am

      Seems a fair assumption Gordon. With church out on the 12th Feb and daleks out 19th of Feb I think we can assume maybe late March for this one.

    • Gordon

      January 27th, 2024 - 3:21am

      It’s supposed to be coming out in the United States on the 26th so unless that changes it will be 4th 11th 18th or 25th.

    • D84

      January 27th, 2024 - 5:48pm

      Excellent news Gordon thanks very much.

      I may be wrong but I think it’s been rare that a story shows at the weekend then is released on the immediate Monday afterwards???

      I would guess at 18th or 25th

      My credit card is going to take a hit with S15 Boxset potentially late Feb plus this Steelbook to come in March

    • Gordon

      January 28th, 2024 - 10:08pm

      The only time I think have done it was abominable snowman which ended up having some people’s copy turn up before the bfi screening.

    • D84

      January 29th, 2024 - 9:18am

      Lol, yes i imagine those copies arrived on doormats Thurs/Fri/Sat

      Mine used to always arrive on the Saturday prior to release day Monday once upon a time (Amazon)
      But they have tightened up on that of late – mine always now usually come on the Monday afternoon

    • Gordon

      January 29th, 2024 - 9:55am

      Well Ive got my copy on order from galaxy 4. They are more expensive but you do get them about half a week early. Based upon how quickly they sent out underwater menace if it was to be released 2 days after the bfi screening I’ll get it 3 days before the screening on wednesday

    • Prof Horner

      January 29th, 2024 - 3:07pm

      I always get my Doctor Who animations from HMV here in Leeds. It’s only the season boxsets I from Amazon.

    • D84

      February 1st, 2024 - 9:55pm

      With S15 now confirmed for 18th March it seems unlikely this will be out the same day.

      25th do we think?

    • Gordon

      February 1st, 2024 - 10:09pm

      Think the 25th is likely

    • D84

      February 1st, 2024 - 10:11pm

      With the time between BFI screening and release on S15 – I can see this drifting into April

      Although Easter weekend throws things into doubt – unlikely to land on Monday 1st April

    • Gordon

      February 2nd, 2024 - 12:10am

      As they work in financial years I expect they will want it out by the end of march. Got to say even if the animation isn’t great I’m looking forward to having another hartnell on the shelf

    • D84

      February 2nd, 2024 - 5:43am

      Oh do they? Fair enough yes I would guess at 25th then

      I am too, it’s another gap closed

    • Bookcollector

      February 2nd, 2024 - 11:37am

      Feel the same way Gordon. The animation isn’t thrilling me but I’ll wait to see it in full. But… if this style is the only viable option for certain stories going forward then fine. Just be nice to have another animation. Would love the smugglers next.

    • D84

      February 2nd, 2024 - 1:21pm

      If there are more animations to come – certainly from the BBC Studio’s team who produced UWM – they must be well into their next project by now.

      UWM has been out a number of months and presumably “finished” some time before that – theoretically they could be 3+ months into their next project – which some of us suspect could be The Smugglers

      Agree on the animation style – from what I have seen on the teaser trailer I’m not an instant fan of this style – but if this is a viable style given budgets ill take it

      From what’s left missing, Wheel in Space and Daleks Masterplan are the ones I’d like to see get made.

      Of course I will buy them all as a devoted fan and to support the range

    • Bookcollector

      February 2nd, 2024 - 2:29pm

      Definitely the smugglers for me along with wheel and actually the myth makers as I love the story and i feel an animation will really help that one live on screen. I’m happy to wait for masterplan even until the end of the animations. Considering its size I think it will be either split into two releases or what about a boxset with three DVD cases, one colour, one black and white and one for the reconstruction. You are looking at at least six discs for it more if they have extras. Personally I’d like mission on it’s own. You could have the uclan version, a new animation and a reconstruction along with the making of the uclan version plus the usual extras as well. You could release mission individually with the understanding that it gives a future team the sets for some kembel scenes and the delegates designs for usage in a masterplan animation.
      I’m just grateful to get any animations and celestial is a good case. It’s not a story I rate. I’m dubious about the animation style. But I’m happy it is being done. I don’t watch the animations for the animation I watch them for the story so even if I don’t like the animation I will probably watch it as the main version. The reconstruction is there so that is great, it’s an option but I do prefer moving images to stills. We have seen so little of the animation so I will reserve judgement on it until I’ve seen it all.

    • Gordon

      February 3rd, 2024 - 12:18am

      The major issue with giving mission its own release is that it’s a 25 minute main feature. Getting people to spend £15 for a dvd or £20 for a blu ray or £30 for a steelbook for a story that length is quite a big ask regardless of how many extras you would put on it.

    • D84

      February 3rd, 2024 - 3:15pm

      Although not exactly related I could see it being done alongside and released with Myth Makers (4pt) to make a 5pt overall

    • Gordon

      February 4th, 2024 - 1:44am

      I suppose it’s possible but I don’t know if the budget would hold 2 stories of animation.

      Btw to respond to your comment about being 3+ months into the next animation it actually could be about 7 as they finished underwater menace in July.

    • SV7

      February 4th, 2024 - 7:45am

      I always thought that Mission would get its own release, but be packaged in a box set with Masterplan. Speaking for myself, I would want Mission to have its own place on my DVD shelf!

    • D84

      February 4th, 2024 - 8:26am

      Thanks Gordon – I was just starting to think …

      1 – IF they are doing another Animation – would they have dived straight into it?or had a small break before work go underway

      2 – How long into that project are they …

      3 – When we may see a teaser trailer, not sure how far into production a trailer usually appears?
      Seems to be only a few months prior to release these days. Some of the earlier animations were around a year weren’t they?

    • Gordon

      February 8th, 2024 - 12:51am

      Oh mission will get its own box as I feel there is enough content to fill a disc but just not sold on its own.

      1. Well previous animations had them go straight into the next animation so I’d like to think so

      2. If they started when they finished menace it would make it the 7 month mark on the next project

      3. Menace was finished a month before it was announced. Not sure how far on toymaker was but i suspect it was near the finish line. Think it all depends on when the best time to announce it.

  • D84

    January 5th, 2024 - 9:26am

    Amazon have updated their listing for the Blu Ray (Non Steelbook) to show a release date of 26th March – which falls on a Tuesday – seems odd?

    But given the short period between announcement and release on UWM (3 months ish) it may be about right?

  • Snowman

    December 24th, 2023 - 11:16am

    I should imagine the picture on the Steelbook will be the TARDIS again. Is there any reason the BBC went with a prominent shot of the TARDIS on these Classic Animated Steelbooks (and not much else). Was anything ever mentioned?

  • Samuel

    December 9th, 2023 - 12:39am


    Your examples of Harris/Saville and what happened to J.Fielding absolutely shouldn’t be included for “compliance reasons”, that’s a matter of distaste and abuses of power.

    My question here, is why not have an alternate version that isn’t the main feature animation, that fully plays the original audio track, with a simple disclaimer on both the discs and media case, explaining the historical context.

    The film Gone with the Wind, the very latest edition from 2020, has now been selling for best part of 3 years at retail, with the main feature film available in it’s original entirety, without censorship – in fact the website link printed on the front cover takes you to this message;

    “Gone with the Wind is a product of its time and depicts racial and ethnic prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.

    To create a more just, equitable, and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history. This picture is presented as it was originally created. We hope watching it opens up discussion about the roots of institutionalized racism that are still prevalent today. To actively dismantle these systems, we encourage using all tools available including close examination of racist themes depicted in this film.

    We invite you to experience the companion content presented here for important information about the historical context of this film.”

    That makes perfect sense to me, as does the many times in Doctor Who’s history where it has presented institutionalized racism with the likes of ‘Human Nature’, ‘Thin Ice’ and ‘Rosa’ – are we now suggesting that those scripted scenes of racism be blurred out / erased? No.

    As I say, the main feature animations themselves do deliberately go off in different directions away from the original script, even changing the ethnicity of some actors etc. – if the main animation wants to erase that word – that’s absolutely okay. The animations are their own thing, they’re well within their right to do so.

    However – I personally feel strongly that if a photo reconstruction is to be made for this Blu Ray – then it should be a bare bones, unaltered restoration of the original sound recording, with the surviving real images of recording – on the basis that a disclaimer is put in, just as big movie studios are already doing with their own classic films – a disclaimer giving clear context of historical accuracy, and presenting the material as it was, un-chopped, allowing us to reflect on how institutionalized racism was back then, and how far we’ve moved on from it. To pretend racism did not exist in the world of film and television, or to give the impression it didn’t exist at all back in the 1960’s, would make me feel uncomfortable.

    I’d rather we could see the show for exactly what it was, and form our own judgments on it. As far as I know, the latest Blu Ray of Series 3 has kept David Tennant’s Doctor praising JK Rowling, regardless of what we all think on that situation.

    • Anomie

      December 9th, 2023 - 10:14am

      First of all, it makes no difference to the story to remove one unimportant and offensive word. Secondly we don’t all feel the same way about Rowling. I love her books and her personal opinions don’t impact on my personal opinions whereas removing a single offensive word that would instantly generate negative headlines for the BBC and doctor who as soon as it was released seems like a sensible thing to do.

    • Gordon

      December 9th, 2023 - 10:20am

      Doctor who is away to have its first full time poc doctor. No chance it’s getting included.
      Not a chance that word is getting through compliance and it being on a recon or not.

      The animations are classified as new productions. They ain’t going to risk a higher age rating for the recon.

      Gone with the wind does not include the n word. It was originally in the script and in the novel but it was removed from the script in 1938 before shooting commenced. The racial aspect is down to its usage of racial stereotypes and the implication that romanticised slavery and made it seem that for poc it was better being a slave than being free.

      There is a big difference between the scripted institutionalised racism in human nature, thin ice and Rosa and what is said in toymaker. In toymaker the word was never in the script. It was an ad lib. In human nature/thin ice/rosa the racism is scripted story points and are challenged. In toymaker the word is said isn’t challenged in any way and the story moves forward. It simply doesn’t add anything to the story and its removal or changing of the word doesn’t change any of the plot.

      As for the comments about jk. Think it’s fine to say good on jk if it’s celebrating her work. You can celebrate her work but at the same time be critical at the terrible things she says. It’s very much a situation where separating the art from the artist is the best course.

      I think the discussion of word has a time and place but I don’t think it’s a dvd/blu ray of a 1966 doctor who story set in a fantasy surrealist world that the story is aimed at a good percentage of extremely young people.

      I do also want to also point out it was seen as an issue far back as 2001 when the soundtrack was released on cd. They had Peter purvis narate over the offending line. Loose cannon also tried its best to mumble the rhyme and make it unlistenable.

      Since November 2021 the BBFC has become far more stricter about its usage. Following new research carried out by the BBFC, it said it was now “highly unlikely” content including the N-word would be classified lower than 12A/12. Another reason why it won’t be included. It also said that older films and tv shows would be classified as pg but considering the recon would technically be a newly produced item it would not be applicable.

      Finally mark ayres commented about it on twitter:
      “It was excised nearly two years ago, when we started on this project. First thing I did. But no timing has been lost. It simply now follows the script, the original performance being ad-libbed”

    • Bookcollector

      December 9th, 2023 - 12:30pm

      Exactly Gordon. It is a very different circumstance for the toymaker story to other works, both doctor who and others. As for j k I too love her books but don’t agree with her about other things. I look at it like this. If I only read or watched things where I agree with the political/social attitudes of the authors/filmmakers/actors then i really would not have a great deal to read or watch! I separate attitudes of authors and others from the work i can enjoy a book from 1905 or 1890 knowing the attitudes are of the time. J K’s attitude is perfectly valid, she is entitled to her opinion even if I disagree with it. Doesn’t stop me enjoying her work.

    • Rex F

      December 9th, 2023 - 1:07pm

      So Mark cut the whole rhyme, rather than tweak the word? I’m surprised at that, bearing in mind it’s now much easier technically to change. I wonder if it’s the same period of silence on the recon? Or if the recon even includes the newly restored sound?

      As for including any uncut version, the short answer is: they’d never include that word on a kid’s programme.

    • Gordon

      December 9th, 2023 - 2:33pm

      Mark said: Much better simply to put it back as scripted, rather than make a meal out of it.

    • Rob

      December 9th, 2023 - 3:03pm

      Why would the part about JK Rowling be edited? A lot of nonsense

    • DPHill

      December 9th, 2023 - 11:09pm

      Agree indeed, although nothing is being edited about JK, and that’s not who or toy maker Rob

    • Bobby Fackrell

      December 18th, 2023 - 12:25pm

      I think a better understanding of ‘woke’ would help many people, it’s actually the fundamental message of the program and always was. For all the unfair criticism Chris Chibnal gets, ‘The Daleks’ is arguably one of the most ‘woke’ Doctor Who stories and that was back in the 60s

      As others have said, it’s a dated rhyme which adds nothing to the plot

      But I’m all for fair debate if someone could make a case for why you would include unnecessary racism in a Doctor Who cartoon then fill your boots

  • BW

    December 8th, 2023 - 9:06pm

    Christ that animation looks ugly.

  • Basil Funkenstein

    December 7th, 2023 - 8:15pm

    I really doubt “The War Games” will be colourised any time soon. The Daleks was a nice one-off but I’d like them to focus on animations and improving the animations before releasing more colourised stories.

    Plus waiting for episodes and stories to be colourised before releasing a specific Season set would be detrimental to the collection not an improvement of it. We already have Season 2 missing 2 episodes, which isn’t a big deal, but if they decide to animate The Crusade in the future maybe they’ll release Special Edition sets with the additional animations/colourised stories added in as well.

    For example if we don’t get “Marco Polo” animated before Season 1, or if the “An Unearthly Child” rights get sorted after the Season 1 set is released, that could have a Special Edition box set, Season 2 could have one, depending on how many stories from this season get animated before its release there’s a likely possibility that it could get a Special Edition release and that’s Season 3, Seasons 4, 5, and 6 are all also possible as well. They might not do it but I think it’s a cool idea to essentially make the collection an actual complete entire archive of Classic Who, (as much as it is possible obviously with missing episodes/stories from this era.)

    I would like them to get the Limited Edition and Standard Edition sets done first giving extra time for animations to be worked on and released on their own in Steelbooks, Blu-Ray, and dvd, and then colourisations of 60’s Who as well to be worked on and released, if they do release more i think they should just pick 1 story from each Season instead of doing every single story from Seasons 1-6. That way once the normal collection is complete the standalone releases would have had enough time to sell on their own in various formats and it would then make sense for them to release Special Edition box sets of the Seasons from 1-6 that warrant one, which could potentially be all 6 of them.

    Maybe they could add something unique to the Special Edition sets that give them an extra quality compared to the Limited and Standard editions. Potentially a lenticular image as the front and back covers, that would be a phenomenal addition that would embellish and boost the wonderful creativity of these sets. They could also add stuff alongside the booklet in the booklet holder inlay such as stickers or magnets or mini posters or art or literally whatever they fancied really.

    I wouldn’t mind paying £10-£20 extra on top of the normal price for a Special Edition set to get Seasons 1-6 in both Limited and Special editions. If they follow that route I think it would be successful, especially with the right timing and marketing strategy. Obviously they’d have to add stuff and make the sets different and unique in some way but if the Limited Edition sets are about £50 now then £70 for a Special Edition set doesn’t sound too bad. They’d have to stick to 2 sets a year because of the expense but Who fans will double-dip if the purchase is warranted and I think having Standard, Limited, and Special editions in the collection is a cosmic idea.

    • Gordon

      December 8th, 2023 - 1:04am

      The animations and colourisations are separate things. Stoping the colourisations does not mean they are going to have to time/money to focus on the animations. The money is spent elsewhere. Potentially something that’s non who related.

      I suspect unlike the animations they won’t wait on any colourisations. Even if war games is say colourised next and broadcast next November they would have to wait till it was finished broadcast released physically and have a gap before being included in season 6 collection. That could be a potentially be a 2 year wait. I doubt they would wait 2 years on a release because of a colourisation as the original episodes are available. Animations yeah wait but colourations nah.

      I just don’t see special editions. It’s something that’s at probably least a decade off and if it happens there probably is going to be the issue of trying to get people for special features that are still around. There is a couple of 60s stories already where there is only 1 or 2 credited cast members left. Toymaker for example only has Peter purvis I believe. Hopefully it doesn’t happen anytime soon but the reality is there will come a day when there will be doctor who stories where none of the credited cast is still alive. What is more likely will be a repackaging to include the newly added material

  • Joe 90

    December 7th, 2023 - 4:46pm

    Does this mean the return of the animated stories?

    Still living in hope of a complete Troughton season as we were so close before funding was pulled.

    • Scotel

      December 7th, 2023 - 4:52pm

      Yes, we already knew this since The Underwater Menace just came out. Two teams working on animations.

    • D84

      December 7th, 2023 - 8:25pm


      There were rumours of Underwater Menace and Smugglers in Jan 2023 then later on Toymaker animation was thrown in

      At the BFI screening for UWM those involved simply said “more to come”

      If smugglers turns out to be a dud and it was Toymaker all along them this would be 2 of 2 rumoured.

      Let’s hope it’s not though and there are more beyond this

  • D84

    December 7th, 2023 - 2:20pm

    Instant Pre Order of the Steelbook

    Have to say i think the animation style will suit this story well – as its very creepy and “off the wall”

    • Samuel

      December 7th, 2023 - 5:13pm

      I’m just happy that we’re going to get the cleaned up audio, and higher resolution telesnaps. For anyone happy with the animation, good for you guys.

      Just couldn’t help but laugh at the nose they’ve put on Steven, while everyone else’s nose and forehead looks… okayish – poor steven. If he sneezed his forehead would explode.

    • D84

      December 8th, 2023 - 9:20am

      I get what you mean Samuel and each to their own

      I’m happy with any / all of the animation styles – i personally feel any animation is an improvement over Audio only or the Telesnaps

      So for me – keep them coming Auntie Beeb please

    • Pythia Louise

      December 8th, 2023 - 2:12pm

      It’ll be interesting to see if they take any audio from The Randolph Tapes. Obviously they’ll blur or change that one line, regardless of the audio source, but it would be nice to hear them use some really great audio for it.

    • Samuel

      December 8th, 2023 - 8:23pm

      The word in question wasn’t removed from the latest 4k release of Dam Busters (the word being the name of the dog) – instead a disclaimer message was inserted at the very beginning of the movie, with a further disclaimer printed on the front of the physical media case itself.

      Since the animations themselves simply don’t abide by a lot of the original scripts / continuity anymore, I don’t see anything wrong with that word being censored on the main animation feature.

      However, I think the Dam Busters style disclaimer message should be put on the non-animation ‘telesnap’ episodes, so as to deliver and present an original bare bones version of a full clean audio sequence.

      I believe a number of Warner Brother’s home media also opens with a disclaimer message about offensive historical language before the film plays – I don’t see anything wrong with just being informed before watching the thing – while just let the animation version get the censored word.

    • Gordon

      December 8th, 2023 - 9:55pm

      If they are cutting bits from extras because of appearances of Harris/saville and stories of actors pinching Janet fielding bottom for “compliance reasons” no chance in hell that word will be anywhere near this release. Mark ayres said a couple of years ago that if it was ever animated it would be an easy fix to alter it to something less offensive

    • Erato

      December 13th, 2023 - 11:50am

      What’s all this about high resolution telesnaps? There aren’t any for Toymaker! They were never commissioned.

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