Loose Cannon Production 08
The Celestial Toymaker
"We shall play endless games together,
your brain against mine."

BBC Production Details
Production Code: Y
Original Transmission (UK): Saturday 02nd April 1966 -
Saturday 23rd April 1966
Season: 3
Number of Episodes: 4
Writer: Brian Hayles
Producer: Innes Lloyd
Director: Bill Sellars

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Loose Cannon Production Details
Production Release Date: December 1999
Episode(s) Reconstructed: Episodes 1,2,3
Source Material: No telesnaps exist for this story
Audio recorded by David Holman & Richard Landen
  No clips exist for this story
Other authentic pictures
  Composite pictures
Tape length required: UK / Australia: E180
USA / Canada: T120

Bonus Material

As well as the reconstruction we are able to bring you the following goodies…


Celebrity Introduction

Special introduction and reprise by Peter Purves (Steven). Learn more about Peter's work in our Hall of Fame...


Special Note:  

Please be aware that the surviving episode (4) was released on the BBC video "Doctor Who: The Hartnell Years" (UK: BBCV4608, US: BBCV3403). Please purchase this official BBC video release to complement our reconstruction.

Support The BBC Video Releases.


Request a copy here
Please note recons are ONLY available on VHS quality.


Loose Cannon Says:

The Celestial Toymaker is one of the best serials to come out of the Hartnell era. It just doesn't get better than this. Michael Gough's performance as the Toymaker is chilling. The supporting characters appear harmless, however, in reality are quite deadly keeping Steven and Dodo in constant fear for their lives. In some ways this makes Celestial Toymaker a very dark and menacing story.

This reconstruction was made possible by a few dedicated fans whose generosity is most appreciated. It includes dozens of previously unpublished photos, a completely restored audio track, and new special effects never seen in a reconstruction before. No telesnaps exist for this story so the reconstruction is pulled together using screen captures from the surviving episode and a wealth of authentic photos.

The Loose Cannon team was delighted when Peter Purves agreed to film the introduction and reprise for this tape, which was apparently one of his personal favourites.


The TARDIS materialises in a strange domain where the Doctor, Steven and Vicki meet the Toymaker. The Toymaker is the mysterious, immortal entity who rules this fantastic realm. He forces them to play a succession of games in return for their freedom.

The Doctor has to solve the complex trilogic game while Steven and Dodo must win at a series of seemingly child-like but ever more deadly games.

Review by Michael King

Have just had the pleasure of watching your recon of The Celestial Toymaker.

Many thanks for bringing back one of the best stories of the Hartnell era. The clear images and their excellent use, along with the careful use of subtitles to elucidate the more visual elements, brought the plot out perfectly and carried the story on wonderfully. I, for one, hardly noticed I was watching a recon.

More power to you. Thanks again. Michael.

Review by Tony McRitchie (reviewed with Galaxy 4)

The latest tapes were absolutely superb! These must be the best put together so far! Toymaker made excellent use of limited number of pictures by showing different sections of the same shot, but to great effect. As for Galaxy 4, you must have been quite inspired to recreate the Chumblies and scenery. Was that a genuine TARDIS prop or made specially, and who made the Chumblies, again excellent. I was also intrigued to see the Rill ship/camp and I know there are no existing stills so I wondered if this was poetic license or based on actual designs.

Anyway, enough with the questions, and on with the praise. There must have been an awful lot of work gone into these productions and I think, more so Galaxy 4, that its nearer a recreation, than a Reconstruction. All credit to all involved.

I found as I was watching, I was less aware of watching a reconstruction with a slightly disjointed snap shot approach and could have been watching a full motion video as it seemed to flow so smoothly. Peter Purves was very good and gave it a further degree of professionalism.

Review by John Peel (reviewed with Galaxy 4)

I'll admit upfront(for those of you who don't know me)that I'm prejudiced; I *love* the Hartnell era. Perhaps its the innocent inventiveness of the stories, or the brash yet caring Doctor. Maybe its simply that I grew up watching them. For whatever reason, I really enjoy the tales. And Loose Cannon's latest two reconstructions gave me two new reasons to enjoy them.

First, "Galaxy 4". This is one story I missed when it was originally shown, and something I'd seen only in the short existing clip of the Drahvins. I was able to sit through the completed story, and was amazed at what could be done with it. Despite the few existing stills, the reconstruction was fresh and inventive, and I couldn't stick to my plan of watching an episode a day: I devoured the whole thing in a single sitting. Rick, Dean and Derek have reconstructed some of the Chumbley sequences so well that I honestly thought they'd unearthed some behind-the-scenes footage from somewhere.

The only problems are those in the original story. Logic isn't too strong--I can't figure out why the Rills spend so much time trying to break into the TARDIS, for example. And there's lots of interesting material thrown aside--what is a Drahvin society like, for example? They only keep a few men? So is this Lesbian World? Well, they couldn't get into *that* in the sixties!

And on to "The Celestial Toymaker". This is one that I not only watched as a kid, but adored. Of course, the final episode exists in its entirety, but the first three needed to be reconstructed. Using superb skill and imagination, Loose Cannon has done perhaps their best work yet. Or maybe its just that the story holds up so brilliantly. Michael Gough is chilling as the Toymaker; Hartnell is mostly missing, and strangely not missed. For once, Steven and Dodo get center stage and do a wonderful job. The toys themselves vary from menacing to pitiful, but there are always well-rounded characters to enjoy.

And I haven't even mentioned the special bonus -- both stories are introduced by Peter Purves(Steven) himself. He gives a nice account of the background to the tales, and then his personal reactions to seeing them some thirty years later.

All in all, two stories not to be missed. Enjoy the tales, and really enjoy the inventiveness, craft and dedication that Rick Brindell, Dean Rose, and Derek Handley have employed to bring these tales back to life.

John Peel


Review by Kirk Jones

This is the first Loose Cannon Reconstruction that I have viewed. I was totally awestruck. I was in total amazement of the production quality and the ability to make the most out of the little bit that exists on order to create a very enjoyable video. I love the effects that you created to bring the stills to life. I enjoyed watching this as much as any of the BBC videos that I have.

The story itself was much better that I had imagined, having only seen the last episode on "The Hartnell Years" video. That episode had left me feeling that it was a good story, but not as great as many had commented. After seeing the recon, I am convinced that "The Celestial Toymaker" is one of the best Doctor Who stories-period.

Thanks to the team and to Peter Purves for the extra commentary, something that adds so much enjoyment to the video. It is nice to see him support this undertaking. This is the type of thing we as fans appreciate about the Doctor Who stars.

I will definitely be requesting more recons. Thank you some much for taking on this task. It was incredible enjoy a story that I thought I would never be able to see.


Review by Michael Rose

I really enjoyed the reconstruction and especially the introduction by Peter Purvis.The studio photos were excellent and the first episode The Celestial ToyRoom was great and so was the final episode The Final Test. Keep up the good work.


Review by Stuart Palmer

Watching The Celestial Toymaker reminded me of the first time I watched The Daemons; I was mystified, as all the praise that has been heeped on it seems to describe something other than what I watched on the screen. Is there ANOTHER Celestial Toymaker that I've yet to see? Well, maybe not, but I was none-too-partial to what I did see. True, Michael Gough is excellent as the Toymaker, there's some excellent set design, and the basic idea is intriguing, but the much vaunted sinister atmosphere is completely absent, Steven and Dodo take it in turns to be both thick and irritating, the Doctor is hardly in it, and the middle two episodes are interminable. It's like watching party games but not being allowed to join in. Still, we can't all like everything.

Having said that, the team have done an excellent job of making the story live again, no easy task with a story as visual as this one. The pictures are crisp and well executed, the soundtrack equally crisp and easy to understand, the captions clear and succinct, the last episode in excellent condition, and the little bonuses from Peter Purves add a great deal to the package with his easy and professional delivery.

Thank you so much for letting me know for sure that The Celestial Toymaker really isn't my cup of tea.


Review by Adam Bewley

If this is one of the best stories in the Hartnell era then the Hartnell era is terrible (which it isn't). There was virtually no plot and even the (barely) exciting games didn't last long. Episode 2 was alright, I suppose.

The reconstruction, however, worked nicely, especially with using many pictures from Episode 4. I'm glad that this was done early, so that the better stories would get a better reconstruction.

Story: 3/10
Reconstruction: 7/10

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