Loose Cannon Production 28
The Space Pirates
"A boy, a girl and a nutcase, you can't be pirates."


Please note that this digital teaser trailer is purely to whet your appetite, recons are ONLY available on VHS quality.

BBC Production Details
Production Code: YY
Original Transmission (UK): Saturday 08th March 1969 -
Saturday 12th April 1969
Season: 6
Number of Episodes: 6
Writers: Robert Holmes
Producer: Peter Bryant
Director: Michael Hart

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as designed by Russ Port

Loose Cannon Production Details
Production Release Date: December 2007
Episode(s) Reconstructed: Episodes 1,3,4,5,6
Source Material: No telesnaps exist for this story
Audio recorded by Richard Landen
  Surviving clips
Other authentic pictures
  CGI (Computer Generated Images)
Pictures from other stories / sources
Specially Created Material
Tape length required: UK / Australia: E180
USA / Canada: T160

Making the Reconstructions:

This article goes into the detail of the source material and methods we used to reconstruct a serial with little visual material.


Bonus Material

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


Celebrity Introduction

Dean's usual networking skills had put us in touch with actor Donald Gee, who had starred as Major Ian Warne in the serial; Donald was very busy at the time and we had to wait over a year but he was happy to provide us with an interview and voiceover and was an interesting guest when we visited him.
Learn more about Donald's work in our Hall of Fame...


Production Featurette

We also include a mini documentary about the making of The Space Pirates, narrated by Donald Gee.


Celebrity Interview

Also included is an interview with actor Donald Gee who shares his memories of his time as an actor.
Learn more about Donald's work in our Hall of Fame...


Celebrity Chat

As a bonus feature we managed to catch a quick chat backstage at the Flight Through Eternity Event with actor George Layton, who also recounted his memories of The Space Pirates and his acting career.
Learn more about George's work in our Hall of Fame...

Special Note:  

Let's be clear about this. The BBC have released a wonderful DVD called "Doctor Who: Lost in Time" which features the surviving episode of this story lovingly restored. There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY we will be issuing copies of these with the recon, nor (whilst we're at it) will we ever make the recon episodes available in any format other than VHS.
Loose Cannon fully support the BBC and suggest you purchase the 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:

Following our recent remake of The Myth Makers we realised that the original version of Space Pirates was looking similarly dated, the original relied very heavily on a few repetitive pictures of the Pirates along with screen caps from Episode 2 and full screen text passages. These pictures are now only used in their correct place in Episode 1 and are supplemented throughout the serial with CGI, the recently discovered Episode 1 film inserts, specially created material, 2D animations and many many composites to create a far more polished and accurate production.

We are very happy with the new version and think it gives a new lease of life to a much maligned story. Donald Gee, who played Major Warne, certainly thought so and spared us an afternoon to film an interview which accompanies the recon.


Far into the future and far out into the black depths of the galaxy, the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe discover the space pioneers of the future, the adventurers and guardians of planets. But lurking also in the emptiness of space is the evil - the evil of the Space Pirates.
These marauders and plunderers of the riches of planets lead the Doctor and his companions into a new, exciting and dangerous adventure...


Review by Matthew Kresal

Whilst I can't say that The Space Pirates is my favorite story by any means, I will say that it makes for one of the Loose Cannon teams finest reconstructions yet. I give a lot of credit to the absolutely fantastic recreations of the serial's incredible model shots which fit in, in my mind at least, are virtually indistinguishable from the surviving model footage. As with many of the other reconstructions it's the little things that make it all work such as images on TV screens and the like which make still images seemingly come alive. Speaking of which, considering the amount of visual material used in the reconstruction I was surprised to read that there actually was very little material surviving and that most of it was newly done composite images! That fact alone should speak volumes to the quality of this reconstruction which proves that, while I might not be a huge fan of the particular story, it is still a fantastic piece of work none the less.


Review by Nick Mellish

I'm one of those rare beasts that actually enjoys 'The Space Pirates', in a sincere way. Not in a 'well, it's an early Robert Holmes piece, so we'll forgive it' way, or a 'it's harmless' way, but in an actively-enjoy-it way. Sure, it's not the best script ever penned, nor is it the quickest, but it's far, far better than its reputation would suggest and I'd rate it above many other stories that normally get greater attention and praise despite their mediocrity.

As for the Loose Cannon reconstruction, the first thing to note is how much of an improvement this new version is over the original reconstruction from way back when: the pictures are clearer, and more varied, and this makes the viewing experience both far easier and far more enjoyable. Stuart Palmer's CGI once again shines, and the various constructed pictures work very well. One especially lovely touch is the use of moving footage merged with still images, which helps to bring the Recon to life.

Overall, this is yet another triumph for Loose Cannon productions; one which I hope will prompt ambivalent fans to discover 'The Space Pirates' for themselves, free themselves of the received wisdom of its lacklustre nature, and make up their own minds.

'The Space Pirates': try it, you might like it.


Review by Chris Longhurst

I really tried to like the Space Pirates - the LC reconstruction is fabulous - clear pictures, great add-ins/model effects and crisp sound. Highly recommended is the 'Making of' feature on the Loose Cannon web site.
But.... the story is still my least favourite Troughton; it is one of the few Doctor Who stories that on original transmission that I gave up on (halfway through episode 2 if I recall all those years ago !). I think it was Milo Clancy's voice and the slow, slow speed of the story that put me off. Since then I have watched the original reconstruction (LC5), listened to the BBC audio twice (if did ease the pain of sitting in a traffic jam on the M25 - slightly) and watched the new recon. and I still find it tough going. A great shame as LC have clearly put a lot of effort into this one.
The extras are great, Donald Gee has some great memories and comes over as a very sincere guy, George Layton looks as if he keeps a picture in the attic - shades of Dorian Gray !!.
Still - give it a try, the quality is a massive improvement on LC5... and it might convince someone that it is actually a story with merit !!


Review by David Burns

Once again, a beautiful job by the Loose Cannon team. A great improvement on the original reconstruction, With nice animated model work and clear pictures. As the credits roll for episode six, I think to myself, "Boy I can't wait to see the next one."
Thank you and keep up the good work.


Review by Rob Hansen

This is by far the sharpest, crispest Loose Cannon recon I've seen, possibly because it's brand new and all the others I've seen have been dubbed from tapes produced years earlier and presumably run through dubbing machines many times since. Anyway, a top notch recon, which I assume drew heavily on the surviving episode. I'd always heard bad things about this story, and having previously only viewed the surviving episode in isolation I had no reason to think better of it, however this recon is a revelation. I found 'Space Pirates' much better than its reputation, which I'm sure owes a lot to the character of Milo Clancey and his prominence in the surviving episode. Taken in the context of the whole story, however, I found him a lot less grating and actually grew quite fond of him by the end. Yes, writer Robert Holmes would go on to pen more highly regarded stories, but this wasn't at all bad.


Review by Brian S Muehl (Toxicspurge)

I found the original LC Recon of The Space Pirates to be wonderful. It was my first experience with this fantastic Robert Holmes script. However, many of the pictures were a bit too blurry to be clear. In addition, the audio was had so much static I had often had difficulty making out the dialogue. I was thus delighted to see the light-year improvements in the second version. The picture quality is AMAZING!! The audio is much, much clearer as well.
This story has so much to offer, it’s heart-warming to see the LC recon do it justice. Some of the special effects the LC team added are incredible! In particular, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how they managed to add moving flames to the candles!!! Thanks a million guys! I finally feel like I’ve actually “seen” this story! I can’t wait for second version of The Savages to be completed! The previews look FANTASTIC!


Review by Trevor Ruppe

I first discovered the Loose Cannon recons by accident, while searching for "Space Pirates" telesnaps. (I later found out, of course, there are none.) For numerous reasons I won't go into here, I have always hoped "Space Pirates" would be found more than any other missing Troughton story, which is why I chose this as my first LC recon.

I was expecting little more than a slide show of still images synched with the audio recordings. (Actually, that's what I expected to accompany the audio-only episodes on the Lost In Time DVDs, rather than the single photograph we were given!) It is not an exaggeration to say I was completely blown away by this production. The amount of work put into the compositing and editing is phenomenal. No offense to the animators of the two episodes on the official DVD of "The Invasion," but I feel more like I've seen the full "Space Pirates" than I have the full "Invasion," especially with all the effort put into adding photo-realistic movement to the scenes (background computers, flickering TV screens, even having characters just walk from one part of the room to the other). Little details like this make a world of difference to the final presentation.

I'm sure this has set a high watermark that earlier recons aren't going to live up to when I get around to seeing them, but my hope is that after LC have done at least one recon of each story, they'll continue to go back and "revamp" the older recons to match the extremely high quality of the revised "Space Pirates."

I definitely encourage everyone who has dismissed "Space Pirates" to view this recon, as it proves this story does not deserve its lowly reputation. When you compare this recon to the single-photo audio episodes and cartoon-animated episodes on the official BBC releases, it's easy to see who is putting forth the most effort toward "preventing lost classics from becoming forgotten ones."

This is truly an accomplishment to be very proud of.

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