Source: Doctor Who Online
BBC Worldwide has recovered nine episodes of Doctor Who that had previously been missing from the BBC archives. The episodes, starring Patrick Troughton as The Doctor, are from the fifth season serials “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear.” The two serials have been released for purchase on iTunes. (If Doctor Who fans don't cause iTunes to collapse into a online singularity first throught downloading all at once.)
Like many episodes of Doctor Who in the sixties, the nine episodes were the victim of a BBC policy where video tapes were regularly erased for reuse, and films copies were destroyed after they were returned from international television stations. Before the most recent return, 106 Doctor Who episodes from the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton eras were missing from the BBC archives.
Fortunately, many episodes believed to be lost forever have been recovered since the 1970’s. Many were found to have survived in storerooms and archives around the world which had bought the series for broadcast in the Sixties. The most famous recovery before today was in 1992, when all four episodes of “The Tomb of the Cybermen” were recovered from a network in Hong Kong.
The recovery announced today came from what’s described as “a television relay station in Nigeria” by director of Television International Enterprises Archive Phillip Morris, who
deposited fifty million pounds in an offshore bank account and needs your help to transfer it located the episodes through researching BBC shipment tracking records.
Five episodes of the six-part serial “The Enemy of the World” were recovered. The serial was notable as Patrick Troughton played a dual role as both The Doctor and the villain in the series’ title, would-be world conqueror Salamander. Previously only the third episode of the serial was in the BBC archives, making the serial complete.
The other serial, “The Web of Fear” was also originally a six-parter. It was the second serial to pit The Doctor against The Great Intelligence and its minions, The Yeti. It was also the first serial to feature Col. (later Brigadier) Lethbridge-Stewart. Four episodes of the serial were found in Nigeria, to go along with the serial’s first episode which was already in the BBC archives. Sadly, episode three is still missing. It has been reconstructed via the use of a copy of the existing audio of the serial, and images taken from the episode that were previously known to exist.
The latest episode recovery leaves 97 Doctor Who episodes missing from the BBC archives. This latest recovery gives hope that further episodes are still out there, waiting to be rediscovered. UPS probably has them, and refuses to hand them over to the BBC.
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