Source: The Daily Mail
The chances of another recovery of missing Doctor Who episodes has gotten a step closer to being reality. If you can call a British tabloid a step closer to reality, that is. The Daily Mail reports that the Doctor Who serial “Marco Polo” had been recovered by the BBC, just in time for the series’ 50th anniversary on Saturday
According to Daily Mail reporter Halina Watts, the BBC will officially announce in December that “Marco Polo,” a seven episode serial staring William Hartnell as the First Doctor, has been recovered. The serial had been preserved by “a fan” of the series “who enthusiastically recorded the episodes on a cine camera” placed in front of a television screen when it was originally broadcast in early 1964.”
“Marco Polo” was among many Doctor Who serials that were short-sightedly destroyed by the BBC in the 1960’s and early 1970’s when they were thought to have exhausted their commercial viability. This was before viewing platforms like VCRs and cable became popular with the public. As a result a considerable number of serials starring Hartnell and his successor, Patrick Troughton, have been thought to have been lost forever.
While news of how the serial was preserved sounds far-fetched, as in you shouldn’t hold your breath that it’s the real story, internet chatter about the series recovery (along with that of a larger number episodes) has been floating around since the summer. Rumors surrounding the recoveries of two serials staring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor were confirmed to be true in October when the recoveries of episodes 1-2, and 4-6 of “The Enemy of the World” and episodes 2 and 4-6 of “The Web of Fear” were announced. (The third episode of “Enemy” and the first episode of “Web” were already in the BBC archives. Episode 3 of “The Web of Fear” is still missing.)
“Marco Polo” was the fourth Doctor Who serial broadcast. The serial revolves around the Doctor and his companions meeting the legendary European explorer Marco Polo in China, and foiling an assassination plot against Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan. It's considered to be one of the early landmark serials of Doctor Who's original twenty-six season run on the BBC.
Excluding “Marco Polo,” ninety episodes of Doctor Who are still missing from the BBC archives. Rumors on the internet claim that further recoveries of missing episodes are still to be announced. If so, it should be an interesting time for classic Doctor Who series fans.
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