There really hasn’t been a lot on the Doctor Who “Omnirumor” to officially surface past message boards devoted to the British series lately. That was until author Eddie McGuigan posted an article on his website about what his sources have told him about the possible recovery of a horde of long-missing episodes of the classic science fiction series.
For those not keeping up with the story, the “Omnirumor” is the rumored recovery of a large number of early Doctor Who episodes that had been junked, wiped, or otherwise destroyed by the BBC. Thanks to the efforts of persons inside the BBC like former archivist Sue Malden, and fans of the program, a number of episodes thought to have been destroyed and lost forever have been recovered from places as diverse as foreign TV stations to former BBC employees, and more oddball recoveries. The most recent recovery was last year, when nine episodes from the program’s fifth season in 1967 and 1968 featuring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor.
Even with those recoveries, 97 episodes from the series first six seasons still are missing. These feature the first two Doctors, William Hartnell, and include classic serials featuring The Daleks, Cybermen, and last season’s Big Bad, the Great Intelligence.
Eddie McGuigan, author of Face to Face: Interviews Across Time in Space, posted an article on his blog summarizing what his sources have told him about “The Omnirumor.” While giving himself a caveat or two big enough to fly a TARDIS through, McGuigan presented what he his sources have told him (which he claims have provided accurate info on current show in the past). Still, McGuigan is the first person in a while who has followed the story to put crawl out of the message board chatter, and to put his cards on the table.
Among the claims’s McGuigan’s sources are reporting to him:
- The majority of the 97 missing episodes have been recovered. One source was bold enough to claim all but one episode had been recovered. The lost episode being an unidentified episode of the Hartnell serial “The Daleks’ Masteplan. (Speculation on my part: The lost DMP episode would most probably be “The Feast of Steven,” an unofficial Christmas episode that was reportedly never screened outside of the UK.)
- Two sources claim that all episodes featuring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor have been recovered. Even is this is the only part of The Omnirumor is true, this would be a spectacular news for Doctor Who fans, as it would include classic serials such as “The Power of the Daleks” and “The Space Pirates” that are incomplete or totally missing from the BBC archives.
- The oldest completly missing serial, the seven-part Hartnell serial “Marco Polo,” has been completely recovered and restored. This has been rumored for a while, so it’s nothing really new.
- An announcement from the BBC about the recovery of the lost Doctor Who episodes could come around Easter. This is a part of The Omnirumor that has developed over the past month or so, but as mentioned above, McGuigan is the first to be willing to own it outside of the message boards.
These are all, of course, rumors coming from outside the BBC. Why McGuigan would come forward now is unknown, and could generate speculation on its own. Still, one would assume McGuigan would have a lot to lose reputation-wise if he was either incorrect or hoaxing. It does look as though Who fans will have to wait until Easter for to see if any of the Omnirumor is true or not.