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The BBC Makes Their Official Doctor Who Lost Episodes Announcement
by Jill Pantozzi | 11:00 am, October 11th, 2013
As promised, the BBC has released an official statement on those long-lost episodes of Doctor Who recently uncovered. Read on to find out how many, which Doctor(s) they feature, and how you’ll be able to watch them!
Nigeria, Africa yielded 11 master tapes of Doctor Who episodes from the 1960s (nine of which have not been seen for 46 years), according to BBC Worldwide North America. This may be the most exciting geeky discovery ever.
If you’re unfamiliar, the BBC Archive would record over tapes, which is why many thought these episodes were lost forever. According to their press release:
Eleven Doctor Who episodes were discovered (nine of which have not been seen for 46 years) by Philip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archive, by tracking records of tape shipments made by the BBC to Africa for transmission. Morris says, “The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria. I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words ‘Doctor Who’. When I read the story code I realized I’d found something pretty special.”
Ok, ok. Enough with HOW they were found. I want to know WHAT was found.
The first recovered story, The Enemy of the World, is a six-episode tale which first aired on the BBC in December 1967. The story features Patrick Troughton as both the Second Doctor and his antagonist (Ramon Salamander), alongside companions Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling). Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 had previously been missing from the BBC Archives, and were returned by Morris.
Also recovered is the 1968 six-episode story, The Web of Fear. Also starring Patrick Troughton alongside Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling the story introduces Nicholas Courtney for the first time as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (who later returns as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart). Episodes 2-6 were feared lost, but now episodes 2, 4, 5, and 6 have been recovered. With episode 3 still missing, the restoration team has reconstructed this part of the story using a selection of the 37 images that were still available from the episode along with the original audio, which has been restored.
While 27 Doctor Who stories are still missing or incomplete, this is a huge win. And guess what? You don’t have to wait for them to be put on DVD. You can watch them right now. “The BBC has re-mastered the tapes, and is making two stories, The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, now available exclusively on iTunes…Beth Clearfield, SVP, Digital Distribution & Business Development says, ‘For many, this will be their first chance to watch these long-lost Doctor Who stories. We’re thrilled to partner with iTunes in bringing these missing gems back to new and long-time fans after all these years.’”
I think I know a lot of people’s weekend plans.