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Doctor Who Missing Episodes Found!


As you might expect it's party time at Phil's Death Fortress in Swindon!

Yesterday the BBC confirmed A number of missing Doctor Who episodes had been found. I say confirmed because there's been rumours for months that some material had been recovered. My Doctor Who Blog has recorded some of them at Missing Episodes - History, Returns and Rumours of Returns and More on those Missing Episode Rumours.

A simplified history of the missing episodes: In the late 60s and early 70s the BBC wiped the video tapes used to broadcast the early episodes of Doctor. All that remained were film recordings used to sell the episodes abroad and in many cases these too were destroyed. When fan Ian Levine, a relatively well off record producer, tried to buy episodes from the BBC in the late 70s he was horrified to find that not all of them existed which in turn started a personal quest for him to find as many of the episodes that were missing as possible which others have taken up over the years.

A large number of episodes have been returned to the BBC over the years to the extent that today there are just 106 episodes missing from the archives. Some of those came from individuals who'd "acquired" them: these almost certainly had walked out the door of the BBC, or a foreign broadcaster, instead of being destroyed. In some cases paperwork exists showing that specific film as having been destroyed! A number came from foreign broadcasters who'd bought prints and failed to return them. It's believed that this is the source of these returned episodes.

A search of Africa for missing episodes was known to be underway in 2011. Here's a nice picture of which Doctor Who stories which are missing were sold to Africa: http://pinterest.com/pin/329325791472073081/

And then the rumour machine kicked off big time with reports as diverse as "xxxx has said Power of the Daleks has been returned" and "yyyy says Marco Polo has been returned" (big rumour generators those stories: First Troughton and First Missing Story respectively) Then in June a rumour that NINETY missing episodes, all bar 16 of those not in the archives, had been returned. But the most persistent version of the rumour is that three stories, Marco Polo, Enemy of the World and Web of Fear had been returned.

Let's look at that map again: http://pinterest.com/pin/329325791472073081/ A missing print of Marco Polo was in Ethiopia. Missing Prints of both Web of Fear and Enemy of the World were in Nigeria. So on the DW Missing episode rumour scale this was believable. The most popular rumour *this* week is that 9 episodes have returned: all 5 of the missing episodes of Enemy of the World and 4 of the 5 missing episodes of Web of Fear with episode 3 still missing. We *pretty* certain some of the episodes are from this season of Doctor Who because both Deborah Watling and Fraser Hines are going to the press conference tomorrow.

Here's the list of stories with missing episodes:

Marco Polo - all 7 episodes
Reign of Terror - 2 of 6 episodes
The Crusade - 2 of 4 episodes
Galaxy Four - 3 of 4 episodes
Mission to the Unknown - 1 episode
Myth Makers - all 4 episodes
The Dalek Masterplan - 9 of 12 episodes
The Massacre - All 4 episodes
The Celestial Toymaker - 3 of 4 episodes
The Savages - all 4 episodes (This story was filmed near to Royal Holloway)
The Smugglers - all 4 episodes
The Tenth Planet - 1 of 4 episodes
The Power of the Daleks - all 6 episodes
The Highlanders - all 4 episodes
The Underwater Menace - 2 of 4 episodes
The Moonbase - 2 of 4 episodes
The Macra Terror - all 4 episodes
The Faceless Ones - 4 of 6 episodes
The Evil of the Daleks - 6 of 7 episodes
The Abominable Snowmen - 5 of 6 episodes
The Ice Warriors - 2 of 6 episodes
The Enemy of the World - 5 of 6 episodes
The Web of Fear - 5 of 6 episodes
Fury from the Deep - all 6 episodes
The Wheel in Space - 4 of 6 episodes
The Invasion - 2 of 8 episodes
The Space Pirates - 5 of 6 episodes

And here's Phil's top 5 stories he'd like back:

5) The Dalek Masterplan (missing episodes 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 & 12)

The longest Doctor Who story ever. Doctor Who's best monster and director meet for the only time. One of the episodes that exists is blindingly brilliant and I'd loved to see more especially from the first 6 or last two episodes

4) Evil of the Daleks (missing episodes 1 and 3-7)

Daleks. Victorian England. A trip to Skaro, the Dalek Emperor and Dalek Civil War.

3) Power of the Daleks (all 6 episodes missing)

This sounds wonderful: Daleks posing as the servants of humans. You just know it's going to go wrong. And sure enough it does as the Daleks start dishing out exterminations like it's going out of fashion in the last episode

4) The Abominable Snowmen (missing episodes 1 & 3-6)

The first Yeti story: the one we have looks great and wonderfully atmospheric: I'd love to see more

5) The Web of Fear (missing episodes 2-6)

The second Yeti story where, for reasons that I've never been sure about, they're roaming the London Underground system. I want to see this. And, if the rumours are to be believed, I'll be able to this week!

1 comment

by Mohamed Ansar

Nice post. I'm with you on your choices except I'd take Fury from the Deep over The Abominable Snowmen; it would be nice to see Victoria's departure, sounds like it was very emotional and treated her with dignity, i.e. the anti-Dodo.

Tenth Planet part 4: I'd take it or leave it. We've got the regeneration! ;)

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