Nine lost Doctor Who episodes discovered
- Bang Showbiz
- 11 October 2013
Nine long-lost episodes of 'Doctor Who' from the Patrick Troughton era in the 1960s have been found at a TV station in Jos, Nigeria, and are now available to view
Nine long-lost episodes of 'Doctor Who' from the 1960s have been found.
The missing serials were discovered in a storeroom in Nigeria by Phillip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archive, who tracked an old shipment of tapes made by the BBC containing episodes of the sci-fi series for foreign transmission.
One of the discovered adventures is the classic story 'The Web of Fear', which was first broadcast as a six-part story in 1968 starring Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor and Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling as companions Jamie McCrimmon and Deborah Watling.
Only episode 1 was in existence in the BBC archive but now instalments 2, 4, 5 and 6 have been unearthed of the story - which features the Time Lord battling the Great Intelligence and iconic monsters the Yeti robots.
The adventure also featured the first appearance of Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, subsequently known as the Brigadier, portrayed by the late Nicholas Courtney.
The other discovered adventure is 'The Enemy of the World', a six-party storyline first aired in December 1967.
The serial also stars Troughton as the Doctor and Hines and Watling as TARDIS travellers Jamie and Victoria.
Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 had been missing from the BBC archives but they were part of the haul found at a TV station in Jos, Nigeria, and now the complete serial can be viewed again.
When Morris saw the cans of film in the store room, he knew immediately he had unearthed something special.
He said: "They were just sitting on a shelf, I can remember seeing a piece of masking tape that said 'Doctor Who' on it and I thought, 'Ooh that's interesting.' I pulled the cans down, read the story code, instantly - of course - recognised what the stories were and realised they were missing from the BBC archive. It was a very pleasing discovery."
Actress Watling, now 65, admits she was "thrilled" when she was told the adventures had been recovered as they are an important part of TV history.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the find in London on Thursday (10.10.13), she said: "When I heard, I couldn't quite believe it ... A lot of my episodes were trashed or recorded over there's only one whole storyline of mine which is 'Tomb of the Cybermen', which is a great story that stands up very well. In a few days it was sort of confirmed and I thought, 'I'm still not going to believe it. I'm not going to raise my hopes after all these years.' And then I got the news from a higher authority and I thought, 'My God I'm going to be back on the screen again.' All these years later I'm going to see some of the work I did as a young 19 year old. It's amazing and I loved watching it ... I'm thrilled, that's all I can say."
Hines is now anticipating more lost Troughton era adventures will be discovered so they can be shown to a new audience over 40 years after they were originally broadcast.
The 69-year-old actor said: "With Patrick it's disappointing that a lot of his stories are missing but this now gives me hope that more stories of Patrick's will come out of the woodwork. It's lovely to see (the episodes)."
In total they were 106 episodes of 'Doctor Who' missing from the BBC archive - 44 episodes starring William Hartnell as the First Doctor and 62 episodes with Troughton in the lead role. That total has now been reduced to 97 with 53 lost Second Doctor episodes.
All the lost episodes were wiped or junked when the rights to repeat them expired because the material was no longer thought to be of interest to the TV audience.
It wasn't until 1978 that the corporation first began to catalogue their archive.
All the recovered episodes will be available to download exclusively from iTunes (iTunes.com/Doctorwho) on October 11.
'The Enemy of the World' will also be available to pre-order exclusively on DVD from BBC Shop from the same day for release on November 22, while 'The Web of Fear' will be available on DVD from early 2014 with the still missing third episode reconstructed with a selection of 37 still images from the episode and the original audio.
The 50th anniversary special of 'Doctor Who', entitled 'The Day of the Doctor' will air on November 23.