Huzzah! (More people should say huzzah, it’s so cool) There were 106 Doctor Who episodes missing before this week. Now there are only 97.
“Missing? How can they be missing?” I hear you ask. Well back in the day tapes were expensive and archive space was small and the Beeb figured no one would want to watch old Doctor Who again so they filmed over them. Turns out that was kinda the worst decision anyone has ever made.
But over the years episodes have shown up here and there, mainly due to foreign TV companies losing these tapes in their archives. In 1992 for example the whole of Tomb of the Cybermen was returned from Hong Kong which I’m pretty grateful because I love that one…
In December 2011 the BBC announced that Episode 3 of Galaxy 4 and Episode 2 of the Underwater Menace had been found, which surprised a lot of people. And people were happy and they were released as extras on DVDs and then we all moved on, with the slightly depressing thought that this was maybe the last episodes we’d ever have returned.
But that is not the case! On Thursday it was announced that 9 episodes had been returned! 9! And it wasn’t just 9 random episodes from a few different stories, but one complete story and one just about complete story! This is cause for jubilation! And I know I was pretty chuffed.
The two stories were both Troughton stories, The Enemy of the World being the complete one, and Web of Fear being the just about complete one. This is awesome because of the first two Doctor’s who were the only ones affected by missing episodes Troughton is the one with the most missing.
Enemy of the World is an interesting story with the Doctor facing off against a villain who look just like him.And Web of Fear features the Doctor against the Great Intelligence (Who appeared again in the last Christmas special) and the Yetis. This episode is also pretty important because it is the first appearance of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, who would go on later to become Brigadier and the head of UNIT.
So this is great, new episodes to enjoy! But wait, what’s that BBC? You’re only releasing them on iTunes for now?
They will be released on DVD fortunately, but at the moment they can only be bought on iTunes. Now I don’t have a iPhone, iPad or iPod and I don’t want to watch them on the computer. So I’m in a bit of a fix… To be honest enough has been said about this over the past few days so I’m not going to go into it too much, but if you are interested in this go over and read Christian Cawley’s article on Kasterborous.
But what of these other 97 missing episodes you are no doubt pondering? What about this large chunk missing of this amazing universe. Well, all hope is not lost. We have audio recordings from every single episode, so we can listen to them (But believe me it’s not easy to follow along unless you sit in a dark room and just concentrate). We also have tele-snaps which are photos taken from the broadcast image, taking these and the very few clips we have episodes have been recreated officially and unofficially. Also the BBC have been animating some missing episodes for inclusion on the DVDs, which is pretty cool to be honest.
So all in all this has been a good week for Who fans. I still find it hard to believe that there was still some episodes out there. And that all those were found on this of all years. But still, 97 is a big number…