This week we’ve been hearing all sorts of rumblings about the BBC discovering a stash of their Classic Doctor Who catalogue, missing since the episodes originally aired almost fifty years ago. First there were rumors, then the discovery was confirmed, and now, nine episodes have been released, completely remastered, for purchase on iTunes.
The nine rediscovered episodes all come from the Second Doctor’s, Patrick Troughton, era and complete the two serials: The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear. Joining Troughton as his companions are Frazer Hines as Jaime and Deborah Watling as Victoria. If you’re familiar with the Second Doctor era these are the same companions traveling with him in the classic, Tomb of the Cybermen, another serial once thought lost yet rediscovered years ago.
If you’re wondering how so many Doctor Who episodes were ever lost – there’s still a total of 97 episodes missing, all from the first six years of the program – it’s because the tapes were often either erased or recorded over. This was long before VHS, Betamax, DVD, or Blu-ray, so no one ever considered the commercial value of a TV program after it aired. Those fools, I know. Over the years some of these lost episodes have been found in foreign BBC offices as it was common for the BBC to send copies of their programs abroad where, thankfully, someone never got the message to dispose of them once they were finished.
This most recent treasure trove was discovered in a television station in Jos, Nigeria by Phillip Morris of Television International Enterprises Archive. Finding lost television programs is kind of his thing, and this is one hell of a find. Whovians couldn’t ask for a better way to celebrate The Doctor’s 50th anniversary than with episodes that, for many, have never been seen before.
Check out these new, snazzy trailers the Beeb released today, but don’t forget to grab a copy of television history from iTunes today!