Last Friday, the BBC revealed something which many Doctor Who fans never expected to hear. The news that 11 of the previously 106 missing doctor who episodes have been found.
While it would seem absurd now, with Doctor Who being one of the BBC’s flagship shows, many episodes from the first six years of the show are missing. Until 1978, the BBC would destroy rather than archive old programmes and over 250 episodes were wiped. Since then, efforts have meant that over half of the missing episodes have been returned to the BBC and restored through overseas sales and private collectors.
The episodes, which include the complete ‘Enemy of the World’ serial and most episodes from ‘The Web of Fear’ serial, were found in Africa by Philip Morris (Director of Television International Enterprises Archive) after tracking shipping reports.
Both serials feature the second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) alongside his companions James (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling), with this discovery now leaving only 14 incomplete serials from his 3 year reign as the title character. The announcement follows rumours among the Doctor Who community that a large number of episodes had been returned to the BBC. This is the first find since the discovery of the first doctor’s ‘Galaxy Four’ and the second doctor’s ‘Underwater Menace’ was revealed at the BFI’s Missing Believed Wiped event in 2011.
‘Enemy of the World’ and ‘The Web of Fear’ have both been restored and made available on iTunes with a DVD release scheduled later in the year. The release of ‘The Web of Fear’ includes a constructed Episode 3 from the original audio and a collection of pictures.