Optimism Wins This Time: Nine Lost 'Doctor Who' Episodes Recovered

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | October 14, 2013 | Comments ()


One week ago today, I posted the news that a number of the lost episodes of Doctor Who had been found in Africa. The news was held to some ridicule, both on this site and others, for false alarms had been sounded often in the past regarding such episodes. I acknowledged the uncertainty, but chose to be an optimist with regard to the possibilities of finding intact episodes.

It seems that this time at least, optimism got to shank cynicism right in the kidneys.

Not only has the BBC confirmed the recovery of nine episodes of Doctor Who from those dark lost years of mandatory tape destruction, but they have already finished recovery work and digitization and remasterization. And yes, all nine episodes are already available for purchase on iTunes. This irks me slightly, the dark lining to the silver cloud. Such artifacts should be freely available, the way certain old things belong in museums. We clawed back some lost moments of our past art, lost through the short-sighted zealotry of copyright protection, and what do we do first? Make them available through our closet modern equivalent. These, of all things, should have been uploaded into that indestructible haze of electrons from which nothing can ever be removed.

In any case, here are the trailers for “The Enemy of the World” (which is complete) and “The Web of Fear” (which is still missing one chapter):

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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned

  • Garferty

    It's worth pointing out, to those talking nudge-nudge-wink-wink about "acquiring" these episodes by other means, that it's been strongly suggested the more people buy these episodes *legitimately*, the more it'll be in the BBC's interests to fund the return of missing episodes - so the more, in the long run, we might get back. They don't cost that much, fellas.

  • kali yuga

    Not the greatest episodes, unfortunately. Hopefully someday Marco Polo will be discovered . . .

  • Rod

    Enemy of the World is in fact easily one of Patrick Troughton's best serials, and it is a stand out story from the 2nd Doctor era. People's nostalgia and wishful thinking may color their opinions to favor Web of Fear, which has legitimate classic moments, but Enemy is much more solid and suffers less from hammy overacting and cultural stereotypes. The Welsh private being the biggest offender. I think both stories are amazing serials to have back in the archives. There aren't many better that we could have hoped for. I'm still dreaming of Marco Polo and Evil of the Daleks, personally. Anything from Power, Smugglers and Wheel would be delightful too.

  • TrickyHD

    Ah just got to the Marco Polo episodes, and they are reconstructs (screenshots with voice overs).

  • Rod

    The advantage here is that, if you got the right reconstruction, then you get to see many of the production stills in color, along with colorised telesnaps. So by the time you're done, it feels like you watched the story in color! Amazing job by the recon team.

  • BWeaves

    and The Romans.

  • vic

    The Romans is complete though...or is this satire?

  • BWeaves

    No, it wasn't available last time I checked. I just checked again. It was put on DVD in 2009 which is fairly recent. It's been awhile since I checked.

  • Garferty

    The Romans never went missing. It was complete when I bought the video fifteen years ago, anyway.

  • BWeaves

    Your right. I'm thinking of a different one.

  • TrickyHD

    Yes the four Romans episodes are complete.

  • kali yuga

    Also The Tenth Planet . . . and The Daleks' Master Plan . . .

  • TrickyHD

    Had just "aquired" all the classic episodes 1963-1989, and noticed all the reconstructed episodes. Glad to have these nine original episodes (they are out in the wild). Watched the first meeting of the Daleks (1963) last night, amazing and still watchable today. I do recommend for non-Whovians watching the reboot first, as the Doctor and companions of the original season take a while to get used to (screaming female characters, grouchy Doctor).

  • BWeaves

    The original Doctor is the only one I didn't like, strangely enough. However, the first Dalek episodes are quite amazing. The Daleks are great, but the Thals are quite amusing,too. I wasn't quite sure I bought blond, surfer boys in pants with cutouts as pacifist, itinerant farmers. But they did make a nice contrast to the pepper shaker Daleks with lighted pingpong balls on their heads, so you could tell which one was talking.

  • Rod

    The 1st Doctor develops very quickly from being a grouchy anti-hero into the sort of Doctor we are familiar with. This transition can be seen as early as the Aztecs, but is cemented by The Rescue, where Vicki joins the crew. Here, the Doctor begins to take the a regular role as the protagonist and savior, and by this time the grouchy aspect is balanced superbly with his sense of humor. So, people who judge him on the first few episodes are truly missing out. He and Tom Baker's early era are easily my favorite Doctors.

  • BWeaves

    WHOO-HOO!!!! I LOVE Patrick Troughton's Doctor. He's still my favorite.

    And, yes, I remember watching these when they were broadcast. It'll be fun to finally see them again. I had a crush on Jamie, and the Brig looks so young.

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