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

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | October 14, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | October 14, 2013 |

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):

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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