Any Doctor Who fan worth their salt has probably felt some level of sadness or outrage at the fact that there are, at last count, 108 missing episodes of Doctor Who (and I’m willing to bet that there’s not a writer on this site that isn’t waiting to report the happy discovery of another one).
Which is why it’s good that Wired.com have decided to launch Relic Wranglers, which exists so that fans can co-ordinate search efforts and report on minor discoveries that they’ve made. There’s a place within the site specifically for Doctor Who fans to discuss the missing episodes and such, which can be found here.
Speaking to Wired, Richard Molesworth (a Doctor Who expert and participant of the Doctor Who Restoration Team) asks:
“Are there any more missing episodes awaiting to be recovered, though? Or have we got to the point where every lost episode that was ‘out there’ has now been found?”
I personally hope not, but it is entirely possible. I sleep at night with the thought that a group of time travellers have been dispatched from the future (will have going to have been dispatched, etc) with the sole mission of recovering all the missing episodes before they were wiped and bring them safely back to the present/future. (They could even call themselves the original Time Team!)
Molesworth says that his personal choice, if he could have any episode discovered, would be the first episode of Patrick Troughton’s introduction story, The Power Of The Daleks (elements of which were used in last year’s Victory Of The Daleks and the only story in which a human being is not killed instantly by the Daleks’ extermination beams without being resurrected afterwards). He also advises that the best bet for finding new episodes is to keep an eyestalk out for 16mm film prints for sale.
In my personal opinion, the best way to find them (this is suggested in the article) is by employing location researchers to trawl through archives and getting together a dedicated search effort, a la Victor Kennedy. Failing that, you could do your bit and join Relic Wranglers. I find it inspiring that even though tons of other shows were wiped during the early 60s and 70s, none of them has received nearly as much coverage as Doctor Who’s missing 108 have.