Doctor Who News The Tenth Planet

Published on June 17th, 2013 | by Philip Bates

Missing Episodes Rumours Reactions

A few days ago, we reported the rumours circulating on that viper’s nest we like to call ‘the internet’ that lost episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s have been found. We weren’t the only ones.


Like a stone being dropped into a pool, the waves Bleeding Cool’s original article created were quite substantial, garnering response from many-a-news site and, of course, on Twitter. But let’s first look back at said wave-inducing stone, in which Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston said:

“What I’ve been hearing, and some of it is attributed to an eccentric engineer who worked for broadcasters across Africa with a taste for science fiction and a habit of taking things for “safe keeping”, is that the BBC have secured a large number of presumed-wiped episodes of early Doctor Who.


And there are lots. Lots and lots. Completed serials that we’ve only had incomplete before, full series that nothing existed of. Not everything. But heaps and heaps. Possibly even The Full Hartnell.


And come November, or before, we’ll get to see them.


Now promises of this kind have been made many times before. Sometimes they’ve come true, sometimes they have now. But I’m told to expect, among others, a full Evil Of The Daleks from 1967. Up till now, the BBC only had the second of seven episodes, after that film was found in a car boot sale.”

The Full Hartnell! Marco Polo, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve, Galaxy 4, not forgetting the very first regeneration in episode 4 of The Tenth Planet… Sounds too good to be true, right?! Nonetheless, the rumblings continued over at Ain’t It Cool, who says:

I can confirm that the recovery of missing episodes does appear to be the case.  


This said, I’ve been unable to glean exact numbers of episodes recovered, and I’ve yet to ascertain their condition.  Rumors of this recovery have been popping up on DW-themed message boards for a while now (I’m unable to exact links at the moment), where some rather staggering numbers have been advanced (in terms of how many episode shave been located).  The number I’m hearing is considerably less than is being represented on said boards – but is still an impressive and promising amount.  This said, the situation may be in flux and the smaller number I’m hearing may actually be escalating.”

And Johnston even updated the original post with this:

“Shortly after posting, I received further confirmation of the details listed above from another, better connected source. I don’t think I need to cross my fingers quite so hard any more.”

John Ringham as Aztec Tlotoxl in The Aztecs

Okay, so this sounds like the best news we’ve received this year. But before you get your hopes up, Paul Vanezis, a key member of the Restoration Team (and partly responsible finding episodes of The Sensorites, The Aztecs and The Reign of Terror), said, as Planet Mondas notes:

“Hi all.


Just very quickly to nip this in the bud. Someone forwarded me the text of one of these tweets and the main gist appears to be that Tenth Planet 4 was returned to the BBC last year (untrue) and the Restoration Team are working on a lost Troughton adventure (also untrue).


As far as I’m aware, Tenth Planet 4 has not been returned to the BBC (and I would surely know about it). The Restoration Team are not working on a lost Troughton and readying it for release. In fact, at the moment, nothing is being worked on, on the DW front. I should also add that nothing has been returned to the BBC in the form of a missing Doctor Who since I last posted i.e. one of the known to be lost 106 eps. Nothing has changed since I last came here to say nothing has been returned.


What I think has happened though is that someone has pooled together all the current rumours about the so called return of lost DW and is purporting to be an insider to justify his claims. Whatever the rumour, it’s an anonymous one and not based in fact. Disappointing I know, but there you go. As usual, this will be my only comment on the matter.


“I want to believe”. Yeah, right.





This hasn’t shut many up though. Jonathan Morris, Big Finish and Doctor Who Magazine writer, also denied the rumour, as has Ian Levine, who was responsible for saving many 1960s episodes. In fact, he’s had quite a lot to say on Twitter:


According to Levine, only two episodes of The Sky at Night have been recovered (which, though some are belittling this, it’s a great achievement anyway – firstly, it proves that episodes are still being found, regardless of what show it actually is; and secondly, it’s especially poignant since Sir Patrick Moore’s recent passing). Levine then has a couple of ‘last words,’ one of which may be offensive to anyone not well-versed in expletives):

Personally, I like @Manterik’s opinion here:

Hear, hear!

And just in case you weren’t sure on Levine’s stance:

What he goes on to explain, however, is pretty interesting stuff:


He even expands on what those rumours would mean for the Whoniverse: that only 16 episodes would remain missing. These are:

DrWho-Online has since stated:

“DWO can confirm that we have been approached with news from several high-profile sources, some of which confirm these rumours and some that conflict with them and the actual figure of the number of episodes rumoured to have been found.


Whilst it would be easy to blurt out everything we have been told, we retain the caution from previous rumours and hoaxes, and will simply hold out for official confirmation – when and if it comes. What we will say is that *should* the rumours be true, despite the initial excitement at the possibility, it would be wise to sit back and let the BBC do what they need to do to secure these episodes *if* in fact they have been found.”

This really is a big kerfuffle, isn’t it? And the only certainty behind it all is this: we’ll have to wait to find out the truth.

Update: we’ve closed comments on this topic due to new information that we’ll bring later today.


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

50 Responses to Missing Episodes Rumours Reactions

  1. Pingback: The Doctor Who Thread - Page 215 - Cult Labs

  2. avatar Marcus Judge says:

    I notice that Ian Levine states that there are only 2 episodes of The Wheel in Space missing, but I thought we only had episodes 3 & 6 of that story, so does this mean that two episodes have been returned and we have not been informed yet? So there might be some truth in this rumour after all.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Unfortunately, I think what he is saying is that, in the (in his opinion) inconceivable case that the rumours are true, there will still be two episodes of Wheel In Space missing

  3. avatar derekbd says:

    It’s all quite tantalizing. Seems we fans enjoy this sort of speculation on a global scale. Like most, I will believe any more eps have been recovered when BBC announces the fact.

    But just thinking about the remote possibility (and especially seeing someone put it in print) of the complete Marco Polo being being found makes me a bit giddy.

  4. avatar authorman94 says:

    I’ve got to admit, even though I would love this rumour to be true, I will only believe this when the BBC will come out and admit it, so I’m just taking it with a grain of salt at this stage until the BBC says something official on it.

    That said, back in 2008, they discovered a copy of the original print of the silent film Metropolis that had previously been believed to be lost forever, so, I’m still holding out a wee bit of hope for the return of these episodes.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      What I would really really like to be rediscovered is “London After Midnight”. This may not endear me to some Who fans. Pity about that…

      • avatar WS Sharpe says:

        I’d rather have A Blind Bargain than London After Midnight. And most complete early Who stories than either – although I’d take the Chaney films over orphan episodes.

      • avatar authorman94 says:

        How come it may not endear you? Not trying to pry or be rude, just a bit curious as to why you said that. But yeah, I would also love “London After Midnight” to be discovered, if nothing because I’m a big fan of the Universal Monster films.

        • avatar TonyS says:

          Yeah scrub the comment about endearing. Certainly on this site we tend to get well-balanced reasonable participants. Some Who fans can be a little monocular. My apologies.

          • avatar TonyS says:

            I would also like the Jack Hulbert version of The Ghost Train to be recovered

  5. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Admittedly, this has now gone beyond stupid and into the ridiculously hilarious/fun zone. While normally I’d believe Levine far more than Johnston, Levine seems to be casting doubt after doubt on each of his denials! It’s like his heart and hope is battling with his head and logic. It’s interesting as hell if nothing else. This is the first I’ve heard of 90 episodes though—and as a bizarre side note, the Masterplan of all things would still be missing out of all this?!?!? Good lord….this is just too much….

    • avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

      Masterplan was sold nowhere else in the world, with Australia rejecting it putting the kybosh on further sales. In fact, it’s nothing more than a miracle that we have three episodes already frankly!.

      • avatar rickjlundeen says:

        No, I understand, it was just a bit of a surreal moment for me—i did the comic adaptation of the DMP and to have it be potentially one of the very few left absent was very bizarre. (if any of this stuff is true).

  6. avatar Carl says:

    Unfortunately…….didn’t believe it when I first heard it, believe it even less now. I hope I’m dead wrong. Maybe we can get the long cut of the Wicker Man from underneath the M3 while we’re at it.

  7. avatar Colin McDonough. says:

    Looking at Paul Vanesiz’s tweet he states that no new missing episodes have been “returned”. It is possible that delicate negotiations are still in progress with whoever “recovered” the alleged missing eps. This being the case, the eps would not have been officially “returned” to the BBC yet. One can dream………

    • avatar vortexter says:

      That was my thinking. Nothing has been returned…yet. In fact Paul stated on the Missing episodes sites that such rumours have the potential to ruin negotiations.

  8. avatar GallifreyanFallenAngel says:

    Confusion, confusion. I’d really like a Dalek to come and exterminate the confusion, or a Cyberman delete it. Troubles of being a young Whovian.

  9. avatar Lewis Seymour says:

    Ian Levine’s comments are as clear as mud.

    Personally – read the Restoration Team comment – that is as good a denial as you will ever get. It’s clear and precise and if, after reading it, you still believe this rumour, then you are obviously a “glass half full” person…

  10. avatar TonyS says:

    Ian Levine is well placed to know about the recovery of missing episodes. But he is not infallible. The rumours do not state WHERE the episodes currently lie (unless I have not been paying attention properly).Paul Vanezis is a rather more weighty source of information. But even he may not be as much in the loop as he believes. Having said that, the news seemed too good to be true when it first broke. Unfortunately, I think that probably means that it isn’t true. If it isn’t true, I hope we find out soon. If only to stop Ian Levine wittering on!

  11. avatar TonyS says:

    And it is perhaps worth remembering that in the documentary about missing episodes on the Lost In Time dvd, Ian Levine says that there are no more episodes to be found. Since then three episodes (I think) have been recovered

  12. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    and of those 16 Levine mentions would be remaining—if true–4 have already been animated, leaving 2 eps from Wheel and the remaining eps from the DMP/Mission, so really 12….

  13. avatar TimeChaser says:

    If only… I would frankly love the full Troughton rather than Hartnell, since more of his are missing. Just give me Power of the Daleks, The Highlanders, The Moonbase, Evil of the Daleks, The Abominable Snowmen, what’s still missing from The Ice Warriors, The Web of Fear, and Fury from the Deep and I’ll be happy. Although I would love to have The Massacre.

  14. avatar Spider-pope says:

    I hope the rumours are correct, because i’ve enjoyed the few Troughton episodes i’ve been able to see and would love to watch more. Unfortunately it sounds too good to be true.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Brave heart, Spider-pope. Sometimes it can be too good and still true

  15. avatar Mark says:

    Levine has simply confused matters even more. Can’t we just have a simple BBC statement of fact?

  16. avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

    I thought it was a bunch of arse before the weekend and now I’m doubly certain. I think there’s one or two episodes left to find in private collections – most probably reign of terror, Marco Polo or something from the Australia 1975 returns but that’s it.

  17. avatar vortexter says:

    Levine did not save The Daleks from destruction. There is another full set of episodes in existence in Mexico I do believe.

    Personally I think (and hope) they have found something. You can never say no more can ever be found or be definite in that conclusion. Certain episodes are almost certainly in the hands of private collectors and were probably readily available in the late 70′s, early 80′s. I remain optimistic.

  18. avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

    The rumours do have a certain Indiana Jones feel to them. An eccentric collector, a swathe of episodes in the hands of African dictators and remote vaults. Marvellous!

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Also, I hear the Nazis are involved. ;)

  19. avatar Nicholas says:

    If they do turn. Somewhere an animation studio is going. “Frig! Do we still get paid?”

  20. avatar Chris says:

    I don’t put much trust in what Levine says. True he did save a ton of DW episodes and help recover a lot but I doubt he’s on the inside scoop of what goes on at the BBC. Levine cannot say with certainty that no more episodes will be found since we recovered two in December 2011.

    Somewhere else on the web a source says that he/she’s connected with episode hunter Phillip Morris and that the hold-up with the release of these episodes is being held up by BBC heads and Morris who is trying to strike a deal. That’s about all he/she knows but he/she can say with certainty based on the facts that he/she has that episodes have indeed been recovered. Take what you will of that.

  21. avatar Al says:

    The problem I have with Levine’s statement “there will always be X episodes missing” is that he said the exact same thing (but with a different number) in either More Than 30 Years in the TARDIS or the documentary in the Lost in Time DVD set, and he was proven wrong because several episodes have since been located. I agree it’s too good to be true to expect 90 or 106 episodes to have been magically found, but to say outright that no more will ever be found assumes that Levine has access to every single basement, archive, closet, etc on the planet. The last several recoveries have happened due to people not being aware of what they owned. Right now some kid in Germany might well be playing with a 16-mm film projector his grandpa left him and watching the third episode of Marco Polo, for all we know. And it might be years – if ever – before that film is “discovered.” You can’t predict. But I do agree that, unless we’re lining up for the greatest lost-episode discovery ever (well dwarfing the cache of British dramas that were found hidden away in the Library of Congress a few years back), I doubt the rumour is true. My concern is if the rumour truly is bogus, it might be causing some people to slough off on their efforts to hunt for the real thing.

  22. avatar iank says:

    That statement from Paul V was made a month ago and is very carefully worded. He has been suspiciously quiet ever since and has made no comment on his own Missing Episodes forum despite having been browsing the threads today and the day before. None of the usual in-crowd have stepped forward either to quash this, when ordinarily they can’t wait to do so. You do the math.

  23. avatar Shane Cook says:

    Everything I am hearing tells me something HAS been found, negotiations are happening and the BBC don’t physically have them yet. There are just too many individual occurances of confrimation happening to disprove it, plus as mentioned above everyone in “the know” has been silent this week, and their silenec speaks volumes..

  24. avatar SSCrompton says:

    Perhaps they are not commenting as they are embarrassed – having realized that the story of finding 90 lost episodes was too good to be true and soon they are going to have to eat crow and admit the story is an internet hoax. Like the rest of you though – I would love it to be true. I’d also like bigfoot and unicorns to be true too, but I’ve yet to see either in real life…

  25. avatar Caity says:

    This is too cruel – I am completely torn in half. The cynical part of me says that nothing has been found, it’s all a hoax in the anniversary year; the part of me that believes in miracles is jumping up and down, squealing in joy. I do find it suspicious that no-one “official” at the BBC has denied these rumours, so am hopeful, but am preparing myself to be disappointed.

  26. avatar Andrew G. Dick says:

    I’m sure there are more out there to be found, but 90 in one go? Hmmm, don’t think so, though if proven wrong it will surely be the best thing to happen to Doctor Who since it came back 8 years ago. I’ll believe it when I hear it from the BBC themselves.

  27. avatar Jason says:

    There’s now a follow-up post rom Rich Johnston – it has some more details in it:

    He names people whom he claims know about this news – but also says, “there is an increasing belief by people involved in this that it is a massive hoax perpetrated against the BBC”.

    • avatar Jackson Newman says:

      However, on he clarifies: Initially reliable sources in the past regarding Who, and then people involved with the Doctor Who production office. I don’t dismiss it as a hoax, I was presenting another point of view. And no, it hasn’t changed.

  28. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    This is utterly, utterly, fascinating. Even Rich seems to have his heart battling his head like the rest of us. He’s being pretty fair and even handed though, kudos to him.

  29. avatar vortexter says:

    There’s lots of speculation that it is real. Even though Bleeding Cool broke the story they haven’t backtracked as such. Only two people have denied the story, Ian Levine (and he’s not certain its fake anymore) and that guy who writes for Big Finish and I don’t see how he’d know anyway. Even if it isn’t true I’m having a genuine thrill with all of this. If it isn’t true we’re not any worse off. If it is true then we’ve got the anniversary gift we all deserve.

  30. avatar Anthony says:

    My opinion is that this is too big to be completely false. Even Ian Levine admits he was contacted by a reputable source.

  31. avatar David F says:

    The rumour is really creaky and would be easily dismissible, if not for the really strange lack of official denial.

  32. avatar Marco says:

    If anyone is still awake right now, Ian Levine has had a total turn-around and claims that he now has proof that there really has been a find!!!!!! This is getting exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. avatar iank says:

    Ian Levine has now done a complete 180 and is saying it’s all true and he’s seen the proof. While Paul V has shut down the threads on the Missing Episodes forum, refusing to allow any more discussion as only the BBC can make a definitive statement apparently. Funny how that’s never stopped him and others from definitively debunking other stories in the past, innit?

    • avatar JohnM says:

      “Ian Levine has now done a complete 180 and is saying it’s all true and he’s seen the proof. While Paul V has shut down the threads on the Missing Episodes forum, refusing to allow any more discussion as only the BBC can make a definitive statement apparently. Funny how that’s never stopped him and others from definitively debunking other stories in the past, innit?”

      Innit indeed! It makes By Vanezis censoring the forum, it now looks like there is something to all of this. A ‘D’ notice seems to have been stuck on the subject and it makes the idea of the site being a place for debating missing episodes laughable. His words seemed very carefully chosen too.

  34. Pingback: Maybe those Doctor Who missing episodes rumors are true after all? | Musings of a Mild Mannered Man

  35. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Over 100 episodes missing for over 40 years and then they turn up in time for the 50th anniversary and is probably the best news a Who fan could hope for…….you realize, if this were written into a movie, no one would ever believe it. Ever. So until I hear Steven Moffat make the announcement, I’m still keeping my finger crossed.

  36. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    AND one wonders…..the BBC is publicly funded, so even though DW makes them a boatload of money, we’ve been wondering why the budget cuts, cheaper effects in the series, etc. Maybe they needed the extra cash for a big deal….

  37. avatar Jason says:

    Another post from Johnston:

    Want to know if it’s real! Argh!

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