The Tenth Planet

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.

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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.

 

Regards,

 

Paul”

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.



About

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.


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