BBC Worldwide has confirmed that nine episodes of Doctor Who that have not been seen for over 45 years will launch on iTunes later today!
The recordings from the 1960s have been recovered in Nigeria, Africa. The stories recovered are The Enemy of the World (1967) and The Web of Fear (1968), both starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor.
A total of eleven Doctor Who episodes were discovered (nine of which were missing) by Phillip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archive, by the tracking records of overseas shipments made by the BBC containing tapes for transmission. BBC Worldwide has re-mastered these episodes to restore them to the fantastic quality that audiences expect from Doctor Who.
The Enemy of the World, is the fourth six-part tale of Series 5 which first aired on the BBC in December 1967. Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 had been missing from the BBC archives. In this, Patrick Troughton plays both the Time Lord and the villainous Ramon Salamander, with companions Frazer Hines (Jamie) and Deborah Watling (Victoria).
Also recovered is the 1968 six-part story, The Web of Fear. Episodes 2 – 6 were feared lost forever but now episodes 2, 4, 5, and 6 have been recovered. Unfortunately, episode three is still missing but a restoration team has reconstructed this part of the story using a selection of the 37 images that were available from the episode along with the original audio. Perhaps best known for introducing Nicholas Courtney as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (who later returns as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), The Web of Fear also stars Troughton, Hines and Watling. Both Frazer and Deborah were present at the press event in Soho, London on Thursday.
We can also confirm that all episodes will be available to download exclusively from iTunes on 11th October, although at present the price is pending confirmation.DVD releases will also follow, with The Enemy of the World available to pre-order exclusively on DVD from BBC Shop from 11th October for release on 22nd November and The Web of Fear available on DVD from early 2014.
Doctor Who fans’ hero in all of this is Phillip Morris.
The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria. I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words ‘Doctor Who’. When I read the story code I realised I’d found something pretty special.
Fiona Eastwood is Director of Consumer Products at BBC Worldwide:
We are thrilled with the recent discovery of The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World and we’re very happy to be launching re-mastered versions of these treasured episodes to fans as we celebrate the 50th year of Doctor Who.
This is quite a 50th anniversary gift, wouldn’t you say?!
The episodes will be available to download via www.iTunes.com/DoctorWho – watch out for our exclusive review of the event later today.