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Published on October 7th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Missing Episodes Returned? What Is Going On?

Well I don’t know about you but I had to take a step back from the madness of Doctor Who yesterday amid cries of victory in the ongoing war against time and the missing episodes. Have lost portions of the show’s history been miraculously rediscovered?

In advance of a later article in which we’ll attempt to explain just why there are 106 missing episodes of classic Doctor Who, we’re first going to flip things a bit. There are voices of dissent among the ranks; however, these are notable voices.

For instance:

Doctor Who Magazine editor Tom Spilsbury.

Brand Manager Edward Russell.

Restoration Team man (and therefore someone likely to be closely involved with any discovery) Paul Vanezis.

So, what IS going on? Have these episodes been found or not? Are these three chaps being deliberately misleading? It seems unlikely that they should at this stage, given that elements in the press claim that the ship has sailed. With a speculated release date of Wednesday it would seem churlish for anyone to continue with any pretence.

The truth, then, is really that nothing has really changed since last week. There is a rumour about missing episodes being found. There is some sort of screening taking place in the coming days (it might be a hotel, it might be at the BFI depending upon who you believe) and the episodes might be released.

Until we can actually access these videos on iTunes, Amazon or wherever, they remain missing.

We await official confirmation with bated breath.


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

16 Responses to Missing Episodes Returned? What Is Going On?

  1. avatar TonyS says:

    I would love this to be true. But I am extremely sceptical.

  2. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    If there’s nothing after all this Tuesday or Wednesday then its game over for me and time to quit the internet forums for Who news of any kind I am afraid. I will revert to getting my news from Doctor Who Magazine and that’s it! I go from elated, and yesterday – highly emotional – to crushed beyond belief every time I log on and just cant take much more. I would far rather Classic Who be confirmed as returned for a 50th Birthday present to the long term fans than just get to see what the beeb has planned for on and around 23-11-13. P-L-E-A-S-E let at least some of it be true. Personally I would send the new British FBI after the hoaxers if its all just a wind up on a massive scale. So come Tuesday / Wednesday will I be (:->} or (:-<} ???

  3. avatar Dan Hallett says:

    I don’t know what to believe anymore but I will say that it would be an odd move for the BBC to finally reveal a haul of missing episodes and dump them straight onto I-Tunes. I would think they would go through the usual tidy up ready for DVD releases next year. I don’t know how lucrative the classic DVD range is but they could milk another year’s schedule out of these episodes so I just cant think I-Tunes or even I-Player would be the way they would go. Of course being the 50th they may televise a complete story?

  4. avatar TonyS says:

    If they all turned up we would have 24 more complete stories. Two more years worth of releases. Dare we hope?

    • avatar Dan Hallett says:

      24 more stories, more shelf space needed, please be true. There is always hope.

  5. avatar David F says:

    We haven’t yet had releases of the Galaxy 4 and Underwater menace discoveries from a couple of years back. If iTunes release is an option for missing episodes, I wonder why they haven’t already received the same treatment.

    • avatar GlassworX says:

      Actually, the Galaxy 4 missing episode was released on the Aztecs special edition earlier this year

      • avatar David F says:

        Ah, well. Ignore my comment, then. I didn’t know that.

  6. avatar Colin says:

    The story that they’re releasing these missing episodes to folks in the UK via the BBC iPlayer is, perhaps, the most bizarre part of the rumor (as I’ve heard it), and the part I really hope is NOT true. Given that I can pick up Classic Who DVDs in my local branch of a popular consumer electronics store in my small back-woods town here in the US, I don’t think sales of Classic Who are too shabby on this side of the Atlantic. I’m sure the same can be said for other parts of the world. Why they would only release restored missing Classic episodes to UK residents I can’t imagine.

    It’s fun to think there might be more episodes to come, and it’s interesting to see all these news outlets picking up on the story. But given the state of journalism these days, I remain skeptical until there’s an official announcement. In any case, what difference does knowing make to me? Until I have the alleged episodes to watch, it’s all just anticipation and excitement. I suppose if I know they’ve found all missing episodes of The Abominable Snowmen, I can abandon making my own telesnap reconstruction. Apart from that, it won’t hurt to wait and see. :)

    • avatar Al says:

      Yeah, all these media outlets are picking up the story, but nearly none of them are bothering to actually do research on their own and find out what’s going on. They’re just for the most part parroting the People article.

  7. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    We’re just spinnin’ our wheels, folks……

  8. avatar Ian says:

    Releasing the episodes via itunes or iplayer wouldn’t require them to have submitted the episodes for BBFC approval months in advance. If negotiations went on quite late, that might be the only way to have got them out before the anniversary/Xmas. Not to mention, BBFC classifications are public, so they couldn’t have kept the secret.

  9. avatar johnnybear says:

    Who is spitting out these rumours and if they’re not true (like we all suspect) then why do it and get the media services involved too?

  10. avatar TonyS says:

    media gets involved to boost circulation- unfortunately it works!

  11. avatar vaffangool says:

    Because @StewartLundNZ refers to the ostensible recovery site, his question is essentially worthless; its unnecessary specificity affords @PaulVanezis the latitude to respond without evasion and mislead without dishonesty.

    Whether the materials were found in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, or Adrian Edmonson’s upstairs toilet, BBC News are themselves reporting that indeed,

    A number of early episodes of Doctor Who, which were believed to have been permanently lost, have been returned to the BBC.

    • avatar vaffangool says:

      Worthless may have been a bit strong–his question did exclude Ethiopia as the source of the recovered materials.

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