Doctor Who News Marco Polo 2

Published on October 6th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Sunday Paper Claims 106 Missing Episodes Found

Under the headline “Over 100 long-lost Doctor Who episodes found by dedicated fans – in Ethiopia” the Sunday Mirror today takes the so-called omnirumour into the mainstream – on the say-so of a fan’s friend…

We all know the story by now – the rumour has been circulating since last year and has been covered here a couple of times – but this is the first time it has made the daily press in any significant way.

What makes this report all the more unusual is that the papers were supposedly tipped off by a bloke whose mate told him it was true. Says Stuart Kelly (apparently a Doctor Who expert):

I was told by a friend that the ­episodes have been found in Ethiopia. The BBC is ­negotiating to get them back right now. I really can’t say any more than that.

It’s interesting, because I’ve been told that the episodes have been found in Singapore, Hong Kong and Ghana. Doesn’t actually make it true, though, does it?

The Sunday Mirror quotes a BBC source:

It is a triumph and fans ­everywhere will be thrilled. This is a really big deal for the BBC and is set to make them millions from the sale of the DVDs.

Yep, they freely attributed that rentaquote to someone from the BBC (rather than making it up, as it is based on the bleeding obvious.)

But what do you think? More stuff and nonsense or has the ongoing nature of the rumour changed your mind?

(With thanks to James Whittington)


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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+.

27 Responses to Sunday Paper Claims 106 Missing Episodes Found

  1. avatar Stellaflora says:

    I think that newspapers need to hire real journalists that will actually investigate stories thoroughly before printing. As a rumour that has been circulating for months this could hardly be called an “Exclusive” or even “News”. Have things seriously gone so far down hill that they’ll publish whatever some guy heard from his friend down the pub?
    I’d love this to be true, but since there is no more evidence now then before the situation appears unchanged. :(

    • avatar Dan Hore says:

      Unfortunately real journalism costs money and papers are looking to cut their costs. The account by a journalist from another tabloid to the Leveson enquiry made their working day sound like a sausage factory, the work load and demands on them – while stuck at their desk – pretty much forcing them to make stuff it.

      • avatar krumstets says:

        They have been making stuff up for years and not always under duress .

        `There is no truth in the news and no news in the truth ‘

        But saying that , I really hope this story is for real.

      • avatar Al says:

        I’m a trained journalist with 20+ years of experience and I remain disgusted at how so-called media outlets these days spend most of their time running stories that say “as reported by …..” and then they name another media outlet that, in turn, is running a story from another media outlet. Rather than doing it themselves. And sometimes the original source doesn’t even exist! Case in point is the recent rumor of Peter Davison being in the anniversary special, which was attributed to some website where no such story seemed to exist. People are lazy. I don’t mean blogs like this one, I mean there’s no excuse for a professional newspaper to run a major story based on the work of another newspaper.

  2. avatar Tony Farrell says:

    The fact that these rumours just won’t go away lends them credence….However, in view of past ‘disappointments’, perhaps this is nothing more than the triumph of hope over experience.
    To misquote a certain someone: Time will tell, it always does in the end!

  3. No such newspaper as the Sunday Mirror! The intrigue grows! 8-)

    • Intriguing indeed, especially as *someone* has written this Wikipedia page:


  4. avatar YorkshireNed says:

    I thought the Sunday People were running this one? Still, interesting to see if this manages to stir up any official response…

    • Right, we found the story via the Sunday Mirror. They quote the Sunday People.

      1. Mirror Group owns the Sunday People
      2. I can’t find a website for the Sunday People
      3. It would be wrong to quote a newspaper we don’t have a copy of. There could be all manner of mistakes.
      4. It would also be underhand to not quote our source.

  5. avatar caitlindevi says:

    Until there is an official BBC announcement WITH clips from the episode we know to be missing entirely I think its pretty safe to say this is rubbish

  6. avatar TonyS says:

    It’s in the Sunday People and claims 90 episdoes have been found.

  7. avatar Victor says:

    Over a hundred episodes just sounds to large and too wonderful a number too be true. If true I would imagine it’s a much, much smaller amount of material. Still, anything at all would be fantastic news.

  8. avatar DonnaM says:

    If it’s true – fantastic. However, I will not believe a word of it until there’s an official BBC press release…. and I’ve got the first of the DVD releases in my hands. Before that it’s all too much “a friend of a friend of a friend says” to be credible.

    I suppose it does show that Doctor Who is “newsworthy” though!

  9. avatar Rich says:

    I have been following this story all year and now it’s hit the national press in the It will be interesting. The BBC will now be inundated with mail from the general public not just us obsessive fans. If there is no truth to it I’d expect them to release a statement but if they have been holding back something then they will either stay quiet until the right time. A few frantic phones calls and meeting with press office at the start of the week I am sure.

  10. avatar Rich says:

    … whoops sent before I finished, either stay quiet until the right time or just go ahead and make public given we are now less than 50 days away from the anniversary. I have fingers crossed, please be true …

    • avatar vortexter says:

      I agree. Hopefully this will flush out a definitive yes or no statement from the beeb.

  11. avatar chris says:

    If this true then of course this is very exciting,maybe Rich’s post above me is right and an announcement will be made nearer the 50th anniversary.All we can do now is wait and see.

  12. avatar GallifreyanFallenAngel says:

    There has been no denial as of yet from the BBC. Weird. I’m still taking this with an ocean’s worth of salt, though.

    • avatar Al says:

      That’s because I believe they issued a denial months ago. This story ticks me off because it’s raising hopes among people when those in the know dismissed it long ago.

  13. avatar TimeChaser says:

    If only it were true… I won’t give up hope completely (I remain 2% optimistic), but until we get this news direct from the BBC with hard evidence, its just one of those rumors.

  14. Pingback: Nerdcore › Over 100 Lost Episodes of Doctor Who possibly found in Ethiopia

  15. avatar TonyS says:

    And then there’s this: There is a Stuart Kelly who has links with the Wigtown Book Festival (which finishes today). He is the literary editor of Scotland on Sunday. I am very much afraid that this resembles another non-story. I have just checked with the site There is a book reviewer by that name on their staff. Doesn’t mean he isn’t a Dr Who expert, of course. But it’s not looking good.

  16. This claim of nine episodes sounds more believable:

  17. avatar joesiegler says:

    “(rather than making it up, as it is based on the bleeding obvious)” <— I see what you did there. :)

  18. avatar joesiegler says:

    Even if you ignore the tabloid-ish nature of this story over the last few months, the inability of it to die coupled with the fact that there’s never been a flat out denial by the BBC themselves, makes me believe something is going on.

    But to recover 100+ (95% or so) of missing material seems unrealistic. I suspect what’s going to be announced is that SOMETHING was recovered, but not that much.

    Granted, if the 100+ story *IS* true, I’ll be just as happy as everyone else. :)

  19. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    I’m not sure how much more of a denial than this you can get:

    Doctor Who’s brand manager Edward Russell said: “It’s Sunday. The weather’s gray and the papers are full of rubbish…” Asked if he was referring to the above story, he replied, “What do you think?!”

    Paul Vanezis from the Doctor Who Restoration Team wrote on his Twitter: “I would love it to be true. But it isn’t.”

    Tom Spilsbury, editor of Doctor Who Magazine, said: “It’s nonsense, I’m afraid.”

    (tweets in response to this according to DWTv)

  20. avatar LordOfTheNull says:

    How does that humble pie taste? So it turns out the rumours were correct and SOME of the lost episodes are confirmed by the BBC.
    And with regards to Mr Kelly’s credentials: he is the director of Glasgow Book Festival, one of the judges of the Man Booker Prize, was recently a judge for the Granta Prize, has appeared on several BBC television and radio broadcasts, an author and a regular literary critic for The Scotsman, The Guardian, The Herald and numerous other broadsheets. So I would be confident in my suggestion that his sources are probably more reliable than most other people on here, and in this case were proven to be correct.

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