Doctor Who News Marco Polo 2

Published on December 21st, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

What We’ve Learned From the BFI Tonight…

I’ve just spoken to occasional Kasterborous contributor and omnirumour expert Gareth Kavanagh concerning this evening’s BFI event and the absence of any Doctor Who, or indeed any genuine confirmation of anything at all, really.

What he has told me can be found listed below. First, however, thanks to Gareth’s discussions this evening, we do know that nothing is being announced this year, but next year we’ll be getting something big.

So, what’s the deal with tonight’s event?

  • 10,000 film cans have been uncovered by Philip Morris’ TIEA
  • Internet gossip (by Doctor Who fans, mainly) is slowing things down
  • Total haul is back in the UK but not all back at the BBC
  • It will take years and years to catalogue, grade and restore material
  • ITV material being handled by BFI
  • Episodes of Steptoe and Son, Morecambe and Wise and Dad’s Army have all been mentioned as being in the collection
  • Glimpsed in the screened documentary was a pile of film cans one of which was labelled Marco Polo episode 3 or perhaps 5 (this appears to have since been debunked as a visual gag, however.)

The omnirumour trundles on, Kasterborites…


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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+.

20 Responses to What We’ve Learned From the BFI Tonight…

  1. avatar vortexter says:

    Cool, and please, please,please, keep us informed! Any more info on the big announcement?…

  2. Dad’s Army was also mentioned. That is of interest to Whovians as it was a series that William Hartnell worked years before Doctor Who.

    • avatar Itistheend..... says:

      Dad’s Army started in 1968 and didn’t involve Hartnell. I suspect you are thinking of the film, Carry on Sergeant.

    • avatar Neu 75 says:

      The Army Game (1957-61).

    • Sure about that? Pretty certain that was The Army Game…

    • avatar Ian says:

      I think your getting mixed up, Hartnell worked on the Army Game, not Dads Army.

    • avatar Spider-pope says:

      While you’re incorrect about Hartnell, it’s still great news if any Dad’s Army episodes have been recovered as well. Quite possibly the best sitcom ever to come out of the BBC.

  3. The Army Game in the 1950s starred William Hartnell and was slightly featured in An Adventure in Space and Time.

  4. avatar Cristof says:

    How would internet gossip or any gossip slow things down?

    • avatar Ian says:

      I have no idea. It’s typical “blame the fans” nonsense. What’s really slowing things down – as seems apparent by Fiddy’s comments on the doco, swiftly followed by an 11th hour backtrack to say he didn’t mean what he actually said – is that this lot couldn’t organize a shag in a brothel! I suppose it’s easier to blame a few fans on the internet than admit that the various business factions involved appear to be staggeringly incompetent!

    • avatar Mark P says:

      Internet gossip would slow things down because there is so much of it and:

      1. It slows down the traffic speed of the whole internet

      2. It takes so long to read

  5. avatar TonyS says:

    Internet gossip would alert the holders of the tapes that there is considerable interest in what is on them. That would drive the price up. That only really applies, though, before the episodes are recovered.

  6. avatar TonyS says:

    If one looks at Hartnell in “The Army Game” (and more so in “Carry On Sergeant”) his casting as the Doctor does not seem so odd. He was the go-to guy for likeable curmudgeons back then. And no- he wasn’t in “Dad’s Army”.

  7. avatar Mark Lenton says:

    This omni rumour is becoming a little tiresome now. No matter how many cans there are it would be perfectly possible to publish a list of what they all claim to be and then fandom would pretty much shut up and wait for confirmation and news of clean up. If they’re all back in the UK then there’s no-one with guns to heads so what we are really talking about is how much Morris deserves recompencing for his efforts – and surely the iTunes sales have given the Beeb some idea of the business case for that by now.

    • avatar francis cave says:

      Sadly that is not what would happen.

      If such a list was released I can 100% guarantee that percentage of fandom would immediately, and very vocally, start asking when they will be out on TV/Itunes/DVD and why as a devoted fan of x years and a license payer they have a right to see them right NOW.

      If the response was given that they need time to be catalogued, cleaned up etc then the response to that would be “I don’t care about them cleaned up, I want them and I want them NOW” followed by insults and whoever they can think of.

      Even worse if say it was initially announced that one of the Tins seemed to be, for example Macra Terror ep 1, but later upon examination it proved to be Krotons Ep 4 instead….

      Can we not just accept that some material, which may or may not include previously lost Doctor Who, has been recovered and in the fullness of time full details will be released.

      We’ve all been waiting over 45 years for lost material to be recovered, is a few more months going to end anyone’s life?

  8. avatar Howard Railton says:

    What I find irksome, is that they’ve long announced the existence of Underwater Menace episode 2 but the BBC won’t release it. Why????

    Come on BBC at least give us what you’re sitting on.

    • avatar francis cave says:

      Dan Hall has confirmed in various interviews recently that Underwater Menace will be released on DVD, the delay to date has been the finalisation of the animation for the two missing episodes.

      The value added material has already been produced so it will be released, its just a question of when.

  9. avatar Steve Andrew says:

    If this haul really is as big as is intimated, then not announcing the exact contents makes sense. From a practical standpoint, 10,000 cans just take a long time to wade through and we’ve no idea on their condition. I’m very happy to be patient.

    Also, it seems clear to me that Web Of Fear and Enemy Of The World were found a looooong time before being announced and released. Their restoration didn’t happen overnight. When they were announced, a lot of things were already in place: a big press event, a load of content for DWM and even DVD release dates! It all seemed to happen too quickly – those two stories had to have been recovered ages ago. We can’t expect exact details of this new batch to be announced straight away.

    And yes, Bill Hartnell was indeed the eponymous Sergeant of the first Carry On film. The original you might say…

  10. avatar Pelham cort says:

    I hope high quality film copies of timeslip(1970/71) are among the ITV film cans.

  11. avatar A. Chapman says:

    Dad’s Army is missing only 3 episodes out of 80. Imagine if all 3 were in the collection, then the series would exist as a whole once again.

    It would be fantastic if anything of “Marco Polo” (or any missing Doctor Who episode) is recovered, then we could see actual footage of Doctor Who’s earliest pure historical serial.

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