Could a letter from US Sergeant hold the key to finding the much coveted lost Second Doctor serial The Power of the Daleks?
Doctor Who Worldwide – with a hat tip to The Consulting Detective – reports that contributor Will Barber-Taylor received a tip from The Cult Box from a man who was in contact with a US Armed Forces Sergeant in 1984.
The Sergeant, who was stationed in the Far East at the end of the Vietnam War, and had spent a considerable amount of time in South Korea, Japan (Okinawa), and, more importantly Taiwan, recalled that he’d seen episodes in ‘black and white’ and that at least one episode had featured the Daleks.
He also added that the Doctor for these stories was ‘the guy who looked like Moe (of the Three Stooges)’
What’s interesting about the USAF Sergeants recollections is the possibility that lost episodes may have been aired as part of the Armed Forces Network – the sergeant couldn’t recall if the episodes had been aired on the AFN – but if the episodes did air on AFN Taiwan, it throws open the possibility that the BBC, like they have in other countries, bicycled the episodes between various countries due to the finite amount of programming available for the AFN.
Taking this line of enquiry further Doctor Who Worldwide speculates the episodes that were couriered in this fashion from Asia could have been the ones discovered by Tombraider Philip Morris in Singapore and Nigeria.
While it goes some length to explain why some of the batches of episodes never made it back to their country of origin or why some are missing from those same batches – the episodes could have been supplied to AFN or copied by ABC for the AFN in Taiwan and then the episodes were swapped around various countries.
Regardless, there seems to be an untapped line of enquiry in Taiwan.
Back in December news emerged of Doctor Who fan and lost episode hunter Ian Levine’s quest to unearth missing episodes to Taiwan – where, alas, he was only able to find episodes that had previously been recovered, such as The Dominators episodes 2 and 3 and The Seeds of Death episode 2.
The full list of found episodes included:
- The Enemy of the World 6
- The Keys of Marinus 6
- The Krotons 3
- The Ambassadors of Death 1 & 3
- The Seeds of Death 2
- The Dominators 2 & 3
- The War Games 1 & 2
While these finds were noteworthy, what is interesting is the spread of episodes across the Doctors incarnations. Perhaps indicating that they were just a selection of the episodes floating about Asia between the AFN’s.
One flaw in this burgeoning theory is this quote from Eric Loveman, who worked for AFNT Radio at various intervals during the late 1960’s early 1970’s:
“AFNT was just radio. [We weren't allowed a TV station,] the speculation was that the local government didn’t want us competing with the two local TV stations”
However Doctor Who Worldwide countered:
“Jon Preddle meanwhile over at BroaDWcast suggests their broadcast had been “blocked” in 1976 and the episodes existed as part of a package gifted freely to the American Forces, which may suggest the normal groups and chains may not apply. What this package comprised of is unknown, nor whether these were new prints or sent from elsewhere…”
So a new venture with nebulous routes or an interesting footnote in the ongoing search for lost Doctor Who episodes?
(Via Doctor Who Worldwide)