Doctor Who News Has missing Doctor Who The Smugglers been found?

Published on March 15th, 2014 | by Jonathan Appleton

Has Missing Doctor Who The Smugglers Been Found?

That’s the intriguing question posed by blogger Chris Swanson, who claims that it’s been ‘personally relayed’ to him by a ‘confidential source’ that this late era First Doctor story has been recovered.

Important for us to stress that the usual health warnings apply to this the same as any other missing episodes information; indeed as Swanson himself says, he hasn’t been able to find any additional confirmation.

[pullquote align="right"] The Smugglers is perhaps best remembered for being exceptionally bloodthirsty with various gruesome acts of violence. [/pullquote]As with so many of these rumours this is frustratingly inconclusive, of course, and fans will have to make their own minds up as to how much credence to attach to an unconfirmed story with no supporting detail.

With all of its episodes missing from the archives, The Smugglers is perhaps best remembered for being, as described by Jonathan Morris in Doctor Who Magazine‘s Missing Episodes First Doctor Special, ‘exceptionally bloodthirsty’ with various gruesome acts of violence. A surviving clip from part 3 was unsurprisingly excised by an overseas censor, who took exception to Pike doing away with the unfortunate Jamaica with his spike.

The Smugglers may not be the most fondly remembered story of its era but the censor clips and behind the scenes footage are surely enough to make the prospect of seeing it for what would be the first time for most of us enticing, if irritatingly out of reach. What do you think? Time for an extra rum ration?

Or should we stand fast?

(Via WhatCulture)


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About the Author


has watched Doctor Who since those great big spiders did for Jon Pertwee, and it's way too late to stop now. When he's not at his job working for a charity he spends his time following Hull City's fortunes, listening to Bruce Springsteen and wondering why it took thirty years too long for Doctor Who action figures to come along. Currently reading: Frank Skinner interview in DWM. That guy seriously loves this show...

23 Responses to Has Missing Doctor Who The Smugglers Been Found?

  1. avatar TonyS says:

    There are few purely historical Doctor Whos and it would be wonderful to think that this one has been recovered. It would be even more wonderful to think that all the other episodes have been recovered too. But, at the moment, there is just nothing in this report to make this anything other than a pipe dream. I really hope that it is true: but I am not going to invest too much emotional energy in it just yet.

  2. avatar TimeChaser says:

    If it were true, it would be awesome. The very first Target novelizations I ever read were The War Machines and The Smugglers. I’ve seen the one, so it would be nice to see the other as well.

  3. avatar Neu 75 says:

    Ben & Polly’s fist trip in the TARDIS, so a worthy addition if true…

  4. avatar MWRuger says:

    I hope it’s true. But I want them all back. I recently started the entire series in order and it pained me to have to skip so many episodes. I filled them in with the novelizations. but it’s not the same.

    But there isn’t enough data to make a decision on. I think they should just say that they have found some more episodes and that they’ll let us know what they are later. There would be a frenzy!

  5. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    This one strikes me as a totally missing gem, in that I don’t *think* I’ve ever read the novel or listened to the audio adventure. If I did read the book, it’s been decades. It also hasn’t had much acclaim, much like Enemy of the world, and that adventure turned out to be a real treat. since I have Marco Polo on audio, it would be great to have another historical adventure show up. But of course, this is all more frustrating hot air until there’s actually something to report. Considering the 50th anniversary has passed, I’m starting to think that if there was going to be further announcements from the initial haul, they would have already made them. With each passing day, it becomes less and less likely that there’s any other significant finds—from this batch of recovered stuff anyway.

  6. avatar vortexter says:

    I think it’s pretty much a cert the Marco Polo has been found, even the restoration team has committed to this. I dont think they’ve all been found though but maybe a good chunk of them perhaps. I live in hope though.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      “even the restoration team has committed to this”

      First I’ve heard of it – can you supply link to where they say this?

      • avatar vortexter says:

        Errr, this website has an article quoting Steve Roberts. Go to the search facility, tap in restoration team and look at the article dated 21st feb discussing Marco Polo.

        • avatar Simon Magellan says:

          I wouldn’t describe that – which, by the way, was second hand (another site reported comments by him) as being conclusive proof.

          He said he had reason to believe it likely more episodes had been found. He didn’t say that more episodes had definitely been found, let alone what they were.

          He was speculating. Like pretty much everyone else. If he said he’d seen them, that the RT was working on them, it would be a different thing. He didn’t and it isn’t.

  7. avatar Ian says:

    Goodness me, where have you lot been? There are loads more, not just The Smugglers. I thought this was pretty common knowledge now.
    Seems the disinformation campaign has been working its magic after all.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      “I thought this was pretty common knowledge now.”

      Pretty common speculation and conjecture.

    • Really not doing yourself any favours with that tone, Ian.

      There is no common knowledge on this subject outside of the parties involved. There is speculation, conjecture, rumour and hope.

      These may also be common.

  8. avatar MWRuger says:

    This is the only Doctor Who website I frequent. I think if there was some definite proof, I think it someone here would be clued in..

    They talk about the missing episodes on almost every podcast lately. I don’t think there had been any confirmation from an official source, but if you have a link, I would love to see it.

    • avatar mrjohnm says:

      MWRuger – you may also want to check out the Dr. Who news page:

      It is updated almost daily and has some great insight into the new series, the original series, novels, comics, and fan productions.

      Christian – I hope I’m not doing anything wrong by advertising another Dr. Who website, but as I found yours through Dr. Who News page, I thought it only fair!

      • avatar MWRuger says:

        I’ll take a look. It isn’t lack of interest that keeps me from digging deeper, it’s time. I have lost of interests, many ongoing projects and commitments to keep. But if it’s something I can quickly skim though, I’ll add it.

  9. avatar Howard Railton says:

    good luck to them for anything they do find…

  10. avatar Paddy says:

    I’d love to see “The Smugglers”, personally, but also on behalf of a Who veteran: I once had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at the home of Derek Ware (Pigbin Josh from “Claws of Axos”, founder of the HAVOC team and generally splendid chap) and he spoke with great affection about this story, in fact he chose this one as his favourite out of all the stories he appeared in. If nothing else, if this was discovered and released, it would give me so much joy to be able to get in touch with Derek and let him know that finally, after all these years, he could re-watch his very favourite story again.

  11. Pingback: Geekritique News Roundup – Week of 3/9/14 | Geekritique

  12. avatar Andrew G. Dick says:

    It’s incredible how the tide has turned on these missing episodes. Before last October any such rumours of anything turning up would have been scoffed as just another rumour. Now however there seems to be real optimism and credible evidence that we will be seeing many of these missing gems turn up. Might have to make a bit more space on those DVD shelves or delete some stuff of your hard drives!

    I’ve listened to the soundtrack of the Smugglers, and still got the complete telesnaps that was published in DWM about 20 years ago. It looks good and there are indeed quite a few stabbings, knives thrown into peoples backs. You wouldn’t get violence anything like that now. Not a classic, but hey to have more Polly you can’t go wrong!

  13. avatar Simon Magellan says:

    Historically speaking, of course, it’s place in DW is that it was while filming this story that Hartnell learnt he was to be replaced. Which makes it rather poignant.

  14. avatar dr jon says:

    There is always a chance of other storys being found as we have seen of late.we may have to wait months or even years but I do think others will turn up. Our best chance is from overseas where other story from the sixtys as distributions were more common place on film.

  15. avatar David Hunt says:

    It would be great to see any of these episodes surface. I couldnt stand to watch the next generation version of Dr Who. For me Dr Who ended permanently with Survival. Its ironic the BBC lost the episodes in the first place, charges and guages an annual $300 license fee tax on its British ctizens, as of 2014 then charges the highest price domestically and abroad for offering viewers its reclaimed film. Surely the BBC needs to clear up all the rumours once and for all and state exactly whats going on and what it has possession of. Then it needs to broadcast the film, which the British public have paid for over and over. The BBC should stop playing with the public.

  16. avatar mark duncan says:

    The Hartnell Era (ironically where Dr. Who all started) is sadly under-represented and the bulk of surviving adventures aren’t generally considered ‘classic’. Remember, these stories helped establish the legacy of the series with the Public long, long before fandom existed. I believe “The Smugglers” is ripe for reappraisal – even if only one or two episodes exist. Historical tales are the most absent (apparently the BBC considered them less desirable compared to futuristic / monster stories) and so this, or any historical tale, would represent a rare gem indeed.

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