Doctor Who News Marco Polo 2

Published on May 12th, 2014 | by Nick Kitchen

Ian Levine Makes Omnirumour Black Hole Personal

For the longest while, we’ve been living in the land of the Doctor Who Lost Episodes Omnirumor. It seems like every week or so, another one crops up detailing the “potential” discovery of one of our lost treasures. Usually, it leads to nothing more than a few press releases stating that there is nothing new to report at this time. Occasionally, it brings us the return of stories like The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World.

At the very center of those rumors is Philip Morris, executive director of Television International Enterprises and Archives Ltd (TIEA). The other name that creeps up frequently is Ian Levine who has assisted in the return of some of these lost episodes as well. According to Levine, Morris may very well be holding out on us Whovians and the world.

In a lengthy note on Facebook, Ian Levine calls out Philip Morris with several damning allegations. First, he begins by recounting the beginnings of the drive to recover the missing episodes:

“In 2005 Philip Morris started a thread on the Missing Episodes forum, titled “Ian Levine” in which he suggested searching for Doctor Who in Africa. He was derided and mocked but I alone stood up for him and arranged to meet him. I asked Paul Vanezis to get an offical [sic] BBC letter asking to whom it may concern to allow Philip Morris access to archives in Africa and anywhere else.
At this point Phil had never met Paul Vanezis. Phil subsequently discovered all these missing episodes had been distributed by Television Internation Enterprises, so formed a new company with the same name.”

He then goes on to lay some heavy allegations at Morris’ feet:

“Yes indeed, it has obviously yielded huge massive results, but what earthly use are these results if he hoards them, locked away for no-one to see or enjoy or benefit from. I applaud what he did, and the initiative to go out and do it, but I revile what he has done since. They should have all been given back the minute he found them, and by now they would all have been out on DVD.”

The rest of his post continues to blast Morris (and it can be read in its entirety here). The biggest takeaway from Levine is the allegation that Morris has not only found more missing footage, but that he is holding on to it for a yet unknown answer (writer’s note: if true, probably money). This leaves us with two possibilities: 1) Levine’s allegations are true and Morris may incur the wrath of Whovians worldwide or 2) Levine, for unknown motives, is making false allegations against someone who has worked incredibly hard to bring us these highly sought after classics.

Neither scenario is good for business and has the potential to become very ugly before the entirety of the truth is revealed.

So dear readers, what is your take on the situation? Is Morris holding out on us? Or is Levine stirring up trouble for unknown reasons? Let us know!


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About the Author


“That’s bacon! Are you trying to poison me?” And from that line on, I’ve been unable to stop watching, reading, musing about the Doctor. As a recent transplant to the Whoniverse, I’ve been trying to soak up as much Who-related knowledge as possible. That journey has taken me from the Tenth Planet to the Fields of Trenzalore and gently set me at the edge of my seat for what’s next. It’s an honor to be here and I plan to bring a unique perspective. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey alongside me.

37 Responses to Ian Levine Makes Omnirumour Black Hole Personal

  1. avatar Harry M VanHoudnos says:

    I think that Ian makes some good points. Remember, if not for him, many of the episodes from the early days of the show WOULD NOT BE AROUND TODAY! He should get the credit due him for what he has done. And with the rumors that were flying around over the weekend of Power of the Daleks having been found (BBC not commenting one way or the other), maybe its time that Morris came clean, and tells the fans just WHAT he has found, not just Enemy and the material found for Web. Its time that fans were given the full scoop on what has been found and what they are still looking for. If they refuse, then perhaps we should do our part to help Levine in his work on doing work on creating versions of the missing stories, such as he has done with some of the parts of Dalek Master Plan.

    • avatar Francis Cave says:

      Ian HAS had the credit due (and remember he had plenty of help returning the episodes that he did) but for him that’s not enough and he feels that somehow until someone finds more than him he has the right to foist his opinion on everyone in earshot including slagging off Philip Morris big time..

  2. Levine is a self-aggrandising over-entitled poisonous example of fandom. Regardless if Phillip Morris has found anything or not, it is not for Levine to keep on shouting, whining and trying to make things all about him him him.

  3. avatar Howard Railton says:

    I can’t understand why the BBC (perhaps the Enterprises branch), doesn’t take a more active stance itself in tracking down lost episodes, sending a man to Africa etc. Besides which, we know that the BBC have ep 2 of Underwater Menace, recovered years ago, but they show no sign of ever putting it out on DVD.

    It’s definitely the BBC I blame, not the hypothetical actions of a man with a proven track record of delivering the goods.

    • avatar TimeChaser says:

      I imagine they will put it out eventually, along with Episode 3 and animated Episodes 1 and 4. The animation takes some time to do.

  4. avatar John Miller says:

    Apparently the Official Line is that

    a)If people know for instance that 5 or more stories have been found, they aren’t going to be interested in buying the less popular ones. Because Doctor Who fans are never completists, and won’t put off buying the less popular ones for a few months…

    b)They only found Enemy and Web shortly before the announcement was made, and the Restoration Team was working furiously on them. This has been refuted quite definitively.

    c)The fans will be angry waiting for the releases. Like we’ve been with Underwater Menace 2 I guess.

    It all just shows a large lack of respect for the public by the BBC. The same public who actually buy the BBC products. Shameful.

    • avatar MWRuger says:

      Doctor Who fans are never completists? Really?

      D you suppose the BBC has ever met fans or actually looked at the sales of “less popular stories”?

      Really, these are all black and white arcs from the 80′s! The fact that fans want any of them refutes the idea that we don’t want them all and that any of these require “popularity” to sell.

      I can see fans being impatient, certainly but angry? I don’t think so. Just announce what you have, when you project to offer it for pre-order, and just keep us updated. The veil of secrecy and keeping us in a state of suspense is what is fueling a controversy that needed exist at all.

      Many popular authors with a fan following announce months or even a year in advance when they are publishing. It’s amazing what the BBC thinks of fans and fans of this franchise in general.

  5. avatar Jammymon says:

    It’s hard to get a take on this: If Morris is holding out on us by not revealing anymore missing episodes, this could be down to restoration work on what may have been found, if a big reveal is done then people will want to see them straight away, so hence why he’s holding out so long. Or the worse possibility being discussed is that he is hoarding the missing episodes because they know how well the Web of Fear DVD sold when released.

    It is sad that someone who has found missing episodes in the past has to blast and deal out some heavy allegations against the person who brought back Enemy of the World and Web of Fear. However, it is understandable the many frustrations that is going on with the Omnirumor as you’ve had that joke over Easter with the Marco Polo DVD, the re-make of Power of the Daleks on YouTube being pulled and Philips statement when he teased “Stay Tuned..”.

    At the end of the day, we should all be grateful with what we’ve got now and not be blasting those individuals who bring back these episodes to just want more, just be patient and turn off to the Omnirumour if you can’t stand bearing to think about lost episodes, there are other areas of Doctor Who to enjoy!

    • avatar simon smalley says:

      Yes but at the end of the day the original find is now tainted gone from hero to zero.

      • avatar Jammymon says:

        Fair point, but its a bit quick to class Philip into that category, it was only last October when we had that special moment of finding those episodes. At the end of the day, the worrying thing emerging is that if the likes of Ian keeping on “throwing down the gauntlet” or give any of these allegations, then this will force Philip to hold any future releases or reveals due to the negativity and I can’t say I blame him. Ian Levine at the rate he is going will only be remembered for the person who only ranted and bringing trouble ‘on our behalf’ he so likes to say.

  6. avatar David F says:

    I find it very, very easy to imagine that there’s a highly complex web of legal, technical and economic factors that slows this process down.

    It’s weird that Ian and so many others expect it to be easy.

    It’s also weird that they should accuse Phil Morris of hoarding without explaining what would be in it for him. He has an asset and he needs to recoup his outlay. He’ll be keen to make the wheels turn, and if they’re not turning, there’ll be good reasons that undoubtedly frustrate him too. Why on earth would he choose to sit on episodes for no reason, and make himself vilified in the process? He would have no motive for that.

    It’s complicated. It will all work itself out.

  7. avatar Ian Scales says:

    It’s all gone a little worrying really. I am concerned that Ian has said these things, but he is really only saying what is now occurring to a lot of people. I suspect PM has a thick skin either way, but throw enough mud and some of it seems to be sticking – which is not nice if it is undeserved. I think it’s the extraordinary delay of finding stuff and then having it appear to hang around in storage, not just for days, weeks or months, but allegedly for years that has led to the worry. No wonder people get worried, perhaps. It still seems difficult to explain why stuff would even be kept static – unless repairs were being done, etc, etc. The trouble is, nature abhors a vacuum. It may be inevitable that perceived silences tend to get filled, first by speculation, then by accusations. Probably totally unhelpful, but possibly understandable.

  8. avatar Whovian Leap says:

    A watched pot never boils. The odds are that missing episodes are out there, but we have to be patient. It is a shame there is so much bad feeling among two truly great figures in the world of Doctor Who.

    • avatar simon smalley says:

      What do you mean out there Phil’s got them or that we have been told.

  9. avatar Christine says:

    I am getting a bit fed up with the whole thing. Yes, I would love more episodes to be found but this whole rumour soap opera is killing my enthusiasm. I don’t like the personal thing, who ever began it, whether there are good points put forward or not, whose fault certain things are, whether someone is hoarding or not: it is all bleeeeh to me (sorry but it just is). Although I am pleased you at Kasterborous are reporting on both sides (and you should continue to do so), I expect to skip the posts in the future.

  10. avatar KEV C says:

    We’ve heard all this before.very boring now.There is either nothing new yet or it’s being withheld. If there are some episodes recovered,which may be the case, then the more harping on about it,the higher the selling price will be, and the longer it will be before they sold over and eventually released.Let the business people play their money games.It will all come out eventually.Seen all the dvds? Plenty of great audios out there to enjoy!

  11. avatar Jon says:

    I can understand Levine’s frustrations, and being a true fan he would simply hand anything he found straight over, and kudos to him for that. Unfortunately not everyone is the same. What worries me is that this negativity will make Morris hold out releasing any more episodes (if, and it’s a bit IF he has any) because of the fuss and problems. I reckon we should all just accept the situation, sit back and wait to see what else surfaces – what else can you do? No amount of accusations is going to speed things up – in fact quite the opposite.

  12. avatar lee moone says:

    I have no idea what Ian is on. What does he hope to gain by this? This is not just a case of Philip Martin handing them over to the BBC (even if they have been found) there has to be clean-up and cleared rights, not to mention best way of distribution. The BBC may decide that they want to release them 1st via their own site rather than i-player this time. So much to sort out before any announcement, because let’s face it as soon as they do announce ‘X’ amount has been found people like Ian will be shouting again for info on release dates. I remember in the 80′s Ian decided, through a personal feud with JNT to speak for fans by deriding the series and production team. This not only seved to alienate fans at the BBC, but also created years of mockery of the show and fans during the wilderness year from the press.

    Yes he did find 20 episodes (some that were later found by others) but it doesn’t give him the right to rant and rave ‘on our behalf’. He is out of the loop, though pretends he’s not to be and hates the fact. But this is the reason why he’s out of the loop because he causes so much trouble.

  13. avatar gary says:

    I think Ian Levine May well be the only person that can turn the truly wonderful news of two returned stories last year into something ugly. If there are more, then I am sure they will come in time. Just let Mr Morris do his job without the perpetual tantrums. I have every faith in Mr Morris doing his utmost to return missing gems and I have every faith that Ian Levine will continue to be a compete pain!

    • avatar simon smalley says:

      That’s the problem letting.g do the job when well Phil’s already done the job he has them.

  14. avatar Paul Cooke says:


    Someone returns a whole bunch of old film reels to the BBC. After cataloguing them according to paperwork and/or labels you then release a list to the public. But then, you realise that these old, old films aren’t actually in the best of condition, so they need grading into which ones are actually viable, how long each will take to restore. Are they objectively worth spending the money at this time? Say Dalek Master plan was found in its entirety, and trumpets were sounded, then during restoration it was found that the film was stuck together in such a way it couldn’t be seperated, or at least not for a LOT of money. Releasing this news after the initial euphoria would be heartbreaking for a lot of people – would they rather not have known it was there in the first place? What if there were other programmes in better condition, not Who but culturally important? Which should get priority?
    It’s a complicated process, and Who although close to our hearts, isn’t necessarily the most important find in the world to many more people.
    Let’s just be patient and see what happens, eh?

  15. avatar lee moone says:

    Out of interest is there a list of who found what re the missing episodes including copies? I know Ian found 20 (he keeps telling us so) but what I’d like to know is how many of those 20 were discovered again by other collectors. I’m interested in the tally of eps that Ian found and no one else did. Can anyone help?

  16. avatar PDBUniversal says:

    Iain Levine doesn’t contribute anything to fandom these days, except to lambast and criticise any work, progress or view that is made in any area of the show that hasn’t come from him. He was given a ludicrously superficial role in the 1980′s and has been riding on the crest of that position ever since.

    Even if he’s right about Phillip Morris, there’s nothing us mere mortals can do about it, and that kind of stupid, pointless rhetoric will only sour relations with the company, whom have already issued a statement a month or two back regarding the possibility of further episodes, saying that they have nothing to report yet.

    And if he’s wrong (which I think he is), then it doesn’t matter either way, there are still almost 100 episodes missing, and may be forever.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking this is about his concern for doctor who, it’s just a pointless and vile rant from someone who shouldn’t be given any credence.

  17. avatar lee moone says:

    Perhaps Morris is now waiting for Levine to pop his clings before he’ll release any more, just to Piss him off for all his bad mouthing! ;)

  18. avatar TimeChaser says:

    People seem to think that its up to Philip Morris as to when anything gets released, providing more has been found. I imagine its up to the BBC. I don’t believe they would let one person hold their intellectual property hostage like that.

    If there is more that is waiting to be released, I will welcome it. But if Enemy and Web is all there was and more is out there waiting to be found, that’s where the energy and effort needs to be placed, not in a useless pissing match.

  19. avatar Ranger says:

    Philip Morris is not running a charity for Doctor Who fans. He is running a business. If he has found episodes that are financially viable to release, he is not going to sit on them – if he has found ones and not announced them, there must be a good reason. There could be lots of legal, restoration, contract reasons.

    I’m bored with Levine now – he’s like a petulant child denied a sweet and is throwing his things out of the pram.

    Be grateful for what we have and if anymore turn up – rejoice!

  20. I say a massive thank you to Ian Levine for all his work in the 70s and 80s. I say a massive thank you to Philip Morris for all his recent work… I then say that this whole ugly one-sided slanging match, and continuing stream of allegations is pointless and no good come of it. IF (and I personally think this is a massive IF), anyone is in possession of episodes and is hoarding them then is there anything that been borderline abusive will do to speed anything up. We as fans have no control over any of this, we are passive. We should sit tight, and keep hoping – but do that quietly, politely and with the good humour we have enjoyed since the horrible days of the 80s and 90s when fans were not a nice bunch of people generally (well a small vocal contingent anyway)

  21. avatar funbundle says:

    I have to confess that I’m rather enjoying this amusing little debacle. A cynical part of me even thought that this may be a staged row to drum up publicity a la Simon Cowell/Louis Walsh, but surely Mr Levine would never behave like a megalomaniac record producer?

  22. avatar goldmonkey says:

    We’re not children, don’t treat us like it.

    I was brought up to tell the truth. Why is that so difficult. Maybe the BBC/Morris can complete the following survey then we’ll all be happy.

    Have any further missing episodes been found?

    If so how many, which ones, and what condition are they?

    IL is a bit of character true but by playing the businessman / blackmail card Morris is no better than an eBay scalper.

  23. avatar Joyce says:

    If Morris has no more he only has to say so. Straight forward, to the point. He hasn’t. Ian is probably at least partially correct, maybe completely. He’s also passionate. He sometimes says the wrong things. But when it comes to Who he’s an open book.
    No one is coming out of this smelling of roses. It should be a wonderful period for the show. The BBC must be frustrated and anyone who has worked on restoration must be frustrated.
    Unhappy times.

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  25. avatar Cherysse says:

    While I agree that Levine can be caustic, Morris could have ended this months ago by saying:”This is all we found. We are still looking, but right now this is it/” Rather than that, he seems to be issuing a lot of non-denials such as “stay tuned” I can understand Levine’s anger, as it seems, especially with the unfunny April Fool’s Day prank of Marco Polo. It seems like both Morris and the BBC are laughing at the fans with their response to the fans. While Levine is not totally in the right, this could have all been cleared up when the other two stories were found, at least in my opinion

  26. avatar DJLance says:

    I have zero understanding as to why there is a backlash against Philip Morris. If he is sitting on a large find, then there is probably a reason. We are talking about the return of potentially very valuable artifacts from the cultural heritage of the UK. In addition to the search in Africa there may also still be private collectors holding onto episodes, paying attention to what is happening with Philip Morris, trying to figure out the potential value of their collections. Thus, any negotiations are likely to be delicate with much care as to what information will be publicly released. It is in everybody’s best interest to let this play out without making waves. We are not owed any information whatsoever as at the most we stand to lose a view dollars on some DVDs. On the other hand, Philip MOrris deserves to bepaid the full value for his work, and private collectors deserve any compensation that would be the norm for any return of this value. Money is important because without it these engines wouldn’t be in motion. We shouldn’t begrudge anybody wanting to make some if that is what will get the episodes returned. I do not see how Ian Levine, nor anybody else who is making demands, is helping the situation. If anything, these public may spook private collectors. It could also have the effect of communicating that the missing episodes may have a higher monetary value than previously thought.

  27. Always a first time for commenting…

    So, from all the information given, it looks like Lavine is acting a bit like a loud child in a playground (trying to think when that hasn’t happened with Who fans on the internet).
    I would like to know why he think Morris is hiding the episodes, after the work he did last year and where’s the evidence? Surely if anyone would be ‘hiding’ the finds, it would be the BEEB until they are ready to be sold commercially.

    I’m sure there are still episodes out there, if Morris has found them, then we WILL see them, but if not… I wonder if Lavine will apologise?

  28. avatar Bomber says:

    First time posting. People keep mentioningthe fact that legal/copywrite issues could be delaying things. It’s worth mentioning that The Beatles recently issued what was left of their out takes from 1963 via iTunes in the run up to Christmas last year as they were due to become public domain having, officially at least, languished in the EMI vaults for 50 years. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that BBC should or would be clamouring to purchase anything they could from whomever has it.

  29. avatar Cynthia Y says:

    My take on this? As long as I get to see all the missing Patrick Troughton years discovered and released in my lifetime I’m happy. If I live to be as old as Tom Baker now, I have at least another half century to go – so plenty of time to wait! :)

    With all the drama surrounding this, I think it’s great that there is enough passion on recovering the missing episodes to last a very long time. Imagine what we’d be discussing now if we had all the episodes found, hmm? lol

    In my opinion, it’s a very boring topic to discuss because it’s all speculation and assumptions. The only people that know what’s going on are those that are deeply involved in it. Unless one is deeply involved, all these comments are just from spectators who can only comment based on emotions, unsupported opinions and over-analysis of the situation.

    And finally, does anyone know how hard it is to retrieve and restore anything from videotapes? Especially if tapes are as old as 40 years old? If these tapes are not stored in a climate-controlled rooms, retrieving anything will be even more difficult. It doesn’t take much for the weather/room conditions to destroy something like that. I am surprised both the Web of Fear and Enemy of the World are in such great conditions when converted to digital! Or I could be wrong, maybe they were stored properly. But still, something that old needs to be handled with care. It’s like working in an archaeological site.

    So I say let’s just sit back, relax and appreciate that someone else is doing the work and not us. :)

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