It has been announced that the BBC will be holding a special Doctor Who event in London on Thursday 10th October, with Who Companions Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling in attendance, announcing that episodes of the classic series, previously thought lost forever, have been found.
Fans of Doctor Who have hoped and prayed for this day – the possibility that episodes from classic adventures, supposedly lost due to the zealous tape-wiping measures of the BBC, may still exist have been dangled and subsequently dashed so many times but now, it appears, it may actually be happening.
106 episodes are recorded as ‘lost’ as part of the BBC’s previous policy to wipe tapes of transmissions, once the episodes had aired and subsequently converted to film for overseas broadcast. The commercial arm of the Corporation – BBC Worldwide – would then arrange the selling-on of these tapes to other markets, and on to others, not necessarily keeping full track of where they eventually ended up.
Reports of a found container of a private collector, holding a undetermined number of 16mm prints, have been doing the rounds for the last month, the authenticity of such a find being disputed by many Who experts. However, it appears that this doubt over the veracity of the find will be lifted by this announcement.
The presence of Hines and Watling, two William Hartnell era Companions, suggest that the episodes found are from adventures of the First Doctor. This makes quite a bit of sense, seeing as the Second Doctor initially proved to be not as popular in foreign markets – most likely due to the strength of Hartnell as the originator of the character – and not many countries requested Patrick Troughton episodes.
It has not been announced as to which episodes have been resurrected, nor to how many. However, the news that any archive episodes have been recovered can only add to the excitement being generated around the 50th Anniversary of the Timelord’s first appearance on British television screens.