Brief (oversimplified) background: back in the day, BBC used to systematically blank or destroy tapes as part of a regular “house cleaning” undertaking.
Due to this practice, a large number of recorded installments of many BBC shows have been lost to history - literally nuked in order to make room for whatever was coming up. DOCTOR WHO - 50 years old this November - suffered such casualties. A significant portion of its early years, some 106 episodes, were obliterated and have remained unseen since their initial transmission...they have been presumed lost forever.
Nonetheless, hope shimned brightly that episodes might be found (in some form), and the search for “missing episodes” has been fervent over the years. We’ve seen varying degrees of success. None the less, the majority of the “missing” titles...remained elusive, and many have questioned if they even exist at all. Might they reside in someone’s personal collection? Might copies remain in the multitude of television stations which received versions of the shows to transmit outside of the UK? Etc...
There have been rumors and innuendo for ages - hints that “lost,” “classic” WHO may be recovered and may somehow be released to the public. A frenzy of suggestions towards this end have arisen over the past few years in particular. Might it happen? How many missing shows might have been recovered? Will ANY of them ever be recovered?
In a number of our regularly posted Friday Docbacks, I’ve alluded to a strong belief that, indeed, lost DOCTOR WHO episodes have been recovered. While I’m not at liberty to reveal too many specifics at this time, I can tell you that...from what evidence I’ve seen and been told through back channels over the past many months...it’s entirely feasible...perhaps even highly probable (if not absolute)...that episodes have been recovered and some of them have actually been on-hand for a while...although word of their recovery has been delayed for some very practical, imminently sensible, highly pragmatic reasons which have little to do with conspiracy, or the upcoming 50th Anniversary celebrations (although, obviously, BBC would be happy to exploit this milestone for added publicity value should the announcement of the recoveries be deemed prudent...)
This said, I will openly confess a margin for error within my information. A very small one, but it exists none the less. Thus, because I'm always straight-up in such matters, I am not prepared to authoritatively assert that what I am professing is correct. In my heart, though, based on conversations I’ve had and information I’ve been provided, I would not be in any way surprised to learn of the recovery of vintage DOCTOR WHO episodes at some point sooner than later. In fact, I’ve been expecting word to come our way for some time. And...
The likelihood that recovered episodes are, indeed, about to be announced and see the light of day has leaped forward astronomically today, with varying reports from a number of outlets.
THIS article over at the esteemed Radio Times says this Wednesday will bring to iTunes digital downloads of long lost Patrick Troughton-era episodes.
THIS article over at the less-than-esteemed Daily Mirror says...
BBC Worldwide has now called a press conference and screening on Tuesday in a London hotel.
The invitation sent out had he event details written inside the screen of a old-fashioned sixties style television set, complete with a dial to tune in the channels, seeming to hint at the type of news to come.
Journalists will be told exactly which old footage has been recovered, with some of it then broadcast on screen to watch.
The Radio TImes confirmation is particualarly intriguing given its longstanding association with/attachment to BB and DOCTOR WHO. Also worthy of note is that the recovery of episodes is being reported by BBC 4 Radio (check HERE and it’s about 9 minutes or so in), and at Sky News via this report.
So, what’s this all about? We’ll know soon enough. Stay tuned...more as we know more. Fingers crossed...
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