[Alas…it looks more and more like this was a hoax being perpetrated by the so-called “eccentric engineer”, as some sort of negotiating ploy with the BBC…sad. Still remains to be seen what the ultimate result is, though.]
Fans of the classic Doctor Who episodes know the story well…in accordance with standard BBC practices at the time, many episodes of Doctor Who were destroyed or erased to make room in the BBC Archives – mainly because no one ever though that the material was worth keeping for long term rebroadcasting, until 1978 when they stopped the practice. Many of the serials were lost entirely. Some were lost in parts.
When the show became hugely popular, demand for the old episodes increased – but many weren’t in the archives. Over time, some episodes were discovered at other broadcasters, or in attics, saved by engineers, recorded from broadcasts, etc. It’s been a long and slow process – all episodes of the Third Doctor have been recovered. But still many remain missing. 10 whole serials still remain missing, and many more parts of serials.
That may be about to change.
Bleeding Cool reports on a reliable rumor that the BBC may have secured a large cache of videotapes/films, apparently kept by an eccentric TV engineer in Africa. Lots and lots of tapes, in fact. Possibly everything from the Hartnell years, and the entire “Evil of the Daleks” serial, where only the second of seven episodes had previously been found.
Word is that we’ll hear about it – and maybe see it – as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration.
Keep your fingers crossed!