After all the fuss about “106” missing episodes, the BBC has announced that it’s recovered nine episodes from The Enemy Of The World and The Web Of Fear, two Troughton era classics.
Once again, from the recap files:
In the early 1970s, the BBC didn’t see much commercial value in many of its recorded programs, including Doctor Who, and didn’t really see the need to spend lots of money storing old tapes — so they junked them wholesale. It wasn’t just Doctor Who that was singled out; countless hours of classic TV were destroyed, famously including the BBC’s own coverage of the moon landings.
The BBC was wrong to destroy them, and the advent of home videotape and possibilities for worldwide syndication made that all too clear by the time the 1980s rolled around.
For decades now, the hunt has been on for the missing episodes from the runs of the first two Doctors. From time to time, there have been significant finds, whether it’s in the form of short clips or complete episodes, but there’s still been a mass of episodes missing.
So where did these “new” classic finds come from? For some months now, rumours had circulated that a number of episodes — and possibly quite a lot of other archival BBC material — had surfaced in Ethiopia — but it turns out the episodes were in fact in Nigeria. I bet that led to a few “interesting” emails going back and forth.
The episodes are from The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear. Finding episodes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 of Enemy Of The World mean that this story is complete, while the episodes of Web Of Fear mean that only episode 3 is missing.
The BBC announced that it would offer the episodes up via iTunes straight away in Australia. Awesome!
Update: Naturally, this news was breaking as I was doing something else. The stories are available in full from iTunes in Australia for $14.99 per story, or $2.99 each. Obviously you’d be forgoing the full version of Ep 3 of The Web Of Fear, which is instead offered as a stills-based reconstruction for the same price.
Here’s the link for The Enemy Of The World and here’s The Web Of Fear. If you’re not in the Apple ecosystem, the DVD releases are set for November 27th for The Enemy Of The World and early 2014 for The Web Of Fear.
I think I know what I’ll be watching tonight.