BBC Worldwide has officially confirmed that nine recordings from the 1960s featuring missing episodes of Doctor Who have been recovered in Nigeria.
A total of eleven Doctor Who episodes were discovered (nine of which had been missing) by Phillip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archive, by the tracking records of overseas shipments made by the BBC containing tapes for transmission. BBC Worldwide has re-mastered these episodes to restore them.
Starring Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, the stories recovered are ‘The Enemy of the World’, the fourth six-part tale of Season 5 which first aired on the BBC in December 1967, and Episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 of ‘The Web of Fear’ from 1968.
Unfortunately, Episode 3 of ‘The Web of Fear’ is still missing, but a restoration team has reconstructed this part of the story using a selection of the 37 images that were available from the episode along with the original audio which has been restored.
‘The Web of Fear’ introduces Nicholas Courtney for the first time as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, who later returns as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
Phillip Morris commented: “The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria. I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words ‘Doctor Who’. When I read the story code I realised I’d found something pretty special.”
Fiona Eastwood, Director of Consumer Products, BBC Worldwide added: “We are thrilled with the recent discovery of ‘The Web of Fear’ and ‘The Enemy of the World’ and we’re very happy to be launching re-mastered versions of these treasured episodes to fans as we celebrate the 50th year of Doctor Who.”
All the newly-found episodes will be available to download exclusively from iTunes on Friday 11 October.
‘The Enemy of the World’ will also be released on DVD on Friday 22 November, while ‘The Web of Fear’ will be released on DVD early next year.
Are you looking forward to seeing these episodes? Do you remember seeing them on their original broadcast? Let us know below…