Following the apparent dismissal by the man believed to have uncovered lost episodes from the 1960s, Philip Morris comes a rehash of the “a trailer for lost episode X is set to appear on DVD Y!” story which has been around longer than Matt Smith, frankly.
This time, the DVD in question is September’s overdue release of The Terror of the Zygons, starring Tom Baker, Lis Sladen and Nicholas Courtney, just a couple of months before we see the return of the Zygons in the 50th anniversary special. Which serial/episode will be trailed? Well, naturally no one is saying, as a lot of Bleeding Cool’s coverage of this topic has been based on the same cycle of rumours that have been going around for months, even years in this case.
According to them:
The rumour stands that whoever hold the films wants the films to be properly treated, with full restoration, the use of vidFIRE and the like, while BBC Worldwide wanted to release them quickly in the format they arrived in. And that has caused the delay, in negotiation and release.
Caroline Skinner, the then-producer of Doctor Who was assigned as chief negotiator, considered a senior enough figure. Earlier this year, after a major public falling out between showrunner Steven Moffat and Skinner, Private Eye reporting Moffat shouting “you are erased from Doctor Who”, she left the show.
Russell T Davies’ first response to that news was, apparently, “who is going to negotiate now?” Apparently Moffat is not in favour with whoever has these films, and initial demands involved Moffat’s departure from the show. Clearly this did not happen.
Contracts have, however, been agreed with all concerned parties for BBC Worldwide for the return and release of Marco Polo, Enemy Of The World and Web Of Fear missing episodes. This would account for seventeen missing episodes, verified and in releasable condition.
It’s difficult to know what to think about all of this as the rumor establishes that the episodes do exist but that Moffat might be the only thing standing in the way of our seeing them. Doesn’t do much for the showrunner’s already waning popularity, does it? Just this year he angrily told fans that if anything leaked of the special teaser he would personally make sure there would be no more San Diego Comic Con exclusives for Doctor Who fans. The man needs a pacifier.
If true, there could hardly be three more amazing stories to get excited about. Marco Polo is a lavish historical adventure that set standard for Doctor Who and what it could accomplish. Keep in mind, there had been the cavemen episode, the Daleks and then this, an honest to goodness historical with no gimmicks, no aliens or other nonsense. Fans have had very little to go on outside of a few snapshots of the filming, the script and the audio track.
The Web of Fear is a stunning and haunting serial. Only the first part has survived and even that is a stunner. A horrific tale set in the London Underground, this story introduces Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, a shifty and shady soldier who arrives in the midst of a widespread panic. Atmospheric and iconic, I would love to see this in its entirety.
The Enemy of the World is an odd one. Jammed in the midst of what has been referred to as ‘the monster season of 1968 (with Yeti, Ice Warriors and Cybermen all over the place), this story has none of those elements. A tense dramatic thriller, this story deals with a small group of freedom fighters determined to undermine the efforts of a man named Salamander who threatens the future of the entire planet. There is very little evidence to support this claim, but Salamander strangely resembles the Doctor… so he infiltrates the organization and impersonates the tyrant. Said to be one of the finest examples of the late Patrick Troughton’s acting abilities on Doctor Who, this would be a joy to see.
But is any of it true at all? And is Moffat the one man responsible for us not seeing them? Who can say?
Note: Apologies to regular readers. I have had some serious health issues that have prevented me from blogging all week. Luckily I seem to be on the mend again so things should be back to normal shortly.