Lost Doctor Who Episodes Rumored to be on the way

doctor_who_50th_anniversaryVia Kasterborous:

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.


5 thoughts on “Lost Doctor Who Episodes Rumored to be on the way

  1. Hope you’re feeling better
    A writer on Bleeding Cool pondered whether the reason for the non-denial denials is that the lost episodes (again the top three mentioned Marco Polo, Web of Fear and Enemy of the World) will be screened the week of the Nov. 23. Which is entirely possible since it do wonders for BBC viewership figures and every DW fan will be seated in front of the TV to see a recovered episode.
    And I agree about the whole comic con trailer episode. The whole “threat” is ridiculous and I think the whole thing has kinda backfired as instead of building up excitement for the show its only caused anger and criticism. Moffat really does a thing for not having his M. Night moments spoiled.


  2. Sorry to hear you haven’t been well… glad to hear you are on the mend!

    I’m still hoping there are more missing episodes found… and I hate to say it… IF there is such a person out there who has classic Who, wants it to get treated right and get into the hands of fans, AND wants Moffat to ride off into the sunset… That’s a trilogy I can get behind!

    That said… to be fair… I’m only half serious… because as much as I don’t like many things Moffat… for an outsider, even a fan, to wield that kind of power sets a dangerous precedent… so I hope that part of the story (ridiculous demands) is not true… but I am hoping beyond hope for more missing Who.


  3. Secret negotiations beginning in 2011, tons of film cans from Africa, dozens of episodes, etc. Even if only half true, why no official announcement of the discovery? Is it, as some speculate, the Beeb wanting to secretly restore them to maximise their ‘surprise’ impact on TV and DVD for the 50th Anniversary? Whilst not impossible (and honestly if I were in charge I’d probably do the same!), I’d be happy with 2 episodes and / or some rare clips of early Hartnell and Troughton. If a larger cache; say 4 or 5; I’d expect them – with the “Galaxy 4” and “Underwater Menace” episodes – in a DVD Box Set akin to ‘LOST IN TIME Volume 2’. Whilst rumours are not facts, and nothing is assured until an official announcement, I’ll count myself as both hopeful and cautious. What does everybody else think – what would you prefer (or is most likely): an episode or clips?


  4. I hate to invoke Occam’s razor, (lex parsimoniae) as I would love one or two lost episodes to be recovered, but 90 is just too good to be true. Also the details, all of Marco Polo, complete Hartnell and Troughton, and no BBC confirmation. Remember when the complete Tomb of the Cyberman were found? Or clips excised by Censors down in Australia. Big news. It is in the BBC’s best interest not to deny the rumor until after the 50th as it has the fans talking about Doctor Who and raising interest, and not about the half-arsed efforts at the 50th Anniversary, the half season, a potentially stupid documentary, and of course there is Mr. Moffat.

    Other than a satire of Doctor Who, Moffat has no background in writing science fiction, his storylines are full of continuity errors you could drive a truck through and are the fodder for youtube posts. I will give him his due, he can write dialogue well, and write speeches, and at least he is acquainted and claims a love for Doctor Who. That said, I am about the same age as Moffat, live in the US (little material from the UK on the the Doctor I’ve found including used book stores) when I was growing up, and I could easily claim that I know more Dr. Who, but that wouldn’t be very hard.

    Moffat hasn’t endeared himself to the fans in the UK or the US, which is a shame. The Fans of Dr Who need Moffat to keep the series going at least long enough to find another producer to continue the series. Moffat needs the fans continued support, viewer ratings, and purchasing power to leverage the show into additional seasons.

    Then there is the BBC. The BBC has had a love hate relationship with the Doctor from before the original series was cancelled by a pompous arse Executive (aka Michael Grade) to its rebirth BBC Wales.

    The BBC has rationed content of the Original series that would make Apple Records proud. BBC hasn’t released DVDs of the original series other than at a glacial rate. Although things are better many of the original fans of the series died of old age before some episodes were released. Thank heavens I still have the VHS tapes for some episodes. Death to the Daleks and Invasion of Dinosaurs wasn’t released until last year. The Monster of Peladon (finally released in 2010) was so rare in the US that VHS copies on Ebay sold for under $100 USD instead of $5 for more common titles. The video DVD player went on Sale in 1997, became dominant by 2003, by 2006 Blue ray as a replacement for the DVD comes on line and the BBC sits on its thumb and spins until six years later to release DVDs for episodes available in VHS since 1990 for Death of the Daleks. Then again those BBC Dolphin Floggers didn’t release the Monster of Peladon in VHS in the US until 2003!

    The BBC modus operendi is to horde Dr. Who material and miserly release a few at a time. If 90 , 9, or 0.9 lost episodes come out of the wood work in November, then you can bet we won’t see these until the mid 2020’s.

    End of rant.


    • You have me rolling with laughter with this alone: ” Other than a satire of Doctor Who, Moffat has no background in writing science fiction, his storylines are full of continuity errors you could drive a truck through and are the fodder for youtube posts.”

      I like your ranting.

      More, please.


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