BBC Press Release Confirms Recovery of 9 Missing Episodes

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Following a private screening of one episode each from The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear at a press conference in London yesterday, the BBC has released a press release officially confirming the recovery of nine previously missing episodes.

The six part The Enemy of the World is now complete with the recovery of episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6.  Episode 3 was already in the care of the BBC and was released on the triple DVD set Lost in Time. The Web of Fear, also six episodes long, is now only missing episode 3. Episode 1 had previously been released on Lost in Time and episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 have been recovered.  

The BBC’s full press release is as follow:

11 EPISODES FROM THE 1960s, NINE OF WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN SEEN FOR OVER 45 YEARS, WILL LAUNCH EXCLUSIVELY ON ITUNES ON

Friday 11 October

BBC Worldwide is delighted to announce that nine recordings from the 1960s featuring missing episodes of Doctor Who, the world’s longest running sci-fi drama, have been recovered in Nigeria, Africa.

11 Doctor Who episodes were discovered (nine of which were 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 to the fantastic quality that audiences expect from Doctor Who.

The stories recovered are The Enemy of the World (1967) and The Web of Fear (1968), both starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor.

The Enemy of the Worldis the fourth six-part tale of Series 5 which first aired on the BBC in December 1967. Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 had been missing from the BBC archives.

Alongside Patrick Troughton who plays both the Time Lord and his antagonist (Ramon Salamander) are his companions Frazer Hines (Jamie) and Deborah Watling (Victoria).

Also recovered is the 1968 six-part story, The Web of Fear. Episodes 2 – 6 were feared lost forever but now episodes 2, 4, 5, and 6 have been recovered. Unfortunately, episode three 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.

Also starring Patrick Troughton alongside Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling, The Web of Fear introduces Nicholas Courtney for the first time as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (who later returns as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart).

All episodes will be available to download exclusively from iTunes on 11 October.  The Enemy of the World will also be available to pre-order exclusively on DVD from BBC Shop from 11 October for release on 22 November. The Web of Fear will be available on DVD from early 2014.

Phillip Morris says, “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 comments: “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.”

On the 23rd November 2013, Doctor Who celebrates 50 years since the very first episode, An Unearthly Child, aired on BBC television. A number of episodes from the first series of Doctor Who were lost as a result of BBC Archive space-saving measures and there are still 27 Doctor Who stories that are missing or have incomplete episodes.

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