Doctor Who Missing Episodes – Steve Roberts Clarifies List Ripping Incident & Believes Marco Polo Found



Last Weekend saw the annual Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles, California celebrate its 25th Anniversary. Amongst the many panels at the three day event was one entitled “Sherlock Morris & the Case of the Missing Episodes” on Saturday afternoon. The five member panel comprised of Steve Roberts, Damian Shanahan, Greg Bakun, Steven Schapansky and Jon Preddle.

Twitter, social media and Doctor Who forums were set alight following Doctor Who Restoration Team member Steve Robert’s theatrically dramatic on-stage destruction of an omnirumour list.  Many assumed from this symbolic act of paper tearing that Roberts was debunking all rumours of the recovery of any of Doctor Who’s 97 currently missing episodes.  Thankfully Roberts has clarified his theatrics in an audio interview released yesterday by Radio Free Skaro.

Radio Free Skaro claims to be the “most popular, most prolific and charmingly irreverent  (but never irrelevant) Doctor Who Podcast around”.  The three Canadians, Warren Frey, Steven Schapansky and Chris Burgess, have produced 408 podcasts since August 2006. Yesterday’s podcast is entitled “The Case of the Missing Episodes” and includes interviews with Steve Roberts, and missing episodes experts Damian Shanahan (Australia) and Jon Preddle (New Zealand).

Radio Free Skaro

The interview with Steve Roberts is enlightening and clarifies the circumstances surrounding the Gallifrey One panel incident. Roberts told Radio Free Skaro’s Chris Burgess and Steven Schapansky (with whom he shared the stage for the panel) the following,  

(The omnirumour) is apparently now a list of the state of every apparently recovered missing episode and what stage of restoration they’re apparently at and when they will be released.  It’s a very interesting document full of internal logic errors  … I printed it out and went through some choice episodes … and ended up theatrically ripping the piece of paper and throwing it on the stage.  It was literally to get a good audience response which it did.

Roberts went on to state,

I absolutely believe that Phil (Morris) has found more Doctor Who.  And Phil is a very secretive guy and he won’t have told anyone what he’s got.  He hasn’t told us what he’s got.  He hasn’t told my team.  He hasn’t told Paul Vanezis … So if we don’t know, how do all these other people suddenly know in such detail the apparent state of these things?  It doesn’t make any sense to me.

Roberts further said that Marco Polo is the story most likely to be found because there were more copies sold than other serials.  He then stated,

It’s my opinion that Phil definitely has found Marco Polo.  I have no evidence whatsoever to back that up because I’ve not seen anything, He’s not told me that.  He’s not told any of my friends or colleagues that but I just think that he will have …He hasn’t come out and said “I’ve definitely got more Doctor Who” but in the statements he’s made he says “It’s a great time for Doctor Who fans.  Expect the unexpected”. He’s very positive … He’s definitely got more. He’s not leading anyone on because he’s not that sort of person.  He will give things back, I’m sure, when it suits his business, the BBC, whatever when the time is right.  I don’t know what his game plan is.  I’m sure he has one.

You can listen to Radio Free Skaro’s interview with Steve Roberts here.  Photos are courtesy of the Radio Free Skaro website,  No copyright infringement is intended.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2014.


6 responses »

  1. It’s a shame that of all the panels, they weren’t allowed to record that one. Thanks for the article though. I think it’s a bit silly of Steve Roberts to “theatrically” go and tear up some papers to demonstrate where he believes the omnirumour stands. If he were to have gone and ripped up these omnirumour papers say… October 8th of last year, would he have gone and ripped up “rumors” of Enemy of the World/Web of Fear rumors? I too am under the impression that Marco Polo has been located, but if it has Mr. Morris will have surely talked to someone. (The idea that three separate copies has been found is too good to be true, yes, but as you touch on briefly, more than three copies were produced so it’s not that far of a stretch). Anyway. Look forward to hearing what the three who rule have to say on the matter. Thanks for the article. Glad I’ve found your site.

  2. I too always believed in the stories that more were back ! Trouble is i visit a site where PV is a MOD ! And as soon as you start to say there is more they hate it and threaten to chuck you off !!! He is clearly holding off too get a big payday !!! He is a bounty hunter in my eyes which means we could all be in a retirement home before this is done 😦 !

  3. Pingback: More Lost DOCTOR WHO Episodes May Have Turned Up « Nerdist | An American View of British Science Fiction

  4. I absolutely believe that Phillip Morris has more missing episode footage. However, I also believe there is something wrong with the footage that means it can’t be released. While Morris may have a full episode or more of Marco Polo, who’s to say that the recovered footage is all from the same source?
    Take the return of Episode 2 of the Underwater Menace back in 2011. Though the episode was missing a chunk of footage, it was reported as returned by BBC, why?

    Well, it turns out that the BBC happened to have all of the episode footage the print lacked. The BBC was able to combine their footage with the print to reproduce the full episode. I get the feeling that this may be happening here.

    AND: I mean, there’s NO point in announcing you have footage if you can’t watch it! Who knows, the prints could be damaged in some way or sliced into a hundred pieces only a couple of frames long each, or something like that.

    Imagine if Morris came out and said something like, “Yeah, I have a copy of the Dalek’s Master Plan Episode 7: The Feast of Steven. It’s just damaged beyond repair, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do to restore it.” What good would that do? Nothing.

    My opinion: If we can’t watch it (or have it help with the reconstruction), don’t announce it’s recovery.

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