Doctor Who

Tomb of the Cybermen - a recovered missing Doctor Who episode

Infographic: How lost Doctor Who episodes were returned

By Christopher Allen on Wednesday 9 October 2013

In 1980, over half of Doctor Who's first 253 episodes were missing from the BBC's archives. This month's recovery and exclusive iTunes release of The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear brings the number of missing episodes to 97. takes a look at the long journeys and detective work required to return the 40 lost episodes that have surfaced since the junking of 1960s Doctor Who was brought to light…

Missing: Presumed Dead - Rediscovering Doctor Who’s “missing episodes”. When the BBC founded their Film and Videotape Library in 1978, the holdings of 1960s Doctor Who were almost non-existent.  By 1981, after returns from various BBC departments and national bodies, the Library held 116 of the 253 episodes. Since then, episodes have surfaced all over the world - some after having adventures worthy of the Doctor himself...1982 - The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 2 - Returned from the private collection of a BBC film projectionist. The Reign of Terror, Episode 6 - Sourced by Bruce Campbell at a film collector’s fair, after learning it was a missing episode. 1983 - The Daleks’ Master Plan, Episodes 5 and 10 - Found among other BBC film cans in the basement of a Mormon church in South London.  Despite many theories, to this day, no one really knows why they were there...1984 - The Celestial Toymaker, Episode 4 - Returned from Australia after being found during a routine examination of the ABC’s archives. The Wheel in Space, Episode 3- Bought by Southampton-based collector David Stead, from another collector, who had inherited it as part of his father’s film collection. The Reign of Terror, Episodes 1-3 - Returned from CBC in Cyprus. Their copies of episodes 4 and 5 were destroyed by a bomb strike in the Cypriot civil war. 1985 - The Time Meddler, All four episodes, and The War Machines, All four episodes - Prints of both full adventures were tracked down to Midwest TV in Nigeria, by fan investigator Ian Levine. Due to a diplomatic crisis between Britain and Nigeria in 1984, the prints weren’t returned until early the following year, when it was discovered that some scary sequences had been edited out. 1987 - The Evil of the Daleks, Episode 2 and The Faceless Ones, Episode 3 - Having been rumoured to exist for years, The Faceless Ones was offered for screening at a convention in 1987. Owner Gordon Hendry then loaned both films to the BBC for copying. He’d bought them from an elderly dealer at a car-boot sale in 1983. 1988 - The Ice Warriors, Episodes 1, 4, 5, 6 - Four episodes of the (at that point) entirely missing adventure, were found in the back of a cupboard at Villiers House in West London as BBC Enterprises moved offices. 1992 - The Tomb of the Cybermen, All four episodes - 16mm film prints were returned from Asia Television in Hong Kong after being discovered in their library. Quickly released on home video, Tomb went on to out-sell The Silence of the Lambs that week! 1999 - The Crusade, Episode 1 - This episode was discovered in the collection of New Zealand film enthusiast Bruce Grenville. It was recorded as being sent to landfil by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation in 1974 (on the orders of BBC Enterprises) and was likely saved by a fan. 2004 - The Daleks’ Master Plan, Episode 2 - Returned by former BBC film projectionist, Francis Watson, who rescued the prints from a clear-out in 1972. He only  became aware of their value after stumbling across the Doctor Who Restoration Team website in January 2004. 2011 - Galaxy 4, Episode 3 (Air Lock) and The Underwater Menance, Episode 2 - Recovered from the collection of retired TV engineer Terry Burnett. In all likelihood, these were copies from ABC in Australia, returned to the UK for junking in the 1970s and rescued by fans. 2013 - The Enemy of the World, All 6 episodes and The Web of Fear, Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 - Discovered by Phillip Morris on a shelf at a TV relay station in Jos, central Nigeria. The prints had been sent to Nigeria from Hong Kong (a common process among broadcasters called ‘bicycling’) in October 1974, and were screened on RKTV.

The Missing Episodes