Britain’s broadcaster The BBC had no policy on archiving until 1978, meaning that much of the network’s output between the 1930s and the early 1980s has been lost.
The most famous of these lost episodes has been many of the early serials of classic era “Doctor Who” – specifically certain adventures of the first and second Doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton.
694 episodes of the show were produced between 1963 and 1989, with 106 officially considered ‘lost’ as of earlier this year. That number has now dropped to 97 when earlier this week came talk that a bunch of lost episodes had been found in a small TV facility in Nigeria. Rumors ran rife as to how many were recovered.
Yesterday the BBC officially announced the findings – eleven episodes were recovered with nine of them being amongst the famed ‘lost’ episodes (the other two were already in the BBC’s archives).
The nine episodes comprise two of Patrick Troughton’s serials – “The Web of Fear” and “The Enemy of the World”. Each of those serials were six-parters and each only had one episode in the BBC archive. Now, ‘Enemy’ is complete while ‘Web’ is missing just one episode (though photos and audio records of it still exist).
‘Web’ marks the first appearance of fan favorite character Colonel Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, and deals with the Yeti and The Great Intelligence spreading poisonous fungus on the London Underground. The Great Intelligence served as the main antagonist in the current revival’s most recent season.
‘Enemy’ deals with the Doctor discovering he is a doppleganger for ‘Salamander,’ a ruthless megalomaniac dominating the United Zones Organisation in the middle part of the 21st century.
The BBC has remastered both serials and has made them both available on iTunes ahead of a disc release in the near future.