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Television Sci-Fi

BBC Unveils Newly Discovered Dr.Who Episodes 184

Posted by samzenpus
from the original-tardis dept.
BigBadBus writes "Putting an end to months of speculation, the BBC announced at a press conference today that it had recovered 9 previously lost episodes of Dr.Who, from the Patrick Troughton era (1966-69). The episodes complete 'The Enemy of the World' and almost complete 'The Web of Fear' (leaving one episode outstanding). The episodes were found in a relay station in Nigeria by Phillip Morris; previously Nigeria had been checked and had returned 6 lost episodes in 1984. The episodes are now available from UK and US iTune stores and can be for pre-ordered from Amazon.co.uk"
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BBC Unveils Newly Discovered Dr.Who Episodes

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  • Glad (Score:5, Informative)

    by BigBadBus (653823) on Friday October 11, 2013 @03:46AM (#45099269) Homepage
    I'm glad that this got accepted! Apologies for the slightly garbled last sentence; I typed that at about 2am and was extremely tired. The reporting embargo was due to be lifted at midnight, but two papers had prematurely reported the news on their websites. These news items were pulled; an irate BBC contacted one of them and read them the riot act (mind you, it was the Northern Echo, my home newspaper which has a murky reputation, so what do you expect?)

    By about 11.50pm GMT the news had broken and links to iTunes gone up. Amazon links a short time later and then YouTube material. I put the iTunes and Amazon pre-order links on my website (see link in my signature)

    Sadly, I think the following quote from the BBC shows their contempt for us. This is from one of the papers that broke the embargo:

    "Asked whether viewers might also see the recovered episodes, without having to pay Apple £1.89 per episode or £9.99 to download the complete stories, BBC Worldwide said licence-fee payers had already enjoyed a chance to watch the programmes in the late 60s"

    Don't they realise that WE might have wanted to watch this stuff again at some point?

  • by BigBadBus (653823) on Friday October 11, 2013 @04:03AM (#45099325) Homepage
    The gentlemen who found these episodes did so of his own remit. He told fans in 2005 his plan:

    "'does anyone know,what ian levine,plans to do about the recovery of missing episodes,i myself have been considering,a little overseas travel, i work overseas and i think by traveling to some or even all countrys and searching ,is maybe the best way now,of finally putting the rumours,and stories to rest,if its there lets go there,and ask politely it can do no harm,who knows i might turn up a thing or two'

    'yes i see your point,i have contacted the restoration team,and offered my services,free at no cost to them ,whatsoever,but i have had no reply.you are perfectly right the beeb themselves should do this,but they dont seem to want to know,official paperwork and authorisation,from the beeb would have been great,but if not forthcoming i will go it alone with whatever ,background information i can find and see were it leads me,any help from anyone interested will be much appreciated,to all fans i will give it my best shot for dr who'"

    For those not in the know, Ian Levine is a superfan, who saved many of the early episodes from destruction and found many others. The above appeared on a forum dedicated to discussing missing episodes, and is partially run by BBC staff members some of whom restore the old episodes for DVD release. Apart from Ian Levine, everyone wrote him off. The BBC didn't seem to want to know. But if the story is right, he must have managed to acquire some paperwork to show how the episodes had been cycled round the world; when one TV station had finished with them, they would be sent to another one to reduce costs of producing new episodes from the negatives.

    Another thing I'd like to mention. In 1984 the BBC and Levine contacted old foreign TV markets who had bought the early years of the show to find lost episodes. Most stations didn't bother to reply; 6 did come back from Nigeria (the newly found episodes were from a relay station so its not surprising they were missed) and one from Australia. Iran said "Who in the name of Allah are you talking about?" But as Phillip Morris has shown, you need to go over there and physically sift through the paperwork and film cans. Expecting an overworked archivist to do it isn't going to work, especially if the documentation of what they have is fragmentary. But I do wonder what other "lost" TV shows were found sitting on the shelf. When Dr.Who has been found in the past, other TV has usually come back, but it is rarely, if ever reported. This makes TV historians fury with despair, as the archival side of things is so Dr.Who-centric.

    Normally, the episodes should have been returned to England when they had been shown an agreed number of times, or destroyed. Happily this isn't the case. I'm not too surprised that they were overlooked. My dad worked in Nigeria from about 1968-72 and I was born there. He says they are slovenly and corrupt. That's not being racist, that is what they are like over there, from his personal experience (like one local member of the Lagos glitterati who paid off the police to stop criminal proceedings after he nearly killed my mum in a speedboat accident). And yes my dad does recall Dr.Who being shown in Nigeria!

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday October 11, 2013 @04:47AM (#45099481) Homepage Journal

    if they add something to it then yes.

    The broadcasted version(or rather copy of the broadcasting) is the one that goes out of copyright.

  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Friday October 11, 2013 @04:54AM (#45099501)
    >You think a person having taped the episode, will have a high enough quality rendition for them to use? I doubt it.
    They've done a lot of work on previous DVD releases repairing and restoring from multiple sources. One series was reconstructed using a B&W film copy for the detail with the colour from a betamax home recording. End result was pretty good.
  • by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:37AM (#45100053)
    The BBC has also been recovering color information from the dot crawl that was recorded on the B&W telecines they had of many episodes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colour_recovery [wikipedia.org]

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