2 Lost Doctor Who Episodes Found
Not seen in over 40 years, two early episodes of Doctor Who have recently been found.
Of 253 episodes that aired when William Hartnell (1963-66) and Patrick Troughton (1966-69) played the Doctor, 108 had believed to been lost, due to the BBC’s policy of “wiping”. Now that number is 106. The episodes discovered are 1965 episode “Airlock” which is part 3 of the previously completely lost story Galaxy 4, and 1967’s The Underwater Menace part 2 (which joins part 3 as the only surviving episodes of the 4 part story.
In the 1970s the BBC began to wipe the video masters of many of older episodes of Doctor Who, among other series, because they did not have the storage space, and little demand for the black and white episodes. Indeed, all the original black-and-white videotapes were wiped; the episodes that did survive this period were due to copies made on film for foreign sales.
By 1978, when the wiping policy ended 27 of the 50 serials to feature the first two Doctors were incomplete, 9 serials were completely lost (now 8, with this announcement). Among the episodes lost include the final episode of The Tenth Planet, which featured the first regeneration from Hartnell to Troughton, and the first two complete stories to
feature the Second Doctor, Power of the Daleks, and The Highlanders, the first appearance of fan favorite companion, Jamie McCrimmon (Frazier Hines), the 18th Century piper who traveled with the Doctor throughout the entire Troughton era.
This discovery marks the first complete episodes to be found since the 2004 discovery of 1965’s Day of Armageddon (part 2 of the 12 part The Daleks’ Masterplan)
The William Hartnell story Galaxy 4 had, until now, only existed in the memory of its viewers and a small segment of film. Not even photos existed from the third episode were know to survive.
The Underwater Menace, Patrick Troughton‘s third story, also discovered, is now the earliest full episode to be found from the Second Doctor’s run.
The announcement of the discovery was made at the British Film Institute‘s Missing Believed Wiped event – where the two episodes where screened, marking the first time they’ve been seen in the United Kingdom since their original broadcast in the 1960s. (Air Lock was originally seen on 25th September 1965, with The Underwater Menace episode two on 21st January 1967)
There are no immediate plans to release the episodes for sale on DVD, as both are in need of a great deal of restoration. 2|Entertain, the BBC Worldwide owned video publisher responsible for all Doctor Who releases, has extensively restored its classic Doctor Who releases, and these episodes will certainly get the full treatment.
Screen shots from the episodes may be seen in the BBC’s Doctor Who Adventure Calendar Day 11.