Fans of the classic science-fiction series Doctor Who will be thrilled to know that nine episodes believed to have been lost forever have been found after nearly 46 years. BBC Worldwide has finished remastering them, and they will soon be available exclusively on iTunes.
Nine episodes were found in total at a TV relay station in Nigeria by Director of Television International Enterprises Archive Phillip Morris, who traced them down through shipping records.
“The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria,” says Morris. “I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words ‘Doctor Who’. When I read the story code I realised I’d found something pretty special.”
The episodes originally aired back in the 1960’s and cover the storylines “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear,” and all of them star Patrick Troughton, the second man to play as the titular doctor.
Episodes 2, 4, 5, and 6 of “The Web of Fear” were among those discovered, leaving episode 3 still lost somewhere out in the world and possibly forever. Stills are being used to recreate this chapter of the story. Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 “The Enemy of the World” were the other episodes found, although Episode 3 for this storyline has been accounted for for many years, meaning the storyline is not complete.
In total, 97 lost episodes still remain missing, and the recent discoveries bring the number down from 106.
The BBC has already made trailers available for the lost episodes. Pricing information has yet to be revealed. The announcement for the discovery comes just in time for the 50th anniversary of the TV series, so expect even more commotion about the discovery of these lost treasures.