Many of the Doctor's early television adventures are lost for ever. Enormous pressure on storage space forces the BBC to 'wipe the tapes' of a large proportion of its output. A certain number of 'Doctor Who' shows have been preserved for the Television Archives, but many are lost for good." - "The Making of Doctor Who" by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke (p.124, 1980 edition)
MISSING WITHOUT TRACE "
The Search for the lost episodes of 'Doctor Who'
(email:oee-at-yksc.york.ac.uk OR pl100-at-unix.york.ac.uk )
At the time of writing, there are currently 110 episodes of Doctor Who (all from the black and white era) listed as "does not exist" on BBC documentation.
From the inception of the programme on November 23rd 1963 until December 1967, all but four of the episodes were broadcast from 2 inch quadruplex ('Quads') 405 line black and white videotape (the few exceptions were transmitted from telerecorded 35mm film because of the complex editing that was required; video tape editing was in it's infancy and it was necessary to physically splice the tape, thus rendering it unusable after it was edited). From then on until June 1969, 625 line tape was used (it's debut being 'The Enemy of the World'), and, as can be seen, it gave better definition although six were transmitted from film for ease of editing.........and after that came the colour era.
Today, there are only about 11 spools of 405 line quad at the BBC. None of these are Doctor Who.
A telerecording is a method of transferring videotape to film; because videotape was expensive, and because more was known about film, the videotape would be erased and re-used after a while, but not before a TELERECORDING had been made; basically, a film camera, loaded with 16mm or 35mm black and white film was pointed at a modified television screen in a small enclosed 'box' (called a 'kinescope') on which the episode would be played. This method involved the use of a system that reduced external light to zero (thus eliminating screen 'glare' and reflections) and had a 'flat' screen (to cut out on image distortions towards the edge of the screen). The 'master' negative that was thus obtained was used to make all further prints for overseas sales.
In the early days of television broadcasting, telerecording was used for archive purposes or the overseas' sales of programmes and only very rarely for repeating material (because, in the peculiar parlance of TV engineers, "it added loss to the picture"); the early telerecordings of the first two of the BBC's 1950's 'Quatermass' serials, for instance, which were made by the very primitive method of pointing a film camera (with a synchronised frame rate) at a studio monitor. But, by 1957, telerecording technology had improved sufficiently to warrant it's use in domestic transmissions, and by the next year, videotape recording started operation by the BBC and ITV.
This was how Doctor Who was sold to overseas customers in the 1960s; and even during the 1970s, it was considered advantageous to transfer colour episodes on videotape to black and white film so that countries that didn't broadcast from tape could still use the film version (for instance, Australia was still broadcasting in black and white until March 1975- their first colour Doctor Who story being "The Time Warrior").
Unlike tape, film had the added bonus that it could be used anywhere that had projection apparatus, as opposed to complex Ampex video recorders/playback equipment needed for tape. But videotape had the advantage that it could be wiped and re-used.....
I should point out here that the telerecording equipment had the best technology that could be obtained: the images that were obtained were extremely good, even though the recent restorations of the Pertwee episodes have shown that the so-called 'flat' screen technology used in the 1960s and 1970s showed minute and undetectable distortions of the pictures.
The 1963-69 era was mostly preserved as 16mm telerecordings (a few were recorded onto 35mm film), but due to a misguided notion currently in fashion at the BBC in the 1970s, once the episodes' had achieved what was considered to be their full sales potential, the episodes were seen to have no more material value and were thrown onto rubbish skips, ready to be incinerated. Other factors, such as high insurance premiums at the episodes' storage facilities (BBC Enterprises' Villiers House headquarters), which were grossly overcrowded, and the rules set down by the Musician's Union and the actor's union, Equity, coupled with the apparent disinterest by the viewing public towards the old black and white episodes of any programme (not just 'Doctor Who') after the transfer to colour broadcasting in the late 1960s meant that it became practical to dispose of the old episodes after it had been decided once and for all that the construction of newer storage vaults was totally out of the question.
Also, it should be remembered that there was nothing in the BBC's charter that obliged them to found an Archive (there is now though!).
The junking started in 1972 and lasted five years. When it was over, the tally was huge. Vast chunks of the first six years of 'Doctor Who' had gone, with the first few years of the colour era also being hit hard (their master video-tapes had been wiped or lost previously). By the late 1970s, when the BBC finally realised it's folly, and that it could market old episodes in new (and more profitable!) ways, over 200 episodes were no longer held in their original bw or colour format, with 146 episodes being completely absent. Amongst the first casualties were seasons 4 and 5, the Troughton material not selling as well as the Hartnell episodes.
And despite assurances that "nothing was ever destroyed without the knowledge of the producers, who never once said that [the BBC was] destroying priceless history", this claim now seems very hollow when one recalls that Barry Letts asked for 'The Daemons' not to be wiped, and Innes Lloyd was not kept informed! It was not just production staff who were kept ill-informed - writers such as Ian Stewart Black and Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln have denounced the motive behind the junkings as being 'crazy' and 'saving pennies'. And Deborah Watling, upon learning for the first time in 1983 that only 3 of her episodes existed (and two of these were recovered by chance!), was stunned and labelled it as 'vandalism'.
All was not quite lost: a lot was retrieved from BBC Enterprises Sales Vault, which held 16mm black and white telerecordings of all bar one ("Invasion" part 1) previously colour Pertwee episode, and the majority of the first two seasons of Doctor Who held in pristine negative format (BBC Enterprises dealt solely with 16mm film, not the higher quality 35mm variant, possibly due to the former's more universal usage and also because of certain financial considerations?). These episodes were retrieved from Villiers House in 1977/8 before they were due to be junked. And, of course, the fledgling BBC Film Library had been given a few random examples from the black and white era, including interestingly, most of the 35mm original telerecordings (later, this place also became the safe repository of videotape, and the 'BBC Film and Videotape Library' was colloquially dubbed 'the BBC Archive').
The British Film Institute also assisted: they had been given three complete Patrick Troughton adventures ("The Dominators", "The Krotons" and "The War Games") sometime in the early 1970s. In 1978/9, these were returned and along with one or two other examples returned from abroad upon expiry of their original sales rights ("The Web of Fear" part 1 in 1978 and an arabic dubbed version of "Planet of Giants" from Saudi Arabia in 1977 for example, although this latter version was technically redundant, since it still existed as an English version at the BBC), the list of the missing was reduced to 136 episodes by 1981. (whilst I'm on the subject of the BFI, I should mention here that a mystery has arisen over the years as to what was actually donated to the Institute; the British Film Institute handbook, entitled "Keeping Television Alive", lists all programme acquisitions up to and including March 1979, and mentions only "The Dominators" and "The War Games" as having been provided, a fact confirmed by Steve Bryant, the Keeper of Television at the National Film Archive, in a letter to me dated July 2nd, 1991: he further states that no other stories were acquired at that time". So, if this is true, where did "the Krotons" come from? With all due fairness, I should point out that the BFI handbook does contain at least one error, namely that it held a film copy of the 12th December 1954 edition of "1984", whereas in fact it was the more widely noted performance broadcast four days later that is held,the earlier performance not being recorded).
On the same subject, I should point out that the prints of "The Dominators" parts 4 and 5 currently held by the BBC are slightly edited, in that the deaths of some of the characters have been pruned. Since, by 1979, only episode 3 of "The Dominators" was missing (the BFI provided the original 35mm telerecording), it is believed that the BBC- held prints are edited (for reasons unknown), but that the BFI prints may be complete. Has anyone checked this?)
Today, Doctor Who is fortunate (and possibly unique) amongst contemporary BBC tv series because everything broadcast since 1970 exists albeit the (Jon Pertwee) 1970-74 era exists in a peculiar variety of formats: 16mm colour film ("Spearhead from Space"), 625 line colour mastertapes, 525 line copies that were returned from Canadian TV stations, untransmittable colour U-Matic tapes (copied from U.S. Betamax off-air recordings made in the 1970s by Ian Levine's friends just before their 525 line mastertapes were wiped upon expiry of the broadcast agreement) and 16mm black and white telerecordings.
More recently, these black and white episodes have been restored to colour by digitally superimposing the colour from the Betamax recordings onto the bw images once they had been telecined (film/video transfer) onto Betacam tapes and then onto the new format of D3 digital video cassette, ready for broadcast. (As far as Doctor Who is concerned, 2 inch tape was used until 1983, and thereafter 1 inch tape).
This quad tape was priced contemporaneously (in the late 1950s/early 1960s) at about £90 , quite a hefty sum in those days; and in 1972, the year that the junking started, the BBC suffered from a 6 million pound over-spend. In the eyes of the Corporation, wiping this expensive tape made economical (but not historical!) sense, and operations such as tape splicing was frowned upon severely.
The colour 525 line recordings were sold to various US and Canadian stations by the huge American publishing corporation, Time-Life. They premiered in 1972 and were not well received (Doctor Who being a virtually unknown series there at the time), although some stations (such as one in Boston) were showing these episodes in 1978 but, sadly, it seems that it was too late for the BBC to recover any of these episodes. All that was left were the off-air recordings (in varying quality) on Betamax tape, although it seems that several recordings were made by fans; for instance, "Doctor Who and the Silurians" exists as a compilation in Levine's hands, but there is also an episodic copy floating around: there is another colour "Terror of the Autons" around; and there are (at least) two other copies of "The Daemons" in existence- a VHS recording that was used by the restoration team to patch gaps in Levine's version, and another Betamax recording that is of a higher quality than Levine's. Perhaps "The Mind of Evil" and a better quality copy of "The Ambassadors of Death" (the currently existing versions has a multitude of colour faults) exist too?
A few colour broadcast tapes have been found in recent years, although the number still missing makes for depressing reading: four missing PAL episodes of "Frontier in Space" (parts 1-3,6) were returned from ABC tv in Australia who unwittingly broadcast them, unaware of their value (it is interesting to note that three edited versions of pt.6 were also returned, in addition to the complete version - the Australian's are quite prone to pruning material!).
A black and white video-taped version of "The Time Monster" pt.6, retrieved from the BBC Engineering department (this has seen been restored to colour by using the colour from the retrieved NTSC American/Canadian copy); a PAL colour copy of "Death to the Daleks" pt.1 was found at BBC Pebble Mill in Birmingham in 1992, having been returned from Dubai and was restored (the tape was water-logged and was falling to bits); and frustratingly, the final three episodes of "Planet of the Daleks" were returned from Kuwait in the Summer of 1993 - but not the "crucial" third episode, which currently only exists as a black and white film print; when the BBC Adaptation Department looked at this story in the early 1980s (with a view to re-selling it abroad), they were quite upset to realise that part 3 only existed in black and white (this didn't stop them from selling this story and the other colour/black and white hybrid adventure "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" as a mixture of the formats, or in a movie format with the bw material (and some of the colour episodes) excised, to make the episodes "flow" better).
Since 1981, a further 26 episodes have turned up in a variety of places; car boot sales, a disused cupboard in old BBC Enterprises premises and, most intriguingly, a church cellar in London! Only six episodes have come from private collectors; most have been returned from past overseas customers. In the Winter of 1981, Sue Malden, the head of the BBC Film and Videotape Library, related in an interview with DWM that all obvious sources "such as those overseas customers that could be contacted" have been exhausted.
What else languishes in some foreign archive, I wonder. It is nearly impossible to know just how many episodes were returned, destroyed or forgotten about - bear in mind that 17 returned episodes were rescued from Villiers House, but that no-one seems to know their identity!
Over the years, eye-witness accounts of recent sightings of some of the long-lost classics in foreign countries have come forward to tantalise us.
For instance, it was reported that "The Tomb of the Cybermen" was seen in the Far East (Singapore?) in 1978....."Tomb" was, of course, later discovered in Hong Kong and was last shown there in 1970 by Asia TV. Singapore was one of only four countries that bought the later Troughton stories (the other three being New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong:- by the time Season 6 was being offered for purchase, New Zealand was no longer interested in buying black and white episodes).
And then, based on what a recently returned visitor to Nigeria said on BBC Radio in 1984 that there might be Troughton episodes there, ("because the country was so behind") the Archives contacted all 32 broadcasters of Nigerian State Television (some are no more than tin huts in the desert!) and found......two complete Hartnell adventures. Not actually what was expected, but a welcome return to the BBC since the two stories ("The Time Meddler" and "The War Machines") were only represented by their second episodes at the BBC.
Due to certain diplomatic difficulties between the UK and Nigeria (where this author was born, incidentally), these episodes took upwards of six months to arrive back safely, but returned home in spring, 1985. (see later for more on this controversial issue!).
Then there's the report that "Power of the Daleks" was seen in Ghana in 1986. The television company was contacted but it was soon learned that their entire television archive had been destroyed by a fire in 1988! Ghana is trying to rebuild it's archive using videotaped broadcasts, but it does seem like stretching hope too far to believe that "Power" may be one of these.
Although conventional fan wisdom insists that the only black and white material that Canada contemporaneously bought was the first half of Season 1 (up to and including "The Keys of Marinus"), convincing eye-witness evidence now points to the fact that after the Canadian Broadcasting Company dropped the show from it's schedules, the various CBC affiliates continued to broadcast Doctor Who; there have been sightings of "The Celestial Toymaker", "The Moonbase", "The Evil of the Daleks" and "The Invasion". Because of Canada's huge size, the CBC would make about 12 copies of the film prints for simultaneous broadcasting in different time zones. The opinions of various CBC staff members point to some of this material still existing, but widely dispersed over all of Canada. The BBC are currently attempting to ascertain the facts behind this story, and are attempting to obtain access to a storehouse in Toronto that is full of uncatalogued material: however they are encountering difficulties due to CBC's lack of staff and facilities when answering replies, and so far, all enquiries have been ignored.
Dramatic proof of Canada's purchasing of these Hartnell/Troughton episodes nearly materialised earlier this year, when a film collector and science fiction fan named Lei (last name unknown), who owns his own film and/or television studio in Chicago, agreed to make recordings available to fans in the UK, after he showed "Mission to the Unknown", the last two episodes of "The Daleks Masterplan" and "The Celestial Toymaker" to a British fan who was attending a convention in the US last year. Lei, who was a regular attendee at the annual "Visions" convention in Chicago in November, acquired the black and white (and later colour) episodes from his father, who broadcast them from his own TV station in Northern Canada: the father liked Doctor Who so much, that he couldn't bear to destroy the episodes, so he decided to keep them and told nobody that he still owned them, even though they couldn't be broadcast. Unfortunately, relations with this man and the BBC have soured over the years, so he does not feel obliged to return the prints and video tapes to their legal "owner". This chap seems to own all the episodes of Doctor Who, but eight of them are damaged/substandard due to the age of the film and general wear-and-tear, etc., and, as a precaution, Lei is (or was) busy transferring all the episodes to Laser Disc as safety copies (previously, they had been transferred to 1 inch VT).
For a time, it looked likely that (at least) VHS NTSC copies would be made available, but unfortunately, Lei suffers from severe health problems, and has recently had a pacemaker fitted. Negotiations stalled for a while in the summer whilst Lei was recuperating in hospital, but it seems that there is now some chance of material being surrendered.
(It is not known at present whether these episodes include "The Feast of Steven" episode or "Invasion (Of the Dinosaurs)" part 1 in colour; I would suspect not.)
Just before their TV station came under rocket attack during the invasion by Turkey in 1974, Cyprus quickly sent off a whole batch of early BBC material onto Hong Kong; this material included "Marco Polo"; however, it is no longer held by Asia TV (in Hong Kong), because all the BBC material that they possessed were returned along with "Tomb" in December 1991. All that was left in Cyprus was some episodes that were already held by the BBC, plus the first three episodes of "Reign of Terror". It is possible that copies of the outstanding episodes (4 5) do exist in the occupied northern sector of Cyprus....but it is more probable that the episodes were destroyed in the attack.
Also, New Zealand reportedly shipped it's copy of "Marco Polo" to Iran, but when contacted in 1984 during the first big overseas hunt, all the BBC received was a curt reply to the effect of "Who in the name of Allah are you talking about?"
This strange process of shipping episodes all over the place to other overseas customers is/was known as "Cycling", and was quite commonplace; for instance, the copies of "The Time Meddler" and "The War Machines" that are currently held by the BBC and were found in Nigeria, originally came from New Zealand!!
"Cycling" was probably incurred to keep costs to a minimum; it is apparently quite expensive to "strike" new prints from a master negative. Another explanation is that the master negatives and prints might have been destroyed in the interim time between (re-) purchasing and broadcast.
Video tape was apparently cycled too; the 625 line Quad of pt.6 of "Frontier in Space", which was returned from ABC tv in Australia in 1984 had stickers from television broadcasters all over the world stamped upon it's storage case!
So far as I know, the more recent hunt that was sparked off by "Tomb" has unearthed no more lost classics, although I find it doubtful that all 28 past overseas customers will have replied to BBC Enterprises queries........Iran and CBC Edmonton in Canada come to mind as two examples that have been extremely unhelpful in the past.
I am convinced that more episodes *do* exist in this country in the hands of private collectors, either "innocent" film buffs who are unaware as to the true value of their possessions, or by unscrupulous selfish fans who hoard such rare treasures, possibly because of the rarity value, and probably for financial gain. A few years ago, there were rumours that fans were hoarding episodes to themselves, and that the film cans were hidden in safety deposit boxes and in bank vaults.
Film collectors are notorious for not lending out 'their' property....the most recent case in point is the Christmas 1966 edition of Till Death Us Do Part"-'Peace and Goodwill', a 17 minute fragment of which was shown at the British Film Institute's 'Missing - Believed Wiped' campaign in October 1993. Despite assurances from the owner of that print, he has not yet honoured his promise to lend it to the BBC for duplication purposes.
(Stop press: the "Missing Believed Wiped 2" conference on October 1st, confirmed that the collector has finally lent the telerecording to the BBC, a move that apparently occurred only very recently. The conference also confirmed that Adam Lee is no longer head of the BBC Archive; he has been become the head of the BBC Written Archives centre just outside Reading.)
Rumours concerning the missing episodes are constantly in circulation; for instance "Marco Polo":2 (entitled "The Singing Sands"), "Evil of the Daleks":5 and "The Tenth Planet":4 are all said to exist.
The latter one of these is the subject of more rumour and speculation than any other "lost" episode (at least, after "Tomb" was found!) because it is definitely known that it was *not* junked by the BBC in the big 1970s purge.
The 16mm telerecording of that episode had been requisitioned by the children's magazine programme "Blue Peter" so that the transformation from Bill Hartnell to Pat Troughton could be incorporated into a 10th anniversary special on November 5th,1973.
After acquiring a clip, the episode vanished sometime after telecine on 12.15pm on November 5th from the "Blue Peter" production office. That was not the only episode to have "vanished"; "The Daleks Masterplan":4 ("The Traitors") was also stolen at the same time. This episode of "Masterplan" was used by researchers because it features a unique event- the death of one of the Doctor's companions, Katarina, and also because it also featured one of the current 'Blue Peter' presenters, Peter Purves.
(There seems to be some confusion regarding the episodes used: DWB has recently claimed that the 'Daleks inside the Spaceship' segment was from part 3 ('Devils Planet') rather than part 4, and the first half of the re-dubbed soundtrack hails from pt.2- if Blue Peter ever used these episodes, there is no record of them doing so: the PAB, or programme-as-broadcast list (which lists any guest appearances, as well as the source of any film or VT clips so that royalties, etc. can be paid to the performers) is of no help at all and, surprisingly, does contain a few errors, such as listing the wrong transmission dates, not including all the actors/actresses in the clips, getting the number of clips wrong and even listing 'The Traitors' as being part 5....no mention that it was part 4 of "The Daleks Masterplan" at all! And isn't it strange that the film prints for '100,00 BC' part 4 (also with an incorrect soundtrack) and 'The War Games' part 10 (from which no fewer than six (often incorrectly dubbed) clips were lifted!!) were also used but not stolen? The thief must have been strangely selective...)
More recently, it has now been established that the Daleks in the spaceship clip comes from an earlier edition of Blue Peter, dated to sometime in 1971, and acting as a trailer for the forthcoming "Day of the Daleks"; this clip is part of a much longer excerpt (97 seconds long in total) from part 3 of 'Masterplan', but its absence from the 1973 PAB listing is still a mystery........(this Blue Peter segment also includes the source of the re-dubbed soundtrack from the 1973 BP edition).
The 'Tenth Planet':4 hoax that materialised in late 1992 was sparked by a sick and twisted mind, a fan who had been expelled from the Doctor Who Appreciation Society for unspecified behaviour and who wanted to perpetuate a vendetta against Doctor Who fans: this character moved to Israel a few years back, but, before he went, he gave the BBC a blank reel-to-reel tape on the now obsolete Shibaden SV-700 format, claiming that he had sold the original film print on to another, unknown collector, but had made a video copy for his own private use. The tape, as we all know, was blank.
But the one thing that really caused the whole matter to surface was a news article in DWM 170 (from a source who requested anonymity) that alleged that 'Tenth Planet':4 was being held by a consortium of fans, who were working to keep it out of the archives to keep it's black martket value high. The article further alleged that 10 people (including the correspondent) were asked to contibute £50 each for a copy of the episode (but not, strangely 'The Traitors'), and that 'Evil of the Daleks':3 and 'The Invasion' part 1 was in existence, and that he had seen a poor copy without sound of the latter episode in the early 1980s. Fans who had been duped by the hoaxer in the mid-1980s then started writing to Adam Lee, the current BBC Archive Selector.....
In late 1992, I learned more of this saga: apparently, the current owner of the film print is an oil-rig worker who paid 5000 pounds for it an unknown number of years ago (although I know this person's name, readers will, I trust, forgive me for not naming him in case it jeopardises future negotiations). I gather than some attempt was made to trace this chap, but these have failed: and biographical information on this character is limited...no body even knows his age or if he is a 'Doctor Who' fan or just a film collector!
Hartnell's finale was traced to the Leeds area in late 1991, but from there on, the trail goes cold.......Given that it has now been in circulation for over 20 years, there must be numerous film and video copies available for those of you who have enough money.
The only footage from these episodes known to be in official existence are three brief clips used for 'Blue Peter'; these include the priceless 26 second 'regeneration' scene.
(On a similar note, the fantastic discovery of the hundreds of John Cura telesnaps from seasons 3,4 and 5 have finally solved one mystery: in DWM issue 180, there is a picture of a collapsed Cyberman from 'The Tenth Planet':4 and the caption reads that this is from a "small amount of footage still known to be in existence from Episode 4, prior to the regenerarion sequence". Issue 207 of DWM, in which the TP:4 telesnaps were published for the first time, show that this still is, indeed, one of the Cura snaps (7th column, 2nd from bottom).)
It is interesting to note that the first three episodes of 'The Tenth Planet' *were* preserved and although being of variable sound and picture quality, still exist to this day: a recent experiment to improve the sound quality of part 2 has been hailed as a resounding success - engineers at the BBC managed to mate the pictures (on D3 tape) to recently unearthed audio tracks that a fan in the Worthing area made in the 1960s by connecting his audio equipment directly to the television set (the audio quality is phenomenal, and is a lot better than previously acknowledged audio collections, such as Richard Landen's and James Russell's). However, I was told in 1992 that episode 3 of "The Tenth Planet" came perilously close to being junked and was found by a fan at the BBC Film Library in 1977 in a mislabelled film can!
How many other episodes were 'lost' in this manner? Bear in mind that almost two minutes of 35mm inserts for 'Daleks Masterplan':1 ('The Nightmare Begins') were only found relatively recently in a wrongly labelled film can!!
As for the other stolen episode (viz.'Daleks Masterplan':4), there has been no word. We know that it exists out there, but it's location and current owner is unknown. It seems that all the fuss over TP:4 has ecllipsed this episode.
In addition to 'Tenth Planet':4 and 'The Traitors', there are other episodes for which no record of their destruction were filed; 'Power of the Daleks', for instance. Were these rescued too, or is this wishful thinking due to (possible) fragmentary BBC doumentation? Certainly, when I asked Adam Lee at the BBC Archive whether he had copies of the junking schedules, he conceded that he only had "some of them".
Precious few other episodes from the 1960s era of Doctor Who were sent along to the Film Library for what is euphemistically called safe-keeping. Amongst this odd collection include the eight part Cybermen story from 1968, 'The Invasion' - but *without* episodes 1 OR 4 !!! What an odd selection/preservation procedure !!!!
It is also interesting to note that these two episodes are the subject of some of the longest-standing rumours, too. For instance, it was rumoured that one or both of the missing episodes from 'The Invasion' were due to be returned to the BBC in the early 1983/4, but were intercepted before they reached their destination. Given that the amount of interest in the BBC Archive regarding Doctor Who (for instance, a lot of people were *very* interested when 'The Faceless Ones':3 was loaned to the BBC in 1987 so that it could be copied and then, a few months later, when 'Evil of the Daleks' pt.2 was surrendered) and the rather lax security in the Archive in the early part of the 1980s, this story is not too difficult to accept. To qualify what I say, when a complete copy of 'The Web Planet' with the unedited versions of parts 1 and 6 came back from Nigeria in October 1984, anyone could have taken the film cans (in fact, one fan did do that to prove his point, but then returned the film can promptly!).
There are also strong stories that the infamous Christmas episode of 'The Daleks Masterplan' ("The Feast of Steven") was *not* junked; because it was not suitable for overseas sale (being seen as a bit of Christmas whimsy), and also because director Douglas Camfield was so incensed at William Hartnell's speech-to-camera in the last few seconds, that he presented the print to Hartnell shortly after broadcast, and the whole family would gather after Christmas dinner in later years to watch the installment! I am informed that, following William Hartnell's death in 1975, the BBC Archive (maybe Sue Malden, or perhaps Steve Bryant, her successor in that job) contacted Bill's wife Heather and asked if she still had it. She could not find it. No date was given for this last anecdote, but it must have been between 1978 (when the archival aspect became important) and 1984, which is when Heather died. Since all the main protagonists in this story (including Douglas Camfield) are now all dead, it seems unlikely that this story will ever be verified, although Jessica Carney, Hartnell's real-life granddaughter may be able to shed some light on this matter. She should have been asked during her interview for the "Thirty Years in the TARDIS" documentary. A lost opportunity.
And although nothing is junked or wiped today (apart from the studio/ location tapes of the more recent series, which are routinely wiped and re-used, such as 'Ghostlight'), material does sometimes still disappears.....
For instance, in 1982, episode 2 of the completely missing Yeti story 'The Abominable Snowmen' was returned by a private film collector. Today, although the negative is quite safely preserved, the 'positive' print has vanished.
And 35mm effects footage of the Daleks burning down a forest from 'The Daleks Masterplan':2 ('The Day of Armageddon') could not be located anywhere in the BBC's capacious vaults, although the soundtrack film is retained. This film has since been returned to the BBC (in early October, 1993); and although I know next to nothing about this recovery, it was apparently 'for a financial content', ostensibly from a film collector. It should be noted that at least one Doctor Who fan does hold a legitimately obtained copy of this 35mm sequence on videotape, though.
This loss was partially remedied by the discovery in late 1991 of approximately two minutes worth of footage from the first episode of the mammoth Dalek epic, and just in time for portions to be included in the 'Resistance is Useless' clips compilation on BBC-2 in January 1992. At about the same time, all four episodes of the classic 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' were located in Hong Kong and retrieved by BBC Enterprises (although they kept it secret for a while!)
This brings me to my last part of this article; do fans possess any of the 'lost' episodes? It may seem astonishing, but the facts definitely point in this direction.
'The Wheel in Space':3 was found in 1984 and was returned after an anonymous letter (from 'A True Fan') alerted DWM to the existence of a lost 'Pat Troughton/Cybermen/Cybermats' episode in the Portsmouth area. It was also alleged that the holder of the episode didn't want it returned although he was a fan of the programme. With the BBC knocking on his front door, this 'fan' had no option but to be obliging and cough up.
On this same subject, what on earth does the BBC think it's playing at with this episode? When it was duplicated ten years ago, they made what can only be described as a *very* poor copy of this segment of 'The Wheel in Space'. This author has seen an excellent quality S-VHS dub which is many orders of magnitude better than the print held by the BBC, and is certainly every bit as good as the pristine 35mm print of part 6 (I was told that the S-VHS copy was taken off a perfect Betacam dub of this episode). I have also seen an excellent copy of the other poor quality Troughton/Cyberman episode (namely 'The Moonbase':4), which is a *lot* better than that currently existing copy (again, it was on S-VHS). I do not know if this copy came from the better quality version that is held in private hands and which is widely known about (I suspect that it does).
Other episodes, it is alleged, are held in bank vaults and safety deposit boxes; and it looks like there are 'missing episode' "clubs" designed to keep this material out of the BBC and with regular auctions, too. Episodes regularly change hands for vast sums of money, with the highest being the approx. £15,500 that a consortium of 10 dealers paid for a 35mm print of 'Power of the Daleks':1 (although this price was vastly exaggerated due to it's historical nature)......these 'fans' were also worried by the discovery of 'Tomb' in 1992 in case any future recoveries occurred, such as 'The Moonbase':3 and 'Evil of the Daleks':5, and 'The Web of Fear' from the USA and 'The Faceless Ones' from a collector in Scotland (which were mooted at various times), which would have jeopardised the lucrative nature of their investments.
A four minute excerpt from 'Galaxy Four' episode 1 ("Four Hundred Dawns") exists in the hands of DWAS co-founder and (today) TV Zone Editor, Jan Vincent-Rudzki; Jan was presented with this sequence for assisting the producers of the 1977 BBC documentary 'Whose Doctor Who' in their research (in fact, if information is true, he was presented with *all* assembled clips footage for the documentary, including a few which weren't ultimately used), but he is remarkably reticent about providing the BBC with a copy of his tape. Within weeks of the excerpt being taken from the master film prints (to enable researchers to select 'the best bit' for the documentary), all negatives and sales positives had been junked. Jan is supposed to have reneged on a deal to provide the "30 Years in The TARDIS" team with a copy of this unique footage (which is held on U-Matic tape, I believe). Today, there is little chance that we will ever get to see this clip.
Jan also has copies of other footage, such as a longer version of the Hartnell/Troughton regeneration, plus a few clips from "Power..", "The Macra Terror" and "The Myth Makers". The source of these clips is not yet known, although they are known to have come from Australia and are believed to be of highly variable quality (being 8mm cine footage shot straight from the tv screen). Some of these clips were shown at the DWAS event 'A Day at the Forum" in 1989.
I was rather surprised to be told in late 1992 by one of the well-known episode hunters that "The Tomb of the Cybermen" existed in this country BEFORE a copy was found in Hong Kong. When pressed further, this fan admitted that more lost episodes exist in this unknown person's hands (although he was not specific) and that this person's name "was known to us all", implying a well-known fan. My informant then refused to discuss the matter further, although he did drop a few tantalising hints....
It is also known that the episodes of "The Time Meddler" recovered from Nigeria in 1984 and subsequenlty re-sold around the world by BBC Enterprises, contained a number of edits; however, for years afterward, fan's 'pirate copies' of episodes 1 and 3 contained the long deleted sequences! These unedited versions only became available after the Nigerian find, (in the summer of 1985, long before these episodes were being offered for re-sale by BBC Enterprises!) even though it is now known that the holder of the unedited episodes, Ian Levine himself, found them in 1982 (reportedly whilst he was looking for season 4 Troughton episodes), by his own admission BEFORE the Nigerian find! This fan was kind enough to loan his episodes to the BBC in late 1991 so that the missing scenes could be incorporated into the current BBC prints, but this doesn't explain why we all had to wait for two years for the edited versions to be found, rather than enjoy them in 1982. In an interview in DWB in the Summer of 1992, Levine even employed the quote "I certainly wouldn't have hoarded away episodes for myself" when, by his own admissions, he certainly did that in the early 1980s!
I am quite certain that had the edited versions not been found in 1984, then we would never have seen these episodes.
Ian Levine was also in negotiations with a hoxer in Blackpool c.1988 to retrieve episodes 1 and 2 of "Fury from the Deep" (this story turned out to be without foundation). One of the things that Levine tried to swap with was a *colour* copy of "Mind of Evil" part 1....a story for which only the first four minutes of part 6 currently exists in colour (courtesy of Mr.Levine).
The person from whom Ian bought these prints in 1982 (and who confirmed the above information as being accurate) was quoted as saying at 'Missing- Believed Wiped' that more lost episodes are in the hands of certain people "high up" in fan circles, although he would not be specific about names or episode titles. This person also (apparently) worked with the Villiers House junking team in the 1970s and is the source of most of the episodes returned by private collectors in this country, although he regrets selling his episodes now.
This BBC employee is also emphatic that *more* was retrieved from the junking skips at Villiers House than is currently acknowledged, and even went so far as to recall that the two lost "Invasion" episodes, "The Feast of Steven" and "Marco Polo" were saved......
Certainly, the most convincing report that I've heard is something that a trusted friend of mine told me in the Summer of 1991; he informed me that one of his friends knew for a fact that a 'fan' had missing episodes that included "Galaxy Four":2 and all of "The Macra Terror". Certainly, up until 1991, "Galaxy Four" was the only story for which no episodes existed on audio; within weeks, this was partially remedied and episode 2 suddenly materialised! This audio track is suspicious in itself, having certain hall-marks of having come from a film print (such as crackle etc.) rather than a video Tape broadcast. On the subject of audios, if, as is widely known, fan taping began about the time "The Myth Makers" was being broadcast, where does the very good "Mission to the Unknown" tape come from, or the "Reign of Terror"?
And who taped the very poor 'Marco Polo that exists? It is now known that Pertwee restoration expert James Russell holds audio copies of "The Crusades" and "Galaxy Four", but he is loath to make copies widely available since he wants to use the recordings as "bargaining material".
I was curious and wanted to know how my friend's source "knew for a fact" (his words, by the way) that these episodes existed. This source, who lived in the Henley-on-Thames region of Oxfordshire, recently got married, and I was warned that he may not appreciate the publicity; even more astonishing, I was told that "he doesn't care" !
Whether this fan got his episodes during his term of employment at the BBC will, for the time being, have to remain unanswered: did he, as has been alleged fly out to Kuwait and buy the episodes from a TV station there in 1976/7, or did he obtain them from his friends?
Talking of "The Macra Terror", can it be just coincidence that the three sources who have, over the years, claimed knowledge of the existence of this story gone very quiet on the subject?
First, there was Simon M.Lydiard in 1983, who wrote an editorial for his fanzine"Skaro" and said that this story and "The Tenth Planet":4 existed in the private collection of someone who was broadly hinted at as being a fan: this person also has a "large collection of rare or missing Doctor Who". Despite some interesting correspondence in ensuing issues of "Skaro", nothing ever materialised, and recently, when approached by "Metamorph" fanzine to reprint sections from the original "Skaro" magazine, he said that he "had nothing further to add" although he did give permission to re-print the relevant sections.
Then, there was Gary Levy (now Gary Leigh) who, in the same year, had "conclusive evidence" that "The Macra Terror" and a whole host of other lost episodes existed. In more recent years, Gary has dismissed the whole incident as rumour, but this is what he said about my information about the Doctor Who shop informant in 1985! He has probably gone very quiet because his article, which appeared in the formative days of DWB, got the fanzine into trouble with the BBC (I don't have the fanzine in question, so I'm quoting what I read later).
And then there's the mysterious contact in Henley-on-Thames, who definitely knows *something* about the subject. It is simply not good enough for the source of such "concrete" reports to go quiet and disappear or to dismiss their previous recollections as "rumour" or "mistaken identity"as has happened so many times in the past.....
One rumour that wasn't taken seriously by anyone (although it did deserve some research) is that the proprietors of the old Doctor Who shop based in Wapping, London (it closed in 1986) boasted of possessing lost "Troughton/Yeti/Cybermen" episodes, but chose to hoard them to themselves because they would "only sit on a shelf gathering dust". Despite the fact that these people would have been easy to trace and question (BBC Enterprises probably still possess the original licence/contract), nothing has been done. Incidentally, this story stretches back to October, 1985 !!!
This same person masqueraded as a Cyberman at the Blackpool exhibition in late Summer 1985, during Colin Baker/Nicola Bryant/J-NT's signing session for "Children-in-Need".
Of course, it would be foolish of me not to point out that talk is cheap, and wishful thinking and wild fantasies are even cheaper. But the point in this case is not that the story may be a load of rubbish, but just that no-one could be bothered to check the story!
And what of the future? What else can we expect to see recovered?
In the summer of 1992, I was told that one of the episode hunters who lives in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (not far from where I live, incidentally) knew that the two outstanding episodes of "The Reign of Terror" (parts 4 5) are in private hands and would be returned to the BBC once the collector had re-couped the costs that it took to buy the film prints in the first place.
Apparently, the holder of the two episodes is the same person who returned episode 6 of this same story to the BBC in 1982. He must have quite an affinity for this story, because he apparently possessed the *whole* story even before the recovery of episodes 1-3 from Cyprus in 1984!
The same episode hunter also tried to get in touch with the last-known owner of "The Tenth Planet":4 and went to an address only to be informed that the person in question had moved house and hadn't left a forwarding address! So much for that.........
Although I place much credence in this "Reign of Terror" report, I should mention that I was first told this in June 1992 and since nothing has (so far) appeared, perhaps we should question it's validity. Having now met the episode hunter in question, he has since confirmed that his contact will return the episodes at some point: the collector is apparently worried that the episodes 'would not be safe at the BBC', given the Corporation's rather careless attitude in the past, and he would like to get 'something' in return for them, although Adam Lee has said categorically in the past that he will definitely not swap TV material in return for lost episodes. The holder of these episodes has reneged on at least one other deal to return these two episodes.
I do know that negotiations have been taking place since at least before Christmas 1990 to recover what has been described as a "poor quality" print of "Power of the Daleks":2 (without it's opening titles if reports are true, although the episode hunter still hasn't seen the episode). Getting hold of this episode hinged on swapping the film print for a Laserdisc version of the extended version of the film "Aliens" which was only available (at the time) from the USA. The Laserdisc was obtained, but since that was about two years ago and no progress has been made, we must, sadly, conclude that the whole incident was a hoax (although there was a rumour that the episode would re-surface in time for Panopticon 1992). Certainly, the episode hunter in this case (who was also responsible, with help from the now-defunct Wider Television Access (WTVA) group, for the safe return of "The Reign of Terror":6 in 1982) does feel that he has been "messed about with", and the film collector does not return his 'phone calls. In the last few months, I have learned that negotiations for the safe return of the film collapsed when the collector refused to honour his part of the agreement, although it was felt by the episode hunter that his contact did have something, but didn't hold out much hope in retrieving anything.
In the past, the BBC has always refused to pay for the return of "it's" property. But now it has been realised that a lot of money can be made from ANY missing tv programme.
With the astonishing success of "Tomb" on video (more than 100,000 copies sold so far), the BBC have contacted all the foreign tv companies with whom they have had dealings with in the past in case any more lost episodes have been overlooked. Nothing has been found.
One thing hasn't changed: the BBC will ask no questions at all, and they only want to make a copy of the programme, the original being retained by the owner. The only thing that prevents such a perfect arrangement is the selfish hoarding of episodes by collectors.......we have already heard the evidence regarding such episodes as "The Tomb of the Cybermen" and more infamously, and much more widely publicised, "The Tenth Planet":4.
Announced at the same time was the creation of the "Finders Fee", to try to act as a financial incentive and bargaining tool for the recovery of this material. Although the BBC Archives deny the existence of such a fee, it is probably just a token gesture paid by BBC Enterprises. This has so far failed to entice collectors to come forward, too.
Last year, Adam Lee intimated at the British Film Institute that the only reasonable course of action is to *write* to the alleged holders of lost material and enquire about their possessions; it is the prerogative of the holder to reply in the negative if he wishes. And this, sadly, is the only action that the BBC can take to recover lost episodes. It is only when evidence emerges that the alleged film collector has tried to obtain cash for his possessions that the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) steps in and institutes legal proceedings.
Now that the BBC has nearly finished remastering all of it's huge stock of film and videotape to digital D3 tape, the chances that any more 'forgotten' finds will surface at the BBC Film and Videotape Library (such as the Masterplan:1 footage) must surely be nil.
But is there a possibility, no matter how faint, of completing the filmed history of Doctor Who? The odds may look against it, but the simple answer is that "we don't know".
And that means that it MAY JUST be possible, after all.
"Sad, really, isn't it? People spend all their time making nice things and other people come along and break them."
- The Doctor, "The Enemy of the World":3
"And you will always know that they existed- once. That you discovered- once. Held them in your hands- once. And then lost them- forever."
- Lon, "Snakedance":3
"I know of four people in my address book who'd pay millions for it." But no-one would even know they'd got it!" "It'd be an expensive gloat, but they'd buy it."
- Duggan and Romana, "City of Death":2