Friday, 18 October 2013

BBC Traces Destroyed Dr. Who Episodes To Nigeria

Nine missing episodes of Doctor Who, filmed in the 1960s, have been found at a TV station in Nigeria. During the 1960s and 1970s the BBC destroyed many of the drama’s original transmission tapes.
However, many episodes were made into prints which were used by foreign broadcasters. The haul includes most of the classic story The Web of Fear from 1968, which starred Patrick Troughton as the Doctor.
The discovery will cause much excitement for devotees of the long-running series, for which there are dozens of missing episodes dating back to its early years
The previously lost nine shows were among 11 traced to a television station and the find brings back to life an entire six-episode story, while another is almost complete.
The newly found programmes – which introduced the character of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, better known to audiences as The Brigadier – will be available on iTunes from today and will later come out on DVD.
Phillip Morris, the director of Television International Enterprises Archive, unearthed the programmes by looking up the records of overseas shipments of tapes made by the BBC.
The stories, The Enemy Of The World (1967) and The Web Of Fear (1968) and both starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor, have now been remastered by BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm.
Mr Morris said: ‘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.’
Only one episode of The Enemy Of The World – which featured Deborah Watling as companion Victoria, and Frazer Hines, later to find fame in Emmerdale as Jamie – had remained in the archives, so the addition of programmes one, two, four, five and six have completed the story.
Fiona Eastwood, director of consumer products, BBC Worldwide, said: ‘We are thrilled with the recent discovery of The Web Of Fear and The Enemy Of The World and we’re very happy to be launching re-mastered versions of these treasured episodes to fans as we celebrate the 50th year of Doctor Who.’
The missing episode has been recreated using 37 still images which were available and the original audio which survived.
Many programmes from the era, along with many classic shows, disappeared as a result of efforts to save space. There are still 27 Doctor Who stories which have not been recovered or for which episodes are missing.
In total, 97 episodes are still unaccounted for.
One episode from both The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear were shown at a special BBC event in London yesterday.
Episode one of The Enemy of the World is said to be akin to an early James Bond film, with armed villains, a foreign villain and a scene featuring an exploding helicopter.
The Web of fear meanwhile sees the Doctor locked in battle with the Great Intelligence in the tunnels of the London Underground.
The BBC was even accused of secretly filming at an Underground station at the time as its sets were deemed so realistic.
Guests at yesterday’s screening included the actors who played Troughton’s Tardis companions, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling.
The show celebrates its half-century on November 23.

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