Why and how the Doctor Who episodes were lost

The finding of some the missing episodes of Doctor Who was the main subject for the last week: in 1980, over half of Doctor Who’s first 253 episodes were missing from the BBC’s archives and now there are only 97 of the not recovered. Yet.

The main reason for that horror is that the original 1960s material was erased and the tapes were re-recorded. There were several reason for the wiping of Doctor Who (and many other 1960s TV series), and they are explained in this article from DoctorWho.tv (with more details).

On Doctor Who, an episode would be recorded directly to videotape from studio, with as much of the work we would now term “post production” occurring at the same time. This meant music, location filming, the titles and credits, and model or effects shots were pre-recorded and played-in to the studio recording. Bar some small edits, this was essentially a finished programme.The videotape version was transmitted on the BBC, often after a very short period of time – as little as two or three weeks post-recording.

Most tapes were then sent to BBC Enterprises (the corporation’s commercial arm, now BBC Worldwide) for “telerecording” onto film – a much more durable and commonly-used medium – to be sold to international broadcasters.

Once both a UK transmission had occurred and an overseas sales film copy had been created, if neither Enterprises nor the BBC had any further interest in the episodes, the original videotapes were cleared for wiping.

Further more, an infographic was posted with some dates about Doctor Who episodes being returned from various areas of Earth.

infographic timeline how Doctor Who episodes were returned
infographic timeline how Doctor Who episodes were returned

The video is a segment from The One Show (October 11th, 2013) looking at the recovery of missing Doctor Who episodes. Presented by Peter Purves.

Download The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear

The story of the week is the recovery of nine episodes starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor, as BBC Worldwide finally confirmed, bringing the total missing from the archive down from 106 to 97! The film prints were discovered in Nigeria by Phillip Morris, director of the Television International Enterprises Archive.

These are two (almost) complete Patrick Troughton six-parters: The Enemy of the World (in which the Doctor has an evil double, Salamander – all six episodes were recovered) and The Web of Fear (the Yeti invade London via the Underground – 5 episodes recovered, episode 3 still missing, but a version has been constructed using photos and the surviving soundtrack and is included in the iTunes package). The serials were transmitted consecutively over 12 weeks in the winter of 1967/68.

From today fans can download the two adventures via iTunes, priced £9.99 each. This includes people in the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and France and in the UK (excluding the Republic of Ireland).

Download The Enemy of the World

Download The Web of Fear

The first episode of The Web of Fear (read the story guide of the series) and the third episode of The Enemy of the World (read the story guide of the series) have long existed in the BBC archive.

Additionally, The Enemy of the World will be released on DVD on Monday 25 November – the disc is available for pre-order now from BBC Shop. The Web of Fear will follow in early 2014.

Related External Links

EyeStalk app, available in the iTunes store: the world through Dalek’s eye

DoctorWho.tv announces that he enhanced version 3.0 of Eyestalk app has been released on iTunes store and it’s available globally – it has been tested on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4,4S,5, Touch (4th Generation), iPad2, iPad3 and Mini.

Now officially licensed by BBC Worldwide, the Eyestalk app boasts an Asylum of the Daleks setting, enhanced effects across 50 years of different Daleks and an improved user interface. You can use it to transform your iPhone, iPad or iPod into the eye of a Dalek.

Start taking photos and movies from a Dalek point of view and see the world as the Doctor’s oldest and deadliest enemy and share them online on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

You can find more info and some pictures here.

 

The game Doctor Who: Worlds in Time

In the last days of 2011 (20th of December) BBC Worldwide launched a preview for the upcoming multiplayer games called Doctor Who: Worlds in Time so that the fans of the series can get a taste of what the game will look like. You can watch that preview in the following video. The site of the game is http://www.doctorwhowit.com/ – you’d better visit it often if you want to be informed about what’s happening next and when.

 

Related External Links