Lost Doctor Who treasures unearthed

One of the most frustrating aspects of being a fan of the legendary long-running British science fiction series Doctor Who is its legendary ‘lost episodes’.  As a consequence of a short-sighted BBC policy in the 1960s and 70s, which saw old television wiped once shown and sold abroad, over 100 episodes from the 60s era of the TV legend were missing, unable to be viewed by modern audiences – or at least they were missing until now.

Nine episodes – the biggest haul ever found – of missing 60s Doctor Who episodes have turned up in Nigeria and are already for sale on iTunes, with DVD releases to follow.  The episodes comprise the stories “The Enemy of the World”, which stars Patrick Troughton in a dual role as both the Doctor and the story’s villain, Salamander, and “The Web of Fear”, the legendary ‘Yeti in the Underground’ adventure that introduced Nicholas Courtney as army officer Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in a role that he would play on and off for the next 40 years.

The episodes were found on a shelf in a television archive in Nigeria by the director of TIEA (Television International Enterprises Archive), Phillip Morris.  Episode recoveries have been rumored for some time among fans, but the announcement still caught many by surprise.

“The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria,” Morris reveals.  “I remember wiping the dust off of 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 realized I’d found something pretty special.”