Doctor Who fans all over the world are celebrating the DVD release of The Web of Fear this week. The reason for their jubilation is that up until last October The Web of Fear was one of many 1960s serials believed to no longer exist, with episode one the only episode of the six-part series still in the BBC archives.
This changed when The Web of Fear – sans episode three, which remains missing – and another six-part series starring Patrick Troughton, The Enemy of the World, were announced to have been discovered overseas last October by Philip Morris, the executive director of Television International Enterprises and Archives Ltd (TIEA). The moment the announcement of the recovery was made, both series were instantly made available to buy on iTunes, with the almost 50-year-old episodes becoming an instant smash and outselling more modern TV series’.
The question that has kept Doctor Who fans awake at night since the reveal is whether TIEA has been able to discover any more of the 97 episodes from the William Hartnell and Troughton eras of the much-loved sci-fi classic that are believed to remain missing from the archives.
The Internet has been ablaze with stories that many more missing episodes, and possibly even the full collection, have been found. Philip Morris himself remains evasive on the subject, coyly telling British TV and radio listings magazine Radio Times that fans should “never give up hope” and to “expect the unexpected”.