BBC Worldwide has just issued a statement confirming the discovery of a number of Doctor Who episodes thought lost since the 1960s.
As previously reported, the episodes discovered number in the double digits and comprise the episodes The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World. They are presently available for exclusive download via iTunes.
Eleven Doctor Who episodes were discovered (nine of which have not been seen for 46 years) by Philip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archive, by tracking records of tape shipments made by the BBC to Africa for transmission.
"The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria," 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 realized I’d found something pretty special."
"For many, this will be their first chance to watch these long-lost Doctor Who stories," said Beth Clearfield, SVP, Digital Distribution & Business Development. "We’re thrilled to partner with iTunes in bringing these missing gems back to new and long-time fans after all these years."
The first recovered story, The Enemy of the World, is a six-episode tale which first aired on the BBC in December 1967. The story features Patrick Troughton as both the Second Doctor and his antagonist (Ramon Salamander), alongside companions Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling). Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 had previously been missing from the BBC Archives, and were returned by Morris.
Also recovered is the 1968 six-episode story, The Web of Fear. Also starring Patrick Troughton alongside Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling the story introduces Nicholas Courtney for the first time as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart (who later returns as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart). Episodes 2-6 were feared lost, but now episodes 2, 4, 5, and 6 have been recovered. With episode 3 still missing, the restoration team has reconstructed this part of the story using a selection of the 37 images that were still available from the episode along with the original audio, which has been restored.