Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's a WHOvian Christmas: Two Classic Doctor Who Episodes Recovered!

Great news for Doctor Who fans!
Two missing episodes of our favorite classic sci-fi series have been recovered, just in time for the holiday season - Joy to the whovian world.
The two recovered episodes are #3 of the William Hartnell story, Galaxy 4 and #2 of Patrick Troughton's Doctor in The Underwater Menace.

From the official BBC DW site:
[They were] "purchased by film collector Terry Burnett at a village fete near Southampton in the early 80s. He had been unaware that the canisters contained material missing from the BBC."
Thanks to the kind loan by Mr Burnett, the classic footage has been shown today at the British Film Institute's annual "Missing Believed Wiped" event at the National Film Theatre in London. Host at the event was Doctor Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss who said: "Christmas has come early for Doctor Who fans everywhere. It's always wonderful when a missing episode turns up but it's been years since the last one so to have two is just brilliant. Add to that a proper bit of action from the legendary Chumblies (and the horrifying Rills!) plus the utterly mesmeric Patrick Troughton on great form. Well, what more could we all ask for?"
It's really fantastic news, since there are over one hundred episodes that are still missing. Missing because, back in the 60's and 70's the episodes were wiped by the BBC and recorded over with other shows to save money and space. (This seems unbelievable to us whovians now, but I suppose it made sense to some heretical non-whovian BBC efficiency expert at the time.) There are 27 incomplete Doctor Who stories (composed of multiple episodes). 106 of those 256 episodes are still missing. Occasionally, over the years a few would be recovered, usually from overseas broadcasters. Luckily for Doctor Who, it has legions of dedicated fans who recorded the show. Many missing episode stills and short video clips have been found, enabling reconstructions of the episodes and giving fans a peek into those missing stories.

The article continues:
Research has shown that the returned episodes originated from the ABC channel in Australia. In fact, the copy of The Underwater Menace is still missing a few short sections which were removed by the Australian censors upon its original transmission Down Under. Fresh scans of the missing material have been made by the National Archives of Australia and will be incorporated into the restored episodes ahead of a DVD release.
Details of a commercial release will be announced by 2 entertain in 2012. 
Preview clips from the two recovered episodes:

Galaxy 4 Clip

The Underwater Menace Clip

/both clips via Doctor Who TV

Troughton is so cool! (this opinion belongs to Terry Lightfoot and is in no way representative of any other Dirty WHOer.) Merry Christmas!


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