Has An Archive Of Lost ‘Doctor Who’ Episodes Been Found?

Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor

Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor

Note: we’re not in an official position to confirm whether any of the information contained within this story is true or just wishful thinking. Frankly, we want it to be real as much as you do.

So, there’s a rumor doing the rounds about lost Doctor Who episodes. This is, in itself, not news. There are always rumors doing the rounds about lost Doctor Who episodes. Ever since the BBC wiped most of their archive of old Doctor Who episodes in the 1970s (because it seemed like a good idea at the time) there have been rumors doing the rounds about lost Doctor Who episodes.

I’ve written about them before, because they’re the lifeblood of a Doctor Who fan, and I’m a Doctor Who fan. So much so that I even once nearly repeated an April Fool about old BBC broadcasts being bounced back from a strange solid object somewhere in space, because I wanted to believe there was a chance to see lost William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton stories in full.

Well, this new rumor says that chance is with us again. According to a report on the website Bleeding Cool – which claims to have information from two pretty good sources – a stash of old tapes, some of which were liberated and stored in Africa by a geeky engineer with a passion for sci fi (don’t start – that’s the bit that rings alarm bells for me too), has been unearthed.

Usually, when a story like this comes out, it’s because a single episode has turned up in a yard sale or someone’s potting shed, but this haul is said to be considerable. So big, in fact, that it could even complete the First Doctor collection AND finish off the Second Doctor story Evil of the Daleks, of which there is currently only one episode left of the seven that were originally broadcast.

So, should this turn out to be a real event, it’s possible that there will be some very exciting new releases on the DVD/Blu Ray shelves at some point in the not-too-distant future.

And if not, if it all turns out to be a bunch of boohockey, well, I don’t know about you, but the joy of believing these rumors to be true is worth whatever crushing disappointment is on the way.

Almost. 

UPDATE: This sums up some of the argument and counter argument around this story at the moment. It seems most likely it’s a big old fib. Bah!

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 13 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Music.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

See more posts by Fraser McAlpine