The BBC has officially announced the recovery of nine missing episodes in a haul of eleven returned from Nigeria at a press event on Thursday. The nine episodes are from the Troughton classics Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear – episodes 3 and 1 respectably already existed in the BBC archives, episodes 1,2,4,5 and 6 were returned from Enemy, completing that story, and episodes 2,4,5,6 of Web, with part 3 still not returned.
The recovery is the single largest haul of rediscovered episodes since Tomb of the Cybermen turned up in the 90s and takes the tally of missing episodes from the 1960s into the double digits – 97.
Doctor Who News reports that the tapes “had originally gone to Hong Kong but had been “bicycled” on and were discovered at a TV relay station in the city of Jos by Philip Morris, executive director of Television International Enterprises Archives (TIEA), who tracked records of overseas shipments made by the BBC containing tapes for transmission.”
Most exciting is that the two stories – complete with reconstructed episode 3 of Web – are now available worldwide on iTunes and sit healthily at the top 1 and 2 position in the UK and Australia and towards the top in America and germany portraying the delight Doctor Who fans have had in reliving these classics.
DVD release dates for the stories seem to be confirmed as follows: Enemy of the World; Special Edition at the Doctor Who Celebration on November 22nd, Full release in stores November 24th, Region 4 release November 27th. The Web of Fear; Early 2014.
Philip Morris, the man behind the incredible find, said in a statement:
I would like to thank everybody at BBC Worldwide and BBC Television for their mammoth support during this project. It is my greatest pleasure in the 50th anniversary year of Doctor Who, in a joint project between my company TIEA and BBC Worldwide, to unveil two classic adventures.
Sadly, due to other archive commitments overseas, I am unable to be with you today. My work is endless and, as you know, the search must continue.
I would like to dedicate these episodes to everyone who has ever worked on the show and to all Doctor Who fans around the world. I have the Doctor Who fans’ best interests at heart. On behalf of myself and everyone at TIEA, thank you for your continued interest, and I hope our paths will soon cross again.
Watch a pre-recorded interview with Morris here:
After this incredible find hope is rekindled for future finds, further lowing the total of 97 missing episodes. But in the short-term, what a wonderful gift for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary!