After many rumors and a lot of waiting for “Doctor Who” fans, after Tuesday’s first announcement came the official confirmation of the discovery of the 6 episodes of the adventure “The Enemy of the World” and 5 of the 6 episodes of the adventure “The Web of Fear” (the third episode wasn’t found). The third episode of “The Enemy of the World” and the first episode of “The Web of Fear” had been found in the past so nine lost episodes are now available.
Philip Morris, Director of Television Archives International Enterprises (TIEA), is called the Indiana Jones of the world of films. His job is to assist TV stations around the world in the management of their archives. In a station relay in Jos, Nigeria, he discovered that among the films in the archive there were some “Doctor Who” ones and that they were two adventures almost completely lost.
At the time the films of various programs were passed among television stations ardoung the world. The “Doctor Who” ones were originally sent to Hong Kong and later ended up in Nigeria. There they remained for many years, forgotten until Philip Morris discovered them.
Luckily, the films have been preserved in good condition so the result of their excellent remastering has been defined excellent. The episodes found, together with a reconstruction of the third episode of “The Web of Fear”, are already available on iTunes but these two Second Doctor’s adventures will be published on DVD in the coming months.
Yesterday the BBC had officially announced the discovery but had placed an embargo until midnight. In the Internet era, however, it’s almost impossible to keep the secret, in fact after a few hours the news had already leaked out. In the end, the embargo seemed just a way to advertise iTunes since the episodes were made available on line at midnight UK time.
This finding is a reason for immense joy for “Doctor Who” fans. The last time so many lost episodes were found was in the ’80s. The last complete adventure found was “The Tomb of the Cybermen“, in 1991. This shows that there are still chances of finding others.
The lost episodes are now 97 but according to the rumors spread in recent months some more have been found as well. It’s actually possible that the BBC is presenting only a few of them at a time, maybe after examining and remastering them. At this point we can really hope for more of these announcements.