Doctor Who Missing Episodes Returned: Everything You Need To Know

Doctor Who: missing episodes returned.

Doctor Who "The Enemy Of The World" "The Web Of Fear"

Episodes of “”The Enemy Of The World” and “The Web Of Fear” have been returned to the BBC archives.

Nine previously missing episodes of Doctor Who starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor have been returned to the BBC archives.

The find comprises all five previously missing episodes of 1967′s “The Enemy Of The World” (episodes one, two, four, five and six) and four of the five missing episodes of 1968′s “The Web Of Fear” (episodes two, four, five and six). Episode three of “The Web Of Fear” remains missing, but a reconstruction using stills and the soundtrack has been created to plug the gap.

All nine episodes have been remastered using the VidFIRE process, with missing frames painstakingly repaired, and are available to download immediately via iTunes – visit www.itunes.com/doctorwho – for £1.89 per episode or £9.99 per story.

Should you prefer to wait for physical media, a vanilla DVD release of “The Enemy Of The World” (no extras) is scheduled for 25 November (you can preorder it now), with “The Web Of Fear” set to follow in “early 2014″ (Amazon has it listed for 24 February).

The episodes were discovered at a TV station in central Nigeria by “episode hunter” Philip Morris, executive director of TIEA (Television International Enterprises Archive), a company that helps overseas stations store and migrate their archive materials. It was previously known that both stories were sold to Nigeria in 1974, and aired on Nigerian television in 1975.

“These episodes were discovered on a project we were working on in Nigeria,” Morris explains. “They were found at a TV station in Jos, just sitting on the shelf. I can remember now seeing a piece of masking tape that said ‘Doctor Who’ on it, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is interesting’. Pulled the cans down, I read the story codes, instantly of course recognised what the stories were… and realised they were missing from the BBC’s archive, and a lot of Doctor Who fans around the world were gonna be very happy. So it was a very pleasing discovery, really.”

Phillip Morris

Philip Morris discovered the missing episodes at a TV station in Jos, in central Nigeria.

“These episodes had come from Hong Kong, and had been on what’s called the bicycle system. So they’d travelled from this country to the next country to the next country, and they came to be in Nigeria through this bicycle system. Not at the station in Nigeria they were actually sold to – they were at a relay station.”

Luckily, despite having sat on a shelf for the best part of forty years, the materials were in good condition.

“We were quite lucky considering the temperatures,” says Morris, “Which can be the upper thirty degrees. Fortunately, in this case, they had been kept in the optimum condition.”

Obviously inflated rumours about as many as 90 missing episodes being found in Ethiopia have circulated in Doctor Who fandom over the last few months. Nine episodes is still a remarkable find, though. In fact, it’s the largest batch of episodes to be returned since 19 were given back to the BBC by the BFI way back in 1977. The discovery brings the number of missing Doctor Who episodes down to 97.

The news was officially confirmed to a gathering of around 90 journalists in London on Thursday afternoon. The announcement preceded a screening of “The Enemy Of The World” episode one and “The Web Of Fear” episode two. That was followed by a Q&A with former companions Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon) and Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), who were joined by new series writer and lifelong Who fan Mark Gatiss.

SFX was fortunate enough to be present at the screening, and is delighted to say that both the episodes shown are hugely enjoyable!

Click on Next to read interview quotes from Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling and Mark Gatiss, along with the SFX verdict on the two episodes screened on Thursday afternoon.