Who was Lost Now is Found

It was over forty years ago that I saw my first episode of Doctor Who. The show was already in its eighth season by that point. I feel in love with show and have retained a geek interest ever since. For those who are not geeks, a geek interest can look a little (or maybe a lot) like obsession. The several hundred Doctor Who books and DVD are not evidence of anything as intense as an obsession – honest.

For many years, before the advent of home video tapes and countless TV channels, each Doctor Who story would be shown once. I you missed it, it was gone. Each year the BBC would repeat one story from the previous season and on a very few occasions they repeated older stories. Thus, the seven years of the show before I started watching was something about which I could only read.

In the seventies, the BBC started making space in their library by destroying tapes of old black and white shows; the pre 1970 Doctor Who included. These acts of cultural vandalism were not conducted in any logical fashion, so no thought was given to preserving examples of the show right across the first six seasons. Much of the first season, second and sixth season survived, with the other three almost empty of complete examples.

Once the BBC recognized that with the advent of home video and satellite channels there was commercial value in the shows they had so wantonly destroyed, they actively searched for tapes. Over the years thirty nine episodes came to light, including in 1991 a complete story; Tomb of the Cybermen.



Then just a few days ago it was announced that two more missing episodes have been found. One from the first Doctor story, Galaxy Four; a story from which all episodes had been lost. The other episode is from The Underwater Menace, so the BBC now has two of the four parts of this story.

There are still 106 episodes missing, but each chance to see old Who for the first time brings a smile to my totally not obsessed face.

Clip from Underwater Menace
Published in: on 15 December, 2011 at 5:41  Leave a Comment  

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