In what has proven to be the single biggest discovery of missing Doctor Who episodes ever, nine lost installments from the Patrick Troughton era have been found and returned to the BBC.
Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 of 1967/68’s The Enemy of the World join the already-held third episode of the story, meaning that the entire six-part adventure is once more complete in the BBC archives. But that’s not all – Episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the following adventure, The Web of Fear, have also been recovered. With Episode 1 of the story already existing in the archive, the story is now five-sixths complete, with only Episode 3 remaining lost.
Both stories are from Doctor Who’s fifth series, and star Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon, and Deborah Watling as Victoria Waterfield. The Enemy of the World famously sees Troughton also play the role of the villainous Salamander, while The Web of Fear features the introduction of a legendary Doctor Who character – Colonel (later Brigadier) Lethbridge-Stewart, played by Nicholas Courtney. The film recordings were discovered by Philip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archives, who is interviewed in the new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, published on Thursday 17 October.
“These films were discovered in Nigeria,” Philip exclusively tells DWM. “They weren’t actually at the station they were sold to, they were at a relay station. In Nigeria they have an internal bicycling system. We had the privilege of working with the Nigerian Television Authority, who have been a great help to us in determining what they had of their own recordings and overseas recordings. Fortunately for us, I was at a station, and I saw a piece of masking tape on a shelf. I looked up and it said ‘Doctor Who’. And I thought, ‘That looks interesting!’ I pulled a film can down and I saw the story code: ‘Doctor Who. PP’. I thought, PP, let me have a check. I checked on my list and realised this was an episode of The Enemy of the World. So I pulled that can down, I saw there were six cans, and I thought, okay, there are six cans, so it’s possibly complete – but we’ll have to check that the contents match the cans, as cans get reused, or people put things in the wrong place. Then I counted another set of cans, which was Episodes 1 to 6 of The Web of Fear, except Episode 3. Episode 3 was not amongst them. So I checked those, they were complete, and I thought ‘Well, that’s not too bad!’”
Today’s news was confirmed at a BBC Worldwide press event, attended by Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling – alias Jamie and Victoria. Both were thrilled to see the episodes again… and to be presented with a copy of the brand new issue of Doctor Who Magazine, which celebrates this news!
“When I heard I couldn’t quite believe it!” says Deborah. “I mean, there have been hoaxes before, let’s face it. I thought, ‘No it’s just another hoax.’ A lot of my episodes were trashed, or recorded over. There’s only one old storyline of mine which exists, The Tomb of the Cybermen, which is a great story. It stands up very well. But after a few days, it was confirmed… ish! And I thought, ‘I’m still not going to believe it, I’m not going to raise my hopes, thank you very much, after all these years!’ And then I got it from a higher authority and I thought, ‘My God, I’ll be back on the screen again!’ All these years later and I can see some of the work I did as a young 19-year-old. It’s amazing, and I loved watching it. And it brought back so much to me, and the people I worked with as well. I’m thrilled, that’s all I can say. I’m thrilled.”
“Me too,” adds Frazer. “This now gives me hope that more stories of Patrick’s will come out of the woodwork, so to speak. When I found out, Debbie was at a convention, and she said ‘Have you heard the news?’ I said, ‘What news?’ She said ‘Oh, I can’t tell you!’ So I gave her a Chinese burn! And she said ‘All right I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you!'”
The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear will be available on iTunes from Friday 11 October.
The Enemy of the World will be released on BBC DVD on Monday 25 November 2013, and The Web of Fear DVD will be released in early 2014.