Report: 100 lost episodes found in Ethiopia!
6 Oct 2013 00:00
The Sunday People can exclusively reveal that 106 BBC programmes have been unearthed featuring the first two doctors
Who's the original? William Hartnell
A group of dedicated Doctor Who fans tracked down at least 100 long-lost episodes of the show gathering dust more than 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia.
It was feared the BBC programmes from the 1960s – featuring the first two doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – had vanished for all time after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage.
But after months of detective work the tapes have been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.
A television insider said: “It is a triumph and fans everywhere will be thrilled.
“This is a really big deal for the BBC and is set to make them millions from the sale of the DVDs.”
They were here: The agency where the tapes were found
If the tapes are returned in time the BBC hopes to announce the news during celebrations to mark Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary next month.
The Thick Of It actor Peter Capaldi, 55, takes over from Matt Smith as the 12th Time Lord at Christmas.
The recovered episodes from the 60s include much-loved scenes from The Crusade, The Enemy of the World and The Ice Warriors series.
In the four-part Crusade story Hartnell and his assistant Vicki, played by Maureen O’Brien, arrive in the TARDIS in Palestine in the 12th century just as King Richard the Lionheart is doing battle with the Saracen ruler Saladin.
After each airing only once between 1964 and 1969, copies were sold to the Ethiopian Agency and the BBC then lost or wiped the originals.
As the corporation still owns the copyright the shows could be digitally remastered and shown again. The prospect will delight millions of fans worldwide.
Fans' favourite: Patrick Troughton
Doctor Who expert Stuart Kelly revealed news of the discovery at the Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland last week.
When contacted by the Sunday People he said: “I was told by a friend that the episodes have been found in Ethiopia. The BBC is negotiating to get them back right now. I really can’t say any more than that.”
Rumours emerged of the lost shows earlier this year when tapes and 16in films of 90 episodes were thought to have been handed to a TV historian after turning up in a container loaded on a ship from Zambia.
In December 2011 two other episodes that were thought to have been lost were returned to the BBC.
The shows, from 1965 and 1967, starring Hartnell and Troughton, were found three decades after they were sold by mistake at a village fete.
The 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who will be broadcast simultaneously in at least 70 countries on November 23, the BBC has said.
I really hope there is at least some truth to this, but it sounds so unbelievable to found them all in one fell swoop! :-/