Doctor Who: discovery of nine missing episodes is 'thrilling'
BBC to release 'Web of Fear' and 'Enemy of the World' episodes after Nigeria storeroom find
NINE missing episodes of Doctor Who filmed in the 1960s have been discovered in a storeroom at a TV station in Nigeria. The recovery of the black-and-white episodes, which star Patrick Troughton as the Time Lord, is the biggest haul of missing footage in 30 years, the BBC says.
The discovery includes most of the "classic story" Web of Fear in which Troughton's Doctor battles robotic yeti on the London Underground. A complete version of Troughton's six-part story The Enemy of the World was also recovered.
The Nigerian discovery adds episodes two, four, five and six of The Web of Fear to the first episode already held by the BBC. And the broadcaster now has all six episodes of The Enemy of the World, where previously it had only one.
Restored versions of both stories will be available to fans as downloads today.
The find is enormously significant for 'Whovians', because the BBC destroyed many of the sci-fi series' original transmission tapes in the 1960s and 1970s. Fortunately, much of the material was transferred to film and sold to foreign broadcasters.
The missing episodes were found by Philip Morris, director of a company called Television International Enterprises Archive, in the Nigerian city of Jos. Eleven episodes were recovered, nine of which were missing.
"The tapes had been left gathering dust in a storeroom at a television relay station in Nigeria," he told the BBC. "I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words, Doctor Who. When I read the story code I realised I'd found something pretty special."
Morris said he was worried the film might have been damaged by high temperatures, but found it was in "optimum" condition.
Mark Gatiss, an actor and writer for the contemporary Doctor Who described the discovery as "thrilling". "Every now and then something turns up," he told the BBC. "But to have two virtually complete stories out of the blue is absolutely incredible." ·