Doctor Who fans rejoice – early episodes of the show which were though to have been lost forever have been tracked down in the archives of the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency (ERTA), following an international hunt launched last Christmas ahead of the show’s 50th anniversary this year.
The lost episodes are such a sore point among the die-hard Who followers that they have their own Wikipedia page. There are 106 missing episodes in total, including the very first appearance of the Daleks. The BBC hasn’t said exactly which shows its managed to recover from the Ethiopian archives, but according the Radio Times (which was once owned by the BBC) at least some of them will go on sale this week.
All of the episodes date from the 1960s and the time of the first two actors to play the time travelling Gallifreyan, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. The original broadcasts of the show were either never recorded or the tapes were wiped as part of an internal BBC policy in the 1970s to free up space in the archives.
Doctor Who is one of the BBC’s most valuable franchises, with boxset sales worth hundreds of millions of pounds a year. With the 50th anniversary episode billed as the ‘most ambitious yet’ – it will feature members of the cast from throughout the show’s history and signal the handing over of the role from current Doctor Matt Smith to the incoming Peter Capaldi – the chance to present the lost episodes to fans will be a highly lucrative one for the broadcaster.
(Via Mirror Online)