On Monday we reported that a group of dedicated Whovians had found 106 lost classic episodes of Doctor Who in Ethiopia, well now it seems nine missing episodes have been recovered at a TV station in Nigeria, including most of the classic story The Web of Fear.
The black and white story sees Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor battle robot yeti in the London Underground. Also found was a complete version of Troughton’s six-part story The Enemy of the World. It has been reported as the largest haul of missing episodes recovered in the last three decades.
The BBC destroyed many of the sci-fi drama’s original transmission tapes in the 1960s and 1970s. However, many episodes were transferred on to film for sale to foreign broadcasters. It is often these prints found in other countries that are the source of retrieved episodes. In this case, 11 Doctor Who episodes were discovered, nine of which were missing, in the Nigerian city of Jos.
The find was made by Philip Morris, director of a company called Television International Enterprises Archive.
Mr Morris said: “The tapes had been left gathering dust in a storeroom at a television relay station in Nigeria. 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.”
He said it had been a “lucky” find given the high temperatures in the African country. “Fortunately they had been kept in the optimum condition.”
Only episode three of The Enemy of the World already existed in the BBC archive. The Nigerian discovery of episodes one, two, four, five and six complete the story. Episode one of The Web of Fear existed, with the rest thought lost forever. Now episodes two, four, five and six have been recovered.
Episode three is still missing, but has been reconstructed from stills to enable restored versions of both stories to be made available for sale via download on Friday.
The latest find means that the number of missing episodes of Doctor Who has dropped from 106 to 97.
With thanks to BBC News