Sunday, November 17, 2013

Doctor Who

What Is Still Missing and Will They Ever Be Found?

With this recent find of previously missing episodes of DOCTOR WHO and the raised hope for more, let us look at what is still missing as of November 2, 2013 and see what these stories could mean to DOCTOR WHO fans if found.

Just a bit of back story and as you may already know, a large amount of TV video tapes were destroyed in the early 70's including DOCTOR WHO. Over the years the majority of the episodes have returned but until just recently over 100 episodes were still not in the BBC archive. It is hoped that private collectors and foreign TV stations may still hold some of the film copies of these episodes. In the 60's, the BBC sold DOCTOR WHO abroad not on video tape but on film transferred from the original videos. It is possible that these films still exist as 2 virtually complete stories have just been returned after being missing for 40+ years.

What if more of these stories were to come back? What do these stories mean for the show and for fans. Many fans, including myself, have never seen these completed stories and for those lucky enough to have, they haven't seen them since their original airdates. What would be expected if these stories were to come out in a similar fashion as the recent stories? Would these stories live up to their expectations? What would a DVD look like? What do these stories mean to the DOCTOR WHO Universe and what are the chances that they will be returned at all?

I have included how many countries each story was sold to but this number may not be that accurate as some of these films moved to different locations in neighboring regions. There may also be some undocumented copies elsewhere.

MARCO POLO - I call this one The Impossible Missing Story. This is one of the holy grails of the missing stories for DOCTOR WHO and it is an odd inclusion in this category since it was sold to so many countries (19 in total). You would think at least one episode would have made it. In fact there is not a single clip of this story (only "Marco Polo", "Mission to the Unkown" and "The Massacre" have no surviving clips). The audio only exists and pictures from the story (telesnaps) exist in most of the episodes.

The story is the first historical beyond the first one and is an epic 7 episodes long. One has to imagine this story might turn out to be boring but it certainly looks lavish from all the production photos floating around.

I believe this might be the biggest of the missing episodes for the William Hartnell era that doesn't feature the Daleks and would certainly be highly sought after on DVD.

Rumor - this was one of the first stories to be talked about during this latest rumor. It was batted around that no less than 3 copies were found even!

For the DVD release I would love to have Carole Ann Ford (Susan), William Russell (Ian), Mark Eden (Marco Polo), Ziennia Merton (Ping-Cho) and Waris Hussein (the director) to provide the commentary!

THE REIGN OF TERROR - this 6 parter is missing only two parts and those were reconstructed and animated for a release earlier this year, using the existing soundtrack of the episodes. This story was sold to 16 countries. If these two were found, it would seem obvious that the BBC would put this on the back burner and release the story with all of the episodes in a few years. The story is a popular one among fans and it would be nice to see it complete at some point. This and "Marco Polo" are the only stories of the first season with missing episodes.

THE CRUSADE - This story has two of its four episodes already in release on the Doctor

WhoLost in Time DVD set. It was sold to 12 countries. To see this complete with perhaps commentary by Maureen O'Brien (Vicki) and Russell with perhaps Julian Glover (Richard the Lionheart) would make for an excellent DVD. These two missing episodes, 2 & 4 are the only 2 episodes for the entire second season!

GALAXY 4 - This 4 part story was missing all of its episodes until 2011 when episode 3 was announced as found (although it is missing a few seconds toward the end of the episode). There has been conjecture on whether this and "The Underwater Menace" Pt 2 (which was also returned in 2011) were not the start of the big find of 2013. This story was only sold to 6 countries.

The story features Peter Purves (Steven) and Maureen O'Brien (Vicki) and they would make a great commentary team for the DVD. While researching this article I discovered that Angelo Muscat played one of the Chumblies. Muscat is better known for playing the butler in THE PRISONER TV series.

MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN - Here is where it gets depressing. This one part story was only sent to one country, Australia and never aired. This is the one part story which acts as a lead into "The Daleks' Master Plan" and features none of the regular cast members.

Rumor - This has never been included on any of the rumors of being found.

THE MYTH MAKERS is a four part story with no surviving episodes. It is a very important episode as it features the farewell to Vicki and the introduction to Katarina (Adrienne Hill). The story features the Trojan Horse tale and ends on a cliff hanger (as do most Hartnell stories) with Steven possibly dying.

I am not a big fan of historical stories although I love "The Aztecs". "The Myth Makers" is probably the historical I am most looking forward to after Marco Polo. It was sold to 6 countries.

THE DALEKS' MASTER PLAN - This is probably the most sought after story for the Hartnell era. It is a 12 part epic (13 if you count "Mission to the Unknown") and features the Daleks and the Meddling Monk. The story sees the death of two companions (Sarah Kingdom and Katarina) and is not included in the rumored find of 2013. The story was only sent to Australia and so is the least likely to have survived and yet 3 of the 12 do exist. Parts 5 & 10 were located in a church in the 80's and a former BBC engineer returned part 2 in 2004.

The news for a complete story are even worse for episode 7 ("The Feast for Steven") which is the famous Christmas episode that takes a break from the story and features William Hartnell wishing all the viewers at home a Happy Christmas. This episode was not sent to Australia and so the chances it survived are the DOCTOR WHO episode.worst of any

THE MASSACRE is another historical story with all four episodes missing. The story features the first appearance of Dodo( Jackie Lane) and is not really a highly sought after story in my opinion. Since so little is known about it, there is a curiosity about the story. 6 countries purchased this one.

THE CELESTIAL TOYMAKER - another popular episode, this four parter does have one existing episode (part 4) and features some surreal imagery and Michael Gough as the Toymaker. William Hartnell is on vacation during two episodes (a common practice during the 60's). I love the look of episode 4 and would be interested in seeing this one. Peter Purves is always great on commentary but I don't think Jackie Lane has ever done one. 6 countries had this one.

THE SAVAGES - an interesting story as it features Steven for the final time. It is also Dodo's final full appearance as she leaves in the following story. "The Savages" is the first story without the individual titles for each episode. Very little has been seen or heard from this story. It was sold to 6 countries.

THE SMUGGLERS is another 4 part story that little is known about. The story gained the fewest ratings for DOCTOR WHO up to that point and would remain the least watched story until 1986 ("Trial of the Time Lord: The Mysterious Planet"). Anneke Wills (Polly) would be an obvious choice for commentary for a DVD but it would be hard to find others for the commentary as many of the cast are gone. Sold to 6 countries.

THE TENTH PLANET - Ah, the gem of the missing episodes, Episode 4 which includes the demise of the original Cybermen and the first regeneration. While parts 1-3 and a clip from the regeneration still exist, the final part would be gold to have. The episode was often rumored to be circulating around and a hoax had someone trying to sell it to the BBC at one point. This one was only sold to 3 countries supporting the idea that just because something made its way to more countries doesn't mean the chances are better it will be found.

THE POWER OF THE DALEKS - another important story where no episodes exist. This being the first Patrick Troughton really makes it one of the most sought after missing stories but alas, it was only sold to 3 countries. This story is part of season 4 which is currently the season missing the most episodes - finding this 6 parter, while remote, would be pretty incredible. Thinking about the DVD release of something like this, one is saddened by the fact that Anneke Wills is the only survivor of the main cast of DOCTOR WHO from "The War Machines" though this story.

THE HIGHLANDERS - There is a temporary increase of countries that received the following few stories, totaling 6. "The Highlanders" is a historic story in that it is the last of the historicals until "The Black Orchid". It also is the debut of the popular companion, Jamie (Fraser Hines). This four parter would be an excellent find!THE UNDERWATER MENACE - this 4 parter has been really trying to become not missing over the years with one found just a couple of years ago in 2011 and one already existing in the archive. The story is often maligned for its over the top "Nothing in the World Can Stop Me Now!!" performance by Joseph Furst but recent reviews of the newly found episode 2 have praised the episode and one wonders if the story is not as bad as originally thought or perhaps when in comparison to the bad DOCTOR WHO we as fans have been subjected to in the past few years of the new series (sorry for the jab!!)

THE MOONBASE - another 4 part with only 2 parts missing, this story features the return of the Cybermen.

Rumor - the planned release of the DVD with animated episodes to replace the missing ones, has been delayed and one wonders if it were to include newly found parts 1 & 3!!

THE MACRA TERROR - A 4 parter missing all episodes, this story is another fan favorite and features Jamie, Polly and Ben as companions. It is such a shame that Polly and Ben among other companions were most heavily hurt by the missing episodes.

THE FACELESS ONES - with 2 of the 6 found, this story would be great to see returned. It is the final Ben and Polly story.

THE EVIL OF THE DALEKS - might be the most wanted story of any of the missing episodes. Episode 2 does exist and only whets the appetite for more. Not only do the Daleks star but the Emperor Dalek debuts as does Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling). This story was only sold to 4 countries, none in Africa. This may be upsetting news as the recent search appears to have been focused in Africa.

This is one of only a few stories that I have listened to the soundtrack and it was outstanding. Imagine listening to Watling and Hines in commentary from this classic story.

THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN - Another classic story features the first Yeti and Great Intelligence appearance. The 6 parter was sold to 7 countries including some in Africa and so perhaps the chances for this are greater. Episode 2 does exist already.

THE ICE WARRIORS - This 6 parter is thankfully almost complete with only 2 parts missing. The recent DVD release included the 2 parts animated with the original soundtrack. This story was sold to 6 countries and the fact that 4 of them exists would seem to be raised hope for more.

THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD - this 6 parter was found and released earlier this year but lets look at it in terms of context for the rest. It was also sold to 7 countries including Zambia where it was found. Since this was purchased as late as 1974 one wonders if the chances are better for stories that were around as late as that as opposed to episodes that were sold in the late 60's.

THE WEB OF FEAR - also 7 countries involved.

Rumor - The missing episode 3 is a bit odd as early rumors did not mention it missing. It is possible one of several things have happened - it was not found, it was thought found but is indeed lost, it was beyond restoration or it was held back for another reason.

FURY FROM THE DEEP - this 6 part was only sold to 5 countries and no episodes currently exist. It was not sold to any countries in Africa. It is the last story for Victoria.

Rumor - one early rumor stated that the finds of missing episodes might be coming from multiple locations and if this is true then perhaps a find in Australia, Singapore or Hong Kong is true and if so, would increase the chances for many of these stories that did not make it to Africa.

THE WHEEL IN SPACE - 6 parts but still missing 4, this story is the debut of Zoe and the return of the Cybermen. 6 countries were involved including Nigeria (where "Enemy of the World" and "Web of Fear" were found.)

THE INVASION - This 8 part story features the first official UNIT appearance and the return of Lethbridge Stewart. 6 of the 8 episodes exist of this Cybermen story and this was released on DVD quite a while ago with the missing episodes animated. Only four countries are known to have purchased these.

Rumors - while anything is possible, the two episodes are rarely at all mentioned in the category of being found.

THE SPACE PIRATES - often thought of as being horrible, this 6 part story does have 1 existing and is not particularly liked by fans. Sold to only 4 countries, the remaining 5 stories are the last episodes to be officially missing for DOCTOR WHO.

It doesn't end there. Beside numerous episodes that still have a few seconds or longer clips missing there is always the strong chance that anything found might be in better condition than what the BBC currently has in their archive. That was the case of "The Web of Fear"part 1 and "The Enemy of the World" part 3. Both of these archived episodes were upgraded before their Itunes release. There is always a possibility of improved quality of episodes with new finds. Of course this doesn't necessarily mean a re-release on DVD. If a better copy of "The Daleks" was found it would take a full remastering and new extras, for example to warrant a future special edition release.

In addition to all this, it is possible that some color episodes from the Jon Pertwee era would be found. This would mean that stories that were recently reconstructed using B&W prints mixed with inferior color copies would be improved with the real color episode.

And this is just DOCTOR WHO. There are so many other shows out there that still have missing episodes.

One can only look and see what the BBC does have in their archive to know that DOCTOR WHO fans have been blessed. Sure, there are 97 episodes missing but look at what we have enjoyed watching over the past bunch of years. So many important stories like the first one, "An Unearthly Child", "The Daleks", "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", "The War Games" and others. With 2 more mostly complete stories now back and the hope for more, it is a great time to be a fan. Hats off to all the episode hunters of today and the past as well as the people who lovingly restore these episodes for us to enjoy. Thanks to you all.

This link has some great information about the missing episodes -

An incredible wealth of information on this site although it is not updated

This link shows some of the history of the selling of the series
Full Post

No comments:

Post a Comment