So a few minutes ago I got a press release from the BBC. Yes, I’m on their press mailing list. You may now tingle with envy. They told me something I mostly knew a few hours ago, but now I have the gory details.
Eleven Doctor Who episodes were discovered (nine of which have not been seen for 46 years) by Philip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archive, by tracking records of tape shipments made by the BBC to Africa for transmission. Morris says, “The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room 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 realized I’d found something pretty special.”
Special indeed. We’d all suspected that missing episodes would be found in Africa. Zambia, Nigeria and Ethiopia have all aired episodes that are now missing, so it was quite possible they’d have some in their archives. I’m glad that appears to be the case, at least with Nigeria.
Currently the episodes are only available for purchase on iTunes which is, frankly, horrible. I don’t have any kind of a iThingy, so this is slightly less than useful to me. I can buy them and watch them on my PC, but my chair isn’t comfortable and I’d rather watch them on TV.
Fortunately, it sounds like I won’t have to wait for very long, as there are now reports saying that “The Enemy of the World” will be released on DVD on November 22. I don’t know if that’s a UK date, or an American one, but if it is UK, I’m sure we will have it soon after.
I’m quite pleased that these stories were found. This represents the biggest haul in quite some time, and is bigger than the sum total of episodes found in the last twenty years or so. There’s “only” 97 missing episodes left to go, and while likely some are gone forever, this does leave me with at least some hope for the future.