The number of missing episodes of Doctor Who has dropped from 106 to 97.
Nine new episodes od Doctor Who – previously thought to be lost forever – have been recovered in Nigeria, prompting hope that other long lost episodes of the classic sci fi adventure might be found, too.
The BBC destroyed many of its original transmission Dr Who tapes between the 60s and 70s, but many were transferred across to film for distribution, usually to foreign broadcasters, and that’s how nine new episodes ended up in Nigeria.
"It's thrilling," said Mark Gatiss, an actor and writer for the 21st Century incarnation of Doctor Who. "Every single avenue seemed to have been exhausted, every now and then something turns up - but to have two virtually complete stories out of the blue is absolutely incredible." (BBC)
The man who found them was Philip Morris, the director of a company called Television International Enterprises Archive. "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,” he explained.
"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."
Now, The Enemy of The World story is complete; only episode three had been known to exist, with the latest Nigerian discovery adding one, two, four, five and six.
The Web of Fear now has episodes two, four, five and six had to add to the first episode. 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.