Episode two of the lost Doctor Who serial The Daleks' Master Plan, entitled "Day of Armageddon," has been recovered in its entirety and has been returned to the BBC's archives, according to Steve Roberts of the Doctor Who Restoration Team. The episode stars William Hartnell, the first Doctor, with companions Steven (Peter Purves) and Katarina (Adrienne Hill), along with Space Special Security agent Bret Vyon (played by Nicholas Courtney, who would later return to the series as the Brigadier)... indeed, the most notable fact about the episode may be that it's the first and only complete episode to feature footage of both Katarina and Bret Vyon (who have only been seen in very short extant footage since the story was wiped in the 1970's).
Says Roberts: "I was contacted on Tuesday via the RT Website address by the former Head of Engineering at Yorkshire Television, who told me that he thought that the time was right to return two cans of Doctor Who film that he had "borrowed" from a pile of junk he was asked to dispose of whilst a trainee BBC engineer in the early seventies. The first was a copy of 'The Expedition' from the first Dalek story... but the second was 'Day of Armageddon', the second episode of 'The Daleks' Master Plan'! I've just watched the episode and it's fantastic - you get to see Katarina, more of Bret Vyon, the alien delegates (including, of course, Celation, who we only ever had a single picture of!) and the Doctor disguised as Zephon stealing the Taranium Core!"
Says the official press release: "Doctor Who episodes have a history of being returned from slightly strange places and in the past they have been found in such diverse locations as a church basement, a car boot sale and even a jumble sale in New Zealand! The latest find is no exception, as the episode is literally a gift from the opposition - in this instance from Francis Watson, Head of Engineering at Yorkshire Television in Leeds. As a young engineer working for the BBC in the early seventies, Watson had been given the task of clearing out a room full of junk at the CorporationÆs Television Film Studios in Ealing. Among the rubbish were two 16mm cans marked Doctor Who, which Watson saved from destruction so that he could watch them on the projector at his local film club. For over thirty years and through two house moves, he kept the films safe and now feels that the time has come to return them to the BBC. Watson says that he has always felt slightly embarrassed about ôborrowingö the films, but he can be assured that, thirty years on, both the BBC and fans of the series will be only too happy about it, for his minor indiscretion as a junior engineer undoubtedly ensured the episodeÆs survival. The second of WatsonÆs film cans contained a poor-quality episode of The Expedition, an episode of the very first Dalek adventure, of which the BBC already has a master copy. Day of Armageddon is a great find however, as it is a crucial episode which helped to set up the ambitious twelve part story, a classic space-opera romp through space and time which sees the Doctor and his companions try to thwart the traitorous æGuardian of the Solar SystemÆ, Mavic Chen, and his Dalek allies - culminating in the destruction of time itself! Importantly for both fans and historians alike, this second episode contains scenes with several characters for which very little visual reference material still exists - in fact only a single, blurry photograph of the alien leader Celation is known to have survived in a private photograph collection."
The recovery of Day of Armageddon comes almost five years after the previous missing episode, "The Lion," the first chapter of the serial "The Crusade," was recovered from a film collector in New Zealand, and returned to the BBC via the Restoration Team. More details as we get them. (Thanks to Steve Roberts, Julian Knott and the Restoration Team)