Two Doctor Who episodes recovered!Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 11 December 2011 - Reported by Chuck Foster

The BBC revealed today that two complete episodes of Doctor Who have been returned to the BBC Archives.

Firstly, the complete third episode of the William Hartnell story Galaxy 4, Air Lock has been recovered - prior to this only a short segment from the first episode remained in the archive with no telesnaps taken to show how the third episode and its characters would have looked.

Clip from Air Lock, via the BBC Doctor Who site (may not play outside United Kingdom)

Secondly, the complete second episode of Patrick Troughton's third story The Underwater Menace has also been recovered - making this the earliest complete episode for the Second Doctor to now exist in the Archives (alongside the existing episode three).

Clip from The Underwater Menace episode 2, via the BBC Doctor Who site (may not play outside United Kingdom)

Both episodes were found via former TVS engineer Terry Burnett, who bought them at a school fête in Marchwood, Southampton back in the 1980s! Restoration Team member Ralph Montagu told the Radio Times how they came to his attention:
I occasionally meet up with a group of film collectors and retired TV engineers at a café in Hampshire. A few months ago I spoke to Terry Burnett, who used to be an engineer at TVS [the former ITV franchise based in Southampton]. Somehow Doctor Who was mentioned in passing, and Terry said, ‘Oh, actually I think I’ve got an old episode. I thought it was bound to be something we’ve got already,” says Ralph. “I tried not to get too excited, but he came back the next day and brought this spool with him. It had no label, so I had a look at the film leader and it said ‘Air Lock’. I thought, ‘What’s that?’ I checked online and saw that Air Lock was an episode of Galaxy 4 - a missing Hartnell serial. So then I got very excited.

(meeting with Terry a couple of weeks later) And he said, ‘Guess what I’ve got.’ It was another episode of Doctor Who! Again not labelled on the can, but it turned out to be The Underwater Menace part two.”

Read the full article at the Radio Times website.

Both episodes were shown this afternoon at the British Film Institute's Missing Believed Wiped event - the first time they've been seen in the United Kingdom since their original transmission! (Air Lock was originally seen on 25th September 1965, with The Underwater Menace episode two on 21st January 1967) Screen shots from the episodes may be seen in the BBC's Doctor Who Adventure Calendar Day 11.

News report from the BFI by Ed Stradling, via YouTube

The episodes will require restoration work before they can be commercially released, with film damage to be repaired and missing censored clips to be re-instated. An announcement will be made by 2|Entertain next year as to when they are likely to appear on DVD. Meanwhile, the previous existing material for both stories can be found on the Lost in Time DVD boxed set.

These are the first full episodes to have been recovered since the 1965 Daleks' Master Plan episode Day of Armageddon turned up back in 2004, and brings the total missing episodes tally to 106.

Time to search those attics for more episodes!

FILTER: - Special Events - William Hartnell - Classic Series - Patrick Troughton