The escalation of internet speculation over the potential discovery/recovery of Doctor Who episodes currently missing from the BBC archive has led the corporation to issue a statement about it.Philip Fleming
, the Head of Communications, Brands, Content & Digital at BBC Worldwide, said:
There are always rumours and speculation about Doctor Who missing episodes being discovered. However, we cannot confirm any new finds.
He was responding to reports of a large number of episodes having been found in Africa.Radio Times
subsequently queried what exactly the BBC meant by saying that it could not confirm any new finds, to which a BBC spokeswoman said: "We can't confirm because it's not true as far as I'm aware."
Pressed further about whether or not the BBC was in talks with people about episodes, she said: "I don’t think so"
, while to the question "So there are no episodes?"
she responded: "Not as far as we know."
Following the discoveries of the Galaxy 4
episode Air Lock
and The Underwater Menace episode 2
in 2011, hopes have been high in fandom that more missing episodes are out there. However, Doctor Who News
will continue its policy of reporting only on official statements.UPDATE - THURSDAY 20th JUNE:
Following the BBC's response, a company that had featured in the rumours issued the following statement on Facebook
T.I.E.A. does not hold any missing episodes of the long-running Dr Who series. The original videotapes were wiped [and] subsequent film copies were either returned to the BBC [or] sent to landfill. Odd fragments have surfaced - two episodes on 16mm film - but that's it. The programmes in question, like many others, were destroyed as they had no further commercial value. They are not missing but destroyed. The end.
I am sorry if this upsets some people but these are the facts.
I have also become aware of the tracking of some of our clients' shipments. These are local cultural materials sent to us for migration to a modern format as the playback equipment in the country of origin no longer exists and as such is the best road to preserve international cultural heritage.
I will be making no more statements on this subject.
Philip Morris, Executive Director, T.I.E.A.