It’s being reported that a group of Doctor Who fans have uncovered a cache of 106 long-lost Doctor Who episodes in Ethiopia. But what do we know for sure, and what’s just hearsay?
The Mirror‘s Sunday People reports that Whovians tracked down a cache of episodes from the tenures of the first and second Doctors at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency, to which they were sold by the BBC after airing on TV only once each between 1964 and 1969. If reports are correct the episodes include “much-loved scenes from The Crusade, The Enemy of the World and The Ice Warriors series.”
The Mirror’s source for this news item is “Doctor Who expert Stuart Kelly,” who says:
I was told by a friend that the episodes have been found in Ethiopia. The BBC is negotiating to get them back right now. I really can’t say any more than that.
On the surface, “a friend told me” didn’t seem particularly promising in terms of a source. And all this is from the Mirror, a British tabloid with a reputation for being less than reliable. But then the far more reliable Radio Times came out and said that, yes, previous episodes from two stories from the second Doctor’s era have been remastered and will go on sale via digital platforms like iTunes starting on Wednesday.
Yes. Wednesday. As in this week.
The new/old episodes “are believed to originate from a haul discovered in Africa,” which corroborates part of the Mirror‘s story, though the amount of episodes we will be getting is a far cry from 106. But there may be more to come. Says the Radio Times:
A BBC Worldwide spokesman refused to officially confirm the discovery or the ‘speculation’ around further missing episodes.
It is understood that other episodes have also been found, although it is not yet known whether these will be made available.
There are still a lot of unknowns: How many episodes, total, have been found? How many of them will be released, and when? Assuming the Troughton ones do come out Wednesday morning, will it be worldwide or only, say, only on the UK version of iTunes? We’ll let you know as we find out more.