A day to rejoice for Doctor Who fans. At the BFI today at a session titled Missing Believed Wiped it was revealed two episodes of Doctor Who previously thought missing and believed wiped/destroyed have infact been found.
The the first of the two episodes was episode 3 of Galaxy 4 – “Airlock”- a first doctor’s (William Hartnell) story that features a small robot like creatures call Chumbleys and a female dominated race Drahvins. The second was from a Patrick Trougton Doctor’s story, episode two, of the Underwater Menace. This features human fish people.
Many early BBC shows of the sixties were recorded on tape and telecine made for sales abroad. These were later wiped/destroyed in the BBC’s recyling efforts during the 1970’s.
You could argue that the Patrick Troughton find is more significant as much of the Troughton stories, particularly the early stories do not exist although part 3 of the story does also exist. This episode becomes the earliest know episode of Patrick Troughton’s Doctor Who to exist.
The Hartnell episode is in my mind the better find as none of the episodes of the four part story those exist. All that existed before was a clip used in a Doctor Who documentary (in which I appeared! That’s the Documentary not the actual clip!!).
Update: Our website’s Jan Vincent-Rudzki (the original President of The Doctor Who Appreciation Society) was at the BFI and has just watched the episodes and said via txt “Yes, I got excited 🙂 Very good. Troughton on form…”
Update 2: The Radio Times website has now posted their item on this and it has further details of how they where recovered, the quality of both the film and how they stand up to today’s savy viewer. To read that click the link here
BFI site, Missing Believed Wiped page, here
Clip from Galaxy 4, Episode 3
Clip from The Underwater Menace, Episode 2