Doctor Who: Yeti classic among episodes found in Nigeria

 

Watch: An excerpt from The Web of Fear, starring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor in 1968

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Nine missing episodes of 1960s Doctor Who have been found at a TV station in Nigeria, including most of the classic story The Web of Fear.

The black and white story sees Patrick Troughton's second Doctor battle robot yeti in the London Underground.

Also recovered is a complete version of Troughton's six-part story The Enemy of the World.

It is thought to be the largest haul of missing episodes recovered in the last three decades.

WHAT'S BEEN FOUND

  • The Enemy of the World (1967-68) - episodes 1,2,3,4,5,6 (episode 3 was already in archive)
  • The Web of Fear (1968) - episodes 1,2,4,5,6 (episode 1 was already in archive - episode 3 still missing)

"It's thrilling," said Mark Gatiss, an actor and writer for the 21st Century incarnation of Doctor Who.

"Every single avenue seemed to have been exhausted, every now and then something turns up - but to have two virtually complete stories out of the blue is absolutely incredible."

The BBC destroyed many of the sci-fi drama's original transmission tapes in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, many episodes were transferred on to film for sale to foreign broadcasters. It is often these prints found in other countries that are the source of retrieved episodes.

In this case, 11 Doctor Who episodes were discovered, nine of which were missing, in the Nigerian city of Jos.

The find was made by Philip Morris, director of a company called Television International Enterprises Archive.

Philip Morris: "I am described as the Indiana Jones of the film world"

Mr Morris said: "The tapes had been left gathering dust in a storeroom at a television relay station in Nigeria. I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words, Doctor Who. When I read the story code I realised I'd found something pretty special."

He said it had been a "lucky" find given the high temperatures in the African country. "Fortunately they had been kept in the optimum condition."

Only episode three of The Enemy of the World already existed in the BBC archive. The Nigerian discovery of episodes one, two, four, five and six complete the story.

Episode one of fan favourite The Web of Fear existed, with the rest thought lost forever. Now episodes two, four, five and six have been recovered.

Episode three is still missing, but has been reconstructed from stills to enable restored versions of both stories to be made available for sale via download on Friday.

The latest find means that the number of missing episodes of Doctor Who has dropped from 106 to 97.

Former Doctor Who actors Deborah Watling and Frazer Hines told Lizo Mzimba they were "thrilled" with the discovery

'Quintessential story'

One episode from each story - both last seen in 1968 - were shown at a special event in London on Thursday by BBC Worldwide, the BBC's commercial arm.

Among the guests were actors Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling, who played Troughton's Tardis companions Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield.

Episode one of The Enemy of the World is a James Bond-style thriller complete with an exploding helicopter, a hovercraft, gun-toting henchmen and a foreign-accented villain, Salamander (also played by Troughton).

The story opens with the Tardis arriving on an Australian beach where the Doctor strips to his long johns and goes for a dip in the sea.

The Web of Fear is a claustrophobic tale that sees the Doctor battle his old foe, the Great Intelligence, and the yeti in the tunnels of the London tube system.

"It's the quintessential Doctor Who story," said Gatiss. "It has the return of the Abominable Snowmen in an iconic location."

He said it showed Troughton "at the height of his powers".

Frazer Hines recalled that the underground station sets had been so realistic that London Transport accused the BBC of filming at a tube station in secret.

The story also featured an appearance by Deborah Watling's real-life father Jack, reprising his role as Professor Travers.

Recalling Troughton's "wonderful sense of humour" on set, Watling said: "We all got on so well, we were like a family and Pat was always to me like another dad or an uncle. We had a chemistry and I think it showed."

How did she feel when she heard about the recovery of the lost episodes? "I couldn't quite believe it. There had been hoaxes before. I thought it was just another hoax."

Her only other complete story in the archive had been The Tomb of the Cybermen, all four instalments of which were discovered in Hong Kong in 1991.

Hines said: "This now gives me hope that more stories of Patrick's will come out of the woodwork."

The latest find comes as Doctor Who celebrates its 50th birthday. A special episode featuring the current Doctor, Matt Smith, and his predecessor, David Tennant, will be shown on the programme's anniversary on 23 November.

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 226.

    What the BBC should do, in order to allow those of us who have no intention of ever using i-tunes to see the episodes, is to have pre-orders for the DVDs. Then they could give away instant downloads with every order. Problem solved.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 225.

    The gripes come more from the secrecy (delay for the 50th?) and leaks that raised expectations way too high.

    Finding 9 lost episodes is a wonderful thing, considering a few years ago most were resigned that all there was left to find were the odd clips.

    @200 For me, the best doctor is the one you watched from behind the sofa, so clearly Baker followed closely by Pertwee.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 224.

    Would be good to list the 97 missing episodes that the overly well-paid idiots at the BBC wiped over.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 223.

    Wonderfu,l darlings, simply wonderful.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 222.

    209. ioioos said: "The BBC seem to be using every opportunity to promote Apple"

    218.Aamir said: "Only in your mind. Maybe Microsoft implanted a chip that makes you think that?"



    If its in my mind, why did BBC make it for sale with Apple and not the market leading mobile platform (Android), direct with the market leading Desktop platform (windows) or leading multi access Netflix?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 221.

    So we paid the BBC to make the series, they they made £ from selling it abroad, then they threw it away and now someone has found it they want us to pay again to view it! Worse, they are making little new material of any value again at our expense. Have they lost the plot - we payers are your owners, didn't the boss say? Want my money back!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 220.

    I remember episodes of Z-Cars turning up in much the same circumstances in Cyprus some years ago. I often wonder if the BBC hasn't the manpower to do the research to find these "lost" shows in dusty vaults, but surely it would be worth the BBC finding them. Lost shows represent "lost money" to the licence fee payer.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 219.

    Wow, there are some miserable comments about this from some people. Firstly the programme is made because 77 mill people watch it worldwide. Just because you don't like it is irrelevant, the BBC caters for all. Secondly those who tell us to "grow up", one day you will be older and will find those things that remind you of youth will be important, lets hope younger people don't be as rude as you.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 218.

    209. ioioos
    Yet again the BBC seem to be using every opportunity to promote Apple
    ////////
    Only in your mind. Maybe Microsoft implanted a chip that makes you think that?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 217.

    Dr Who is brilliant. The Matt Smith series was a bit weaker due to a combination of facts, but I am looking forward to the Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. It shows the quality of the BBC that it can keep a show running for such a long time, allowing it to re-invent itself. It's not classic, it's contemporary, and that's a compliment. This is like finding a precious old antique at a car boot sale.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 216.

    This is great news, shame about the poor reporting earlier in the week getting our hopes up for more than there was. But I for one am thankfull thats another 9, less than 100 to find now, lets hope they are out there in a dusty vault waiting to be found.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 215.

    @213 thrill_vermilion
    Au contraire, my dear fellow, I'm not sad at all and certainly don't crawl thru forums etc. I read the news and have my own opinion.
    There are lots of things that interest me and the BBC bigging itself up is not one of them.
    Get yourself out more instead of playing by yourself in your Tardis.

    1960's Dr Who - Load of old tosh!

  • rate this
    +23

    Comment number 214.

    Why oh why, BBC, aren't you airing these? Or putting them on iPlayer? I don't have iTunes (and never ever will) At least release them through other channels as well

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 213.

    @ 158.Ravenser

    "What a load of old tosh, who is sad enough to actually care about this?"

    What a sad individual you are. People like you crawl through forums, looking for anything to comment on, but you don't even care about the topics. It's sad really...

    Is there nothing that interests you that you could put some of your ample time towards?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 212.

    I have always remembered being in school on Monday after seeing the Web of fear on Saturday playing on the school yard using the painted lines of the football pitch and Tennis court as the underground only thing missing was the foam happy days

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 211.

    @208 harvey_s, I also cannot see this for download - maybe because I am not in the UK until tomorrow and the download is restricted...? It should be on https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewMultiRoom?cc=gb&fcId=365372754 - shouldn't it?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 210.

    Is this the one with Yetis that are activated by a sort of large marble?

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 209.

    Yet again the BBC seem to be using every opportunity to promote Apple.

    There have been recent excuses about iPlayer not being easy to port to Android and Windows, but these episodes are simply downloadable media.

    Why are they also not on sale through Google Play or Xbox?

    And as some have said, why are these not free on iPlayer anyway? Licence fee money created them in the first place.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 208.

    It says "available for sale via download on Friday" - but does anyone know where from please?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 207.

    @202,

    It's a family show not a 'kid's' (sic) one. It's what the BBC had been missing for years when they brought it back in 2005, as there wasn't really anything quite like it in terms of something the whole family could sit down and watch together.

    Post 200 is spot on and for my money I'd rather forget about McCoy's time as The Doctor entirely, as I thought his stories were dreadful!

 

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