If you know your Doctor Who history, you’ll be aware that nearly 100 episodes of the classic series from the 1960s are missing from the archives. The number used to be bigger than it is now, but a few have been uncovered over the years – most recently, two almost complete stories were found in 2013. Ever since then, though, fans have prayed that the rest of the 97 lost episodes would be recovered, too. Well, today has brought forward some new hope, but we’d recommend you don’t get too excited just yet.
Speaking on the Radio Free Skaro podcast, archivist Paul Vanezis revealed that there’s “no question” that there are some missing episodes that exist only in private collections, but those who have them don’t wish to share them publicly at this time. Vanezis pointed out that, though this may anger fans, we should be grateful to some extent, as at least these episodes still exist in some form.
“There is no question there are missing Doctor Whos with private collectors. I know some of them, and at some point they may be interested in handing over their films. But they’re not the kind of people that you should be pressuring. There’s been a lot of criticism of film collectors by people who should really know better. Without them, these things would have been lost or destroyed years and years ago.”
This story was subsequently picked up by The Daily Mirror, who ran it under a slightly misleading headline which promised that these lost episodes could be made available soon. Clearly, that’s not what Vanezis is saying, though it’s still encouraging that he believes that they’re out there somewhere.
According to The Mirror, the most prominent theories about which installments the archivist is referring to suggest that they’re episode four of 1965’s “The Daleks’ Masterplan” and the final installment of 1966’s “The Tenth Planet,” in which the First Doctor regenerates into the Second. It’s known that these were borrowed by other parties at the time but never returned to the archives, which implies they may have survived the decades.
In terms of modern Doctor Who, season 11 starring Jodie Whittaker is expected to arrive in either September or October. But will it be joined by some recovered lost episodes? We’ll have to wait and see.