Hardly a month goes by in Doctor Who fandom without more rumours surfacing regarding missing episodes being recovered. We've all been bitten - we've all believed only to be dropped back down to Earth with a thud when nothing actually happens. In the Anniversary year, it was only to be expected that the rumour mill would go into overdrive...however...maybe THIS time we have something to get excited about.
Rumours have abounded for months about a large haul of episodes from Africa - we've had everything from "three stories" to "106 episodes" being bandied about. I've mainly ignored them - I didn't want to be let down again. This weekend though...maybe things are changing.
First off, a couple of friends I trust absolutely in these things, have been telling me for a while that episodes HAVE been returned. Then we get the Mirror Online report - which has picked up on the 106 episodes rumour and the "evidence" they have to back it up is...a fan was told by a friend. Um...right. They also claim the episodes come from Ethiopia - fair enough...there's the Africa connection - but how many episodes were sold to Ethiopia in the first place?
The key however, is the article on the Radio Times website today which says:
In what looks set to be the best 50th birthday present fans could imagine, two missing episodes of Doctor Who will be made available for sale to the public this week.
BBC Worldwide will put two previously lost episodes from different stories – both believed to be from the Patrick Troughton era – for sale on digital platforms such as iTunes from Wednesday, RadioTimes.com understands.
They are believed to originate from a haul discovered in Africa and have been digitally remastered for sale, although exact details remain sketchy.
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.Now, the Radio Times has much more credibility than the Mirror but the Mirror themselves have followed up their claims with more details about the Radio Times article:
The 1960s programmes – featuring the first two Doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – vanished after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage and wiped copies or lost them.
But the corporation’s commercial arm BBC Worldwide has now called a press conference and screening on Tuesday in a London hotel.
The invitation sent out had the event details written inside the screen of a old-fashioned sixties style television set, complete with a dial to tune in the channels, seeming to hint at the type of news to come.
Journalists will be told exactly which old footage has been recovered, with some of it then broadcast on screen to watch.
A senior BBC source said: "There will be big news this Tuesday regarding lost Doctor Who episodes.
"It is great that in the show’s 50th year, fans will now be able to look back with classic episodes as well as looking to the future with the new film-length episode in November.“For some fans watching their lost episodes will be like going back in time.”Now THIS is more like it! So, Tuesday the news should break about what has been found...and Wednesday 2 Patrick Troughton episodes should be available to download. Excellent!
About time the BBC actually make a statement now but for the time being, I'm breaking my self-imposed rule. I believe.
EDIT - The Radio Times have now dropped the reference to "two" episodes. They now just state that episodes will be released. Interesting....