Doctor Who (lost episodes; 1963-1974)


Doctor Who Missing Episodes
Screenshots from "The Feast of Steven", the only episode of Doctor Who believed to be permanently missing.
Screenshots from "The Feast of Steven", the only episode of Doctor Who believed to be permanently missing.
Status Partially Lost
A film canister containing a previously missing episode of Doctor Who, "The Evil of the Daleks: Ep 2".
A picture taken on set of the lost episode "Marco Polo".

The appropriately dubbed Doctor Who Missing Episodes are a collection of 147 episodes of the British sci-fi television series that were wiped by the BBC between 1963 and 1974. During this time, it was typical of the BBC to wipe old master tapes for re-use instead of purchasing expensive new videotape reels. Though many episodes have been recovered over the years, 97 remain missing; consequently, full footage of these lost episodes have not been seen since their original airing, though every episode's audio has survived from homemade recordings. Because of the high amount of publicity surrounding these missing episodes, they are arguably one of the most famous cases of lost media in modern history.

The story the episodes' junkings, however, goes far deeper than what one can call standard procedure. During production, the BBC Film Library and BBC Enterprises were conflicted over which of them had the responsibility of archiving Doctor Who master reels. The Film Library was not obligated to store productions not recorded on film, prompting them to destroy their copies. Meanwhile, BBC Enterprises wiped their own reels due to a combination of them being considered unnecessarily voluminous and the high price tag of new magnetic videotape. During this time, each party assumed that the other had already archived their own copies. In the end, both parties threw out their own master reels of many old black-and-white productions.

In 1974, the BBC were convinced to stop wiping episodes of Doctor Who at the insistence of Ian Levine, a record producer and prominent fan of the show. Later, the rise in popularity of home media prompted the BBC to officially end their junking policy in 1978 and start searching for the episodes that they had lost by attempting to gain the cooperation of private collectors and probing the television stations that they had loaned film copies to (reels that had, as of then, not yet been returned). Through these methods, the BBC has managed to recover 50 episodes over the years (most recently in October 2013), including nine full missing serials. However, some serials are still missing several seconds of footage from the following episodes:

  • Episodes 2 & 3 of "The Keys of Marinus" (Unknown)
  • Episode 4 of "The Time Meddler" (12 seconds)
  • Episode 3 of "Galaxy 4" (27 seconds)
  • Episode 4 of "The Celestial Toymaker" (Unknown)
  • Episodes 3 & 4 of "The War Machines" (One minute, 18 seconds)
  • Episode 3 of "The Faceless Ones" (20 seconds)

Of note is the fact that all the episodes were initially shot, edited, and broadcast on PAL videotapes. These tapes are what were wiped for reuse. Any existing copies were copied to 16-millimetre film for international distribution; these copies were the ones recovered by the BBC. Because videotapes capture interlaced video (essentially meaning that the footage runs at 48 frames per second, but has its vertical resolution halved, allowing for much smoother movements), the film copies -- depending on their age -- either had two interlaced fields (half-frames) combined into one regular frame, or discarded one field and just upscaled each half-frame to fill the screen. Either way, the result is the less stable, 24fps footage commonly seen on film. The former is easier to remaster, as they simply scan the film to digital, repair all the damage done to the film over the years, then apply a filter that turns it to interlaced video. The latter is much more difficult and technical and usually requires some clever filtering to properly double the framerate.

A total of 26 serials still remain incomplete, 10 of which are completely missing from the BBC archives. However, while the footage of these episodes is near-completely missing, all of their audio tracks have survived from pirated audio recordings made during their initial broadcast. Most missing episodes also feature snippets of footage that have survived through various methods, and telesnaps & on-set photos of each missing episode survive as well. Through all this, the BBC have been able to make crude reconstructions of the missing episodes, all of which were released on VHS, and later the Lost in Time DVD box set in 2004. Furthermore, "The Reign of Terror", "The Tenth Planet", "The Moonbase", "The Ice Warriors", "The Invasion", and "The Power of the Daleks" have received animated remakes, based on all surviving material. There were initially plans to release an animated remake of "The Underwater Menace", but this was cancelled in favour of a telesnap reconstruction after the appointed animation studio raised its commission prices.

In addition to the completely lost episodes during the First and Second Doctor's runs, there are some episodes from the Third Doctor's run that no longer exist in their original colour format. When the episodes were recovered from copies loaned to Australian television networks, all footage was in monochrome, having been filtered as such to compensate for Australia's lack of colour television at the time. However, the footage was gradually recolored by various methods. Many of these practices relied on the remaining colour data on the international copies, while at least one (Babelcolour's official recoloring of "The Mind of Evil) was digitally hand-colored. As of the DVD release of "The Mind of Evil" in June of 2013, every Third Doctor story is available to watch in full colour.

Of the 97 episodes that are currently missing, only one is confirmed to have no chance of recovery: "The Feast of Steven", the seventh part of the 12-part serial "The Daleks' Master Plan". The episode was made as a lighthearted Christmas special, due to the fact that it was set to air on Christmas day; the producers did not wish to kill the holiday spirit by continuing the current story's rather dark plot. It was only aired once, and because the episode had no relevance to the plot, there were no film copies made for overseas distribution, unlike all other episodes. The only known copy of it was destroyed in the second round of wiping on August 17th, 1967. The Doctor Who Restoration Team has theorised that the episode may survive from a routine telerecording, but the chances of this are intensely slim.

Fan-made animated recreation of "The Feast of Steven," utilising the surviving audio track.

Also of note is the fact that of all 26 stories with missing episodes, three have no surviving footage whatsoever: "Marco Polo," "Mission to the Unknown," and "The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Eve." All other missing episodes feature at least some fragments of surviving footage, obtained either from Australian & New Zealand censorship boards (who literally cut the footage from their reels), amateur telerecordings, or snippets of footage used in third party programs.

It is widely rumoured that following the October 2013 reveal of missing episodes, more are to come in coming months, potentially restoring the majority of the show's missing episodes.

UPDATE 10 Oct: Rumours have been abundant over the past few days, regarding reports that two previously lost Doctor Who episodes had been found (supposedly taken from the rumoured haul of 100+ episodes allegedly found in Zambia earlier this year). Well, today the BBC have confirmed the exact details of the find: NINE episodes have been rediscovered - the remaining five "The Enemy of the World" episodes (ie. 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6), and four of the five missing "The Web of Fear" episodes (ie. 2, 4, 5 and 6) - all of which have since been made available for digital purchase on iTunes!!!

The episodes were originally rediscovered by TV archive recovery expert Phillip Morris, at a local TV station in Nigeria, and there have even been hints from the BBC that there may be more to come (further perpetuating the rumour of the Zambian episode haul).

List of Missing Episodes

Note: serials highlighted in red are missing all episodes, serials highlighted in yellow are missing a majority of their episodes, and serials highlighted in white are at least 50% intact.

Doctor Missing Season Total number of missing episodes Story Serial Missing / Total Missing Episode(s)[1]
First Doctor 44 1 9 004 Marco Polo 7 / 7 All (No surviving footage)
008 The Reign of Terror 2 / 6 4, 5
2 2 014 The Crusade 2 / 4 2, 4
3 28 018 Galaxy 4 3 / 4 1, 2, 4
019 "Mission to the Unknown" 1 / 1 No surviving footage
020 The Myth Makers 4 / 4 All
021 The Daleks' Master Plan 9 / 12 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 (Episode 7, "The Feast of Steven", confirmed to be permanently missing)
022 The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve 4 / 4 All (No surviving footage)
024 The Celestial Toymaker 3 / 4 1, 2, 3
026 The Savages 4 / 4 All
4 33 028 The Smugglers 4 / 4 All
029 The Tenth Planet 1 / 4 4
Second Doctor 53 030 The Power of the Daleks 6 / 6 All
031 The Highlanders 4 / 4 All
032 The Underwater Menace 2 / 4 1, 4
033 The Moonbase 2 / 4 1, 3
034 The Macra Terror 4 / 4 All
035 The Faceless Ones 4 / 6 2, 4, 5, 6
036 The Evil of the Daleks 6 / 7 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
5 18 038 The Abominable Snowmen 5 / 6 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
039 The Ice Warriors 2 / 6 2, 3
041 The Web of Fear 1 / 6 3
042 Fury from the Deep 6 / 6 All
043 The Wheel in Space 4 / 6 1, 2, 4, 5
6 7 046 The Invasion 2 / 8 1, 4
049 The Space Pirates 5 / 6 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
26 incomplete serials 97 missing episodes

List of recovered episodes

Note: stories highlighted in green exist in their complete form as a result of their missing episodes' recovery.

Doctor Season Story no. Serial Number of episodes Returned episodes Recovered from Total recovered Total episodes in archive
Country/Territory Source Year
First Doctor 1 008 The Reign of Terror 6 Episodes 1, 2, 3 & 6 Cyprus Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (ep. 1-3) Copies of episodes 4 and 5 were also held by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, but were destroyed during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. 1985 4 4
United Kingdom Private collector (ep. 6) 1982
2 014 The Crusade 4 Episode 1 New Zealand Private collector 1999 1 2
017 The Time Meddler 4 Episodes 1, 3 & 4 Nigeria Nigerian Television Authority 1985 3 4
3 018 Galaxy 4 4 Episode 3 United Kingdom Private collector 2011 1 1
021 The Daleks' Master Plan 12 Episodes 2, 5 & 10 United Kingdom Private collector (ep. 2) 2004 3 3
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ep. 5 & 10) 1983
024 The Celestial Toymaker 4 Episode 4 Australia Australian Broadcasting Corporation 1984 1 1
027 The War Machines 4 All 4 episodes Nigeria Nigerian Television Authority (ep. 1, 3, 4) 1985 4 4
Australia Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ep. 2) 1978
First Doctor Totals 7 serials 17 episodes
Second Doctor 4 032 The Underwater Menace 4 Episode 2 United Kingdom Private collector 2011 1 2
035 The Faceless Ones 6 Episode 3 United Kingdom Private collector 1987 1 2
036 The Evil of the Daleks 7 Episode 2 United Kingdom Private collector 1987 1 1
5 037 The Tomb of the Cybermen 4 All 4 episodes Hong Kong Asia Television 1991 4 4
038 The Abominable Snowmen 6 Episode 2 United Kingdom Private collector 1982 1 1
039 The Ice Warriors 6 Episodes 1, 4, 5 & 6 United Kingdom British Broadcasting Corporation (Recovered from a store cupboard in the BBC Enterprises building at Villiers House in Ealing) 1988 4 4
040 The Enemy of the World 6 Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6 (A complete set of the serial was recovered, including a redundant copy of episode 3.) Nigeria Nigerian Television Authority 2013 5 6
041 The Web of Fear 6 Episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6 Unknown Unknown (ep. 1) There is some debate over whether this episode is a recovered one. It is has been stated that it was recovered as part of a cache of material returned to the BBC from ATV in Hong Kong in 1978–79. However, a 1976 partial listing of material then in existence at the BBC includes a copy held at BBC Enterprises. It is unclear if this is an error, a different copy, or if the can was misplaced at the time of the 1978 audit and subsequently rediscovered. 5 5
Nigeria Nigerian Television Authority (ep. 2, 4, 5, 6) A redundant copy of episode 1 was found as part of this cache. Additionally, a copy of episode 3 was also part of this cache, but subsequently disappeared prior to being returned to the BBC. 2013
043 The Wheel in Space 6 Episode 3 United Kingdom Private collector 1984 1 2
6 044 The Dominators 5 Episode 3 (Returned as a 35 mm telerecording negative) United Kingdom British Film Institute 1978 1 5
047 The Krotons 4 Episode 4 United Kingdom British Film Institute 1978 1 4
050 The War Games 10 Episodes 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 10 United Kingdom British Film Institute 1978 6 10
Second Doctor Totals 12 serials 31 episodes
Third Doctor 11 071 Invasion of the Dinosaurs 6 Part 1 (entitled Invasion) United Kingdom Private collector 1983 1 6
072 Death to the Daleks 4 Part 1 (Returned as a 2-inch colour videotape) Canada Unknown TV station (as NTSC) 1981 1 (Initially returned as a 525-line NTSC master videotape; the BBC subsequently received a 625-line PAL master videotape.) 4
Dubai Dubai 33 (as PAL) 1991 (An edited PAL videotape copy had previously been returned to the BBC from Australia in 1985.)
Third Doctor Totals 2 serials 2 episodes
Totals 21 serials 50 episodes

List of stories with missing episodes that have received animated reconstructions

Doctor Season Serial Total Episodes Missing Episodes Animator DVD Release
Region 2 Region 1 Region 4
First Doctor 1 The Reign of Terror 6 2 (4,5) Big Finish Productions/Planet 55 28 January 2013 12 February 2013 6 February 2013
4 The Tenth Planet 4 1 (4) Planet 55 14 October 2013 19 November 2013 30 October 2013
Second Doctor The Moonbase 4 2 (1,3) Planet 55 20 January 2014 22 January 2014 11 February 2014
5 The Ice Warriors 6 2 (2,3) Qurios Entertainment 26 August 2013 17 September 2013 28 August 2013
6 The Invasion 8 2 (1,4) Cosgrove Hall 6 November 2006 6 March 2007 3 January 2007

References

  1. List of missing episodes for First and Second Doctors' episodes Last retrieved 26 June 2011.

External Links

Comments


avatar

Ragy

9 months ago
Score 0++
full audio of the permanently lost episode, "The Feast Of Steven": https://www....=ZRFlWddgi2Y
avatar

Ragy

9 months ago
Score 0++

https://www....=JUduIQ2dGtA

Marco polo reconstruction. Please download all of these videos and reupload them.
avatar

Anonymous user #1

8 months ago
Score 2++

There's a lot of wrong terminology(And straight-up wrong info) throughout the article, mainly centring around the fact that all the episodes were initially shot, edited, and broadcast on PAL videotapes. These tapes are what were wiped for reuse. Any existing copies were copied to film for international distribution, etc., then recovered by the BBC. Because videotapes capture interlaced video(Essentially meaning doubled framerate, but halved vertical resolution, giving much smoother movements), the film copies -- depending on their age -- either had two interlaced fields(Half-frames) combined into one regular frame, or discarded one field and just upscaled each half-frame to fill the screen(Either way resulting in the more jittery, ~24-25 frames per second movement traditionally used on film). The former is easier to remaster, as they simply scan the film to digital, repair all the damage done to the film over the years, then apply a filter that turns it to interlaced video. The latter is much more difficult and technical, and usually requires some clever filtering to get the proper doubled framerate thing working.

The colour episodes from the John Pertwee era were mostly recovered from remaining colour information on the film -- you'll have to look it up online for the technical details, but that's the gist. Additionally, one of the John Pertwee-era serials(The first one, in fact -- Spearhead From Space) was entirely filmed on-location. Because of the way the BBC set up their cameras, all studio footage was shot on tape, and all location footage was shot on film. The BBC actually kept all the footage from this serial in film format(I can't remember if they still have the original negatives, but they at the very least have a very good interpos copy), and as a result they were able to remaster that serial(And that serial only) into HD. Allegedly, there is one individual epsiode from one of the Hartnell serials that was also entirely shot on film(I think it's "The Daleks" part 3, although it could be the "Dalek Invasion Of Earth" pt. 3), but because the rest of the serial was shot on tape, they didn't bother remastering just that one episode into HD(Although I still think they should have done it anyway and put it on the Spearhead From Space Blu-Ray as a bonus feature), but there are some private collectors who own film copies of the episode, and therefore can essentially watch in HD.

Anyway, worth noting: The reason The Underwater Menace animation was abandoned was because the studio who had been doing their animations for the prior episodes raised their prices. Because the BBC basically wanted to be done with the classic Doctor Who DVDs(And as cheaply as possible), they were going to cancel the DVD entirely. After some fan backlash, they decided to release the DVD anyway, but they used a telesnap reconstruction, specifically a cheaply-done, rushed job that ends up looking a million times worse than the Loose Canon reconstruction that you can find online for free everywhere.
avatar

Game4brains

7 months ago
Score 1++
This is a free-to-edit wiki; if you want the information to be updated, then make an account and update it yourself.
avatar

Anonymous user #2

1 months ago
Score -1++
doctor who gives a shit
avatar

Game4brains

1 months ago
Score 0++
Let's see, there's the BBC, the people who grew up with this show, the fanbase, etc.
Add your comment
The Lost Media Wiki welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.


This site is best viewed at 1920x1080 screen resolution.
Powered by MediaWiki Creative Commons Licence