For the past week or so rumours have circulated on the internet that the biggest find of missing Doctor Who episodes is set to be announced – just in time for the show’s 50th anniversary in November.
The rumours claimed that 90 of the 106 episodes missing from the BBC archives had been discovered, in Africa, which would fill many of the gaps from the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton eras of the show.
Up until now there had been no official word from the BBC which perhaps added fuel the rumours. However, the BBC has now released a statement declaring that the rumours are not true. The BBC statement, issued by Phillip Fleming, states “There are always rumours and speculation about Doctor Who missing episodes being discovered. However, we cannot confirm any new finds”
The recent discovery of the episodes Air Lock (part of the William Hartnell story Galaxy Four) and episode two of The Underwater Menace (a Patrick Troughton story) gave fans hope that more episodes would soon be recovered.
Unfortunately the policy of wiping episodes in the 1970s means over 100 episodes of Doctor Who are missing. The policy was standard practice in television at the time meaning programmes such as Dad’s Army, Crossroads, Dixon of Dock Green and Z Cars also have episodes missing or only exist in black and white now despite originally being filmed in colour – such as ATV drama Timeslip.