By Todd Allen
This is going to sound silly, but up until 1978, the BBC didn’t put a high priority on keeping archives of their old TV series. As a result, a _lot_ of TV shows from the dawn of British television through the mid-1970s have been erased and gone missing. Roughly speaking, about 40% of the first six seasons of Doctor Who have gone missing. It’s so bad, only 6 of the 21 storylines with second Doctor Patrick Troughton have all their episodes in possession of the BBC.
Today, the BBC announced 2 previously missing episodes have surfaced:
Episode 3 of the William Hartnell adventure “Galaxy 4” and Episode 2 of Patrick Troughton’s “The Underwater Menace” were purchased by film collector Terry Burnett at a village fete near Southampton in the early 80s. He had been unaware that the canisters contained material missing from the BBC.
Typically, these lost episodes are either found in the form of film prints sent overseas for syndication to countries like Australia or have been floating around in the hands of collectors for years. In fact, where did the BBC decide these episodes came from?
Research has shown that the returned episodes originated from the ABC channel in Australia. In fact, the copy of The Underwater Menace is still missing a few short sections which were removed by the Australian censors upon its original transmission Down Under. Fresh scans of the missing material have been made by the National Archives of Australia and will be incorporated into the restored episodes ahead of a DVD release.
This is the only known episode in the Galaxy 4 story to be recovered.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.