If it’s Thursday, then the worm must have turned again in the saga of the purported recovery of 90 “lost” episodes of DOCTOR WHO. The rumors are giving birth to rumors that are being countermanded by other rumors. But remember: Everything here is unsubstantiated, whether it’s a claim for or against the treasure trove’s existence. Nothing is verified.
When last we looked, the preponderance of evidence was weighing in on the “true” side of the controversy after favoring “false” just one day earlier. So naturally, in order to keep the ying-yang form of this story going, today’s installment seeks to pour cold water on the hopes of Whovians everywhere.
The archivist said to be at the center of the recovered episodes brouhaha is one Philip Morris, who runs Television International Enterprises Archives Ltd., and he has finally issued a statement (caps are his):
A BRIEF STATEMENT.
T.I.E.A DOES NOT HOLD ANY MISSING EPISODES OF THE LONG RUNNING DR WHO SERIES. THE ORIGINAL VIDEO TAPES WERE WIPED SUBSEQUENT FILM COPIES WERE EITHER RETURNED TO THE BBC AND SENT TO LANDFILL ODD FRAGMENTS HAVE SURFACED TWO EPISODES ON 16MM FILM BUT THATS IT. THE PROGRAMMES IN QUESTION LIKE MANY OTHERS WERE DESTROYED AS THEY HAD NO FURTHER COMMERCIAL VALUE. THEY ARE NOT MISSING BUT DESTROYED THE END.I am sorry if this upsets some people but these are the facts. I have also become aware of the tracking of some of our clients shipments these are local cultural materials sent to us for migration to a modern format as the playback equipment in the country of origin no longer exists and as such is the best road to preserve international cultural heritage .I will be making no more statements on this subject.
Philip MORRIS Executive director T.i.e.a
Well, as was the case with the BBC Worldwide denial, I see this statement as carefully parsed to look like a blanket denial, but it really isn’t. Granted, maybe “T.I.E.A. does not hold any missing episodes” — but that could be because it has already passed to films on to the BBC! After all, this doesn’t say, “We didn’t find anything,” it just says “we aren’t currently holding anything.” It’s technically true, but also not the whole truth. And since when to WHO fans need a tutorial on the “missing” stories — especially fans following this controversy? Why waste time in a “brief statement” with a distracting history lesson? I remain more than a bit hopeful that the episodes do actually exist after this partial denial.
Naturally, Ian Levine was asked to respond, and so he Tweeted (caps also his):
“Deeply sick, distressed, disheartened, all hopes dashed, all joy gone from the world. That’s it. DO NOT ASK ME TO SAY ANOTHER WORD”
Now… what the hell is that about? Levine claimed to have seen “three tons” of evidence just the other day. Is he being facetious here? What happened to being convinced that the stories have been recovered? I can’t help but think that when all this has shaken out, Levine’s reputation as an expert on the missing stories is going to take a hit over all his wavering, wibbly-wobbly positions.