After a few weeks of silence, the rumor that huge a cache of previously missing episodes of DOCTOR WHO has been returned to the BBC has suddenly lurched back to life. And, once again, the rumors are being attributed to members of the DOCTOR WHO production team, not mere fans.
The Bleeding Cool website passes along the rumor of a dinner party at which someone “heavily associated” with the production team claimed that “at least 40 episodes” are held by the BBC right now, while another source put the number at 93. Which is still not the total 106 that were wiped/junked at the end of the 1960s/beginning of the 1970s. Bleeding Cool says the still-missing episodes are: “Mission To The Unknown”; nine episodes of “The Dalek Master Plan”; one episode of “The Ice Warriors”; and one episode of “The Wheel In Space.” Upping the ante, the BBC is also said to be preparing to air “The Web of Fear” during the 50th anniversary week in November, and to release “The Enemy of the World” on DVD.
Two Patrick Troughton stories? Really? That seems unlikely, unless the recovered William Hartnell stories are in such bad shape that they cannot be released.
But the thing that really makes me wince about this whole “recovered stories” hullaballoo is the huge range in episode numbers. If there really is a specific number of recovered episodes (let’s say 90, just for this discussion), I would expect the associated rumors to be around 90 — 86, 96, 100… not 40 or 90 or some number in between. Because there is the legitimate starting point of the actual number of episodes, not just wild conjecture. Still, the fact that the BBC has steadfastly refused to come out and state in clear, unambiguous language that there are no newly recovered episodes means the door is still open.
Wow, I almost sounded totally objective for a moment there. Yes, I am one of the breathlessly hopeful, lighting candles that 90+ episodes are coming back to us. Until November has come and gone, I will remain hopeful — even if there is no concrete evidence whatsoever to support that position.