A lot of DOCTOR WHO fans spent a lot of the summer theorizing/obsessing over the rumor that mountains of episodes previously believed lost forever — anywhere from 40 to 96 installments — had been discovered hidden in Africa. Then came the announcement that “The Web of Fear” and “The Enemy of the World” really had been recovered and reconditioned for release.
But since then… nothing. Well, that’s about to change.
As I mentioned earlier, a tale about the recovery of the entire William Hartnell serial “Marco Polo” has been gaining steam recently — but website Bleeding Cool says Hartnell’s “The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve” (left) has also been found and could be set for release alongside “Marco Polo.”
And, just to make things sound really amazing, BBC execs are said to be negotiating with Philip Morris — noted recoverer of “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” — over the Patrick Troughton Second Doctor tales “Power of the Daleks,” “Evil of the Daleks” and “The Macra Terror”!
What a great Christmas gift those series would be! Stay tuned to see if the tale turns out to be true…
The rumors have been swirling for months, driven by the hot air of fan frenzy and official non-denial denials, but at last the BBC has confirmed that at least some missing episodes of DOCTOR WHO have been found and returned!
A statement from the BBC declared:
“There will be big news this Tuesday [Oct. 8] regarding lost Doctor Who episodes. It is great that in the show’s 50th year, fans will now be able to look back with classic episodes as well as looking to the future with the new film-length episode in November.”
ETA: Kasterborous.com now says The Mirror is reporting that the press conference has been delayed until the end of the week.
“The Web of Fear”
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.
“Terror of the Zygons”
This week kicks off with a colorful new rumor about the reputedly recovered missing DOCTOR WHO stories: Footage from “The Enemy of the World,” a lost Patrick Troughton Second Doctor episode, will be included on the September DVD release of “The Terror of the Zygons” as a way to announce/ promote the return of the 90 presumed-destroyed episodes.
If true — and we know how big an if that is — this would be very exciting and sure to boost sales of the Zygons disc far beyond what is already expected to be a popular release. But how credible is this particular rumor? Of all the rumors swirling around this issue (and they are all unsubstantiated), this is not very believable to me. The DOCTOR WHO DVD packages are very impressive, packed with content that clearly takes months to put together, so I have a problem believing that something so significant as a teaser for a returned story could be kept a complete secret during that process. I would like it to be true, but it seems like a reach.
“The Macra Terror”
With this being the 50th anniversary of the launch of DOCTOR WHO, a lot of fans had wishes and dreams for how the milestone would be celebrated, with many (most?) invested in the hope that there would be a very special episode filmed using all of the surviving actors to create a multi-Doctor story to air on Nov. 23. With those hopes now dashed — although I am certain the story that will air will be a lot of fun — many fans despaired of a seeing a “proper” celebration.
But now comes word — and I cannot stress strongly enough that this is all just rumor at this point — that the BBC may have uncovered a huge trove of missing episodes in Africa, where they were sold into syndication in the late 1960s and ’70s. And by huge, I mean lots of episodes. Supposedly even full serials that were lost when the BBC either junked the masters or recorded over existing tapes. The story is that an “eccentric” broadcast engineer who loved science fiction took a lot of DW tapes into his personal custody for “safekeeping” — a move that turned out to be more necessary than he could ever have dreamed.
Here is it, folks, the much-anticipated new, updated design of that classic DOCTOR WHO monster, the Ice Warrior! These reptilian giants have not been seen on the show since 1974, and they are returning in style!
I absolutely love this look! It’s amazing! It perfectly crystalizes what the 1960s designers were going for way back when the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) first met the noble race: proud warriors. It is most important to realize that the creature is wearing armor — this is not meant to represent its skin. It’s battle armor, and as such it should be a bit bulky to be protective but still allow the warrior to move. The biggest fault with the old design was that actors had difficulty moving. This iteration looks like a creature wearing sturdy armor.
But thanks to modern design sense — and costume construction techniques — we get the update that this classic monster deserves. The sharp-eyed among you have no doubt noticed the disappearance of the old pincer hands — the “clamps.” I would love to see those return as a sort of specialized glove.
April 13 will be a momentous day, indeed, when these green-armored creatures are encountered again, in a new story written by Mark Gatiss that pits the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) against Ice Warriors on a Russian submarine. Will it be called “The Hunt for Green October”?
Fan opinion about DOCTOR WHO’s humongous gallery of monsters/villains is almost as subjective as our views of the various Doctors; which enemies are the best or worst or scariest or the most fun. And each of us has a very personal wish list of which classic foes should return to the series.
No. 1 on my Return List list is the Zygons. I was thrilled that the 11th Doctor mentioned them in “The Power of Three,” but sadly, they did not actually appear onscreen. I desperately want those sucker-covered shapeshifters back in the series — ideally in a Lovecraftian-style episode.
When the classic DOCTOR WHO story “The Ice Warriors” is released on DVD this Aug. 26, fans will see the whole story — including the missing episodes two and three! How? Via the magic of animation, of course.
Several classic stories with missing chapters have been reconstructed using new animation drawn to match existing sound recordings (the recent “The Reign of Terror” being the latest). And now Patrick Troughton and the Martian lizards are getting the animated treatment.
Here is a work-in-progress clip:
Yes, this is one bit of fan service that just refuses to die — no doubt because DOCTOR WHO fans want it so very badly. The new twist on the same old rumor is that show-runner Steven Moffat — who is writing the anniversary episode as we speak — has fanned the flames with a cryptic remark of his own.
At a BBC Drama Commissions event last week, Moffat said:
“Getting the other Doctors involved would be very fitting for the anniversary episode wouldn’t it?”
YES, it would be very fitting, and it would be very possible to pull off — with the right script and the right approach to coaxing former actors back into their costumes.
Could it be true? Could the collective greatest dream of DOCTOR WHO fandom come true in this, the series’ 50th anniversary year? I am referring, of course, to a special episode featuring all the living actors who have played the Doctor. But the newest rumor bouncing around the Internet today is that Steven Moffat is penning an episode incorporating all 11 Doctors — played by their original actors!
Now, before we get all teary-eyes over the prospect of David Tennant’s 10th Doctor working alongside Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor once again, or Matt Smith’s barking mad 11th Doctor getting a hand from Patrick Troughton’s fussy Second Doctor, we need to take a deep breath and note that this is nothing more than a rumor.
And not even a very solid one, at that. The Birmingham Mail newspaper printed a story about an 11-Doctor special this morning without any sourcing or quotes — a sure sign that the story should be taken with a huge grain of salt (if not the entire salt shaker). Plus, certain details mentioned don’t really ring true.