This year is a big year for the Doctor Who franchise, which is hitting its 50th Anniversary, and celebrating plenty to boot. We’ve already told you about the upcoming 50th Anniversary Special, which will run on BBC America in the States along with marathons of the hit series. Now, reports indicate that several of the “lost episodes” of Doctor Who will resurface online, and soon.
The history of the lost episodes extends all the way back to the 1960s and 1970s, during a period of time when it was routine for filming tape to be reused. The BBC lost plenty of episodes of television around that time period in order to create storage space for newer content. For the last several months, reports have indicated that some of the Doctor Who episodes lost to this policy of reusing tape were found in Africa, of all places. Initially, it was thought that all 106 lost episodes had been found, but then a new Radio Times report indicated the number of found episodes is actually fewer. Still, there are reportedly a few of these remastered episodes headed our way--possibly even by the end of this week.
Here, I think it is best to point out that the Radio Times and other outlets have not been able to get the BBC to officially confirm that some of the lost episodes have even been found. So, it also stands to reason that the potential release of some of the episodes is still in the rumor phase. Still, these stories are getting pretty intriguing. According to The Mirror, the BBC has scheduled a press release for tomorrow in a London Hotel. That outlet is surmising that the “sixties style television set” on the invitation goes a long way to explain what “big news” the BBC will get into tomorrow.
Delving further into the rumor mill, Bleeding Cool has noted that it believes the episodes to be released will be part of the Web of Fear and Enemy of the World storylines. The Mirror also notes The Crusade and The Ice Warriors series could be getting remastered.
Clearly, there’s a lot of different ideas floating around the rumor mill, but at the heart of these rumors there seem to be some big truths. I think it's safe to say that the BBC has found some of the lost episodes and will be releasing at least some of the found footage. Now, we’ll just have to hold our horses and wait for tomorrow’s press release to confirm the news.
In the meantime, we do know the BBC has plans to simulcast “The Day of the Doctor” in at least 75 countries spanning six continents, so if you are a fan of Doctor Who, there’s a good chance you will be able to get involved with the show’s 50th anniversary celebration in one way or another.