As was bandied about here and elsewhere, it seems the general wisdom surrounding the recovered Doctor Who episodes is true: two Patrick Troughton stories, “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear,” both from Season 5, have been recovered almost in their entirety. I say “almost,” because Part 3 of “Web of Fear” is still missing. However, that’s nine episodes in total. In the past 25 years, only eight individual episodes had been recovered, and this new find brings the Troughton missing episodes from 62 to 53 and the overall total from 106 to 97. And best of all: You can download these stories RIGHT NOW on iTunes for $9.99 each! GO DO IT YOU FOOLS! “Enemy of the World” is here and “The Web of Fear” is here.
The news was (FINALLY) confirmed at a Missing Episodes event in London today in which Phillip Morris confirmed that his company, Television International Enterprises Archive, discovered a veritable treasure trove of old BBC television film canisters, meant to be destroyed decades ago, in a warehouse in Nigeria. At the event, Mr. Morris said, “I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words Doctor Who. When I read the story code, I realized I’d found something pretty special.” You can read about everything via Doctor Who Magazine‘s website.
BBC Worldwide’s spokesperson, Fiona Eastwood, confirmed that they have remastered the episodes for near-immediate distribution, via digital means, so fans can celebrate the 50th with new classic stories. Using telesnaps (archive photos taken of the episode as it aired) from Episode 3, as well as off-air audio, BBC Worldwide has been able to re-create the episode to make “The Web of Fear,” the story that introduced the fan-favorite character Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), flow when watched in its entirety.
“The Enemy of the World” is significant in that Patrick Troughton played a dual role as both the Doctor and Salamander, an evil dictator who bears a striking resemblance to our favorite Time Lord. We’d only been able to see the third episode of “Enemy of the World” up to now, and it’s widely regarded as the most boring of the whole serial.
There is every indication that more episodes could be found by Morris and TIEA so fans now have even more reason to hope for the future. For now, though, we have to be content with getting to see two stories we’ve likely only ever heard before featuring the Doctor who got hurt the most by the junking policy.
I, friends, am chuffed. What do you think? Are you as excited as I am? Here’s even a trailer for “The Enemy of the World,” just put up on BBC Worldwide’s website.