When it was announced last October that nine formerly-missing episodes of the late-1960s Doctor Who had been recovered, and that they were available for immediate download via iTunes, everybody did something akin to a jig. “The Enemy of the World” was now a complete story, and “The Web of Fear” was only missing one episode instead of five. These episodes had not been seen in 45 years; it was like getting brand new old Doctor Who.
However, the film prints of the episodes had been in BBC custody since May of 2013 with only very few important people in the know of their existence. The main people who needed to know were, of course, those members of the Doctor Who Restoration Team whose jobs it has been over the past two+ decades to get these old and often very damaged episode copies into as good a shape as they can be in for home video sale. The episodes of “Enemy” and “Web” had been recovered in Africa and were not in great shape, some of them, so they had to be cleaned up quite a bit. It’s quite a process that few get to see. Until now, of course.
Paul Vanezis, one of the key members of the Restoration Team, uploaded the below 5-minute video to his personal YouTube page giving the briefest of overviews of the steps necessary to getting the film and tape from “found” condition to “restored” condition. The word for this whole thing is “meticulous” and the Team have to be as careful as possible to ensure nothing is destroyed or damaged further from their actions. Have a gander at what it takes to get back classic television.
Pretty spectacular, no? And now, here it is a year later, and we can own both “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” on DVD and digital download. I love technology today– don’t you?