Doctor Who missing episodes

Doctor Who missing episodes
Material from missing Doctor Who serials has seen release in books, in audio form on CD, and two episodes have been animated for DVD release. DVDs have also been released of surviving episodes from otherwise-missing serials, and tele-snaps exist of many wiped stories.

The Doctor Who missing episodes are the instalments of the long-running British science-fiction television programme Doctor Who that have no known film or videotape copies. They were wiped (or "junked") by the BBC during the 1960s and 1970s for economic and space-saving reasons. There are 27 incomplete Doctor Who serials, with 108 of 253 episodes from the first six years of the programme missing. Many more were thought to be lost until copies were recovered from various sources, mostly overseas broadcasters.

Doctor Who is not unique in this respect, as thousands of hours of programming from across all genres were destroyed by the BBC until 1978, when the corporation's archiving policies were changed. Other high-profile series affected included Dad's Army, Z-Cars, The Wednesday Play, Steptoe and Son, and Not Only... But Also.[1] The BBC was not the only British broadcaster to carry out this practice; ITV companies also destroyed programmes, including early videotape episodes of The Avengers.[2]

Doctor Who is unique in that all of its missing episodes survive in audio form, recorded off-air by fans at home. Stills or short video clips have been found for several missing episodes. All 1970s episodes also exist visually in some form, which is not the case for several other series.

Efforts to locate missing episodes continue, both by the BBC and by fans of the series. Extensive restoration has been carried out on many recovered 1960s and 1970s episodes for release on VHS and DVD. The surviving soundtracks of missing episodes have been released on cassette and CD. Fan groups and the BBC have released reconstructions of missing episodes, matching photographs from the episodes with the soundtracks. Two episodes of The Invasion were reconstructed using animation and released with the surviving episodes of that serial on DVD.



Between approximately 1967 and 1978, large quantities of material stored in the BBC's Engineering department (videotape) and film libraries were destroyed or wiped to make way for newer programmes.[3] This happened for a number of reasons, the primary one being the belief that there was no reason for the material to be kept.

The actors' union Equity had actively fought against the introduction of TV recording since it originally became a practical proposition in the 1950s. Prior to the development of workable television recording, if a broadcaster wished to repeat a programme (usually a one-off play), the actors would be re-hired for an additional fee to perform it again live. Equity's concern was that if broadcasters were able to record the original performances, they would be able to repeat them indefinitely, which would cut down on the levels of new production and threaten the livelihoods of its members. Although Equity could not prevent recording altogether, it was able to stipulate that recordings could only be repeated a set number of times within a specific timeframe, and the fees payable for further use beyond that were deliberately so high that broadcasters would consider it unjustifiable to spend so much money repeating an old programme rather than making a new one. Consequently, recordings whose repeat rights had expired were considered to be of no further economic use to the broadcasters.[4][5]

Most Doctor Who episodes were made on two-inch videotape for initial broadcast and then telerecorded onto 16mm film by BBC Enterprises for further commercial exploitation.[3] Enterprises used 16mm for overseas sales as it was considerably cheaper to buy and easier to transport than videotape. It also circumvented the problem of different countries' incompatible video standards, as film was a universal medium whereas videotape was not.[6] The BBC had no central archive at the time – the Film Library kept programmes that had been made on film, while the Engineering Department was responsible for storing videotapes.[3] BBC Enterprises kept only copies of programmes they deemed commercially exploitable. They also had little dedicated storage space and tended to keep piles of film canisters wherever they could find space for them at their Villiers House property.[3]

BBC Enterprises Film can containing a 16mm film telerecording print of The Evil of the Daleks, Episode 2.

The Engineering Department had no mandate to archive the programme videotapes they held, although they would not normally be wiped or junked until the relevant production department or BBC Enterprises had indicated that they had no further use for the tapes.[7] The first Doctor Who master videotapes to be junked were those for the serial The Highlanders, which were erased on 9 March 1967, a mere two months after Episode 4's original transmission.[6] Further erasing and junking of Doctor Who master videotapes by the Engineering Department continued into the 1970s. Eventually every single master videotape of the programme's first 253 episodes (1963–1969) was destroyed or wiped, with the final 1960s mastertapes to be erased being those for the 1968 serial Fury from the Deep, which were authorised for wiping in late 1974.[7]

Despite the destruction of these masters, BBC Enterprises held a near-complete archive of the series in the form of their 16mm film telerecording copies until approximately 1972.[8] From around 1972–1978, BBC Enterprises also disposed of much of their older material, including many episodes of Doctor Who.

Levine intervention

Doctor Who junkings ceased following the intervention of Ian Levine, a record producer and fan of the programme.[8] Enterprises' episodes were usually junked because their rights agreements with the actors and writers to sell the programmes abroad had expired.[8] With many broadcasters around the world now switching to colour transmission, it was not deemed worthwhile extending agreements to sell the older black-and-white material.[9]

The BBC Film Library had no responsibility for storing programmes that had not been made on film, and there were conflicting views between the Film Library and BBC Enterprises over who had the responsibility of archiving programmes.[3] These combined factors resulted in the erasure of large quantities of older black-and-white programming from the Corporation's various libraries. While thousands of other programmes have been destroyed in this way around the world, the missing Doctor Who episodes are probably the best-known example of how the lack of a consistent programme archiving policy can have long-term effects.[10]

The degree of incompleteness varies, and is concentrated on the First and Second Doctor stories. Although one story has only one episode missing (The Tenth Planet), others are lost altogether, with Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor being particularly badly affected – of the fourteen stories comprising his first two seasons, only The Tomb of the Cybermen is complete, and this only exists due to a copy being returned from Hong Kong.[3] All stories starring Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor are complete, but some only survive as black and white telerecordings or US-standard NTSC copies.[11] In order of original transmissions, the very last Doctor Who master videotapes to be wiped were the first episodes of the 1974 serials Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Death to the Daleks. The latter was recovered from overseas, initially from a tape in the NTSC format, and later in the original PAL format on a tape returned from Dubai.[12]

For a few years Episode 1 of Invasion of the Dinosaurs was the only Pertwee episode to be entirely missing from the archives, until a black-and-white 16mm copy was returned to the Corporation in the early 1980s.[11] Archival holdings from Death to the Daleks Episode 2 onwards are complete on the original broadcast videotapes, with the exception of the final shot of The Deadly Assassin Episode 3 (1976); this shot was removed from the master copy after its initial UK transmission following complaints from Mary Whitehouse of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association.[11] Subsequent repeats and commercial releases have restored the shot from off-air video copies.[11]

The First Doctor (William Hartnell) collapses before his regeneration in The Tenth Planet, Episode 4.

The wiping policy officially came to an end in 1978, when the means to further exploit programmes by taking advantage of the new market in home video cassette recordings was beginning to become apparent. In addition, the attitude became that vintage programmes should, in any case, be preserved for posterity and historical and cultural reasons. The BBC Film Library was turned into a combined Film & Videotape Library for the preservation of both media.[3] The Film Library at the time held only 47 episodes of 1960s Doctor Who; they had once held 53, but six episodes had either been junked or went missing.[12] Following the transfer of episodes still held by Enterprises, there were 152 episodes of Doctor Who no longer held by the BBC, although subsequent efforts have reduced that number to 108 as of today.

The most sought-after lost episode is Episode 4 of the last William Hartnell serial The Tenth Planet, which ends with the First Doctor regenerating into the Second. The only portion of the sequence still in existence, bar a few poor-quality silent 8mm clips, is the regeneration itself and a few seconds before it, which had been shown in a 1973 episode of Blue Peter.[3]

Compared with other series

Compared with many BBC series broadcast in the 1960s, Doctor Who is comparatively well-represented in terms of existing episodes.[13] 145 of the 253 episodes broadcast during the 1960s are still in existence, mainly due to wide overseas sales which have aided in recovery of episodes (see below). This is reflected in the nature of the surviving episodes – Seasons 1 and 2, the most widely-sold abroad of the 1960s era, are missing only nine and two episodes respectively. By contrast Seasons 4 and 5, which sold to fewer countries, have only one complete serial in existence (The Tomb of the Cybermen) between them.

Of all the series shown by the Corporation throughout the 1960s which had runs of significant length, only Steptoe and Son can be said to have a better survival record, with all episodes existing, albeit many only in the form of early domestic videotape copies created by the writers of the programme.[14] Other programmes have few or no episodes in existence; United!, a football-based soap opera which broadcast 147 episodes between 1965 and 1967, has no episodes surviving at all.[15] Doctor Who's popularity and high profile has also helped to ensure the return of episodes which, for other less well-remembered programmes, might never have occurred.[10]

Doctor Who is also comparatively rare amongst contemporaries in that all of the 1970s episodes exist in one format or another, whilst other series such as Z-Cars and Dixon of Dock Green have episodes from as late as 1975 missing.[16][17]

List of lost episodes

Currently, there are 108 episodes unaccounted for from 27 serials, including 11 full serials. Almost all of the missing stories have clips of various lengths surviving from different sources, while three (Marco Polo, Mission to the Unknown, and The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve) have no surviving footage whatsoever; Marco Polo's status, however, is disputed since the first moments of the serial used an edited version of the very end of The Edge of Destruction (hence, it can be argued that footage exists as The Edge Of Destruction is intact).

Doctor Season Story # Serial Lost Episodes Tally
First Doctor 1 004 Marco Polo All 7 episodes 7
008 The Reign of Terror Episodes 4–5 (of 6 total) 2
2 014 The Crusade Episodes 2, 4 (of 4 total) 2
3 018 Galaxy 4 All 4 episodes 4
019 Mission to the Unknown Entire episode 1
020 The Myth Makers All 4 episodes 4
021 The Daleks' Master Plan Episodes 1, 3–4, 6–9, 11–12 (of 12 total) 9
022 The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve All 4 episodes 4
024 The Celestial Toymaker Episodes 1–3 (of 4 total) 3
026 The Savages All 4 episodes 4
4 028 The Smugglers All 4 episodes 4
029 The Tenth Planet Episode 4 (of 4 total) 1
Totals 12 serials 45 episodes
Second Doctor 4 030 The Power of the Daleks All 6 episodes 6
031 The Highlanders All 4 episodes 4
032 The Underwater Menace Episodes 1–2, 4 (of 4 total) 3
033 The Moonbase Episodes 1, 3 (of 4 total) 2
034 The Macra Terror All 4 episodes 4
035 The Faceless Ones Episodes 2, 4–6 (of 6 total) 4
036 The Evil of the Daleks Episodes 1, 3–7 (of 7 total) 6
5 038 The Abominable Snowmen Episodes 1, 3–6 (of 6 total) 5
039 The Ice Warriors Episodes 2–3 (of 6 total) 2
040 The Enemy of the World Episodes 1–2, 4–6 (of 6 total) 5
041 The Web of Fear Episodes 2–6 (of 6 total) 5
042 Fury from the Deep All 6 episodes 6
043 The Wheel in Space Episodes 1–2, 4–5 (of 6 total) 4
6 046 The Invasion Episodes 1, 4 (of 8 total) 2
049 The Space Pirates Episodes 1, 3–6 (of 6 total) 5
Totals 15 serials 63 episodes


Unaired lost episodes

In addition to the official list of missing episodes, also missing is the original Episode 1 of The Daleks. At some point after the recording, it was discovered that a technical problem had caused backstage voices to be heard on the resulting videotape; in early December 1963, the episode was remounted with a different costume for Susan. The only surviving portion is the reprise at the beginning of Episode 2.

Planet of Giants is another odd example, having originally recorded four episodes. Directed by Douglas Camfield and entitled "The Urge to Live", Episode 4 was spliced together with the original Episode 3 ("Crisis") to create a faster-paced climax with only Camfield being credited on the resulting episode.[19] This decision, made by then-Head of Drama Sydney Newman, resulted in a gap at the end of the second production block (and the creation of Mission to the Unknown); the unused portions of Episodes 3 and 4 are believed to have been destroyed.

Doctor Season Story # Serial Lost Episodes Tally
First Doctor 1 002 The Daleks (original version) Episode 1 (remounted; original is missing, minus the reprise at the beginning of Episode 2) 1
2 009 Planet of Giants (original version) Episodes 3–4 (these two episodes were edited together into a single episode for broadcast, only the original, unaired versions are missing) 2


In the years since the BBC archive was first audited in 1978, a number of episodes then absent have been returned from various sources. An appeal to broadcasters in other countries who had shown the programme (notably Australia and African nations such as Nigeria) produced "lost" episodes from the archives of their television companies.[3] The Tomb of the Cybermen, for example, was recovered in this manner from Rediffusion Television in Hong Kong in 1992.[20]

Censor clips

Bill Burridge as Mr. Quill, in a scene censored by the Australian Film Censorship Board from the missing serial Fury from the Deep.

Some portions of the overseas copies were physically excised prior to transmission in the 1960s by the Australian and New Zealand censors for being too violent or frightening for the programme's early time slot and younger audience. Hence, episodes recovered from these sources are missing these segments.

In October 1996, Australian Doctor Who fans Damian Shanahan and Ellen Parry discovered a collection of the censored clips – several from missing episodes which do not exist in their entirety – in the records of the National Archives of Australia.[12] The clips had been sent by the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board (now the Office of Film and Literature Classification) to the Archives as evidence of the required edits having been made.

In 2002, New Zealand fan Graham Howard uncovered censored clips from The Wheel in Space and The Web of Fear.[12]

The Evil of the Daleks/The Faceless Ones

Episodes have also been returned by private film collectors who had acquired 16 mm copies from various sources. For example, 16mm film telerecording prints of Episode 2 of The Evil of the Daleks and Episode 3 of The Faceless Ones were returned to the Corporation by film collector Gordon Hendry.

These episodes (the only one from Evil and one of only two from Faceless to exist) had been purchased by Hendry for £8 each at a car boot sale in December 1983. At the time of purchase, Hendry was completely unaware of their rarity, and bought them out of mild curiosity and childhood memories of the programme.[21]

The Daleks' Master Plan

The most unlikely story from which episodes have been recovered is The Daleks' Master Plan, a serial which was never sold abroad.[3] Only Australia ever requested viewing copies (except for Episode 7, "The Feast of Steven"), eventually electing not to purchase the serial.[3] What happened to these viewing copies is a mystery, as no records of their eventual disposition – whether they were retained in the ABC archives or returned to the Corporation – have been found.

Nevertheless, 16mm copies of three episodes have been recovered. Episodes 5 and 10 came from an ex-BBC property which had been purchased by a LDS Church group in the early 1980s, who had come across the films when tidying the basement and subsequently offered them back to the Corporation.[3] Episode 2 was returned in 2004 by former BBC engineer Francis Watson, who had taken the film home in the early 1970s after being instructed to dispose of junk material from a projector testing room at the BBC's Ealing Studios; instead of throwing the film away, Watson kept it and eventually returned it to the Corporation when he realised the value of the material.[22]

National Film and Television Archive

Shortly after the junking process came to an end and the Corporation was first taking stock of how much material was missing from its archives, inquiries were made to the National Film and Television Archive, held by the British Film Institute, as to whether they held any copies of BBC programmes which the BBC did not. These inquiries resulted in the return of three complete Second Doctor serials – The Dominators, The Krotons, and The War Games.[8] These were all standard 16mm film telerecordings with the exception of The Dominators Episode 3, which was a 35mm print.

Episodes 4 and 5 of The Dominators originated from a foreign broadcaster and had been slightly edited; the missing material was subsequently restored, either from copies held by private collectors or through the discovery of censor clips.[3]

Villiers House

Some of the surviving episodes were always held at the BBC, although the Corporation was not necessarily aware of this. In August 1988, Episodes 1 and 4–6 of the six-part story The Ice Warriors were discovered in a cupboard at Villiers House when the Corporation was in the process of moving out of the building.[3]

Film Library oddities

When the archive was first checked in 1978, 47 episodes were held by the BBC Film Library in addition to those still held by BBC Enterprises. These Film Library copies were a combination of random viewing prints created for various episodes down the years which had subsequently found their way into the Library's holdings, and some of the few episodes that had originally been telerecorded onto film for transmission rather than recorded onto videotape. These film-recorded masters had been stored in the Film Library, rather than in the Engineering Department with the videotapes.[3]

However, despite the Film Library's remit, not all of these originally film-recorded episodes exist. On the other hand, there were also some unexplained items in the Library, such as 16mm copies of The Tenth Planet Episodes 1–3, presumably viewing prints which were mistakenly returned to them at some point instead of BBC Enterprises.[8] Most surprisingly of all, they also still held a 16mm telerecording copy of the original untransmitted pilot, presumably a viewing print made in 1963 and subsequently lodged at the Library.[7]

The Film Library also held high-quality original film sequences made for insertion into videotaped episodes. Some of these, such as those from Episodes 1–2 of The Daleks' Master Plan, survive to this day.[3] For many years it was rumoured among Doctor Who fans that some film inserts were considered to be of lesser value than complete programmes and were junked as late as the early 1980s. However, this was inaccurate speculation based on data relating to already-destroyed material which had been mistakenly entered into a film library computer system.[23]

8mm clips

Small excerpts have also been recovered on 8mm cine film taken by a fan in Australia, who filmed certain scenes directly from a television screen during repeat showings of various episodes (including some that are intact); the clips from missing episodes range from The Reign of Terror Episode 4 to The Faceless Ones Episode 2.[24]

From other Doctor Who episodes

Clips from missing episodes have appeared in other Doctor Who serials. Episode 2 of The Daleks used a prefilmed reprise from the original recording of Episode 1, which had to later be remounted; the original version of Episode 1 is presumed to have been destroyed.

A brief clip from Episode 4 of The Crusade was discovered to exist when fans who had an audio recording of that episode noted an off-camera cough that was also heard at the very beginning of The Space Museum. Episode 1 of the latter serial began with the characters in period costume, briefly frozen in place, proving that it was a filmed insert from the previous (and currently missing) episode.

Clips from Fury From the Deep (the TARDIS landing on the sea in Episode 1) and The Wheel in Space (a model shot from Episode 1) were discovered to have been used in Episode 10 of The War Games.

Other sources

A short film sequence from The Power of the Daleks, Episode 5. It survived through a 1968 edition of Whicker's World which featured an interview with Dalek creator Terry Nation.

Clips from some missing episodes also survive where they were used in other programmes, with these other shows surviving. For example, scenes from the missing Episode 4 of The Daleks' Master Plan exist through a 1973 edition of Blue Peter, while an Australian programme called Perspectives: C for Computer yielded extracts from The Power of the Daleks.[3]

A lengthy excerpt from the 1965 serial Galaxy 4 was returned by Doctor Who fan Jan Vincent-Rudzki in the 1990s. The sequence had originally been taken from a viewing print of Episode 1 by the production team working on a 1977 Doctor Who documentary, Whose Doctor Who. After they had selected the short clip they wished to use from the extract, they discarded the rest; Vincent-Rudzki, who was working as an adviser to the production team, was allowed to keep the film.[25]

Behind-the-scenes footage was discovered for The Smugglers, The Evil of the Daleks, The Abominable Snowmen, and Fury From the Deep. Also from the latter serial was some raw footage from the filming of Episode 6, featuring some alternate camera angles from what was eventually broadcast; despite the alternate angles, the "Lost in Time" DVD boxset edited the trims and added the extant audio to present as footage from the episode. (The original film trims were also included on the same disc.)

In 2005, two further short clips from The Power of the Daleks – along with a higher-quality version of one of the extant scenes – were discovered in a 1966 episode of the BBC science series Tomorrow's World. The clips, lasting less than 10 seconds each and on film (as opposed to film recordings), only came to light when the Tomorrow's World segment was broadcast as part of the 11 September 2005 edition of the clip-based nostalgia show Sunday Past Times on BBC Two. Several sharp-eyed fans noticed that these clips were not among those already known to be extant in the archives and informed the Corporation.[26]

Audio soundtracks

Though numerous episodes are still missing, full-length audio soundtracks for all missing episodes are held by the BBC.[13] These come from off-air recordings made by fans, often made by use of a microphone placed close to the television set.[27] While the quality of these off-air recordings varies greatly, multiple fan recordings exist for every episode; this has allowed groups such as the Doctor Who Restoration Team to compile "remastered" soundtracks for CD releases of the missing episodes. BBC Audio has also released a number of these recordings since the early 1990s, with added narration to describe visual sequences.

Continuing search

On 20 April 2006 it was announced on Blue Peter that a life-sized Dalek would be given to anyone who could find and return one of the missing episodes.[28]

Recovered episodes

When the BBC Film & Videotape Library and BBC Enterprises were first audited in 1978, the following 33 episodes were absent from their collective archives, but have subsequently been returned to the Corporation via the various methods described above.[3][8]

Doctor Season Story # Serial Returned Episodes Total
First Doctor 1 008 The Reign of Terror Episodes 1-3, 6 4
2 014 The Crusade Episode 1 1
017 The Time Meddler Episodes 1, 3-4 3
3 021 The Daleks' Master Plan Episodes 2, 5, 10 3
024 The Celestial Toymaker Episode 4 1
027 The War Machines All four episodes 4
Second Doctor 4 035 The Faceless Ones Episode 3 1
036 The Evil of the Daleks Episode 2 1
5 037 The Tomb of the Cybermen All four episodes 4
038 The Abominable Snowmen Episode 2 1
039 The Ice Warriors Episodes 1, 4-6 4
041 The Web of Fear Episode 1[29] 1
043 The Wheel in Space Episode 3 1
6 044 The Dominators Episode 3 1
047 The Krotons Episode 4 1
Third Doctor 11 071 Invasion of the Dinosaurs Episode 1 (b/w only) 1
072 Death to the Daleks Episode 1 1

As a result of the above The Time Meddler, The War Machines, The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Dominators, The Krotons, The War Games, Invasion of the Dinosaurs, and Death to the Daleks are once again complete. The other serials listed remain incomplete as of today.


While the original 625-line PAL videotapes of some serials starring Jon Pertwee were wiped for reuse and a few episodes are only held as 16mm black and white telerecordings, some colour versions survived in the form of 525-line NTSC colour videotapes that were sent for broadcasting overseas. In the early 1980s, some of these tapes were returned to the UK from the BBC's office in Toronto, Canada, including all seven episodes of Inferno (1970) just after it was aired in colour by KVOS12 in Vancouver; other colour material had been aired in the late 1970s by Toronto-based TV Ontario.[11] As well as this, some off-air colour videotape copies recorded by an American for a British fan in the late 1970s were recovered in the early 1990s, and their colour signals were used (along with colourisation techniques where necessary) to colourise the higher-quality 16 mm monochrome film copies.[30]

The serials that were restored in this way, and thus no longer incomplete, were Doctor Who and the Silurians, Terror of the Autons, and The Dæmons.[30] Off-air NTSC colour tapes are held for all seven episodes of The Ambassadors of Death, but are too badly damaged to permit anything more than a partial restoration, with the cost of repair being prohibitive.[31]

A new Reverse Standards Conversion process was used for the first time on the 2005 DVD release of The Claws of Axos.[32] This process can be used on NTSC version master tapes to restore them to something closer to their original PAL colour state.[32] Another digital image processing technique used for the DVD releases is VidFIRE, which restores the fluid video look to telerecorded episodes only held on film.[33]

The colour of Planet of the Daleks Episode 3 was reconstructed using a combination of classic colourisation and a new method using the chroma dots in the black-and-white copy.


An example of a Loose Cannon reconstruction from The Invasion, with rolling subtitles to indicate action not obvious from the audio track.

In addition to recovered short video clips and audio soundtracks, there also exist still photographs taken off-screen by photographer John Cura. Cura was hired by the BBC, and independently by many actors and production staff, to document the transmission of many of their most popular programmes from the 1940s to the 1960s, including Doctor Who.[13] These "tele-snaps" were generally used to promote BBC programmes and for actors, directors, and other production crew members to keep a visual record of their own work in the days before home video recorders. In many cases, they form the only visual record remaining of several Doctor Who serials and other missing episodes of many programmes.[34]

Since the late 1990s, reconstructions of the missing serials have been made by fan groups such as Loose Cannon Productions, who distribute them free.[35] These "recons" are based on the directors' original camera scripts, and use a combination of the surviving soundtracks, surviving footage, photographs, still images (especially Cura's tele-snaps) and specially-recreated material.[35][36] Although technically infringing copyright, these recons have been tolerated by the BBC, provided they are not sold for profit and are only distributed in degradable, non-digital formats such as VHS.[35]

"Official" high-quality reconstructions using the same methods were made for the BBC Video releases of The Ice Warriors (a 12-minute "highlights" reconstruction bridging the missing Episodes 2 and 3) and The Tenth Planet (a full reconstruction of the missing Episode 4).[37][38] The DVD box set Doctor Who: The Beginning consisted of the first three serials and a 30-minute reconstruction of Marco Polo, of which absolutely no footage exists (although this is debated; see above). The Doctor Who Restoration Team has hinted that similar reconstructions might be done in future.[39]

Screenshot from the animated Episode 1 of The Invasion.

In June 2005, BBC Audio began to release reconstructions as part of their "MP3 CD" line. Under the Doctor Who: Reconstructed banner, the CDs include the same audio portions as the previous audio CD releases, but are on a single disc with Macromedia Flash-animated and synchronised slideshow of tele-snaps and other (publicity) photographs. The surviving clips could not be included. The tele-snaps play in sequence when viewed on a computer, or a listener has the option to play the audio-only portion on an MP3-compatible CD or DVD player. The Power of the Daleks was the first and last such reconstruction to be released: a mooted release in this form of the following story, The Highlanders, did not go ahead, due to poor sales of the initial release.[40]

On 6 November 2006, The Invasion, an eight-episode Second Doctor serial of which six episodes survive in the archives, was released on DVD with the missing Episodes 1 and 4 animated by Cosgrove Hall, matched up with a newly-remastered soundtrack created from the extant fan recordings.[33] With the advent of ever-more powerful home computers and more specialisation programmes for them, many fans are also working on unofficial animations of the missing episodes, and this is widespread with many clips being shown online.[41]

Although it is not strictly a missing serial, production of the 1979 Tom Baker story Shada was curtailed by a technician's strike after several scenes had been completed. The half-finished material would usually have been junked as useless, but incoming Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner placed a preservation order on it, as he still hoped to salvage Shada as a finished production at a later date. The serial, which was written by Douglas Adams, was eventually released on video in 1992 with linking narration by Tom Baker.[42] A clip from Episode 1 was used to allow the Fourth Doctor to appear in the 1983 story The Five Doctors after Tom Baker declined to reprise his role. Shada would later be released as an audio play with animation featuring the Eighth Doctor and produced by Big Finish Productions, broadcast from 2 May to 6 June 2003 on BBCi and later webcast on the BBC website, then (in a slightly different version) on the BBC7 Digital Radio Station in 2005 and 2006.

In 2009, the Jon Pertwee serials Frontier in Space and Planet of the Daleks were released together as the Dalek War boxset. Until recently, Episode 3 of Planet Of The Daleks was only available in black and white. However, using a process last used on a recovered episode of Dad's Army, it has been restored to full colour.

On 2 June 2011, 2/Entertain announced on its @classicdw twitter page that the missing episodes 4 and 5 of The Reign of Terror would be animated for its late 2012 DVD release. A test still based on an available promotional shot was also revealed and the company announced the animators to be Big Finish and Thetamation.[43]

Orphan episodes

Surviving episodes which do not form complete stories—referred to as "orphan" episodes[44]—have been released by the BBC in the following ways:

  • The Hartnell Years, The Troughton Years, Daleks – The Early Years, and Cybermen – The Early Years on VHS tapes, released in the early 1990s.
  • As extras on other releases, such as The Faceless Ones episodes 1 and 3 and The Web of Fear episode 1 on The Reign of Terror boxset.
  • Abridged VHS releases, with the surviving episodes and one or more of the following:
    • Linking material recorded by actors (The Reign of Terror, The Crusade, and The Invasion)
    • Audio CDs with recordings of the missing episodes (The Crusade and The Ice Warriors)
    • Reconstructions with photographs, surviving clips, and soundtrack (The Tenth Planet and The Ice Warriors)
  • The Lost in Time DVD boxset in 2004.[45]

Starting in the early 1990s, the BBC began to release existing audio recordings of serials with all or a majority of episodes missing on audio cassette and compact disc, with linking narration provided by former series actors such as Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Colin Baker, Peter Purves, and Frazer Hines. Serials with only one or two episodes missing have also been released in complete soundtrack format. Some serials (such as The Evil of the Daleks) were re-released during this time with improved audio restoration, changed linking narration, and in some instances with scenes unavailable in the first release. Music clearance problems did, however, result in the Evil of the Daleks release not having some background compositions which played on its original soundtrack. These were replaced with more generic tracks.

As of February 2006, the soundtracks for all of the missing episodes were released,[46] albeit with copyright-uncleared music replacements where necessary, slightly rejigged sequences for reasons of clarity, and with overdubbed narration.

See also


  1. ^ "Missing Episodes". Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  2. ^ Smith, David (2 October 2005). "Revealed: what the Avengers were really avenging". Observer (UK).,6903,1582912,00.html. Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Molesworth, Richard (22 October 1997). "Out of the Vaults—The Sixties". Doctor Who Magazine (257): pp. 44–51. 
  4. ^ Sue Malden (1998) (Documentary included on The Ice Warriors Collection set). The Missing Years (VHS). BBC Worldwide. 
  5. ^ "Why did material get lost?". Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  6. ^ a b Howe, David J.; Stammers, Mark, Walker, Stephen James, Pixley, Andrew and Vincent-Rudzki, Jan (1997). The Handbook—The Second Doctor. London: Virgin Books. pp. 292–294. ISBN 0-426-20516-2. 
  7. ^ a b c Pixley, Andrew (June 2005). "No Further Interest". Nothing at the End of the Lane—the Magazine of Doctor Who Research and Restoration (2): pp. 38–43. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Bignell, Richard (June 2005). "Withdrawn, De-accessioned and Junked". Nothing at the End of the Lane—the Magazine of Doctor Who Research and Restoration (2): pp. 44–49. 
  9. ^ "Missing Dr Who found". BBC News Online. 14 January 1999. Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
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  12. ^ a b c d Molesworth, Richard (June 2005). "Out of the Vaults Revisited!". Nothing at the End of the Lane—the Magazine of Doctor Who Research and Restoration (2): pp. 21–26. 
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  14. ^ Bryant, Steve. "Steptoe and Son". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  15. ^ "Trivia for "United!" (1965)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  16. ^ "Z Cars". Retrieved 18 April 2007. 
  17. ^ "Dixon of Dock Green". Retrieved 18 April 2007. 
  18. ^ "The Missing Epidodes". Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  19. ^ Sullivan, Shannon. "Mission to the Unknown (aka. Dalek Cutaway)". A Brief History of Time (Travel). Retrieved 24 April 2007. 
  20. ^ Roberts, Steve (10 January 2004). "The Restoration Team". Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  21. ^ Gordon Hendry (1998) (Documentary included on The Ice Warriors Collection set). The Missing Years (VHS). BBC Worldwide. 
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  23. ^ Molesworth, Richard (2010). Wiped! Doctor Who's Missing Episodes. Telos Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-84583-037-3. 
  24. ^ Bignell, Richard (June 2005). "Eight Millimetre". Nothing at the End of the Lane—the Magazine of Doctor Who Research and Restoration (2): pp. 52–57. 
  25. ^ Jan Vincent-Rudzki (1998) (Documentary included on The Ice Warriors Collection set). The Missing Years (VHS). BBC Worldwide. 
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  40. ^ "Doctor Who Reconstructed: The Power of the Daleks". 13 May 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2007. 
  41. ^ Norton, Charles (28 June 2008). "Regenerate! Fans revive 60s Doctor Who". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  42. ^ Sullivan, Shannon Patrick. "Serial 5M: Shada". A Brief History of Time (Travel). Retrieved 18 April 2007. 
  43. ^ "The Reign Of Terror episodes to be animated". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 2011-10-11. 
  44. ^ "Evil of the Daleks—Introduction". Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
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  46. ^ "Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell star in two soundtrack adventures from BBC Audiobooks". 20 December 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2007. 

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