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 Posted:   Jun 3, 2014 - 11:48 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

Prepare to get annoyed, flabbergasted and suspicious: it seems that partly-missing classic, The Underwater Menace, may not get a DVD release.

Those following the “missing believed wiped” saga will know that episode two of the Second Doctor serial was found and unveiled to eager Whovians in 2011 alongside “Airlock,” episode three of Galaxy 4. With two of the four now in the archives, we were all expecting animation to accompany them and for a DVD release to be issued to the Classic line later this year. Amazon even listed it for pre-order.

However, Steve Roberts, project leader of the much-loved Restoration Team, seems to have dashed all hopes when he told TVShowsOnDVD:

“[W]e’re the team that remasters the episodes for DVD release and even we don’t have a clue what’s going on with TUM now. From where we’re standing, it’s looking like the range is dead.”

Previously, the last we heard, animation was being halted as the studio doing it “having other higher priority projects.” Even more mysteriously, the above trailer for The Underwater Menace was included on The Moonbase DVD.

So what in the name of Rassilon is happening?!

There are a few options to ponder. Perhaps the range is dead and we won’t get to see it alongside our Second Doctor collections after all. If so, we should all be very disappointed with the BBC. But realistically, would they do that to us?

Perhaps the Restoration Team aren’t being used for this release. It’d certainly be an odd move, if so.

And finally, here’s fuel for the Omnirumour (ongoing rumblings that a vast amount of previously-missing Who has now been found, including Marco Polo): that the other two episodes have been found and they’re still trying to make a deal with Phillip Morris so have delayed the DVD.

Smoke and mirrors, or bitter disappointment? I know which I’d prefer…

 Posted:   Jun 4, 2014 - 11:26 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

Scavenging lost Doctor Who episodes: it’s an amazing true tale of keen advocates breaking bureaucracy with dogged and determined passion – and no one’s tale is more fascinating than Sue Malden’s quiet yarn of changing hearts and minds at the BBC during the late seventies and early eighties.

It may be hard to believe now but when Sue started out on a student placement at the BBC film library in the mid-1970’s, there was no formal BBC Videotape archive – only a working film library which maintained the use of current productions.

Speaking to SciFiNow, Sue recalls the slow progress she and her fellow archivist had convincing the BBC to merge both units as a mutual concern:

“There was quite a protracted, drawn-out discussion at the BBC, that eventually ended up with the merge of the film and videotape [collections]. I can’t exactly remember when that happened. It must have been about ’77/’78, something like that.

Prior to that we’d just been the film library and that was because, in a way, all the film that was produced by the BBC was produced by film department and so the library looking after it was managed by film department. Videotape recordings were very much the province of VT engineers and the VT department. And the two didn’t have much to do with one another.”

The onus on changing the minds of the very production minded VT engineers fell to fellow film archivist Anne Hanford, who, arguing quite rightly, that both creative fields were the BBC’s library finally broke that barrier – however, this presented a new problem of cataloguing all the recently admitted videotape stock:

“I remember us getting printouts coming into the library, showing videotape that was being wiped. My boss at the time found out that this sort of thing was going on and managed to get into the loop so that these printouts came to us and we could then start marking them with stuff for retention – overriding the production department’s decision to get rid of it.

For the first couple of times of us doing it nobody took any notice of our decisions, but eventually we got that going… I went and spoke to all the heads of production and engineering, explaining that now we were going to be keeping more videotape and I was going to have responsibility for that.”

The first part of her job was to stop the wiping, rather than actively looking for missing episodes. Unfortunately, when the BBC first starting broadcasting programmes on videotape in 1950, almost nothing of the first ten years remained while for the next ten years prior to Sue’s arrival the records were patchy at best.

Narrowing her focus, Sue decided that she needed a seminal series; something that had touched more than one generation – and only one programme would do; Doctor Who.

During the 1970’s attitudes towards television began to change. Thanks to the a new appreciation of television as an art form in its own right and the sterling work of both the British Film Institute and The National Film and Television Archive, Sue found herself working closely with Paul Madden (their work lead to Madden’s book Keeping Television Alive), fact-checking against the BBC archive.

Discovering an anomaly between the two archives, Sue managed to track down episodes missing from the BBC’s archive to BBC Enterprises – an early incarnation of what we now know as BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC.

Speaking to Paul’s contact at Enterprises, Sue made a discovery that is still being examined and studied today:

“I explained to her that: ‘You don’t realise, but some of these titles aren’t actually in the main archive.’ …They’d got no idea… They assumed that the tape had survived. It wouldn’t have occurred them to think that this film recording was unique… This woman was flabbergasted when I told her [and] agreed to let me check out everything they got back; everything that was in their store and everything that was in their catalogue… So, that became a very fruitful period… Obviously there was some Doctor Who in that.

I started to talk to Enterprises’ people asking them if they would communicate with their contacts to let them know that we’d prefer to have it back, rather than them wipe it or junk it… Sometimes they would give me lists of countries to who they knew they’d sold things and I suppose that then I was focussing specifically on Doctor Who – trying to trace specific countries where it had been sold…”

It’s down to the hard work of Sue and the BBC archive that we have now recovered and can enjoy most of the lost episodes on VHS first and then DVD – and it’s these practices started by Sue and her department that are responsible for recently turning up more of those fabled lost episodes.

Fandom owes her a great deal indeed.

 Posted:   Jul 21, 2014 - 10:10 PM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

Missing episode hunter Philip Morris, who was responsible for last year's discovery of 9 previously missing episodes from The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear at a Nigerian television station, has today declined to confirm whether or not he has found any further episodes of Doctor Who.

Morris has been taking part in an online question-and-answer session at the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group on Facebook. Since 9pm UK time, Morris has been answering questions submitted by members of the group earlier in the day.

Asked to say whether or not he had found any further episodes, Morris told the group:
A tricky one to answer

And fans will just want a yes or no haven't you or have you. But it's complex all I can say is the wind is blowing the right way be patient. I don't wish to jeopardise the ongoing project in any way .And feel the fans of all lost tv will be very happy with the outcome.

Morris told the group of the dangers inherent in searching unstable areas of the world for vintage television programmes, including encounters with bandits and armed militia and narrowly being missed by a mortar shell in Syria. But he said he had also been inspired by countries such as India, and Ethiopia, which are "nations of very innovative people who find the most amazing ways of doing things with little funding".

Morris defended the statement issued last year, before the return of The Web of Fear and Enemy of the World, which declared the episodes "all gone"

It was a statement of fact. All the original video recordings were wiped, all the known negatives were junked and all out of contract film copies sent to landfill. They are the facts sadly. However moving on from that you have non returned prints audition films. And things which people thankfully thought to take home.
Morris said that the two stories he would most like to see returned are The Tenth Planet, Episode 4 and Power of the Daleks, as these are such key episodes.

However he said fans should not expect any news in the near future.

There are no announcements in the pipeline at present.It can sometimes be the wrong thing with ongoing work and investigation. An example would be during the last announcement I was in a very hostile part of the world and suddenly I was everywhere on tv my anonymity was compromised. Which made the team a target .So we must plan these things carefully for the greater good of the project and the safety of the personnel involved.

BBC Worldwide has previously stated to Doctor Who Magazine earlier this year that "BBC Worldwide does not have any of the 97 missing episodes of Doctor Who, and none of them have been - or are being - restored for release... We're aware of these rumours, and are keen to set the record straight... as we don't want fans' hopes to be falsely raised."

 Posted:   Jul 22, 2014 - 2:27 PM   
 By:   (Member)   (Member)

Another false hope. It's a big nothing.
Please don't post unless they obtain new materials from foreign countries.
Let's wait for next year to post. Perhaps 2015 will be more encouraging.

 Posted:   Jul 23, 2014 - 9:42 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

The Myth and the Legend: Recovering Tomb of the Cybermen

 Posted:   Jul 23, 2014 - 9:43 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Another false hope. It's a big nothing.
Please don't post unless they obtain new materials from foreign countries.
Let's wait for next year to post. Perhaps 2015 will be more encouraging.

I was going to say the same thing. smile

OT: Hey johnjohnson, show some parity and post news when Woody Allen films get Blu-ray releases. After all, Radio Days is #2 on SAE's best seller list.

 Posted:   Jul 23, 2014 - 12:42 PM   
 By:   (Member)   (Member)

Morris told the group of the dangers inherent in searching unstable areas of the world for vintage television programmes, including encounters with bandits and armed militia and narrowly being missed by a mortar shell in Syria. But he said he had also been inspired by countries such as India, and Ethiopia, which are "nations of very innovative people who find the most amazing ways of doing things with little funding".


There are no announcements in the pipeline at present. It can sometimes be the wrong thing with ongoing work and investigation. An example would be during the last announcement I was in a very hostile part of the world and suddenly I was everywhere on tv my anonymity was compromised. Which made the team a target. So we must plan these things carefully for the greater good of the project and the safety of the personnel involved.

That's the best part when Morris faces danger as a true blue adventurer. Oh, my word!
But I think he should send Randall & Hopkirk Deceased to do the hunting job.

 Posted:   Sep 27, 2015 - 7:04 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

Missing episode hunter Philip Morris, the man responsible for recovering nine missing episodes of Doctor Who, has told fans at a convention that he also located the missing Episode Three of The Web Of Fear, only for it to be stolen before it could be returned to the United Kingdom.

Previously missing episodes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 of Enemy of the World were recovered in 2013, alongside episodes 2, 4, 5, and 6 of Web of Fear, two stories from the fifth Season of Doctor Who, originally screened in 1967/8. The films had been found gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria.

These finds completed the two stories, with the exception of Episode Three of The Web of Fear, an important episode in the history of the series as it introduces the character of the Brigadier. At the time it was claimed that this episode was not located with the other finds. The third episode was reconstructed by the BBC Doctor Who Restoration Team, for the DVD release of the story.

However, speaking at the Pandorica 2015 convention, being held in Bristol this weekend, Philip Morris announced that when he initially located the episodes, episode 3 was indeed part of the collection.

The negotiations for the return of the episodes took over six months, and when the episodes were finally returned to the UK, episode three had vanished. Morris said he believed that after word of the find leaked out an offer was made to a member of staff at the Nigerian station, and that the episode had been sold to a private collector.

Currently 97 episodes of Doctor Who remain missing from the BBC archive.

 Posted:   Sep 30, 2015 - 6:00 PM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

During last weekend's Pandorica Convention in Bristol, Philip Morris described for the first time in detail his discovery of the 12 film cans in a TV station in Jos, which included all episodes of The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World. He also reveals that the third episode of Web of Fear was among the cans but went missing again, presumably stolen:

This is a little bit of a revelation here now. There were twelve cans there, The Web of Fear was complete, the Enemy of the World was complete. I photographed them, the items were recorded, I knew exactly what was there. I said to one of the guys that was there with me, who works for me “make sure you put these films somewhere safe”. Because normally when you find something, you know it might disappear. I certainly didn’t want that to happen. So he put the films somewhere but as he was doing so the station manager came up and said “I’ll take that” and took one can, which was Episode 3, to his office. I didn’t know about this until later on. [...] When they were sent back episode 3 was missing. I highlighted it to the head of the NTAs and he said "are you sure? It was there". I said "there’s the photograph, it was complete". He then went back to the head of the station who said "Oh I put it back on the shelf. He said it must have gotten sent back up again and I didn’t believe that. Because it would have been there, it really would. It broke my heart that this piece was missing and I wanted to know why. Now I had let somebody know that I had found it, it was a big mistake, I realise that. And obviously that information leaked out. So, episode 3 was missing.

Philip Morris then continues that he is still searching for episode 3 and believes that it is in the hands of a private collector in Australia or the UK:

I went back to Nigeria this year to chase this one down. I spoke to the guy who was the station manager. He said "I put it back on the shelf". I said "I’ve got a photograph here, it was there". I said if it was there it would have been sent back. And then he just said “Well I don’t know anything about missing episodes". And I thought what a strange thing to say. And two days later after that Jos Station was on fire. [...] When I produced the photograph he was "oh dear, he's got proof that this was here." So the strangest thing was when he said to me "I don't know anything about the missing episodes" and I said "well I never mentioned missing episodes" and that was the big cat out of the bag, really so someone's obviously said "that's a missing episode" and offered him money.
It was completely the wrong thing to do, it should have come out with the rest of the story. That's why, you know, we have a sort of long recovery, getting it back to the UK, restoration, waiting on part 3, for that, because it should have been there and I thought it would come back.

And looking at it, this is what I personally think: Somebody rang up, they offered him money, he has taken that, it's been sent by courier, which you would have thought would be within Jos' area, it would be one of the courier companies. I have somebody actually looking at that now for any records... I'm not saying I'm going to print somebody's name online or anything like that, but if I get some kind of contact details I will be writing to the guy and asking them to do the right thing, but we'll see where that leads. Hopefully he'll do it on his own. So that's basically what happened. When you go to a station, you're not allowed to remove programmes, you've got to catalogue what you see, photograph what you see, and then, obviously you go back to the head of the station and you say "this is there, that's over there", and he'll just say "ok" then it goes back to Central, in Nigeria it goes back to Abuja, everything is catalogued so we know what's gonna leave the country, and then it's sent back to the UK.

(Question from an attendee) Do you think it's still in Nigeria, or did it actually make it to the UK? Do you think it's in the UK somewhere?

Phillip Morris: Hmmmmm, no, maybe not in the UK. It might be in Australia, somewhere like that. I don't know, it might be in the UK, but it was somebody - I trusted somebody. And within the space of a week the information was out there, as in someone had mentioned the station, this station had purchased Doctor Who, which it hadn't, and I thought "well hang on a minute, every single state in Nigeria has a newspaper to give you the programme listings, why has this one been pinpointed?" When the whole system worked, everything moved around someone obviously is not aware of that you can only find those details if you're actually aware of them. So it wasn't helpful, and with the project going forward people think "well, he's really secretive" but I have to be. I have to protect those things that come forward until we can tell the story.

(Question from attendee) Do you think that one has been taken because it was the Brigadier's first story?

Phillip Morris: No, it was coincidence. You've got to say, when that guy intervened, and went "I'll take those", it was random. I wish it had been episode one, or Enemy of the World episode three! It really must have been the luck of the draw.

 Posted:   Sep 30, 2015 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

Somebody out there is a fucking asshole for doing that. Had to be said.

 Posted:   Oct 1, 2015 - 12:57 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Agreed, but the real idiots here are the BBC people who destroyed the WHO tapes back in the day....that -- even though it was common practice to to so, in order to create more space -- NONE OF THEM had any foresight to see the value in them.

 Posted:   Oct 8, 2017 - 9:07 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

The “Doctor Who” fans saving the episodes once thought lost to the mists of time and space: Fans of Doctor Who, the BBC’s time-traveling adventure TV series, are like no other. After 54 years, 36 seasons, 839 episodes, and 12 different Doctors (the thirteenth will be the first played by a woman), they’re still one of the most passionate pop-culture fan bases out there. And a small group of the diehard Whovians, as Doctor Who fans are fondly known, are working with the BBC to restore episodes of the show that have been lost for generations. Some of the newly recovered episodes have been released on DVD along with the classic episodes of Doctor Who that aired from 1963-1989. The latest to be restored, a six-part story from the time of the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, called “The Wheel in Space,” hits the streaming service BritBox beginning in September. BritBox is a joint subscription-video venture between BBC Worldwide and fellow British broadcaster ITV that brings UK TV to US audiences. The $6.99-a-month platform is the exclusive US streaming home of classic Doctor Who. It is endeavoring to collect as many of the missing episodes as possible; many of the negatives and distribution prints of old episodes that were returned by foreign broadcasters were destroyed around 1975—because interest in the show had waned and the company didn’t see any reason to keep them. Fifty classic Doctor Who episodes have been recovered so far, BritBox told Quartz. And another 97 of the 253 episodes from the show’s first six years on the air are still missing, though short clips of some do exist. “We wanted to make a comprehensive home for it,” Soumya Sriraman, president of BritBox, told Quartz. “Knowing that there were several of these episodes that were never recreated… we thought we should at least offer that for our fans.”

Episodes lost in time

Tracking some of the missing episodes hasn’t been the easiest thing. Before the 1970s, TV was disposable. Programs were recorded on videotapes, and, from the late 1960s until 1974, BBC Enterprises, as its commercial arm BBC Worldwide was then known, transferred the tapes to 16mm prints to distribute as sales copies around the world. Original negatives of the episodes were also made. Once the UK transmission of the episodes had gone out, and the overseas sales copies had been created, the original videotapes were erased and re-used. There was no home-video, DVD, download, or streaming market for the shows at the time, so there was no real reason for the BBC to keep the tapes after they were done with them. Audiences couldn’t stream endless archives of TV shows like they can today through Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix. If an episode was gone, it was really gone. Unless someone made a real effort to find them. More than thirty years ago, when film producer and director Paul Vanezis was a 19-year-old Doctor Who fan, he’d heard there were quite a few episodes from the 1960s and 1970s that were lost by the British broadcaster after they aired. Vanezis also heard that foreign broadcast stations might still have copies from when they aired the show. There was no record of where Doctor Who had been screened around the world then, he said.

So the industrious young Whovian then took it upon himself to write the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1984 to see whether the station had ever screened Doctor Who, and, if it did, whether it had kept any copies. Vanezis is English, but his father was a Greek from Cyprus, so he figured “they would be more likely to reply to me when they see my Greek surname,” he told Quartz. The station wrote back and confirmed that it did indeed screen Doctor Who and still had 16mm film prints of 13 episodes in its possession. Three of those were the only known copies in existence at the time, and two still are. The other episodes screened by the station had been destroyed in a Turkish invasion in 1974, Vanezis said. Vanezis was eager to get his hands on the episodes—but the BBC was on a mission of its own. Shortly after Vanezis contacted the CBC, the BBC sent telexes to foreign TV stations asking them to return any copies of old episodes of Doctor Who that they had retained. The CBC was one of two or three who responded, Vanezis said, and all 13 episodes were returned the following year. Today, Vanezis works as a freelancer with the BBC to track down and restore the broadcaster’s missing archives, including the lost episodes of Doctor Who, as part of a small team of mostly fellow Whovians. One of the last batches of episodes to be recovered was in 2013, when nine episodes were returned to the BBC, Vanezis said. “It’s kind of remarkable that these things are out there and still being found,” he said.

Throw-away TV

This hasn’t just been a problem for the BBC. In the US, episodes from Johnny Carson’s early years hosting NBC’s The Today Show were lost—and some are still missing today. The same is true for episodes of other US TV series like the original Jeopardy! and soap operas like Guiding Light. In 1978, the BBC established a TV archive and began recollecting that lost footage with the help of archivists, fans, film collectors, and TV stations as far and wide as Cyprus, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and Australia.

In 1989, after classic Doctor Who went off the air, a small group of UK fans kept the show alive by holding watch parties and working on the shows. Some of those fans were in touch with the BBC about ways to restore old episodes and the BBC hired them. “They started as diehard fans, some of whom worked in TV as well as being fans so they had a technical expertise, and the BBC hired these people to be the Doctor Who restoration team,” according to BBC Worldwide.

In the 1990s, the group began by restoring old copies of episodes that originally aired in color, starting in the 1970s, but only survived in black and white. Vanezis, who had a background working with film, worked with the team to use poor-quality off-air recordings that were made by broadcasters in Chicago and Los Angeles to re-colorize the high-quality black-and-white masters that the BBC had. “The programs we were trying to restore weren’t technically lost programs,” he said. “They still existed, they just didn’t exist in the original form they were made. What I was really interested in was trying to fill the gaps in the archive.” That’s what he and the team did. In some cases, it was a matter of processing the 16mm prints—repairing damage to the film, holes where commercials may have been inserted, or where the show may have been censored—and then scanning it in high definition, and using digital software to manually clean up each frame. In one instance, where two episodes were recovered from a film collector in the south of England in 2011, the team found that parts of the episode had been removed, including a scene where the Doctor’s companion was going to be injected with a hypodermic needle. The sections that had been removed seemed to match exactly with Australian government censorship rules at the time, Vanezis said. They were able to obtain the missing pieces from Australia’s national archives, and piece the episodes back together.

The Wheel in Space

The latest Doctor Who story to be restored, “The Wheel in Space,” was reconstructed by members of the restoration team who worked with BritBox. It was told through six episodes, which aired from April to June 1968. In this case, only audio tapes that were recorded by devoted fans off their TV sets were recovered, BritBox said. It paired those with telesnaps, or pictures of the TV that were taken by the BBC for archival purposes back in the 1960s. There were a few shots of every scene and every action. Mark Ayres, a sound engineer restored the audio, and John Kelly, formerly of the Doctor Who restoration team, paired it with visuals from the telesnaps, as well as surviving publicity photos, and stills taking from surviving video clips. “The most challenging part of the recon is keeping the visuals moving at a suitable pace; both sympathetic to the episode as it would have been on transmission (I reference the original camera script), yet maintaining enough dynamic to engage a modern audience,” Kelly told Quartz via email. “To this end, a lot of extra material has to be sourced from other contemporaneous episodes, or through stills taken during recording, or as montages created through various means.” A production group called the Loose Canon provided montages and CGI renderings that Kelly incorporated into the project, he said. A sneak peak of the first episode in the story is being shown at San Diego Comic-Con today before its September release on BritBox. Since the panel was announced, fans have been speculating on Reddit and blogs about what’s to come from the episodes, and what other clips are out there. “This is a very unique situation,” said Sriraman at BritBox. “I don’t know of any other TV show in the history of TV where fans actively come in and do this and mobilize around finding clips and sending them to the folks they think need to see it.”

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