(L to R: Second, Third, and First Doctors in The Three Doctors)
With the news that the BBC has recovered two “missing episodes” of the classic Doctor Who series, you might be confused. I’ve seen responses ranging from “awesome news” to “how can there be new old Doctor Who?!?”
Allow me to explain.
Back when Doctor Who had just started, all the way back in the 60s, the BBC didn’t have a proper archives department. Back in the black-and-white days, reruns weren’t popular and the VCR was still a few decades off, so there wasn’t really a reason to keep old episodes in storage. So, in order to save space in their back-catalog of tapes and film, the BBC would erase, wipe, or otherwise destroy old episodes of some of their shows.
Even with yesterday’s awesome news, we’re still missing 106 episodes of the classic series. Now, original-recipe Doctor Who ran in multi-episode serials, so we’re only missing a few whole stories, but that’s still a few too many in my opinion.
Luckily, all of the previously-missing Third Doctor stories have been recovered (some of which are only in black and white, but there are recovery efforts under way there).
As bad as it is to be missing a chunk of First Doctor stories, we’re missing a huge amount of Second Doctor stuff. It’s hard to say which loss is harder, but with the recovery of both a First and Second Doctor episode in this latest reclamation, there’s still hope.
My personal “fingers-crossed” episode that’s still missing it the fourth and last part of The Tenth Planet. Not is it the first serial to feature the Cyberman (my favorite version of them), it’s also First Doctor’s last story (the regeneration was saved, thanks to children’s program Blue Peter). We have all three other parts. It’s maddening.
So, tell us in the comments, which Doctor Who episode do you hope they recover next?
(And, no, Shada doesn’t count.)