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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 4:18am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

In the latest issue of sci-fi magazine STARBURST, writer JR Southall talked about fans' perceptions of missing DW episodes, specifically our thoughts about private collectors holding on to missing episodes - and not parting with them.

No-one knows how many episodes are missing - or what those episodes are. The Doctor Who Restoration Team do handle it with sensitivity. It's also worth mentioning that the BBC has a policy of not paying for the return of its missing material.

There are three things I took from the article.

Firstly, despite some fans saying the BBC should shell out for missing episodes, you would end up with a situation where private collectors could name their price. Just how big a price would name? It'd increased. The restoration team could be held to ransom for a long time to come.

Secondly, it has been reported that black and white episodes do sell fewer units (e.g. tens of thousands). Are there really that many of us who have a yearning for some of the missing serials? True, it'd be nice to have them, but I am not entirely sure I'd rush out and buy them. 

Thirdly, despite fan frustration, Southall made a profound point: Paul Venezis is a member of the Doctor Who Restoration Team. He has met with private collectors who remain anonymous. Southall argued that it must be worse for Venezis to actually know certain missing episodes are held by some than it is for us to simply speculate about what those episodes may be. Venezis knows what is missing. We don't. We can only speculate. Which is worse?

The whole "missing episodes" thing doesn't keep me awake at night. If someone out there really is yearning to own "Marco Polo" in its entirety, then I sympathise, but on many forums over time (I browse, but am not a member of any DW forums), it appears some are frustrated.

My philosophy is simple: I get on with life. I know that might sound harsh to the person yearning for a particular episode (and I'd love to see the Yeti story). If a missing episode turns out, that's great; but I don't anxiously check for "missing episode news" daily. If and when they resurface, that's great. In the meantime, there are plenty of hours of classic DW to enjoy.
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 5:58am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Well, no one ever said a fan had to be practicalÖ

The not lost, only hoarded, episodes are going to have an extra layer of frustration to them. Itís bad enough when an episode truly is lost forever, but to think that other episodes DO exist, itís just that private collectors are refusing to let the BBC have them? That just stinks and it would be nice if some kind of arrangement could be worked out.

I donít think thereís enough demand that the BBC should be willing to risk bankruptcy to bring these lost episodes to the masses, but thereís bound to be SOME demand. (It would also depend on which episodes they were, if weíre talking complete serials, etc. You get the full last Hartnell or even the first full Troughton and that could be worth something.)

Not sure itís better or worse to know for sure; just different kinds of frustration. But Iíd rather know whatís out there, personally.

I sincerely hope no fan out there is holding daily vigils for lost episode news (Iíll admit I check roughly once a year to see if anythingís popped up), but if you canít vent your frustrations on a DW forum once in a while, when can you? :-)
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 7:46am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Good point, Dave. ;-)

Whoever these private collectors are, I think tact and diplomacy are paramount. Any hostility - or even the appearance of hostility - from fans or professionals is likely to drive them further into their "caves".
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 11:24am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I hate the `spoilt child` mentality of those who won`t
share their toys.They might think they`re sitting on
gold, but as has been said, there`s not THAT much demand
or profit to be made from restoring old eps.Would it not
be in the spirit of The Doctor, to share? They`d even
get to see a restored version, which surely beats a
crappy old 1960`s version?
I certainly don`t lose sleep wondering where lost
episodes are!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 11:44am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I don't disagree, Bill, but sadly, these 'spoilt children' are adults who need to be approached with tact and diplomacy.

Approach them with a heavy hand, bailiff-style attitude - and they are even less likely to even consider negotiating. 
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 12:38pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I thought they did have a very detailed list of the missing episodes, down to knowing a special Christmas episode was never recorded in any form and would always be not 'missing believed wiped' but actually non-existant but for a few still photos of the screen during transmission and the script that got preserved by the script department.

I find it fairly hard to believe there are people sitting on missing episodes after all this time and so many public appeals over the years... and promises of non-prosecution. But, I'm not up to date about such things as I used to be so perhaps there are those who know they are still out there and not even making copies at any price?

I've kind of been resigned to very few more episodes being found since the big one of Tomb Of The Cybermen complete which made the covers of all the fan and TV magazines back in the '90s. I would love just one more Evil Of The Daleks or a single Marco Polo of course!


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 24 July 2018 at 12:40pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

All I really have a yearning for is the complete serial "The Abominable Snowman".

I wonder if there are efforts to locate missing episodes of other TV shows. DAD'S ARMY and THE AVENGERS, to name two, have missing episodes.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 12:46pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Not long after Virgin published a book of scripts from an almost entirely missing  season of Dad's Army, most of them turned up after all. There is a 'missing believed wiped' event someplace each year where they show recent recoveries.

The Abominable Snowman (with chubby Yetis) is one I'd love to see more of as it was broadcast around my birth! :^) There is one episode of it, I think it would be on one of the Lost In Time sets collecting stray episodes.


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 24 July 2018 at 12:46pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 July 2018 at 12:51pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Yes, one episode of "The Abominable Snowman" appeared on a missing episodes boxset (which I didn't buy). 
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 25 July 2018 at 6:00am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

It's extremely unlikely that the Feast of Steven (which Rebecca refers to) had a film recording made but it can't be ruled out completely.

Paul Vanezis has indeed recently confirmed that "one or two" missing Doctor Who episodes are in the hands of private collectors.

Plenty of people are hunting for other missing shows. The organisation Kaleidoscope exists for this purpose and they hold events where missing material is screened.

Series two of Dad's Army wasn't recorded for overseas sale but two episodes were recovered in 2001 (they'd been made to show to a film company for the proposed film and were rescued from a rubbish skip). Three episodes are still missing but one has a sound recording which has been animated. One of the colour episodes only existed in black and white for a time but has been restored to colour using the chroma-dot technique also used on some Doctor Who episodes and the Are You Being Served? pilot.

For many years it was thought that the first series of The Avengers was lost apart from a single episode. Two more complete episodes have been found since 2001, along with the first 20 minutes of the first episode. The most recent find was in 2016 and came from a private collector.


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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 25 July 2018 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

One or two would be just tolerable to know exist. The condition might be a bit of a question after so long too maybe whether film or video tape. Good to know Kaleidoscope is still around. It's hopeful that maybe wonders will never cease. :^)

I'd love a big find of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore tv, but I do have some of what's lost of their on Decca LP records of the time. There are also some early Spike Milligan Qs I'd like to see very much too.

I did see two Dad's Army from that second year online (people trade these things as avi and mp4 files) that were fairly poor quality and had the counter clock on the bottom at all times, one had some audio outages so that having the script book only made sense of it. Also it could be the outside film elements weren't there. I have a lot of very early Z Cars like these with audio drop outs, usually minor.
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