Doctor Who premiered back in 1963, and surged to popularity among geeks over the past decade, but not all of the series’ episodes (798 by Wikipedia’s count) are available. 106 of 253 episodes from the first six years of the series were missing because it was the BBC’s standard practice to erase episodes for economic and space-saving reasons. However, fans of the show recorded the audio from the broadcasts, so the episodes weren’t lost entirely. Now it appears that the full missing episodes may have been found.
Hit the jump for more.
According to Mirror Online, tapes of the episodes have been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency. Per the Mirror:
The recovered episodes from the 60s include much-loved scenes from The Crusade, The Enemy of the World and The Ice Warriors series.
In the four-part Crusade story Hartnell and his assistant Vicki, played by Maureen O’Brien, arrive in the Tardis in Palestine in the 12th century just as King Richard the Lionheart is doing battle with the Saracen ruler Saladin.
After each airing only once between 1964 and 1969, copies were sold to the Ethiopian Agency and the BBC then lost or wiped the originals.
The BBC is now reportedly in negotiations to get the episodes back, which would be huge not only because it would complete the collection, but because of the promotional timing. This year is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and the anniversary episode will be will broadcast simultaneously in at least 70 countries on November 23rd. After that, the 2013 Doctor Who Christmas Special will have Matt Smith passing the torch to new Doctor, Pater Capaldi.
It’s very important to note that the Mirror is a tabloid, so if you’re a Doctor Who fan, try to focus on all the good stuff you’ll definitely get this year, and look at the recovery of the missing episodes as a bonus if it turns out to be true.