Doctor Who | Story updated here, and less drama than first thought

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An update to this article about Doctor Who, that no longer really has anything in it. Sorry about that.


Since we ran this story, we became aware of this update…

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If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’ve been treated to a treasure trove of Who -related content of late. Not only are we about to get a string of new specials, celebrating 60 years of Doctor Who, but there’s also a new season on the horizon – and the BBC has also added a Doctor Who collection on iPlayer. 

However, that collection isn’t complete. Several episodes, as many as 97, were simply cast aside back in the day at the BBC. Some of those lost episodes have now been popping up in private collections, though, and the BBC is urging people to come forward and “work” with them in restoring these pieces of Who-history. 

“We welcome members of the public contacting us regarding programmes they believe are lost archive recordings, and are happy to work with them to restore lost or missing programmes to the BBC archives.” 

Credit: BBC

Collectors, many of whom rescued old episodes from literal bins after they were thrown out, are scared to come forward, fearing it might get them in trouble. In 1975, Bob Monkhouse was arrested for being in possession of potentially pirated films. 

As reported by The Guardian, veteran film collector John Franklin is calling for an amnesty for anyone in possession of old, lost Doctor Who episodes, adding that he believes these collectors are now “terrified”. 

“The collectors involved are ex-employees and so are terrified. The rule was that you didn’t take anything, even if it had been thrown out. But if you loved film and knew it would be important one day, what did you do? So what we need now is an amnesty,” he said.

“We now need to catalogue and save the significant television shows that are out there. If we are not careful they will eventually be dumped again in house clearances, because a lot of the owners of these important collections are now in their 80s and are very wary,” Franklin added.

“BBC Studios, the corporation’s separate, commercial arm, have already spent money animating some lost Hartnell episodes, so surely they could spend a little more on restoring the originals and perhaps pay something to these elderly collectors, a few of whom are now unwell, or caring for others.”

Collectors are unlikely to come forward if there’s a chance of penalty or worse, and it’s currently unclear whether the BBC is willing to meet them halfway in order to save a slice of British TV history from oblivion.

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