The BBC Has Unearthed A Haul Of Lost "Doctor Who" Episodes

The worst-kept secret of the sci-fi year is out.

1. The BBC has confirmed that a number of Doctor Who episodes assumed missing have been located in time for the 50th anniversary.

Courtesy of Everett Collection

Rumours have swirled in fandom all year that a haul of material thought lost may have been discovered. Some people had suggested it could be as many as 100 episodes. Speculation has been intensifying since the weekend that an announcement was coming close, but the claims were vehemently denied.

2. They used to be very bad at forward planning.

Courtesy of Everett Collection

In the 1960s, it was policy to wipe previously used tapes, since the corporation did not realise they may have a future value for repeats or DVD sales. A total of 106 of the 253 episodes from the first six years are missing, leaving 27 serials incomplete. Suffering the worst is the Patrick Troughton era. However, since most of them were transferred to film and sold to foreign broadcasters, it has been assumed that many are still in existence somewhere.

3. In 1991, all four episodes of classic story The Tomb Of The Cybermen were discovered in Hong Kong.

4. An announcement is expected in the coming days.

Courtesy of Everett Collection

The sensitive nature of getting the material back has meant complete secrecy has been needed until the tapes are physically returned. It’s not clear yet what’s been located compared to what’s been retrieved, but BuzzFeed understands that it is not likely to be as many episodes as 100. BBC Worldwide are expected to hold a press conference in the coming days to announce what has been found and when it will be made available.

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