Doctor Boo: Rumored Collection Of Recovered Doctor Who Eps May Just Be A Hoax

It sounded too good to be true.

By David Wharton | Updated

HartnellI guess it did sound too good to be true. Last Friday we told you about an exciting rumor that the BBC was negotiating for the return of a massive stash of thought-lost classic Doctor Who episodes, including possibly the complete run of First Doctor William Hartnell. That rumor initially came from the folks over at Bleeding Cool, who cited a couple of unnamed sources in claiming that this recovered Who material would likely get a fall 2013 release, just in time for the Who anniversary festivities. Sadly, only a few days later, it’s beginning to look like this rumor is the result of an outright hoax.

Bleeding Cool updated the story yesterday, revealing that one of the sources of the rumor was ex-Doctor Who producer Andrew Cartmel, who allegedly told some folks at a convention in Atlanta that some lost episodes had been found, and to expect news of them soon. Unfortunately, when asked about the rumor on Twitter, Cartmel’s reply dumped some water on the flames:

It sounds like the rumor could simply be a case of Cartmel misspeaking or someone misquoting him. Except Bleeding Cool’s initial report cited several different sources for the info. BC’s Rich Johnston now says that he’s hearing from other sources that the supposedly found Who material might not exist at all. Instead, the chatter says it’s all just a hoax perpetrated against the BBC by “a man playing up his own eccentricities for negotiation purposes, but at no point giving any real evidence that he had copies of the episodes in question.” So it could all be down to an asshole with a convincing poker face. Balls.

One of the more damning perspectives on this whole mess comes from former Who script consultant Ian Levine, who sounded off on Twitter the day after the rumors were first reported:

That certainly makes it sound like this is all just hot air and wishful thinking, with a dash of willful malevolence on the part of the guy supposedly stringing the BBC along without having anything to back up his claims. That said, Johnston still isn’t backing off the story entirely, and seems to be holding out hope that there still might be some truth among the warring rumors. Even if we don’t get the huge amount of rediscovered Who that was first suggested, any newly found material would still be huge. For the record, Johnston did provide some specifics of what lost material had allegedly been found:

Of the one hundred and six missing episodes, they comprise ninety of them. The only ones not included are nine episodes of The Dalek Master Plan, plus Mission to the Unknown, two episodes of The Invasion, two episodes of The Ice Warriors, and two episodes of The Wheel In Space.

So far neither the BBC nor any of the current Who crew have confirmed any of this, but even if it’s all true it’s likely they’d stay mum until the i’s and t’s were dotted and crossed, respectively. I guess the best approach at this point is to cross your fingers, but don’t hold your breath.