Doctor Who Rumor: Two Thought-Lost Episodes Up For Sale This Week, With More To Follow

Will we get a 50th anniversary surprise?

By David Wharton | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

WhoHere we go again. You might recall earlier this year when we reported on a rumor that a massive collection of classic Doctor Who material had been rediscovered and that the BBC was in negotiations to acquire it. The haul was even said to include some episodes thought lost, which hadn’t seen the light of day since their original airing. It was an exciting thought, especially in light of Who’s 50th anniversary this year, but unfortunately it was almost as quickly dismissed as a hoax. We haven’t really heard anything about it since then. Once again, now comes a rumor that a quantity of lost Doctor Who material has been recovered…and this time you may be able to purchase some of them this very week.

This go-round started yesterday when the Mirror reported that “at least 100 long-lost episodes” of Doctor Who had been discovered at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency. “Doctor Who expert Stuart Kelly revealed news of the discovery at the Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland last week,” says the Mirror. The haul is said to include tons of material from the adventures of the First and Second Doctors (William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, respectively). A so-called “television insider” was quoted as saying, “It is a triumph and fans ­everywhere will be thrilled.” The collection of recovered episodes is said to include material from “The Crusade,” “The Enemy of the World,” and “The Ice Warriors.”

Amidst the denials, Doctor Who Online tweeted the following:

Radio Times then took things up a notch by reporting that two episodes from Patrick Troughton’s run as the Second Doctor have been found, remastered, and will be available for sale on digital platforms such as iTunes sometime later this week. Again, the BBC hasn’t actually confirmed this yet, and in fact a BBC Worldwide spokesman refused to confirm the rumor or address any speculation about the subject. Radio Times also echoed the claims that these weren’t the only episodes found, but rather were part of a larger collection, more of which will presumably be released on down the line.

The Mirror then stole the spotlight again by saying that BBC Worldwide had scheduled a press conference for tomorrow, although it hadn’t yet confirmed the subject of the announcements. However, “The invitation sent out had he event details written inside the screen of a old-fashioned sixties style television set, complete with a dial to tune in the channels, seeming to hint at the type of news to come.” It’s not as telling as an invitation shaped like a blue police box, but it does seem to track with all this other chatter.

One of the Mirror’s senior BBC sources is quoted as saying:

There will be big news this Tuesday regarding lost Doctor Who episodes.

It is great that in the show’s 50th year, fans will now be able to look back with classic episodes as well as looking to the future with the new film-length episode in November.

For some fans watching their lost episodes will be like going back in time.

It’s also unclear whether these episodes from Ethiopia are part of the same stash that was rumored this past June, although that would certainly make sense. The Mirror says that one of their sources first tried to downplay such an association, but then admitted, “There is a connection.”

We’ll bring you more when we know it (likely tomorrow, unless that press conference gets moved).