It’s an early Christmas gift for classic Doctor Who fans.
Two episodes from the first four years of the classic series run have been recovered. Episode 3 of the William Hartnell adventure “Galaxy 4” and Episode 2 of Patrick Troughton’s “The Underwater Menace” were purchased by collector Terry Burnett in the early 80’s.
Burnett tells the Radio Times he didn’t know that he had two episodes missing from the archives until he met with Ralph Montagu, Radio Times’s head of heritage and a lifelong Doctor Who fan. The two were discussing their film collections recently when Burnett mentioned he had some old Doctor Who episodes. Montagu says he tried not to get too excited, figuring they might be copies of episodes currently retained by the BBC archives.
However, the good news was that these were two episodes not held by the BBC. Burnett has loaned the episodes to the BBC and a copy has been made for archive.
This is the first significant episode find since 2004 and while it keeps hope alive that someday the entire run of Doctor Who may be returned to the BBC archives. Both episodes will be restored and according to reports will hit DVD sometime next year.
Both episodes were shown yesterday at the British Film Institute‘s Missing Believed Wiped event – the first time they’ve been seen in the United Kingdom since their original transmission.
The BBC has released a short clip from each installment. Here they are: