A while ago on Outpost Skaro we wrote an article called The Great Missing Episode Swindle, highlighting the find of Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear. As it turns out, we were pretty close to the mark, which was nice, but the rest of the Omni-Rumour (I hate that word, it’s much closer to the Malcolm Tucker word OmniShambles!) has yet to make an appearance.
I’ve been slightly misquoted in our own forum and on Twitter, so I thought it was only right I set my own particular record straight with regards to what I know and don’t know concerning this.
Firstly, let me say that, and reiterate and reiterate it, that I am by no means an expert in this thing. If you want experts, look no further than Puqui and Scot on the forums. Those guys know their shizzle and are far deeper into it than me. For the record, I’m not a big Missing Episode fan. I mean, I’m glad they’re back, but I won’t lose any sleep if their not. I only got involved in this as I was being given information (as though I already knew it) I couldn’t ignore. It also helps as an interviewer to have ALL the facts about your subjects.
So, with that out the way, what exactly can I tell you about the Missing Episodes. Well, there is some pretty neat little mentions in my book, Face To Face, which deals with the Classic Series. Both Anneke Wills and Deborah Watling allude to what they know, but, of course, those interviews aren’t bang up to date anymore, however with hindsight the interviews reveal more than on first reading.
More up to date, is this situation of whether 90+ stories have been recovered. Short answer, as before, is that I DON’T KNOW. Not for certain. I’ve not seen anything personally, but I have been told by some pretty reliable sources.
How reliable? Well, the same people who told me about EOTW and Web, for instance, the same people who told me Paul McGann was appearing in an online minisode and the same person who told me Matt was leaving. All this was 100% accurate and happened last year. So that’s how confident I can be with what I’m told.
So what have I been told? Well, I want to be very specific about it because it tends to be misquoted. Here’s what I’ve been told, in parts…
1) That the majority of the missing Doctor Who episodes HAVE BEEN FOUND AND ARE IN SAFE HANDS.
Caveat: This does NOT mean they are back with the BBC or that they are being worked on by the RT. I’m not willing to say who I’ve been told does have them, but this has been corroborated by more than one source. Although, to be fair, those other sources are on a “yeah, I’ve been told that too” basis.
2) Marco Polo has been restored.
Caveat: I don’t know whether this was restored by the regular RT or someone else. If the RT say they haven’t, I’ve no reason to call any of them a liar. It could have gone elsewhere, especially if it wasn’t sanctioned by the BBC
3) ONE person has told me that ALL BAR ONE missing episodes have been found, the missing one being one of The Dalek Masterplan. I don’t know which one, sorry.
Caveat: I can’t, at present, get this corroborated. I’ve no reason to doubt my source, but they are very happy with me stressing that this is by no means certain. They are waiting on confirmation themselves.
4) ALL Troughton episodes have been discovered.
Caveat: This comes from two sources, who aren’t exactly separate, so it could be a bit of cross-pollination.
5) There are tentative plans for an announcement at Easter.
Caveat: This doesn’t mean an announcement a la Web and Enemy where they are suddenly available on iTunes. It could be an announcement to say “the episodes are discovered and we’re now going to start working on them” or something. This will only happen if all parties are happy, sorted and in agreement. It’s by no means 100% and by no means definite.
And, finally, I have to say, we need to get into our heads the difference in being discovered and being available. The availability of this discovery could take ages. Years. I would really be thinking years rather than weeks or months. It’s huge. If, indeed, it’s real. It may be that there’s nothing left but cans of vinegar and melted plastic, or things might stall which means we’ll never get to see some of this. It’s all in the lap of the gods.
I hope that helps clear up where I am on the missing episodes thing, I don’t want to give anyone false hope. What I would say, finally, though, is that if nothing comes by Easter, we’ll be waiting years, I would imagine, before we get any announcement or any confirmation.