Sunday, January 26, 2014

Echos From the Past - The Missing Episodes of Doctor Who

I tend to get very focused on things. Lately it has been Doctor Who, as the contents of this blog can attest. For a show that spans 50 years, there is a lot to take in. Unfortunately, due to BBC policies long ago, there are currently 97 episodes from the first 6 seasons missing.

Or are they? If rumor is to be believed, all save one have been found. This is by no means certain, after all, that is the nature of a rumor. I've been looking into it and at the source of the rumors and the history and have come to the conclusion (which is just my own personal opinion) that there is weight to them.

When Doctor Who was first broadcast, the episodes were copies onto film for distribution. Thanks to the the early placement of the first Dalek story, the show was immensely popular and copies were sent all over the world. What happened to those copies has long been assumed, but without much proof. In recent years, several people have traveled to find out the final destination of those episodes and as a result, 9 episodes (7 of them previously missing) were found and released.

Rumor has it that is just the beginning. It all seems too good to be true, which sparks my skeptical side. Yet the facts we do know - that the circle who know about the last discovery was small and there were leaks and this seems to be a repeat of that, that 9 episodes were found at a location in Africa which was supposedly checked years ago, that it has been publicly acknowledged that something has been found (though no confirmation of any Doctor Who), and hinted at that there is more Doctor Who by one of the searchers - gives hope that the rumors have some truth to them. Only time will tell.

As rumors can grow beyond the source, I have my doubts that 96 episodes have been found, including a copy of the least likely to survive, The Feast of Steven (episodes 7 of The Dalek Masterplan), but far too many rumors circulating in 2013 have turned out to be true for me to completely discount these. Yes, I have my doubts, but I think there is something to it.

So we sit here in the first month of 2014 with the possibility that a big dent will be made in the list of 97 missing episodes. Yet as happy as this makes me for Doctor Who random, it is still a sad thing for all the other shows hit as bad, if not worse, than Doctor Who. Yet if the rumor is true, many of them will benefit from this as well. All from a fan of Doctor Who, determined to find whatever may yet be out there.

So I listen to the rumors with a mix of hope and skepticism. Just because the rumors of 2013 turned out to be true does not mean that the current rumors must be true, but it there is a good chance they are giving hope to this skeptical mind.