Apparently, it's been a long time since any of these have turned up at all.
In case anyone's wondering, the essence of the bureaucratic SCREW-UP was once explained the following way. The BBC Archive, which held the original tapes, felt that videotape was a re-usable medium. Therefore, once you no longer had "need" for certain tapes, you could wipe them and re-use them! And after all, the LICENSING department had film copies for overseas sales, so it was okay.
Meanwhile, the Licensing Department would rent out film prints to stations with different broadcast standards (oddly enough, this did not seem to ever include the USA). Once the license ran out, stations were required, legally, to RETURN or DESTROY the film copies. Once back in BBC hands, eventually, the Licensing Department figured, for the same reasons as the Archive, that it was "okay" to destroy the film copies, since, after all, they were COPIES, and the BBC Archive had THE ORIGINALS.
When I read this some years ago, it made my head shake in disgust. A classic case of one department not knowing what the other was doing, and vice-versa.
Apparently, MANY films and videos were saved from destruction almost by dumb luck, when, one day, someone who was investigating the BBC, walked into a room containing films and videotapes stacked up very high in the middle of the floor, all slated for DESTRUCTION. This was frantically put on hold, until it could be determined what exactly was in the pile. And, it seems, a LOT of previously "missing" WHO episodes that have been in syndication since the mid-1980's were in that stack!
The article says these are the first complete episodes located since 2004, and the Troughton episode's not exactly complete.
Note: the Troughton episode is now his earliest episode known to still exist.
Nine More Episodes Found! They're all from the Troughton stories "The Enemy of the World" (The BBC now has this entire story!) and "The Web of Fear" (The BBC now has all but one episode of this story!). Not the stories I would have chosen, but good to see more Troughton stories, since his era was hardest hit by the Great Wipe-Out. You know, "The Web of Fear" contained the second appearance of the Great Intelligence, which was the final boss is this last season. Makes you wonder how long they've been sitting on this...
Long enough to have them remastered for release last night on the Web and DVD before Christmas.
Gee, guys… cynical much? :P
Actually, I am pretty happy and excited about this announcement. I haven’t felt this way since all of the 70 years missing Dick Tracy Sundays turned up in a private collection about ten years ago.
Well, you know full well that when these do come out on disc, I'll be first in line to buy them.
Actually, I don't mind their sitting on them for a while. They probably wanted to delay the release further, until sometime closer to the anniversary date, but rumors heated up a lot over the last few weeks.
Heck, I'm downloading "Enemy of the World" right now.
If I had the capacity to dowload them, I already would have. As it is, I can wait until the DVD comes out.
I'm really amazed that they're still finding these after 45 years!
I've had an iTunes credit since Christmas, and I'm using it now.
"The Enemy of the World" shares a key plot element with the 1995 Emir Kusturica movie Underground. I find it interesting that the same plot concept should be present in two such different productions. In the movie it's used as a metaphor for the experience of living under Communism.