The British TV Missing Episodes Index

   Two Doctor Who Episodes Recovered - 11th December 2011

The BBC have announced at the BFI's Missing Believed Wiped event that two episodes of Doctor Who have been recovered.

The episodes in question are the 3rd part of the William Hartnell serial Galaxy Four titled "Airlock" and the Patrick Troughton episode "The Underwater Menace Part 2".

The episodes were discovered through The Radio Times’ head of heritage and lifelong Doctor Who fan, Ralph Montagu, “I occasionally meet up with a group of film collectors and retired TV engineers at a café in Hampshire." Ralph explains.

“A few months ago (end July 2011) I spoke to Terry Burnett, who used to be an engineer at TVS [the former ITV franchise based in Southampton]. Somehow Doctor Who was mentioned in passing, and Terry said, ‘Oh, actually I think I’ve got an old episode.’

“I thought it was bound to be something we’ve got already,” says Ralph. “I tried not to get too excited, but he came back the next day and brought this spool with him. It had no label, so I had a look at the film leader and it said ‘Air Lock’. I thought, ‘What’s that?’ I checked online and saw that Air Lock was an episode of Galaxy 4 - a missing Hartnell serial. So then I got very excited.”

"I met Terry again a couple of weeks later (19 September 2011), And he said, ‘Guess what I’ve got.’ It was another episode of Doctor Who! Again not labelled on the can, but it turned out to be The Underwater Menace part two.”

Terry Burnett explains how he acquired the prints “I’ve been interested in film since about 1947. I’ve built up a modest collection. I buy and sell, and keep the films I like.” “In the mid-80s, an electrician at TVS was organising a school fête over Marchwood way [near Southampton].

“Everybody down there knew I was a film buff, and he just mentioned to me, ‘I’ve got a box of films if you’re interested.’ So I said, ‘Bring ’em in.’ We did a suitable deal, I took them home and found two Doctor Whos among them. I cleaned them up, showed them in my ‘old Hollywood’ [home cinema] and then they went into my archive. There they stayed until I mentioned them to Ralph.”

It’s likely these prints were returned long ago to the BBC from ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), were subsequently disposed of, but “pulled out of a skip” by an enthusiast.

The Underwater Menace suffers from 20 seconds of cuts made by ABC censors - a scene where a surgeon is trying to inject companion Polly with a syringe. Amazingly, those snippets surfaced separately in 1996 and can be reinserted  where they belong.

The Underwater Menace Part 2 was originally broadcast on 21 January 1967 and is now the earliest Patrick Troughton episode known to survive

Airlock was originally broadcast on 25th September 1965



  other articles
The BBC Treasure Hunt By Mark Brown

Missing Episode Hunting By Steve Roberts

The Rear Guard By Dave Homewood

It Ain’t Half Lost Mum! By Dave Homewood

Why Are So Many TV Programmes Missing? By Andrew Henderson

Missing, Believed Wiped 2001 By Sue Malden

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