Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lost Doctor Who Episodes Found In Africa, and the Regeneration Limit

Krypton Radio reports via the BBC and other news agencies that lost episodes of Doctor Who have been discovered in Africa.
Some new episodes of the popular BBC science fiction television series have been found in the archives of the Ethiopia Radio and Television Agency, and as the dust settles from the discovery it appears that 90 episodes are being recovered.  In fact, it is looking like everything that had been lost is now found again, according to Bleeding Cool, except “nine episodes of The Dalek Master Plan, plus Mission To The Unknown, two episodes of The Invasion, two episodes of The Ice Warriors, and two episodes of The Wheel In Space.
This is very good news for fans worldwide, who have had to be content with surviving audio and still photographs in place of the missing episodes.  What's more, with the show's fiftieth anniversary coming up next month, it gives fans another chance to become acquainted with the legendary William Hartnell, the first actor to portray the enigmatic Time Lord from Gallifrey in his broken old T.A.R.D.I.S.

Rumors frequently circulate about lost episodes in the hands of private collectors, but only seldom do they prove true.  In the vastly finite wisdom of its earlier days, the BBC destroyed or recorded over its video tapes and film reels, or sold them off, not realizing the future potential in raking in money from home video sales.  As a result, many episodes of many television shows are now "lost", and can only be recovered if copies are found from stations in other countries that preserved them, or from people who were prescient enough to record them when they were first broadcast.

So this latest rediscovery is good news for Doctor Who fans, and for the BBC.  I for one am looking forward to seeing the recovered episodes in all their remastered glory.

Oh!  It seems the issue of the Doctor's thirteen-life-limit will be addressed.  Departing actor Matt Smith, who plays the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, is handing the role over to Peter Capaldi in the Christmas episode at the end of this year, leaving only one or two more lives for the Time Lord under current series canon.  But Stephen Moffat hinted back in August that a way will be written into the show that resolves the limit on Time Lord lives, and others have speculated on how the 12-regeneration limit could be breached.  Obviously the BBC isn't going to let one of its biggest cash cows be canceled for lack of a plausible writing gimmick, so don't be surprised to see the issue resolved soon.

I'll be back next week with a review of a recent Who episode, as soon as I dig my DVDs out of boxes.  Until then...see you in the Time Vortex!

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