Full details of the find to be confirmed later this week

A number of early Doctor Who episodes that have been missing for several decades have apparently been retrieved.

According to a BBC news report, the find will be officially confirmed at a press screening in London later this week. At present, it is not known which or how many episodes have been recovered.

A massive batch of 106 episodes featuring the first two Doctors, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, are currently missing after the BBC wiped the original transmission tapes in the 1960s and 1970s. However, because the majority of these episodes were copied onto film for foreign broadcasters it is possible that many still exist and are out there waiting to be found.

Meanwhile, Doctor Who is preparing to celebrate its 50th birthday with a 75-minute anniversary special called The Day Of The Doctor on November 23. The show’s current stars Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman will be joined for the episode by popular former Timelord and companion David Tennant and Billie Piper, as well as by John Hurt.

In addition to the anniversary special, the BBC has also announced a series of special programmes to mark the 50th birthday of its iconic sci-fi series – full details here. The Day Of The Doctor will mark Smith’s penultimate appearance as the Doctor before he regenerates into Peter Capaldi‘s new Timelord in this year’s Christmas special.