Nine missing ‘Doctor Who’ episodes found in storeroom at Nigerian TV station

Remastered versions of the previously missing episodes are now available to download on iTunes

Nine missing episodes of Doctor Who have been found in a storeroom at a Nigerian TV station, the BBC has confirmed.

A massive batch of episodes featuring the first two Doctors, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, have long been 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.

Earlier this week the BBC revealed that a number of missing episodes had been retrieved and now the episodes in question have been named. A total of 11 episodes have been discovered, though two were already in the archive, and they all star Troughton, the second incarnation of the Doctor, who starred in the iconic sci-fi series from 1966 to 1969.

All six episodes of Troughton’s 1967-8 adventure ‘The Enemy Of The World’ were found at the Nigerian TV station, though episode three was already in the archive, meaning this story is now complete. Meanwhile, episodes One, Two, Four, Five and Six of Troughton’s 1968 adventure ‘The Web Of Fear’ were also discovered, leaving just episode three still missing. Episode One was already in the archive.

The tapes were found by Phillip Morris of a company called Television International Enterprises Archive which specialises in tracking down missing TV and film archive material. Morris told the BBC: “The tapes had been left gathering dust in a storeroom at a television relay station in Nigeria. I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words, Doctor Who. When I read the story code I realised I’d found something pretty special.”

Before Morris’s find in Nigeria some 106 episodes of Doctor Who were missing, but now that number has dropped to 97. The rediscovered episodes have been remastered and are now available to download from ‘The Enemy Of The World’ will then be released on DVD on November 25 followed by ‘The Web of Fear’ in early 2014.

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.