Hiding in Africa? – 106 Doctor Who Episodes Allegedly Found in Ethiopia

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For some time now, Doctor Who fans have feared that many early episodes of the series starring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton had been lost forever. However, according to The Mirror, footage recently uncovered as far away as Ethiopia looks set to change all that.

Some time after the original series was aired in the 1960s, recorded copies of many Classic Who episodes disappeared entirely from British archives after having been destroyed and/or sold on. At the time, of course, no one could have predicted that the show would ultimately become as popular and lucrative as it has today. Besides this, in the days before the internet, DVDs or even VCRs, TV bosses generally saw very little reason to keep old footage lying around.

So it happened that gaps in serious fans’ carefully pieced-together DVD and audio collections seemed destined never to be filled, until claims emerged that over 100 lost episodes had been rediscovered in, of all places, Ethiopia.

Rumours about the find initially emerged earlier this year, when tapes and 16 mm films of 90 episodes were said to have been given to a TV historian after turning up on a ship from Zambia. Last week, however, Stuart Kelly apparently confirmed that footage had been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Centre in a talk at Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland.

The Mirror claims that if the tapes make it back home in time, the BBC will formally announce the discovery as part of this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Unfortunately, no official statement has yet been made by the BBC, so it’s impossible to be sure of the truth or otherwise of the report. As such, it has already been met with much scepticism online. If true, however, the missing pieces can potentially be restored and digitally remastered, which would be fantastic news for any avid fans of the show.

Let’s hope there’s more to this than hearsay and headline-grabbing.

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Sources: The Mirror | Doctor Who TV

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