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
“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
“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