This will be a short post — I’m typing it on my phone! This year sees the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and we have the anniversary special on November 23rd to look forward to. At 5.15pm on that day in 1963 (with schedules largely dominated by the assassination of JFK the day before) the very first episode was shown. A question for the Who geeks — who can name the Producer?
One curious thing this brings to mind is that by my understanding of the 1988 Act the copyright on those 1963 episodes will elapse in the UK on New Years Day 2014. What that means is far from clear to me, and IP law is so complex I’m not even going to speculate, but worth mentioning.
Over the last year there has been a revival of interest in the missing 106 episodes. I’m not going to tell the story of how the BBC taped over or discarded the episodes either — you can find it on Wikipedia.
In the Summer there was a flurry of speculation about some episodes having been found in Africa: then denials. It was all a major disappointment. And yet now it seems possible that it was true after all — some Doctor Who episodes have been found after all. We will know details on Thursday.
I’m no expert on this so here is some speculation. Firstly I think the BBC has probably had the material a while. We were promised “more Doctor Who than before
” for the anniversary year. We got two episodes. The only way that can equate to more Who is through the recovery and release of either missing tapes or more semi-animated stories. (We have all the sound recordings — only the visuals are missing).
So if the BBC knew they had the tapes and held them back for the anniversary — much as they delayed announcing the discovery of two episodes found in 2011 until the Missing Believed Wiped event I am told– what does that tell us?
Well the Christmas 2011 episode included references to the Great Intelligence and the Troughton era story Web of Fear (and the preceeding Yeti story). I know relatively little about Doctor Who, but it seems therefore possible the episodes found are from those stories, and the anniversary special will deal with the same protagonist. Hence they are made available before the special is aired…
Wild speculation — but fun. I should be a conspiracy theorist! I actually do not know, but on Thursday I will find out. I just thought I may as well add my tuppence tonight to all the rumours flying about!