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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Doctor Who

Doctor Who "Bigger on the inside..."

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Old July 4 2012, 12:14 AM   #31
diankra
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Sure, that would be the best hope, of course, and I'd love it if there were some vault that turned out to have every remaining lost episode. I'm just thinking that maybe there's a last-ditch option to be investigated when all else fails, and I'm wondering if anyone involved in Doctor Who restoration has given any thought to tracking down the actual physical tapes and determining if there's a way to extract erased data from them.
Well, the tape numbers are known (most, if not all, of them are listed in the wiping paperwork summarised in Wiped, which is written by one of the Restoration Team, and I'm guessing that when there's no wiping paperwork 'Before 1971' means that 'The programme now on this tape was made in 1971, so....'). So they could certainly be checked, assuming they survive (some of these tapes had already been reused so often that they were falling apart: at least one episode of Tomb of the Cybermen was almost untransmittable as a result). If they do survive, they'll now be at the British Film Institute's archive, as the BBC's 2inch tapes were all donated to there after they were transferred to digital D3 in the 1990s.
Your example of the colour restoration from the B&W prints is an interesting one: the problem of the colour info turning up as interference patterns was known, and the technicians were supposed to use a filter to remove the colour info. But as there weren't enough filters (until late 1969 BBC1 wasn't in colour, and all the relevant film copies date from before summer 1971, so you can understand why Enterprises didn't initially have enough), they got on without it without them.
In other words, people got on with doing the job even if it meant breaking the letter of the rules. So there's a chance that some Who tapes were reused without being comprehensively 'blanked'.
But... you mention how it becomes increasingly impossible to retrieve a usable TV signal a few light years out from Earth. Suspect the chances of retrieving anything usable from a reused tape are equally low (though it does make me think: I have an audio cassette where a 'ghost' of a lost Week Ending episode can be heard under the later recording. Maybe, just maybe, it's salvagable).
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Old July 4 2012, 12:43 AM   #32
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

^Sure. I'm not saying it's a sure thing; in fact, I'm sure it would take a great deal of computing power, brilliant reconstruction work, and sheer luck to make it happen. I just think it would be worth investigating as a last-resort option. We're at the point where it's deemed unlikely that many more lost episodes will be found, and when you get to that point, that's when you consider the desperate, crazy, Hail-Mary options. Heck, that's the Doctor's standard operating procedure.
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Old July 4 2012, 01:32 AM   #33
Candlelight
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Sure, that would be the best hope, of course, and I'd love it if there were some vault that turned out to have every remaining lost episode. I'm just thinking that maybe there's a last-ditch option to be investigated when all else fails, and I'm wondering if anyone involved in Doctor Who restoration has given any thought to tracking down the actual physical tapes and determining if there's a way to extract erased data from them.
There's apparently only less than 20 quad tapes that originated with 405-line recordings on them still in existence at the BBC (or Windmill Road, or wherever the masters are stored these days), so considering if any of those were actually Doctor Who, the first 187 episodes of the show were shot on 405-line tapes, 81 of which are missing episodes - the most you'd get back would be "less than 20".

But they're not. Of the 625-line tapes only 25 are missing episodes, and only The Enemy of the World 3 has ever been tracked down.

It's likely they're all gone forever...
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Old July 4 2012, 02:06 AM   #34
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

^Well, that's a shame. But at least it answers my question about whether an effort has been made to identify and track down the original tapes. (At least I think it does. I don't quite follow what you're saying in your second paragraph.)
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Old July 4 2012, 02:15 AM   #35
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

25 of the 106 missing episodes are of 625-line origin. Only one so far has been identified as an original Dr Who master tape. Of the other 24, they may still exist or they may have been junked, who knows....
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Old July 4 2012, 02:34 AM   #36
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

So you mean they have identified a tape that used to be a DW master but has been taped over, or that they found one that still had an unerased episode on it? You mentioned "The Enemy of the World" episode 3, which is a surviving episode, so it's not quite what I'm talking about.

And when you say "405-line" and "625-line," do you mean the number of scan lines making up the image, i.e. the resolution?
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Old July 4 2012, 02:58 AM   #37
diankra
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

Yep, that's what he means (though as with NTSC=525, some of those lines were used for sync pulses, subtitles, etc, so the actual resolution was a bit less: 377 lines for a 405 line picture. And, to add to the complications, the film telerecordings could only record every other line, so they were only 189-lines. Fortunately every Who episode up til then was re-recorded when an 377-line improved technique was developed in '67, but a few surviving episodes recovered from overseas only exist as the earlier 190-line versions).

So, every episode up until Enemy of the World 2 was made on 405-line video, usually on 2" Quad VT (though about 10 1960s episodes were transferred to film before transmission, either so they could be edited more easily, or just because there wasn't a VT machine available).
Enemy of the World 3 through to War Games 10 were made in the colour-compatible 625-PAL format, but only in black and white. After the all film one-off of Spearhead from Space at the start of season 7 (a strike cancelled the studio scenes, so they were shot on film on location to get round this), the rest of the original run was made in 625-line colour PAL. From Seasons 7 to 19 they were recorded onto 2" tapes, then the new 1" format took over as of Arc of Infinity.
All the surviving tapes from seasons 7 to 19 were given to the BFI archive after the BBC made digital archive copies in the 1990s. The 1" tapes were also copied to digital, but haven't been kept.

One possible, but not proven, reason for Enemy of the World 3 surviving is that it was the first 625-line episode: a film copy MAY have been made for BBC bosses to view to see how Doctor WHo looked in 625-line (in theory, you;d think they'd have watched a videotape. But the BBC had a lot more film projectors than VTRs, and the latter would be too busy actually making or broadcasting programmes). The original video tape exists with a 1971 Blue Peter on it (but, as mentioned, that would be an early 625 line tape, not a 405-line one. Though the tapes are identical, just used for a different format).

A reason for the absence of tapes dating back to the 405-line days MAY be that the licence fee for a colour-capable 625 line TV was about four times as much as the old Black and white licence. That meant the BBC got a real boost to its income as people converted, which MAY have let them buy new tapes and bin the 10 year old ones that were falling apart...
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Old July 4 2012, 03:16 AM   #38
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

^So you're saying the tape that originally held "Enemy of the World" episode 3 was recorded over with a Blue Peter episode, and they've located that tape? Sorry, I'm still confused.
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Old July 4 2012, 03:41 AM   #39
Candlelight
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

Yes, that's what he's saying:

http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonde...te/archive.htm

A few were re-used: for example the two-inch tape that once contained episode 3 of ‘The Enemy of the World’ still exists, but with an episode of ‘Blue Peter’ now recorded onto it.
Posted by diankra:
From Seasons 7 to 19 they were recorded onto 2" tapes, then the new 1" format took over as of Arc of Infinity.
Warriors of the Deep; the last 2" tape was The Five Doctors. From the same link:

From ‘Castrovalva’ through to ‘The Five Doctors’, the format for ‘Doctor Who’ remained the two-inch tape. From ‘Warriors of the Deep’, the format switched to one-inch tape
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Old July 4 2012, 03:50 AM   #40
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

Oh, and then there's this:

405-line or 625-line ?

The debate has raged for many years as to which was the first episode of ‘Doctor Who’ to be made in the 625-line format. Although this honour goes to episode 6 of ‘The Power of the Daleks’, the process would not be used again until ‘The Enemy of the World’.

The scripts for episodes 1 and 2 of this story indicate that it was scheduled to be made using the 405-line format, whilst the scripts for episode 3 onwards indicate that they were to be produced using the 625-line format. However, the switch between the two formats was a production decision, and one which may have taken a few weeks to filter down to the Production Secretary - and it was the Secretary’s job to oversee the typing of the scripts. It has also been argued that to switch formats mid-way through a story would not make much sense, technically - for example, if the story were to be repeated. When the videotapes of the six episodes of this story were scheduled for erasing, the internal BBC documentation that had to be raised, show that all six of the episodes were held on 625-line tape. However, the Wipe Forms for episodes 1 and 2 had subsequently been amended by hand to show that the erased tapes were actually 405-line. The jury is still out... (but the jury will admit that in all probability the evidence points to part 3 being the first).
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Old July 4 2012, 03:57 AM   #41
Christopher
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

Candlelight wrote: View Post
Yes, that's what he's saying:

http://www.purpleville.pwp.blueyonde...te/archive.htm

A few were re-used: for example the two-inch tape that once contained episode 3 of ‘The Enemy of the World’ still exists, but with an episode of ‘Blue Peter’ now recorded onto it.
Oh, it's too bad that the one erased original they've identified had an otherwise extant episode on it. If it were a still-missing episode, then maybe a palimpsest reconstruction could be attempted. (I suppose they could try it with the one they have just as proof of concept -- since they do have a surviving version to compare their results against -- but it would be kind of pointless if they have no other palimpsests to work with.)
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Old July 4 2012, 04:37 AM   #42
diankra
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

Candlelight wrote: View Post
Posted by diankra:
From Seasons 7 to 19 they were recorded onto 2" tapes, then the new 1" format took over as of Arc of Infinity.
Warriors of the Deep; the last 2" tape was The Five Doctors. From the same link:

From ‘Castrovalva’ through to ‘The Five Doctors’, the format for ‘Doctor Who’ remained the two-inch tape. From ‘Warriors of the Deep’, the format switched to one-inch tape
D'oh! Quite right. Had remembered that the change was season 20, but not that it was at the end of it rather than the beginning! (which makes better sense anyway, given when the season breaks were in production terms).
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Old July 5 2012, 10:16 PM   #43
Candlelight
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

THE REIGN OF TERROR
8/10

I made the decision that I wasn't going to listen to the 'over-fifty-percenters' (The Reign of Terror, The Tenth Planet, The Ice Warriors and The Invasion) in their entirity, but after hearing Marco Polo right the way through I decided I would make an exception for this story.

The season one historicals are very good, it has to be said and The Reign of Terror is no exception. Sadly only The Aztecs is complete (a story I have still yet to see!) and it's a real shame the two missing episodes pop up right when the story hits high gear. I remember purchasing the VHS in the early 2000s and really enjoying the story, the first episode in particular is well written, has good pacing and for once, an honest-to-god actual decent cliffhanger! I sold the VHS with the rest of my collection about four years later but always enjoyed this story.

My only gripe is the script would bounce between first and last names, and I'd often forget that Lyon was a traitor but then Colbert got shot - then remembering that the guy's name was Lyon Colbert! Such a pity that from The Romans next season the production team began to see Historicals as merely comedic fillers.

Next up, I think I'll dive in and tackle the one story I've always found dull and lifeless - The Space Pirates...
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Old July 5 2012, 10:17 PM   #44
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

The Tenth Planet
8/10

I've only listened to the fourth episode as I've already seen the other three and felt I wouldn't gain anything from hearing them again in audio only.

Very good episode, such a pity Hartnell's health kept him from much of the action. That said, the final 10 minutes are superb.
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Old July 8 2012, 12:17 AM   #45
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Re: Currently working through the missing episode audios...

VDCNI wrote: View Post
Plus companions were coming and going a lot in those days and they weren't considered very important as can be seen by the pretty feeble exits they were getting.
Speaking of 1960s companion exits, whatever happened to Vicki, Sara Kingdom, Ben, Polly, & Victoria?

Of course, the departures of Susan, Ian, Barbara, Dodo(), Jamie, & Zoe all still exist. Katarina's death is just about the only portion of that episode that still exists. Steven's departure in "The Savages" no longer exists but Peter Purves talks about it a little bit in the Season 3 overview documentary included as a bonus feature on the DVD of "The Gunfighters."

Christopher wrote: View Post
There's also the possibility of contacting aliens and discovering that they've been monitoring Earth from hidden satellites for decades and have recorded all our broadcasts...
While they may have recorded many of our broadcasts, I'll bet they would have wiped most of Doctor Who because aliens would find it racist.

Sindatur wrote: View Post
I'm still holding onto the hope that for a 50th Anniversary Gift, the Doctor will leave behind a case containing all the missing episodes, which he has collected up prior to destruction for us over the years (This may even be why some of them went missing in the first place, because he grabbed the copies to rpesent us for the 50th)
I've wondered about this myself. I mean, didn't the last known copies of "The Traitors" & "The Tenth Planet, Part 4" mysteriously go missing from the Blue Peter offices shortly after clips of them were edited into a Blue Peter episode commemorating Doctor Who's 10th season?

I also think this could be a funny episode of the new series: The Doctor arrives on an alien planet that he previously visited, only to find that they've now turned his adventures into a cheesy TV series. But because of some nefarious alien subliminal messages hidden in the episodes, the Doctor has to steal or erase much of the series.

Come to think of it, the new series has occasionally made nods to this concept. One of Shakespeare's plays was destroyed because witches hid a magic spell in the final speech in "The Shakespeare Code." And Vincent Van Gogh painted over one of own paintings so that he could draw the Doctor a quick sketch of the invisible alien that they were fighting in "Vincent & the Doctor."
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