Wiped Episode Discoveries

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Allyn Gibson, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Meticulous work, that. And the deteriorated tape joins are probably the least of the damage they have to contend with in a lot of cases.
     
  3. StalwartUK

    StalwartUK Commander Red Shirt

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    Nice video, with all the controversy going around it can sometimes be a little hard to appreciate the hard work that has gone into recovering these episodes.
     
  4. starsuperion

    starsuperion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    just to see that opening, made my day! I don't really care about the controversy, just get those 2nd Doctor episodes back, cleaned up and in my DVD collection! The second Doctor is one of my all time favourites. I also appreciate all the hard work they are doing to clean these up, and get them back.. No special accolades or sympathy is owed however to the lame brain who decided it was good policy to throw out the originals or to reuse the films..couldn't they have done that with the reams of BBC news broadcasts? No I am sure keeping as much fodder media on tap for their agenda against certain Pm's was probably more important..
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  5. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Wonderful video. Gives us a nice glimpse at the long and hard work put into this.
     
  6. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    ;)
     
  7. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agendas (and politics) don't come into it. Re-using tapes (not films) was standard practise because tapes were so expensive and nobody expected anyone would want to watch them again.
     
  8. Emperor-Tiberius

    Emperor-Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Seriously, the missing episodes are worth finding, just for this wonderful feeling of joy and relief that we've experienced then, and even now with this lovely making-of vid.

    Here's to the rest of them! May they be found, AND released, as soon as possible.
     
  9. StCoop

    StCoop Commodore Commodore

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    Do you have any idea how much tapes cost back in the 1960s; you'd be talking the equivalent of several thousand pounds a tape these days. Now multiply that by the number of programes made every year. Plus there was literally no long-term market for them until the 1980s and even then only for a small part of the overall output. Contracts only allowed for one repeat and audiences then, just as now, resented their licence money being used to broadcast them instead of new shows.

    If you think BBC hatred by the right-wing is bad now imagine what a field day "Corporation wastes millions storing programes no one will ever see again," would have been back then.
     
  10. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    Only to be replaced by "BBC makes short sighted decision to junk old programmes" six years later...
     
  11. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    There was a lot more to it than that. As has been mentioned the cost per tape was in excess of 600 pounds each, rights holders prevented repeats and overseas sales were limited to five year cycles, which would be extended by another five years if sales were to continue, but that would necessitate the renegotiation of all the rights holders again. Then in the late 60s the UK began to output colour programmes, standards conversion meant quad tapes instead of films could be used as distribution formats for NTSC based countries and - probably the biggest hindrance of all - the BBC didn't have anything written into their charter to retain anything long term.

    Many in the 1960s still viewed television the same way they viewed a threatre production - you watch it once and then it's consigned to memory. No recording needed to be taken of it. The BBC only started recording it to begin offering programmes for overseas sales. But by 1972 they didn't have the means and necessity to retain the films, and so began junking them.

    Some films were gifted to institutions like the BFI but the rest that survived have really only done it by luck. Ian Levine found most of the first two seasons at Villier's House awaiting junking, three episodes of The Tenth Planet were put back in the wrong place and survived, overseas stations still retained many episodes, the first Archive Selector Sue Malden found the first four seasons of Jon Pertwee's era intact on 16mm film just sitting in a vault.

    Yes it's sad what happened. But, get over it. They're gone. All we can hope now is that most of the missing episodes have survived somewhere on the planet and can still be accessed.
     
  12. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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  13. Rarewolf

    Rarewolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It was more the unions that were completely against too many repeats, the reasoning being if the BBC could just show the same shows again they wouldn't be employing the actors, directors, composers for further work. Here's one they made earlier.

    There was a bit of a loophole when it came to imports - so it was easy to repeat 60s Star Trek again and again, but near impossible to show too many Doctor Who repeats.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Right. It's just a fact of life that much of the creativity of the past is lost forever. There are so many ancient plays we've only heard of and have no surviving copies of. And so much early live radio and TV that's gone forever. Or even recorded radio programs. I've been listening to The Adventures of Superman on the Internet Archive lately, and while the first run of the series that went until early 1942 is pretty much completely available, the second run that began in the fall of '42 only survives in fragments. The rebooted version of Superman's origin (in which he grew up with the Kents, unlike the original radio version wherein he somehow grew to adulthood in his rocket en route from Krypton) is totally lost, and for years thereafter, there isn't a single storyline that's completely intact and many are totally missing. There's only one 15-minute installment surviving of the first kryptonite story, although it is the one where the name "kryptonite" was first spoken. And I just heard one yesterday where Superman encounters Robin and learns that Batman is missing, but all the episodes that Batman's actually in are lost, so I still don't know what he sounded like on radio (though he'll surely be back later on). There was another one where two different, really nail-biting cliffhangers were followed by missing episodes so I'll never know how they turned out. (One was where Clark's friends had seen him get shot point-blank and fall into the ocean, something he had to do in order to change to Superman, and he couldn't figure out how he could ever resume his Clark Kent identity after that. I'm dying to know what happened!) Not to mention that some of the surviving episodes are in horrible condition and the dialogue is barely comprehensible.

    So Doctor Who is far from the only franchise whose fans have to contend with missing episodes.
     
  15. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    There was a bias in favour of keeping news (Richard Molesworth's Wiped book explains the keeping rating system), but...

    News was important because it was real, not fiction.
    Also, the stuff that was kept was usually the [location shot] film, not the actual broadcast, with studio links and the follow-up interview. For instance, no-one thought ahead to realise that in popular culture, British viewers would remember the first moonlanding as much through James Burke and Patrick Moore' studio explanation as the actual occasional live footage from the ships (and beside which, NASA would keep the live footage, right? An assumption which appears to be wrong, at least in terms of the actual clear transmission from the LM, rather than the ghosty camera copy which was the best way of doing a real time conversion at the time).
    So the BBC coverage is largely gone. If the move to ENG news coverage had happened before the BBC wised up around '76, a lot of stuff covering Thatcher and the Falklands and so on might well have been wiped.
    And, as can never be stated too often, there was no-one in charge of all this at the BBC until 1976, when the newly appointed first archive controller started working out what had been lost and how to recover it.

    Until then there were three different departments who didn't talk much: the film library (usually) kept any film they were sent, including the news location stuff, and any random episodes of Doctor Who that ended up with them; the engineering department wiped the video tapes when the repeat option ran out two years after transmission (so as to avoid the cost of buying a new tape to replace the reuseable one eating up space on their shelves) unless ordered to keep them, and Enterprise made film copies of the VTs for overseas sale, but binned them if there were no more chances of sales.

    It's more complex than that, of course, but it is basically cock-up, not conspiracy or incompetence( everyone was doing their job well, within the limited rules of their own department).
     
  16. Rarewolf

    Rarewolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think Tenth Planet was supposed to have been kept, Episode 4 is one of the genuine AWOL ones that if it was wiped, it was by accident. They can't say for certain that one wasn't snatched.
     
  17. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    Nah the three surviving episodes are just viewing copies, not broadcast copies. They were likely returned to the film library instead of Enterprises by mistake. Fortunately this was close to the formation of the F&VTL and was found by Sue Malden as part of the "first 47". It's really bad luck that the fourth episode wasn't included in the returns.

    Then again you could say that about any 'classic' that's currently missing.
     
  18. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's definitely a frustrating situation, but not one worth pointing fingers. Everyone was doing their jobs and it made sense at the time. Sad but true.

    Mr Awe
     
  19. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    Looking at what we can tell from the records, I have a suspicion that the first three episodes survive BECAUSE the copy of episode four which was lent to Blue Peter wasn't returned to Enterprises. That would have left Enterprises with an incomplete set of prints which were pointlessly taking up shelf- space, which they might as well get rid of. In which case they could bin them, or they could just send them to the film library...
    That's all supposition, but it would explain this otherwise odd survival of a new complete story.
     
  20. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    You could probably say the same for The Invasion as well.