Wiped Episode Discoveries

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

  1. Volpone

    Volpone Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It is kind of inexcusable, in this era of broadband, YouTube, NetFlix, etc. I mean the argument could be that they're trying to figure out the best way to market the product, but really, they could take a page or two from Paramount or Lucasfilm.

    Get the buggers up on a streaming site for a buck or two. There are people who will pay for it. Then later, package them in a plain-Jane DVD and pick up a couple bucks there. Then do them as collectors sets. Then add some commentary. Then do the one where they digitally replace Troughton with JarJar Binks just so people will buy a copy to burn.
     
  2. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've read they long ago shot commentary and some featurettes for the now-canceled Underwater Menace.
     
  3. Turbo

    Turbo Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Correct. The video restoration, commentary, and bonus features are all finished; all that's required is apparently a couple days of Mark Ayres' work on the audio. It's just ridiculous that they don't even seem to be considering slapping together a telesnap recon of the first and last episode. Or even a condensed recon. Or even just bringing in Frazer Hines to record some video links, for crying out loud.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I watched the reconstruction of "Marco Polo" today, and a thought suddenly occurred to me, a question I hope someone here can answer. I know that in the early episodes, material such as special effects, fight scenes, and location scenes were shot on film a few weeks ahead (usually at Ealing Studios, except for the location stuff), then played back at the appropriate moments in the studio shooting sessions. So that means that portions of these episodes existed on film separately from (and before the creation of) the videotape masters.

    Now, I know the story of why the finished episodes were erased, but these pre-filmed inserts were on physically separate media from those final episodes. So, given that most or all of the episodes would've had at least some pre-filmed material, you'd think that at least portions of them would still exist in most cases. (Sort of like what actually happened with "Shada" -- all the scenes filmed on location exist because they were all shot first, before the studio portion that was unfinished.)

    But as far as I know, none of these pre-filmed sequences have survived. When an episode was wiped, everything was wiped, except for copies sold overseas or sometimes censorship trims that were cut out of those film copies. So why would the original filmed insert scenes have been destroyed? If there are surviving censorship trims, of all things, why wouldn't this original production material have survived? I mean, surely some of the filmed effects might've been worth keeping around as stock footage, if nothing else. So what happened to it all? Even if the BBC hadn't felt a need to preserve it, you'd think at least some of it would've survived piecemeal. So if it's all gone, that implies a systematic policy of destroying it. But why? They were on film, so there's no way to erase and reuse it like with videotape. So what purpose would there have been for destroying them? And if they weren't systematically destroyed, then where the heck are they?
     
  5. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A few of the inserts did survive piecemeal-- some of the clips from The Daleks' Master Plan, The Abominable Snowmen, and The Space Pirates that appear on the Lost in Time DVD are inserts. But most of them are gone, simply because there was no reason to keep them once they'd been integrated into the episodes they were made for. If the finished product wasn't worth preserving for posterity, why would an isolated component be? The film couldn't be reused, but tossing it was still cheaper than storing it, and I doubt much of it would have been useful as stock footage.
     
  6. mythme

    mythme Commodore Commodore

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    Anneke Wills has expressed her outrage that nothing has come to light from the work she's done for the UM extras she filmed.
     
  7. Lakenheath 72

    Lakenheath 72 Commander Red Shirt

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  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, that's right. I was trying to remember if there had been any, but these slipped my mind.

    But I'd think an ongoing production would keep as much of its stock footage on hand as possible, since you never know when a later episode might have use of it -- say, if someone writes a sequel to an earlier story. The Radiophonic Workshop seemed to hold onto all its old sound effects, at least. So I'm puzzled at the lack of archiving here.
     
  9. Nightowl1701

    Nightowl1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ Keep it where? The reason they started wiping tapes (to reuse them) & burning film was they were running out of room. And once color TV came in, all that black and white footage suddenly seemed worthless.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, I see. So the material was kept around for the first few years, but once the show switched to color, there was no longer a reason? I guess that makes more sense -- at least within the context of the senseless act of destroying creative works.
     
  11. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think you're overestimating the potential usefulness of the inserts for stock footage: an awful lot of them would have been story- or character-specific material that would be hard to fit into future Doctor Who stories, let alone more typical BBC output. Bits and pieces of them might have had some utility, and that may be why some of them survived as long as they did, but on the whole they're not something that would have been seen as having separate value.

    The BBC did value film somewhat more highly than videotape, insofar as the only official audiovisual archive they had at the time was the BBC Film Library, which was intended only for material originally made on film. (Even there, though, things were slipshod in a way that's hard for 21st-century minds to deal with: they ended up keeping film copies of 47 Doctor Who episodes that had originally been made on videotape.) But there was no formal remit to keep inserts, only completed programmes. Nonetheless, some of the surviving inserts do come from the Film Library (again, slipshod), and at one time they may have had more, including possibly material from The Power of the Daleks, The Moonbase, and The Faceless Ones.
     
  12. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    Additionally, some material did survive in the film library, but was destroyed during clearouts in the early 1970s as they only felt it worth keeping full programmes (so far as fiction was concerned. There were definitely several partial telerecordings for The Celestial Toymaker (which seem like to have been the episode endings, for use in recaps, but nobody's quite sure as they don't exist, and the quoted film lengths make no sense - - unless you assume a decimal point's been omitted, in which case they do for a few minutes length).
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, of course, but I'm not saying all of it would be saved for that reason alone, just that it's one consideration, a possible example of a reason for saving material. There could be other reasons as well. (And story-specific material might be reusable if the show did a sequel, for instance.)



    Then it's all the more of a shame that none of that survived.



    So ultimately it comes down to the same culprit -- the decision to do those "clearouts." I guess I hadn't realized just how sweeping an act of destruction it was.
     
  14. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    The really irritating bit is that two missing episodes which were transmitted from 35mm film telerecordings seem to have junked in the late 60s, which was definitely against film library policy (Wheel in Space 5 and Power of the Daleks 5... I think. They also destroyed a few which have since been recovered as 16mm recordings at the same time - Daleks 4 and Crusade 1 from memory, probably one more).

    Edit: to be more exact on checking -
    Transmitted from 35mm telerecordings which have been retained: Dalek Invasion of Earth 5, Wheel in Space 6, Dominators 3, Mind Robber 1, Krotons 1, Seeds of Death 5 and Space Pirates 2.
    Transmitted from 35mm telerecordings which have been junked, but since recovered on 16mm: the Daleks 4, Planet of Giants 3.
    Transmitted from 35mm but now missing: Power of the Daleks 6 and Wheel in Space 5.

    16mm film prints known from records to have been at the film library in the late 1960s, but lost by 1978: Crusade 1 (copy recovered from New Zealand in 1999), Dalek Masterplan 4 (as often discussed) and Ice Warriors 3. (It is of course possible that other orphan prints did get sent to the library and then junked without any trace in surviving records).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    So getting back to this topic for a moment, I noticed an announcement for a DVD release of Downtime. Rather anticlimactic if this is what they were referring to.
     
  16. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think so. There's a number of 'unofficial' shows where the featured character or race wasn't owned by the BBC. I'd like to see them all issued.

    Also there's the 'Stranger' video's. I was going to suggest them too, but I see they're out on DVD now...
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Downtime is noteworthy as the debut of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, although played by a different actress, of course (Beverley Cressman). I've had the novelization for ages, but I've never seen the video itself.
     
  18. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm curious if Downtime will be released in its original cut or in Ian Levine's recut with the seventh Doctor.
     
  19. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Both would be nice...
     
  20. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Copies were made though and Doctor Who was syndicated that's how part four of The Tomb Of The Cybermen was found in Hong Kong on videotape. But while the lack of space was the given reason, there were also polictical concerns and of course the cost of cleaning up all that film. They thought the syndicated market had dried up and for Doctor Who this was true until Star Wars came along and they decided to give Doctor Who another chance in the syndication marketplace.