Wiped!: Doctor Who's Missing Episodes
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Fans of the show will thoroughly enjoy this book. Dense and thorough, I recommend a gentle skim read to get the broad picture before delving into the rich and rigorous research. It is almost heartbreaking to read of stories now missing being preserved intact for great lengths of time, leaving one to almost believe (as with sporting replays) that maybe if you hope really hard the outcome will change.
The greatest encouragement is that the author used his final paragraph to express a hope that in time he would need to write a further edition. At the time of publication, he wrote: "The final truth is simply this. There are 106 episodes of Doctor Who that are missing." Only eight months after those words were published, nine episodes were recovered from a TV Relay station in Jos, Nigeria.
My hope is that in future years, I will have the chance to read a sequel to this book, entitled 'SAVED! How the missing episodes of Doctor Who were lost and found.'
What is also apparent is that missing episodes may only reappear from now on with luck and diligence. I think that most of what can be done from a central location like BBC has been done. Widely dispersed fans in the field with some knowledge of film archiving, and a related real world job that gives them access, would have the most chance. It's legwork, not internet traffic at this point.
It can read as depressing sometimes, especially as a Doctor Who fan, when he goes into great detail of the total destruction at Villiers House of film prints.
But even before this was published, there were rumours of episode finds. And indeed two nearly complete Patrick Troughton stories have been returned and released.
And it looks like there is more great finds to come. And so I am now looking forward to the third impression and update, when the story of these finds can be told.
Not always pleasant reading, but gives the facts, not the fiction
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