Noooo! Those reports of recovered Doctor Who episodes were a hoax

Contributed by
Jun 17, 2013

If you were waiting for a sudden influx of classic Who episodes, don't hold your breath. 

Last week we caught wind of a rumor that many of the long-lost episodes of '60s Doctor Who had been tracked down. Today we found out just how much was supposedly found, and what seems to have really happened.

The original rumor wasn't simply that some episodes had been discovered -- it was that nearly ALL of them had. Out of a possible 106 missing episodes, supposedly a whopping 90 had been tracked down in one form or another. That's not just kind of cool, that's about as amazing as Doctor Who news gets.

But the further down the rabbit hole you go, the more you discover that it's almost definitely a hoax.

The story wouldn't ever have had much traction if it hadn't been for the fact that the rumors were coming from some big names close to the show. A small group of people were told by former writer and script editor Andrew Cartmel that the episodes had been found. Cartmel is best known for being the last writer to make headway on explaining the Doctor's mysterious backstory back in the late '80s. So, really, he'd have no reason to lie.

Adding to the credibility was the fact that details were awfully specific. Episodes that were still missing were named, and the quality of some episodes was also described. It also came to light that apparently this discovery was not simply of Doctor Who but of myriad different BBC programs long thought lost forever.

But then things start to go wrong. First Cartmel was asked directly on Twitter what was happening.

That tweet didn't instill much confidence, but, still, it could be that this revelation was something the BBC didn't want to make official until later in the year.

But, sadly, the latest whispers are that this was just a hoax played on more than just the fans -- it was played on the BBC itself. And at great cost.

Allegedly there was one man in particular making all these rather bold claims regarding lost BBC episodes. For whatever reason, many higher-ups at the BBC and within the crew of Doctor Who felt this individual was on the level. This seems to be at least partly true, as former Who script consultant Ian Levine made the truth very clear on Twitter.

And with that heartbreaking revelation, the door seems almost certainly closed forever on the dream that, some sunny day, we might see William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton again in serials lost for nearly as long as the show has existed. Shame.

(via Bleeding Cool)

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