Rumor of the Day: 100+ lost Who episodes starring 1st two Doctors found

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Oct 7, 2013, 10:13 AM EDT

If rumors are true, then more than 100 long-lost Doctor Who episodes were recently found in a rather surprising part of the world.

(Before reading on, please remember to take this with at least a bit of salt.)

The Mirror (remember that salt?) reported this Sunday that dedicated Doctor Who fans have found more than 100 long-lost episodes of the beloved sci-fi series in—of all places—Ethiopia.

Which would be all timey-wimey awesome, since Who is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, on Nov. 23, to be exact, with the special episode "The Day of the Doctor," with Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and David Tennant as the Tenth.

This is what The Mirror reported:

A group of dedicated Doctor Who fans tracked down at least 100 long-lost episodes of the show gathering dust more than 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia.
It was feared the BBC ­programmes from the 1960s – featuring the first two doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – had vanished for all time after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage. But after months of ­detective work the tapes have been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.
If the tapes are returned in time the BBC hopes to announce the news during ­celebrations to mark Doctor Who’s 50th ­anniversary next month.
The recovered episodes from the 60s include much-loved scenes from The Crusade, The Enemy of the World and The Ice Warriors series.
After each airing only once between 1964 and 1969, copies were sold to the Ethiopian Agency and the BBC then lost or wiped the originals.
Doctor Who expert Stuart Kelly revealed news of the discovery at the Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland last week.
When contacted by the Sunday People he said: “I was told by a friend that the ­episodes have been found in Ethiopia. The BBC is ­negotiating to get them back right now. I really can’t say any more than that.”
Rumours emerged of the lost shows earlier this year when tapes and 16in films of 90 episodes were thought to have been handed to a TV historian after turning up in a container loaded on a ship from Zambia.

As it happens, this news was then followed by a flurry of denials, going from the story being complete rubbish ('cause it was published on a Sunday, and Sundays are slow news days, apparently), to the whole thing being nonsense and therefore not true.

However, Doctor Who Online said:

“There is definitely some misinformation with the #DoctorWho Missing Episode rumours in todays @DailyMirror. We will finally break our silence on subject by saying missing episodes HAVE been found and some official news will be released within the next month. Can’t say anything further, but it seems various outlets are reporting this now. As far as we’ve been told, it’s not as many as 100.”

Then, lo and behold, the Radio Times got into the fray and partially appeared to confirm the story by adding that:

Missing episodes of Doctor Who will be made available for sale to the public this week.
BBC Worldwide will put the previously lost episodes from different stories – both believed to be from the Patrick Troughton era – for sale on digital platforms such as iTunes from Wednesday, RadioTimes.com understands.
They are believed to originate from a haul discovered in Africa and have been digitally remastered for sale, although exact details remain sketchy.
A BBC Worldwide spokesman refused to officially confirm the discovery or the “speculation” around further missing episodes.
It is understood that other episodes have also been found, although it is not yet known whether these will be made available.

Then The Mirror updated their story by claiming that the BBC had now called a press conference on the matter:

BBC Worldwide has now called a press conference and screening on Tuesday in a London hotel.
The invitation sent out had he event details written inside the screen of a old-fashioned sixties style television set, complete with a dial to tune in the channels, seeming to hint at the type of news to come.
Journalists will be told exactly which old footage has been recovered, with some of it then broadcast on screen to watch.
A senior BBC source said: “There will be big news this Tuesday regarding lost Doctor Who episodes.
“It is great that in the show’s 50th year, fans will now be able to look back with classic episodes as well as looking to the future with the new film-length episode in November.
“For some fans watching their lost episodes will be like going back in time.”
A BBC spokesman played down the reports that more than 100 of the old episodes had been found.
However, when asked if there were some episodes to announce this week, he admitted: “There is a connection.”
Asked for a further official comment, he said he could not say anything more before Tuesday’s press screening.

This follows a previous rumor a few months back that long-lost Doctor Who episodes had been found.

So, do you guys think that this time we’ve finally hit the Who jackpot? Or is this once again more wishful thinking, with somebody simply wanting to take advantage of Doctor Who's 50th anniversary?

(via Doctor Who TV)