Why rumors of long-lost classic Who eps being rediscovered refuse to die

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Jul 29, 2013, 1:27 PM EDT

No, those whispers of the rediscovery of dozens of classic Doctor Who episodes long thought lost forever haven't died down yet.

The story began in June, when a report surfaced claiming that 90 of the 106 "lost" Doctor Who episodes from the show's earliest years (presumed destroyed when the BBC wiped the tapes they'd been stored on) had been found and were making their way back to the BBC for eventual broadcast to the public once again. Lending credence to the rumor was the fact that people with close ties to the show, including former script editor Andrew Cartmel and former script consultant Ian Levine, seemed to believe it. 

Then, just a few days later, the story began to unravel. Levine publicly called the report "a massive hoax" and declared, "There will always be 106 Doctor Who episodes missing," and Cartmel claimed he had no "special knowledge" of what was going on. It seemed once again that the lost episodes would definitely remain lost.

But in spite of that, the rumors refuse to die. Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool, who generated the original report back in June, is reporting that he has again heard whispers of long-lost Who episodes returning to the BBC, and that these whispers are again coming from people with close Doctor Who ties. According to Johnston, he attended a "Doctor Who-related dinner-party" a while back, during which he heard that two people in attendance had signed nondisclosure agreements regarding the lost episodes. But it gets better. Johnston also reports that "one person heavily associated with the Who production team" claimed that "at least forty episodes are with the BBC right now." But wait, there's more. Apparently another person with ties to the Who team had an even bigger number of found episodes, and details about when we might see some of them. 

"Or another stating that the number is up to 93, with only Mission To The Unknown, nine episodes of Dalek Master Plan, one episode of Ice Warriors and one episode of Wheel In Space remaining lost," Johnston wrote. "And that we are to look for a BBC4 screening of The Web Of Fear on 50th Anniversary week, of which five episodes of six are believed lost, features The Great Intelligence and Colonel Lethridge Stewart. And a release for Enemy Of The World."

Wow. If that information turns out to be true, it would mean the BBC has recovered 34 of the 44 lost First Doctor (William Hartnell) episodes, including the final episode of the First Doctor's run that includes Doctor Who's very first regeneration sequence, and all but two of the 62 lost Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) episodes. That's a very exciting prospect indeed, but is it real?

Given the disappointment we've already experienced with regard to long-lost Doctor Who episode rumors, it's certainly best to take these whispers with several heavy pinches of salt. However, as Johnston notes, we are once again apparently dealing with members of the Doctor Who family spreading the rumors themselves, so there could be something to this.

What do you think? Are we finally on the trail of a big Doctor Who reveal, or will we be let down by the rumor mill again?

(Via Bleeding Cool)