Obviously, we all spend every second of our spare time looking for missing episodes of Doctor Who. There are 97 in total, so we still have some way to go. But to help focus our efforts, what are the top five, and why are they so special?
5) The Web of Fear – Episode Three
To date, this is the only one of the missing episodes of Doctor Who that is actually known to exist. According to missing episode hunter Philip Morris, he unearthed ‘The Web of Fear’ episode three at a TV station in Jos (along with the rest of the story, and its preceding adventure ‘The Enemy of the World.’) But the film had mysteriously disappeared by the time he returned to the archive, and it’s believed to have fallen into the hands of a private collector.
So until it turns up, we do have a special animation of the missing episode coming to Blu-ray in 2021. Episode three is particularly important in the Doctor Who canon, as it features the first ever appearance of the character of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, who would go on to become the famous Brigadier.
4) Bell of Doom (The Massacre – Episode Four)
As missing episodes of Doctor Who go, this one is a bit of an obscurity. Taken from the 1966 story ‘The Massacre,’ it’s important to Who fans as it features the first ever appearance of the Doctor’s companion Dodo Chaplet, as well as a rare piece of location filming; Dodo sees the TARDIS land at Wimbledon Common, and rushes inside as she believes it to be a real police box.
But the serial as a whole is also high-up on the list of missing episodes of Doctor Who, as ‘The Massacre‘ sees William Hartnell in a dual role as both the Doctor and the sinister Abbot of Amboise. Now, the Abbot doesn’t actually appear in episode four, so some fans might prefer to see some earlier episodes from the story. But episode four does stand out for a poignant monologue given by the Doctor in the TARDIS console room, when he believes that all of his friends have abandoned him.
3) The Traitors (The Daleks’ Master Plan – Episode Four)
Sadly, many of the missing episodes of Doctor Who are the ones that see the arrivals (or departures) of various companions, and ‘The Traitors’ is no exception in that it is the last to feature the character of Katarina. Even more important is the manner of her departure, as Katarina is the first companion in Doctor Who history to die – sacrificing herself to save her friends.
We do, however, have a clip of this crucial moment as it featured in an episode of the children’s show Blue Peter, plus many other extracts from the epic Dalek serial, as well as three full episodes. That being said, I’m sure many people would love to see ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan‘ returned in its entirety – although episode four is arguably one of the most significant, due to the aforementioned death.
2) The Power of the Daleks – Episode One
I’m sure many people would give their kidneys in exchange for missing episodes of Doctor Who, and the first instalment of ‘The Power of the Daleks’ is no exception. This is the first ever episode to feature the Second Doctor – as played by Patrick Troughton – following his historic regeneration at the end of the previous story.
Fortunately, as missing episodes of Doctor Who go, this one is surprisingly well-documented (unlike serials like ‘The Massacre,’ where few photos or telesnaps exist.) ‘The Power of the Daleks’ has a number of stills and archive clips, and there are even instances where fans pointed their home video cameras at their TV screens. Plus we have a full set of audio recordings, and an animated version to enjoy.
But is there any Doctor Who fan alive who isn’t desperate to see the Second Doctor’s first serial in the flesh? ‘The Power of the Daleks‘ is a much-missed story.
1) The Tenth Planet – Episode Four
‘The Tenth Planet’ episode four leads directly into ‘The Power of the Daleks,’ and ends with the First Doctor collapsing on the floor of the TARDIS and beginning his regeneration. For this reason (and the fact that it features the debut of the Doctor’s deadly enemy the Cybermen) it is arguably one of the most sort-after of all the missing episodes of Doctor Who.
Frustratingly (but gladly) we do have the first three episodes of ‘The Tenth Planet’ to enjoy. But as to where the fourth instalment could be hiding is a mystery. There is a long-standing rumour that the BBC lent it to Blue Peter, who never returned it, but the fact that the Beeb continued to sell ‘The Tenth Planet’ in its entirety until 1973 makes the tale unlikely.
But could it be out there somewhere? Quite possibly. Check out our other blog post: ‘The Tenth Planet: Can we complete the original Cybermen story?‘ And if you have this or any of the missing episodes of Doctor Who, be sure to get in touch(!)
How do you feel about this list? Are these your top five missing episodes of Doctor Who? Which one would you most like to see returned? Let me know in the comments below.
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