A group of dedicated Whovians have tracked down 100 long-lost episodes of the show that have been gathering dust 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia.
The BBC feared the programmes from the 1960s, featuring the first two doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, had dissapeared forever after the BBC discarded a bunch of old footage.
Luckily, after months of searching the tapes have been found at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency. An insider with the agency said:
“It is a triumph and fans everywhere will be thrilled. This is a really big deal for the BBC and is set to make them millions from the sale of the DVDs.”
If the tapes are returned to the BBC in time, they hope to announce the news to go along with Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary next month. The lost episodes from the 60s include fan favorites from The Crusade, The Enemy of the World and The Ice Warriors series.
In the four-part Crusade story Hartnell and his assistant Vicki, played by Maureen O’Brien, travel in the TARDIS to Palestine during the 12th century when King Richard the Lionheart was battling with the Saracen ruler Saladin.
After only airing once between 1964 and 1969, these copies were sold to the Ethiopian Agency and the BBC lost or disposed of the originals. As the BBC still owns the copyright the episodes could be digitally remastered before being released to the public.