The BBC has confirmed that it has recovered a number of missing episodes of Doctor Who and will be showing them at a special screening later this week.
Back in the 1960s and '70s, the BBC did something very silly indeed: it destroyed many of the original tapes from the very earliest seasons of Doctor Who. Others were stored poorly and damaged so badly as to become unviewable. In total, 106 episodes from the first six years of the show — mainly starring first Doctor William Hartnell and second Doctor Patrick Troughton — have been lost for decades.
The BBC has now confirmed that it has retrieved a "number" of these lost episodes. How many of these episodes, and which ones they are, will be revealed at a press screening by BBC Worldwide later this week.
The broadcasting corporation will also reveal where they were found. Many lost episodes have been recovered over the years from other countries. Back when the series was originally airing, the BBC sold the rights to foreign television stations (such as Australia's ABC) and shipped the episodes to them on film. Some episodes have also been recovered from fans recording them on videotape.
Rumour has it that this set of lost episodes has been recovered from Ethiopia, although the BBC is yet to confirm this.
Fans, meanwhile, are hoping that the episodes recovered include part four of "The Tenth Planet" — the final episode in Hartnell's run, and the first episode that shows the Doctor's transformation.