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Wiped ~ a short note about the missing stories

For those of you who may not know about the history of televised Doctor Who (or those who may want a refresher (and even those who know – please add your thoughts and comments below)) the BBC thought that the cost of videotape was prohibitive and not seeing the potential of the future video and DVD markets decided to reuse the videotape once the program was deemed to be finished with. Many programs from this era of television are missing, such as “Not only but also” and “Dad’s Army” to name but two. The stories that are available to view today often have interesting stories behind them. Some were about to be destroyed in the late 70’s just at a time when a Doctor Who archivist/fan became involved with the program and saved them from the black hole of missing stories. Other stories have been found due to the overseas sale of the program. Often a copy was made to be sent to a country for broadcast there after which it would then be sent to the next country and so on. Some copies have been found in the oddest of places as a result. But sometimes complete stories have been lost in their entirety but occasionally clips turn up that may have been cut from an overseas broadcast if the censors in that country deemed something to be too violent. Even when the stories have been found, it takes an awful lot of hard work to clean up the picture into a state where it can be commercially sold.

But what about the soundtracks?

If you have clicked on the stories that I have watched on my quest, usually you will be taken to their DVD page but sometime you will be directed to that story’s soundtrack. Where did these come from? Simple. The fans. Some Doctor Who fans (in the pre-VCR stage) recorded the program onto audiotape as it was live on air. Some have been done better than others, there is a very interesting DVD extra on The Invasion which goes into more detail. This DVD set is interesting as most of the episodes of this 8 part story exist but 2 parts are missing. Here, they are recreated in cartoon format (still in monochrome) with the artists working from camera scripts to know what the general idea of the scenes will look like. This is the first (and so fay only) story to be completed in this manner. If you wish to see other stories that exist only in part, then check out Lost In Time which also has extras relating to the lost stories. The audio soundtracks also have an additional voice to give guidance to the story especially in the more visual scenes. In all but one story, the narrator is one of the actors who played a companion in the story. (The exception is The Macra Terror which is narrated by sixth Doctor, Colin Baker). There are even a few stories which are available as both DVD and audio soundtrack.

A book on my wish list is Wiped by Richard Molesworth (who does a lot of work on the DVD releases).


2 Responses

  1. […] back in time and visit Marco Polo. This is also the first story that I haven’t seen. [click here for more info about the wiped stories] The narrator for this particular story is William Russell, […]

  2. […] 5 and 6 are missing but have been animated (as was the Patrick Troughton story, The Invasion. Click here for more info on the lost stories. The animation will be done by a different company than that […]

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