First night review

Doctor Who: Lost episodes Enemy Of The World and Web of Fear discovered

5.00

The episodes have been found in pristine condition in Nigeria

Doctor Who fans will raise a Sonic Screwdriver to archivist Phillip Morris, the Indiana Jones of film, whose ceaseless search for lost episodes uncovered two classic stories languishing in Nigeria, made available for download at midnight on Thursday via iTunes.

Click here to see a gallery of images from the lost episodes

Viewers might wish the BBC had shipped more of its programming to Africa during the period in which it systematically wiped the jewels in its crown, given the magnificently-preserved condition of the two episodes, which have not been seen for some 45 years.

Morris found The Enemy of the World (1967) and The Web of Fear (1968), both starring Patrick Troughton as the second doctor, gathering dust at a television relay station in Nigeria, after tracking records of BBC overseas shipments.

But this mysterious Saviour of Sci-Fi declined to appear at a Soho screening of the episodes, sending a message from an unnamed distant land which read: “I cannot be with you as the search is endless. My work must continue.”

The six-part Enemy of The World, now complete with the discovery of five lost episodes, bursts with the energy of the Swinging Sixties.

Matt Smith’s latter-day giddy enthusiasm is reflected in Troughton’s playful splashing in the sea when the Tardis lands at sun-kissed Australian beach (actually Littlehampton in Sussex).

The Doctor and his kilted assistants, Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling), are soon menaced by a sinister vehicle which floats across the sand. “It’s like a sea monster,” ventures Victoria. “No, it’s a Hovercraft,” the Doctor corrects her.

The fast-paced episode features much gun-play and a daring rescue by helicopter, piloted by plucky agent Astrid.

The Doctor, it emerges, bears a close resemblance to Salamander, a ruthless scientist/politician who claims to have solved global famine by redirecting the sun’s rays but is actually trying to take over the planet.

However, Troughton’s Doctor, sporting a skew-whiff bow-tie and Harry Hill wing collar, would really rather return to the beach than get involved in any saving-the-world heroics, before circumstances force his hand.

There’s a charm to this alien-free story, often lacking in the rebooted series, with its conscious delivery of “blockbuster” episodes to feed a global audience.

Mark Gatiss, a writer for the revived Doctor Who, said had “hoped and prayed” that missing episodes of the six-part Web Of Fear would one day turn up.

It is actually more a case of Doctor Where? as Troughton is nowhere to be seen in episode two, screened to the media.

The Yeti are running amok on the Underground. The Doctor is missing, presumed dead, after soldiers blast the tunnel and the claustrophobic atmosphere builds during the subterranean storyline.

“If only the Doctor would turn up,” bemoans Yeti-expert Professor Travers in a brave episode which proceeds without its title character – a decision forced on the writers when Troughton negotiated an extra week’s holiday for playing the dual role of Salamander in the earlier story.

The characters trapped underground include a newspaper journalist, accused of working for the “gutter press”, who has a reputation for “sensationalism” and “distorting the truth”. The episode aired months before Rupert Murdoch broke into Fleet Street by acquiring the News of the World and The Sun.

Morris, who recovered a total of nine episodes, can’t rest on these welcome additions to the Doctor Who canon – there are 97 more still unaccounted for.

The first four Doctor Who episodes from 1963 will be screened on BBC4 as part of the show's 50th anniversary celebrations next month.

Asked whether viewers might also see the recovered episodes, without having to pay Apple £1.89 per episode or £9.99 to download the complete stories, BBC Worldwide said licence-fee payers had already enjoyed a chance to watch the programmes in the late 60s.

It is the type of commercial deal, with the proceeds being ploughed back into licence fee funds, which the BBC will increasingly pursue under its Director General, Tony Hall.

So with reports of a further cache of Doctor Who episodes locked away in Ethiopia, it’s time for the archive Indiana Jones to spring into action once again.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor