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Martin

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Martin


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Subject:  The Mirror missing episode story 6 October 2013

06/10/2013 05:12 GMT

We don't usually waste our time with the missing rumour nonsense online (we addressed specific claims with quotes from those targeted by the hoax in The Wall of Lies 143 in July 2013), but today The Mirror tabloid has seen fit to join in, and in a big way.

This is such an egregious affront to researchers that it is worth addressing the so-called article point by point. We append a full text copy of the story at the end of the post, to ensure integrity of data, possibly the only point at which integrity intersects with this fantasy.

> The Sunday People can exclusively reveal

While there may be some original content in this piece (the mutually exclusive claims, for instance) this is unfortunately not an exclusive claim. Merely an unusual instance of unprofessionalism rather than credulity or trolling.

> A group of dedicated Doctor Who fans

This is the true bit in the article ... dedicated fans HAVE been researching the fate of the prints. Which is why this claim is demonstrably pernicious nonsense.

> more than 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia.

It would be churlish to point out Ethiopia is more like 6,000 miles from the UK. Anyway, Google Maps gives a distance of 5,938 miles from Edinburgh (where The Scotsman and Stuart Kelly is based) to Addis Ababa (ETV/ERTA).

> after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage.

I'm not really sure how to respond to this portion ... something in the order of "No they haven't" ... "What on Earth are you talking about" ... "Have you taken your anti-psychotics this morning?"

> the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.

This is one of the really good bits. ERTA (AKA Etheopian Televison) is only the Ethiopian government's media outlet. So if they had discovered every broadcast episode of a series ... even an obscure foreign one ... wouldn't they, possibly ...  carry the story themselves?

> A television insider said

... anything you want as they are quite possibly fictional? To be fair, what constitutes an anonymous "television insider" is so vague it could be true. Merely meaningless.

> If the tapes are returned in time

Doctor Who was recorded on videotape (2 inch quadruplex videotape if you wish to know), but for internal use only. They were kinoscoped onto 16 milimetre film for foreign sale, and the tapes were wiped. All gone by the end of 1974.

> After each airing only once between 1964 and 1969

The dates are surprisingly correct; the first broadcast missing episode was Marco Polo 1: The Roof of the World, broadcast on 22 February 1964. However, they were not broadcast only once. My own research shows Marco Polo was repeated several times by ABC, but I know they're referring to the BBC, and are thus still wrong. Eight episodes were repeated on BBC in the '60s, An Unearthly Child and all of The Evil of the Daleks. Which is missing and thus one of the stores The Mirror claims to have been recovered.

> copies were sold to the Ethiopian Agency

No, they weren't. Jon Preddle's excellent BroaDWcast has 77 episodes (all Hartnell) being sold into Ethiopia. And only 11 of those are missing.

> and the BBC then lost or wiped the originals.

Lost or wiped. You couldn't really be bothered doing any research for this story, then?

> Doctor Who expert Stuart Kelly revealed news of the discovery at the Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland last week.

At last we come to some facts. When busting urban myths, its often the secondary details which prove fruitful. There is a Wigtown Book Festival. It was on last week. Stuart Kelly exists and has written a review of a Doctor Who book. And Doctor Who also does exist. By this logic, if I write "Halina Watts is a freakin idiot who drinks too much" then I may well be an expert too. Exactly why this unlikely avenue (a journalist quoting a second journalist at a book festival a week after the quote was supposed to originate) is true or even credible is not really gone into.

> When contacted by the Sunday People

Not so apparent to us reading this on The Mirror site, this was apparently written for a sister tabloid called The Sunday People (or a less definitive "the" here). Unless this refers to a subset of humanity, the "Sunday People"?

> “I was told by a friend

Uh ...

> I really can’t say any more than that.”

And possibly shouldn't have even said that much?

> Rumours

And so it goes ...

> tapes and 16in films

The Thailand rumour from 2008 had the recovery of Marco Polo on more than double IMAX sized "160mm" film, this merely claims the recovery has been on "tapes" and 16 inch film. Which would be 40.64cm or almost half a metre in width.(Thanks Neil Lambess!)

> of 90 episodes were thought to have been handed to a TV historian after turning up in a container loaded on a ship from Zambia.

Oh, it's THAT again? Said "TV historian" has said no, they weren't, both in a general statement and specifically to us. Hey, if you read The Wall of Lies you might make less factual errors!

> two other ­episodes that were thought to have been lost were returned to the BBC.

Actually it was three, but The Romans 3: Conspiracy was superfluous ... no, we don't expect you to know or care, or fact check by this stage.

> after they were sold by mistake at a village fete.

The term is "stolen". Stolen then sold ... where's the mistake?

> November 23

And we get it on the 24th.

We contacted the BBC, ERTA, Halina Watts and Stuart Kelly for comment before this was posted. Only the BBC have responded, unofficially denying the story.

Disclosure: Daylight Savings has just started in South Australia, so the author was in a bad mood anyway.

***
http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/106-doctor-who-episodes-uncovered-2343474

By Halina Watts 11 Comments
Over 100 long-lost Doctor Who episodes found by dedicated fans - in Ethiopia
6 Oct 2013 00:00
The Sunday People can exclusively reveal that 106 BBC programmes have been unearthed featuring the first two doctors

A group of dedicated Doctor Who fans tracked down at least 100 long-lost episodes of the show gathering dust more than 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia.

It was feared the BBC ­programmes from the 1960s – featuring the first two doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – had vanished for all time after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage.

But after months of ­detective work the tapes have been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.

A television insider 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 in time the BBC hopes to announce the news during ­celebrations to mark Doctor Who’s 50th ­anniversary next month.

The Thick Of It actor Peter Capaldi, 55, takes over from Matt Smith as the 12th Time Lord at Christmas.

The recovered episodes from the 60s include much-loved scenes 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, arrive in the Tardis in Palestine in the 12th century just as King Richard the Lionheart is doing battle with the Saracen ruler Saladin.

After each airing only once between 1964 and 1969, copies were sold to the Ethiopian Agency and the BBC then lost or wiped the originals.

As the corporation still owns the copyright the shows could be digitally remastered and shown again. The prospect will delight millions of fans worldwide.

Doctor Who expert Stuart Kelly revealed news of the discovery at the Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland last week.

When contacted by the Sunday People he said: “I was told by a friend that the ­episodes have been found in Ethiopia. The BBC is ­negotiating to get them back right now. I really can’t say any more than that.”

Rumours emerged of the lost shows earlier this year when tapes and 16in films of 90 episodes were thought to have been handed to a TV historian after turning up in a container loaded on a ship from Zambia.

In December 2011 two other ­episodes that were thought to have been lost were returned to the BBC.

The shows, from 1965 and 1967, ­starring Hartnell and Troughton, were found three decades after they were sold by mistake at a village fete.

The 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who will be broadcast ­simultaneously in at least 70 countries on November 23, the BBC has said.

Last modified: 07/10/2013 10:39 GMT by Martin

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