According to this article and several others like it on the web, the missing Doctor Who episodes (mostly Hartnell & Troughton) were located in Ethopia and will be released "soon."

I'm curious, however, about the quality of the media on which they were stored. Do we know what media they are on? Will the fidelity be on par with broadcast or are they of bootleg "taped it off the TV" quality? What is the shelf life of the media? And, are any of these in color, or will they need to be colorized liked the Pertwee missing episodes were?

In short, when these are "digitally re-mastered," how good are they going to be, from a film standpoint? (Don't worry, I already know you old-series haters are going to say...)

1 Answer 1


The masters were 2-inch videotape which is why they became lost in the first place. Videotape was much more expensive in the 60's and 70's and many tapes were erased so they could be re-used. The secondary source was when they telerecorded the episodes onto 16mm film which cannot be re-used and many of which were donated to other countries or destroyed. It is most likely that it is the 16mm prints that were found as the Beeb selling the tapes as opposed to erasing them (to re-use) seems to make less sense.

There is no reason to suspect they will be of a poor or unwatchable quality after restoration. Our technology can create Gollum, we can also clean up old and damaged footage. If the source is videotape or 16mm film they would still be scanned into a digital file for manipulation and restoration. Regardless of the quality, it is the icing on the cake for the 50th anniversary of the Doctor. There's never been a better time to be fan.

I do not know if they will be colorized as no definitive statement about release has been made. More information can be found here.

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    I just read "colorized" as "colonized", and I was thinking that was taking Who fandom a bit too far lol. Oct 8, 2013 at 0:02

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