I'm finally getting around to watching Doctor Who. I'm the kind of guy who wants to start at the beginning and work my way to the present day from there. I know that's not what many people would recommend, but I've watched more series from around that time, so I think I sort of know what I am getting into. (I've seen the original Star Trek, Blake's 7, the original Battlestar Galactica and even Galactica 1980).

Now, the original Doctor Who-series has this strange history where a number of tapes have been lost. Of course, when something is lost, it can be found again and a number of the lost episodes have been found. I took a look at wikipedia where it talks about serials, some of which are complete again, while others still miss one or more episodes. I'm not too interested in watching incomplete stories, so my plan is to watch the serials that are complete and any non-serial episodes (if there are such episodes).

Now, since those are what I plan to watch: what is the list of episodes when taking out any incomplete stories?

  • So this; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Valorum
    Nov 9, 2014 at 16:44
  • @Richard Ah yes, I can't believe I missed that page. I'm having some trouble with that table, but I'll spend some time trying to make sense of it. If I can, post the link as an answer and I'll accept.
    – Jasper
    Nov 9, 2014 at 16:47
  • As I've said below, link-only answers are to be avoided. If this gives you the answer, it would probably be better to either delete the question or spend a few minutes composing your own answer, then accept it.
    – Valorum
    Nov 9, 2014 at 16:48
  • Coming from a SO background, I generally don't like link-only answers either, but it seemed to make sense here. You do have a point, though, and copying the information might be better (though while it won't become useless like the link, it's more likely to become outdated). I like giving credit (and rep) where credit (and rep) is due, so I like leaving that to the original "answerer". However, it seems that the information is there (sort of) but isn't in the form to answer my question as it is, so I'll look into writing an answer myself.
    – Jasper
    Nov 9, 2014 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


It’s probably best to start with the list of missing serials on Wikipedia, and skip anything which appears on that list. A list of all First and Second Doctor serials is easy to find online; Wikipedia has one such list. 26 of 50 such serials are missing at least some of their episodes, so you have little less than a half left which is available in its original televised form.

However, just because the tapes are lost doesn’t mean you can’t experience the episode. There are other ways to get those episodes:

  • Episode soundtrack. A BBC article about missing episodes from January 2004 confirms that you can listen to the soundtrack of every episode, including those whose video is missing:

    Doctor Who was relatively lucky in that it still has a dedicated, semi-organised fan following that actively seeks out lost material. Although more than a hundred episodes are still missing, every Doctor Who episode at least exists in audio form thanks to the efforts of a couple of fans who made contemporary recordings.

    I’ve listened to a handful of classics this way, including The Tenth Planet and Power of the Daleks. It’s certainly not as good as having the episode tape, but I think it makes for an acceptable substitute.

  • Animation. Based on surviving audio and “telesnaps” (photographs from the sets), a handful of BBC-endorsed animations have been produced. Again, the Wikipedia article has the full list, and seems a little out of date, but this apparently includes:

    • The Reign of Terror
    • The Tenth Planet
    • The Moonbase
    • The Ice Warriors
    • The Invasion

    There are also plenty of fan animations out there, but I’ve never watched any of these animations, so I can’t attest to quality.

  • Fan reconstructions. The Wikipedia article makes hints in this direction:

    Since the late 1990s, reconstructions of the missing serials have been made by fan groups such as Loose Cannon Productions, who distribute them free. These "recons" are based on the directors' original camera scripts, and use a combination of the surviving soundtracks, surviving footage, photographs, still images (especially Cura's tele-snaps) and specially-recreated material. Although technically infringing copyright, these recons have been tolerated by the BBC, provided they are not sold for profit and are only distributed in degradable, non-digital formats such as VHS.

    Unfortunately visiting the Loose Cannon homepage takes you to a landing page. Their site is still available through the Internet Archive, and it looks like they had a decent number of episodes at one point, but I don’t know how easy it would be to get hold of one now.

    Loose Cannon is probably the most prominent group who did episode reconstructions, but they’re by no means the only one. There are reconstructions of individual episodes dotted around – quality may vary, but depending on how much of a completionist you are, it may be better than nothing.

  • 1
    Thanks for listing the alternatives to not watching lost episodes. It's always good to see an answer that tries to answer the spirit of the question, rather than the letter.
    – Jasper
    Nov 9, 2014 at 17:50

Here is a complete list of Doctor Who serials


that mentions which episodes are missing.
So the last missing episode if from the serial The Space Pirates, and everything from then on (The War Games) is complete.

  • 3
    Link-only answers are generally to be avoided. They can become obsolete or be rendered useless if the address changes.
    – Valorum
    Nov 9, 2014 at 16:47
  • @Richard The address of Wikipedia? OK, so you want me to copy the complete text of the page in here?
    – Mr Lister
    Nov 9, 2014 at 16:49
  • You haven't linked to wikipedia, you've linked to a page on wikipedia. That page could be removed tomorrow for a whole host of reasons. No to copying the text, perhaps you could condense the answer down to the salient points.
    – Valorum
    Nov 9, 2014 at 16:51
  • But there are no more salient points than what I already have.
    – Mr Lister
    Nov 9, 2014 at 16:53
  • Ah yes, the information is there, though it's tacked on to another field. I think I'll have a look at improving that page by moving it to its own column.
    – Jasper
    Nov 9, 2014 at 17:13

The only incomplete episodes are during the First and Second Doctor stories. Additionally, although there are complete archives of the majority of these episodes, it may be difficult to find them all anyway.

Therefore it is my opinion that you really only need to watch a few benchmark stories to get the same enjoyment.

In chronological order:

First Doctor
*An Unearthly Child (First Episode)
*The Daleks
*Edge of Destruction
*The Aztecs
*The Sensorites
*The Dalek Invasion of Earth
*The Space Museum
*The Chase
*The Time Meddler
-It's worth reading the synopsis of The Daleks' Master plan, but only three of twelve parts are known to exist
-The Tenth Planet is another serial worth reading the synopsis for, but again, is incomplete.

Second Doctor
-Read synopsis for Power of the Daleks
*Tomb of the Cybermen
*The Ice warriors
*The Web of Fear
-Ready synopsis for parts 1 through 5 of the Wheel in Space, and watch part 6 which is the only surviving episode
*The Mind Robbers
*The Invasion
*The Seeds of Death
*The War Games - Of this ten episode epic, you may want to simply jump into episodes 9 and 10.

I think this list is sufficient for continuity purposes in getting a chronological immersion into the "Who-verse"

  • I actually want to see all (that isn't incomplete) not just a minimal something about "chronological immersion"
    – Jasper
    Dec 10, 2014 at 13:20
  • Okay, then skip the ones that are incomplete.
    – Stuart Yee
    Dec 10, 2014 at 17:57

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