The Sunday People can exclusively reveal that 106 BBC programmes have been unearthed featuring the first two doctors.
But after months of detective work the tapes have been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.
That’s from today’s national newspaper, The Sunday People. So how do they back up this claim?
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.”
Seriously, a national newspaper is running headlines based on the word of an anonymous friend of a Doctor Who fan. I adore it. Buy the T-shirt.
But I have repeated come across two versions of what’s dubbed the Omni-Rumour. Each from those who seem utterly convinced by their position.
That there is nothing. That one of the Doctor Who production team, who was the source for many of these stories after happily talking about them openly at length to certain radio engineers I know from my advertising days, has now been told by his senior that there was nothing. That lawyers have got involved and they believe the person meant to have a cache of missing episodes, despite having a strong reputation in this field, is lying through their teeth. And that the most common question asked by production staff to another is “what have you heard” – that no one actually knows anything, and it has all been one massive echo chamber.
The second version is that it’s all true, the eccentric engineer running around Africa, the underground stone bunker in Uganda that was once a distribution hub, the tonnes of stock sent to Liverpool, whether it’s forty or seventy, or ninety missing episodes recovered, along with everything else by a man who won’t hand it all over to the BBC until he is assured they will restore it correctly and patiently. But something will be announced on the anniversary weekend.
But at Bleeding Cool? We have literally no idea. We never have and have tried to point this out. No one we know claims to have seen a single frame. We run rumours, well sourced rumours admittedly, but one of the more entertaining aspects of this story is hearing from senior television production staff gossiping about this topic in a way indiscernible from the fanboys and fangirls.
It’s rather life affirming.