The head of TV archive Kaleidoscope has suggested that 'missing' episodes of Doctor Who are known to still exist, but remain in private collections.


Out of 253 episodes from the show's first six years, 97 remain lost in their original form, due to the BBC's policy of junking archive programming between 1967 and 1978.

As a result, numerous adventures of the First Doctor (played by William Hartnell) and the Second Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton) are either incomplete or missing in their entirety.

However, speaking to, Chris Perry - CEO of the TV archive Kaleidoscope - said it is "very likely" that more lost episodes will be recovered in the future.

"We know where there is missing Doctor Who out there but the owners won’t return it at the moment," he revealed.

"Every year we find 50-70 lost programmes, some famous titles and internationally known names and others not, but significant examples of regional television output, for example."

Frazer Hines and Patrick Troughton in Doctor Who
Frazer Hines and Patrick Troughton in Doctor Who. BBC

Perry pointed to the recent recovery of previously missing episodes of Fraggle Rock, the 1980s series from Jim Henson, as evidence that Kaleidoscope's mission of recovering and restoring 'lost' archive TV continues to bear fruit.

Alternative versions of Fraggle Rock aired in different countries, and all episodes of the British version - which featured specially-shot live-action inserts not available in other countries - were believed to have been wiped in the 1990s.

"Kaleidoscope has recovered all of the British versions of Fraggle Rock - half are in our archive and half at the BFI National Archive," Perry explained.

Kaleidoscope was founded in 1987 and since 1995 has worked in partnership with the BFI on its Missing Believed Wiped initiative to recover, restore and return British television to the archives.

Alongside a screening of newly-colourised Doctor Who clips, the BFI's next annual Missing Believed Wiped event at BFI Southbank on 5th August will also showcase the rediscovered Fraggle Rock footage, a previously-unheard interview with Jeremy Brett (star of ITV's Sherlock Holmes series, which aired from 1984 to 1994), and the unaired pilot for Up the Toga, a US version of Frankie Howerd sitcom Up Pompeii!, made in 1972 and believed lost for decades.

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Tickets for the Missing Believed Wiped Special: Kaleidoscope at 35 – 5th August at BFI Southbank – are available now.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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