The BBC has the right – and in some senior quarters the desire – to show the nine recently discovered Patrick Troughton Doctor Who episodes on BBC television, RadioTimes.com understands.
The BBC has confirmed that it has the right to air both The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World in the UK decades after they were first broadcast. And if they do get aired they will almost certainly be shown on BBC4, senior sources have confirmed.
However RadioTimes.com understands that a decision would be made in conjunction with BBC Worldwide, which is masterminding their commercial release on iTunes where they were put on sale in October.
However senior sources have said that the BBC has not ruled out airing the episodes on free to air TV eventually, although no time frame has been decided on and no formal decision has been made.
If it does go ahead it would be likely to be some time after the DVD release, according to sources.
The missing story The Enemy of the World is now out on DVD. The Web of Fear, which has a missing episode, is due to be released on DVD next year but is available on iTunes.
When asked about BBC TV’s interests in airing the episodes, a senior BBC executive told RadioTimes.com that no decision had been made but that if BBC television were to obtain the rights they would almost certainly air on BBC4 and not on BBC2.
A Worldwide spokesman said that the “BBC has the rights to show them if they wanted to”.
The BBC could not confirm the nature of the deal with Phillip Morris, director of the Television International Enterprises Archive, who found the missing material or whether a TV broadcast would require more money paid to him.
Both parties have also refused to divulge whether more missing material has been found by Morris.
The prints, discovered in Nigeria, comprise two (almost) complete Patrick Troughton six-parters: The Enemy of the World (in which the Doctor has an evil double) and The Web of Fear (where the Yeti invade London via the Underground).
Given that episode 1 of The Web of Fear and episode 3 of The Enemy of the World have long existed in the BBC archive, the discovery meant that now all five remaining episodes of The Enemy of the World have been found.
However while four instalments for The Web of Fear were located but episode 3 is still missing.
The serials were originally transmitted consecutively over 12 weeks in the winter of 1967/68.