BBC releases rediscovered episodes of Doctor Who exclusively on iTunes

Auntie Beeb saved by Nigerians!

Nothing angers fans more than discovering that the BBC regularly purged its archives of some classic TV series in the early 60's, shows like Doctor Who, Dads Army and others.

Now with the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who coming up next month on the 23rd, enterprising fans have discovered - once thought long lost - episodes; nine in all including parts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 of The Enemy Of The World as well as episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 of The Web of Fear which were found in Nigeria earlier this year.

After being brought up to broadcast standard by the BBC's peerless Restoration Team, both are now available exclusively on iTunes, until their DVD release, that is, for $9.99/£9.99 each. Which should keep us amused until November 23rd, at least.

Check out the previews below.

Source & Image: Engadget

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32 Comments

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Wait, are these missing from the set of rips that was released in 2005/6 on filesoup by a UK fan whose father, a BBC employee, had home recorded the episodes and stored the tapes for 40ish years? Because I thought that set was complete other than 3 or 4 episodes in audio only form.

I will admit that many of the rips were very hard to watch, but all were watchable. I only ask because I thought only those 3 or 4 audio only episodes were the only remaining lost doctor who eps. I'll admit I'm a few years out of the loop on this though since I lost track of the discussion after Filesoup closed down.

Edited by NastySasquatch, Oct 11 2013, 9:16pm :

No idea about filesoup and as far as I can see its not on the wayback machine or at least only in an incomplete form it doesn't appear to have been completely crawled unfortunately.

Audio is available for all episodes but the episodes release were definitely missing from the archives along with 97 other episodes. So while what you say can be true I'm surprised the right person hasn't found it then.

BBC funded by licence fee - Uses this money to restore episodes - charges us again to watch them at an extortionate price.

Something is truly not right here. I'll defend to the death the licence fee, it's a small amount that gives us some absolutely amazing programming free of ads and at no extra cost, but this just takes the mick.

TRC said,
Does the license fee give you access to the programs on demand at any time and the DVDs?

That's the problem. The Beeb trusts documents are just foggy enough that than can eek a few things out. In this case though this is actual programming.
They can sell it, that's not my issue, i mean this has already been broadcast at some point in the past so they are well within their rights to sell it. however they should really think of the licence fee payers and at least broadcast them again first.

Not wanting to appear a kill-joy, but I thought Neowin was a technology news site - other than a passing reference to iTunes, exactly what relevance/place does this story have on the front page of Neowin!!!??

In all honesty, screw "only on iTunes". I understand the difficulty of marketing and distribution, but every time it just feels like extortion and a bit of a monopoly.

Apart from the fact that we all already paid for it through the BBC license (In fact every household in the UK with a television already did) so why should we have to pay for it again??

PsYcHoKiLLa said,
Apart from the fact that we all already paid for it through the BBC license (In fact every household in the UK with a television already did) so why should we have to pay for it again??

Yeah, I'm going to pop in HMV and take a few BBC DVD box sets. I've already paid for them! Not.

Not much of a difference though. Once the BBC (or any channel) have aired it once then I could record it and watch in whenever I want after that.

Either way though £10 is a rip off, especially as other countries can get it so much cheaper. Yes they BBC spent money restoring, but where did that money come from? Us Brits paying our license fee.

Steven Parker said,
Because the BBC lost it, got it back again and spent money restoring it.

The BBC TV license payer pays for it regardless (like me) - the money spent came from us originally!

It's not actually only iTunes, Amazon are in on this too. Any money the BBC make off this is going back in to the BBC anyway, it's not like the licence fee payers are losing out.

Russell Green said,
It's not actually only iTunes, Amazon are in on this too. Any money the BBC make off this is going back in to the BBC anyway, it's not like the licence fee payers are losing out.

Any money made goes to BBC Worldwide, so, yes, the licence fee payers lose out. They paid for the original, paid for the film transfer, paid for the restoration, profit goes elsewhere. The only return was the relicensing for distribution by Worldwide to BBC.

Incidentally, the BBC need to sell the shows worldwide and to the aftermarket because the TV licence fee does not fully fund the BBC.

mrbester said,

Any money made goes to BBC Worldwide, so, yes, the licence fee payers lose out. They paid for the original, paid for the film transfer, paid for the restoration, profit goes elsewhere. The only return was the relicensing for distribution by Worldwide to BBC.

Where do all the profits from BBC Worldwide go? BBC Worldwide subsidise the licence fee! Every penny of profit they make goes back in the other end.

Which UK License Payers should be entitled to see first. Not "perhaps their parents/grandparents did".

This seems to be a generational thing (their are more Brit TL payers who weren't born then than there are those who were) - I don't know what precedents there have been for this?

The BBC are great and all, but they're both ruthlessly commercial and defensive of their trust-status at the same conflicting time.

Steven Parker said,
Because the BBC lost it, got it back again and spent money restoring it.

Doesn;t matter how it got to it's current state, if the BBC, funded by us, spent money on it then it should be aired on the BBC free.