For those of you who missed it, episode hunter Philip Morris made a surprise appearance on The One Show last night. Although not Doctor Who related, Morris did allude to more discoveries yet to be revealed…
Doctor Who fans will recognise Philip Morris as the man who returned two classic stories to the archive. In 2013, nine episodes of The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear were discovered in Nigeria. This discovery completed The Enemy of the World and enabled two separate DVD releases. Sadly, Episode 3 of The Web of Fear would go missing once again. However, you can understand why Doctor Who fans get excited by a Philip Morris appearance.
The full episode of The One Show is available to watch now on the BBC iPlayer. Dressed, rather appropriately in the style of Indiana Jones, the missing episode archaeologist was on the show to introduce a clip from a 1968 episode of The Morecambe and Wise Show. In the clip, seen on BBC television for the first time in 50 years, Eric and Ernie perform with Michael Aspel.
— Philip Morris (@archives1963) October 5, 2018
Morris confirmed that he’d completed the 1960’s run of ‘Steptoe and Son’ and recovered an episode of ‘The Rag Trade’. His personal highlight was the discovery of an episode of ‘The Basil Brush Show’ with a guest performance from ‘The Kinks’. It was also mentioned that these discoveries were made in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Following the show Philip Morris took to Twitter teasing “lots more to be revealed”. Paul Vanezis, part of the Restoration Team, reiterated this on a missing episodes forum, saying “There is other material as part of this return which the BBC have yet to announce.”
Doctor Who in Sierra Leone
Episodes of Doctor Who were sold across the globe. These overseas copies have proven to be a fruitful method of recovering missing stories. Few can forget the excitement in 1992 when ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ was discovered in Hong Kong. Although no Doctor Who episodes have been announced in Philip Morris’ latest treasure hunt, Sierra Leone did purchase the right to broadcast stories. These film prints were sourced from other broadcasters in Nigeria and Mauritius. From 1967 to 1970 the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service purchased all the available blocks of William Hartnell stories. This means that the country screened missing stories such as ‘Marco Polo’ and ‘The Smugglers’.
According to documents all Doctor Who prints were returned to the BBC in 1974. However, there are rumours that ‘The Savages’ was repeated in the early 1980’s. The country has endured rebellion and civil war with many buildings damaged and destroyed during the conflict. All these years on, the discovery of two Morecambe and Wise episodes ignites further optimism that more missing Doctor Who material might still be out there.