Television's Missing Episodes
I don't just read and write Science Fiction, I also watch the televisual version. As a child of the Sixties, I was pretty much raised on Doctor Who and Gerry Anderson's puppet series. But what's so frustrating to a fan like me is that much of what was broadcast in the Sixties and Seventies is "missing believed wiped", or otherwise exterminated.
At the time of writing some 106 episodes of the black-and-white (1963-1969) era of Doctor Who are missing from the BBC's archives. The purge wasn't confined to cult telefantasy shows. A couple of Dennis Potter plays are still missing, also several dramas written by Nigel Kneale of Quatermass fame. The good news is that, from time to time, a missing gem resurfaces. The two missing episodes of Doctor Who returned by a film collector in December 2011 seemed a noteworthy find at the time, but they pale in comparison with the nine missing episodes found in Nigeria in 2013! Who knows, perhaps there are more to come?
You might be shocked to learn that even recordings of historic events were not immune from wiping. Would you believe that the BBC didn't bother to retain their in-studio footage of the Apollo 11 moon-landing? My original article (from 1996) on how I and some other like-minded folk managed to recover a few brief clips from the BBC's missing Apollo 11 programmes is available for download from this page. It originally appeared in Metamorph, a long-defunct telefantasy fanzine.
I talked (briefly!) about this find in a short film entitled "Lost In Space" shown in the 27 June 2019 edition of BBC magazine programme The One Show. An edited version of the film was also shown on the 24 November 2021 edition of Morning Live, which can be viewed via the BBC iPlayer for 11 months from transmission (UK Licence Fee payers only). The film starts approximately 37 minutes into the show.
If you'd like to find out more about British television's missing episodes, the Missing-Episodes website is a good place to start.