Searching for television’s missing gems: Doctor Who, Woody Allen, Ridley Scott and Dennis Potter

Searching for television’s missing gems: Doctor Who, Woody Allen, Ridley Scott and Dennis Potter 

The researcher who found missing episodes of Doctor Who is unearthing other shows we thought we’d never see again, says Matthew Sweet

The bound volumes of the Radio Times shelved in libraries up and down the country are like books of the dead: records of performances lost to posterity. Some programmes were never recorded. Some were recorded and wiped, to reuse expensive videotape. Some, having been copied onto 16mm film, were stored for a few years, then heaved into skips and despatched for landfill – often by contractual obligation.

 

Other copies were sold overseas on a “burn or return” basis. The paperwork suggests that television stations from Aden to Zambia dutifully disposed of programmes once the rights to show them had expired. But a small band of dedicated researchers know that the paperwork often lies – and have decided to find out the truth for themselves.

Source: Daily Telegraph

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