Monday, 12 October 2015

Where is The Web of Fear Episode 3?

Philip Morris, the man who located nine missing episodes of Doctor Who in Nigeria and returned them to the BBC in 2013, has revealed that a tenth missing episode was also unearthed at the same time but disappeared after the initial discovery.

The nine returned episodes comprised all five missing instalments of The Enemy of the World and four of the five missing episodes of The Web of Fear, meaning that only the third episode of Web remained lost. It has now come to light that a film print of this episode was also found at the television relay station in the Nigerian city of Jos, but its current whereabouts are once again unknown. Morris believes that a private film collector may have managed to buy the print from the station after its location leaked onto the internet in 2011.

A photograph taken by Morris just after the discovery (and after verification of the contents of the cans) has been released exclusively on the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group on Facebook, and shows all twelve film cans - including The Web of Fear Episode 3.


The Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group released the following statement:
On the second anniversary of the release of the newly-recovered and restored The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, Philip Morris, Executive Director of Television International Enterprises and Archives Ltd (TIEA) has authorised us to release this photograph of the twelve film cans which he originally discovered in Jos, Nigeria. 
This photo was taken immediately after Phil had discovered the film cans and verified that the film reels inside matched what was on the labels. 
As you are no doubt aware, one of these film cans - the one containing Episode 3 of The Web of Fear - went missing in between when this photo was taken (in late 2011) and when the cans were delivered to the central collection point in Abuja, Nigeria. The location and fate of this film can is currently unknown.

An additional statement has also been released by Philip Morris himself:
The picture you see is one I took after checking the twelve Doctor Who film cans in Jos in 2011. All film leaders were checked to ensure the cans matched their contents, and this is a practice we follow in fine detail with due care shown. All programmes held at this station were physically checked by myself and my own team. No undue attention was drawn to the Doctor Who prints by myself or any of my staff, however I instructed one of my trusted team to ensure the Doctor Who prints were hidden until authorisation for retrieval could be obtained. 
However, two prints, The Web of Fear 3 and another spare print, were taken from one of my guys by a guy at the station who took the two prints to his office. This was reported to me within hours. I was not unduly concerned as I knew their location. I have to admit I was really excited and told somebody I thought would not leak any sensitive information - big big mistake. Within 4/5 days the station had been named online. Fortunately by this time our job was done, however what of Web 3? I physically searched Jos again and asked the guy who took the films where they were. Initially he denied all knowledge until I produced the picture - he just looked at the floor and said he put them back on the shelf. 
I didn't believe a word, and took the pictures and with one of my colleagues went straight to the top of the NTA [Nigerian Television Authority - Ed], however the guy simply denied it. That is until earlier this year when I returned to Nigeria. I met the same guy again so I asked him directly - he just laughed and said "I don't know anything about missing episodes". I firmly believe this episode is in the hands of a fan and we will trace it. I hope this goes some way to explain why I must maintain a certain level of security around TIEA and its work.


Both serials starred Patrick Troughton as the Doctor and were broadcast as part of Doctor Who's fifth series in 1967-8. Currently, 97 episodes from the 1960s are missing from the BBC's archives. 

With thanks to the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Discussion Group
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