The saga of Doctor Who‘s missing episodes rumbles on, with a news report by ABC highlighting the part Australia could play in the return of some sought-after First and Second Doctor tales.
Specifically, it sounds like copies of The Daleks’ Master Plan went missing in Australia and so could, in theory, still be found…
Paul Vanezis, member of the Doctor Who Restoration Team, told ABC:
“The thing you need to understand about Australia’s role in Doctor Who is that it was kind of the core market… If the ABC didn’t buy a particular series, the chances are the BBC wouldn’t sell it anywhere else. Australia has a big role to play in saving British TV, because a lot of those old recordings wouldn’t have survived if they didn’t get sent to Australia.”
Vanezis pinpoints The Daleks’ Master Plan, the First Doctor epic which also starred Peter Purves as Steven Taylor and Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom.
He says that the serial was was sold to ABC by the BBC, but recommendations by the country’s Film Censorship Board were too extensive for transmission. Instead, the reels went into storage at ABC’s Gore Hill Studios in 1967 or 1968, but Vanezis points out that,
“Those films haven’t been seen since.”
Gore Hill Studios was sold in 2003, so The Daleks’ Master Plan could still be somewhere down under.
The interview with Vanezis was carried out as ABC revealed an interview with Tom Baker, unseen since the 1970s!
We do at least know that missing episodes are yet to be released; Philip Morris previously revealed that he knows of at least 6 episodes in the hands of private collectors…