The Classic Doctor Who website has seemingly disappeared, engulfed by a tsunami of pointless redirects and broken links — and we’re pretty dismayed.
While Doctor Who‘s official online presence still shows a wealth of material about 21st Century Who, the Classic side of the BBC’s site has been massacred, meaning a huge amount of behind-the-scenes content, cast and crew listings, photogalleries, and more have vanished in the annuls of the web.
It was really a treasure trove for fans new and old; I’m sure many newer fans learnt about past adventures via this service and meant that the BBC had an archive handy to show pride in one of its biggest shows. Nonetheless, script editor, Andrew Ellard spotted that many of the pages had been taken down, and those still in existence linked back to the modern Who site or “404 Not Found” error messages, instead of full episode guides about the first eight Doctors.
Of course, the BBC has had to scale back services, but we can’t see much harm in keeping such an online back-catalogue of information ready for fans to keep returning to. You’d at least think it’s good for SEO!
Okay, so when it comes to the internet, nothing is lost forever. There are still ways you can access some older content — notably the WayBack Machine, which takes snapshots of popular sites. It’s slower than the BBC website would’ve been and can feel a bit unwieldy at times, but nevertheless allows us to see all the stuff that’s sadly disappeared. It’ll help if you know direct URLs too.
This episode list will be useful. Just copy the URLs you’re after into the WayBack Archive/Internet Archive.
For example — look: here’s the In Detail for The Masque of Mandragora, which Andrew refers to in his tweet!
Still, we’d very much like this whole Classic Doctor Who section reinstated. Pretty please, BBC?