It reads as though from a movie script: hands gingerly picking up a dusty object from a forgotten archive, wiping off decades of grime, unearthing a lost treasure. In this case, the treasure is eleven episodes of Doctor Who, nine of which had been previously missing, from a television archive in Nigeria, according to the BBC.
The episodes, recovered by Philip Morris, complete the story “The Enemy of the World” and fill in much of “The Web of Fear,” both Second Doctor stories from Season Five. Coming on the heels of the recovery of single episodes from “Galaxy 4” and “The Underwater Menace” in late 2011, this huge recovery gives hope that there are more caches of forgotten Doctor Who episodes scattered about the Commonwealth. This discovery, and its attendant publicity, should spur some careful searching of dusty film closets. They have to be out there somewhere.
While we wait for yet more discoveries, the BBC has remastered the episodes and made the two stories (with stills and audio narration for the missing episode of “The Web of Fear”) available on Apple’s iTunes at a relatively reasonable $10 each—a policy I would very much like to see them take with the other extant stories. It’s a small price to pay for Yetis in the London Underground and Patrick Troughton playing both the Second Doctor and an evil Australian dictator named Salamander, I think.