The Doctor Who Video and Audio FAQ

Written by Dominic Jackson

                                               Last updated August 18th 1997

                               The Doctor Who

                             Video and Audio FAQ

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            A version with images is also available — click here.
  The purpose of this FAQ is to explain the survival of many pieces of rare
    Doctor Who material, either video or audio, or to explain why certain
  episodes are considered untransmittable from the master copies currently
  held by the BBC.  I have presented it in the form of common questions and
  answers.  I’m anxious for feedback on this FAQ so please let me know what
                          you think of my efforts!


What are these missing episode audios I keep hearing about?

I keep hearing that a complete colour version of The Ambassadors of Death
exists.  If this is the case, why haven’t the BBC colourised the serial and
released it on video?

More Than Thirty Years in the TARDIS contains a brief extract subtitled as
The Mind of Evil, but it’s in colour.  I thought the story only survived in
black and white?

What is so wrong with The Faceless Ones episode 3 that the currently
existing print is considered untransmittable?

Bearing in mind that it’s now highly unlikely colour versions of the black
and white only Pertwee episodes will turn up, is there any chance that the
black and white versions will be computer colourised somehow?

I hear loads of rumours about private film collectors who have missing
material but won’t surrender it.  Is there a grain of truth amongst them

What are these cine-clips I hear about?  How do they differ from normal

What are these “behind the scenes” pieces of footage from the sixties and
seventies that are referred to by people?

Q. What are these missing episode audios I keep hearing about?

     During the original broadcasts of the Hartnell and Troughton episodes,
     some more dedicated fans would place their reel-to-reel tape recorders
     near the TV speaker and record the soundtrack of the episode (it should
     be noted that, although primitive sets did exist, home video recording
     was almost unheard of at this time).  Bearing in mind the quality of
     the components making up both the TV sets and the tape recorders, it is
     not surprising that the sound quality of many of these recordings is
     absolutely awful!  Some of the best quality recordings of this type
     were made by James Russell, and were used by the BBC for the release of
     their four Doctor Who — The Missing Stories audio tapes (these were The
     Evil of the Daleks (1992), The Macra Terror (1992) and The Power of the
     Daleks/Fury From the Deep (released together in 1993).  None of these
     tapes are still available in the UK, and only the first two were
     released in the US).  Most of these fans started taping around the time
     of The Myth Makers and for many years audio recordings of the missing
     portions of The Reign of Terror, The Crusade and Galaxy 4 were simply
     not known to exist.  (A very poor quality copy of the audio track to
     Marco Polo was known about, taped by Richard Landen, who did also have
     complete audio recordings of The Crusade and Galaxy 4 but had kept them
     back as potential bargaining ammunition).

     A major breakthrough came in 1994, when a fan called Graham Strong
     approached the BBC with very high quality audio recordings of most
     episodes from The Dalek Masterplan :Volcano (episode eight) to The
     Dominators.  There are several gaps in the Strong collection – these
     are The Dalek Masterplan :The Abandoned Planet (episode eleven), The
     Celestial Toymaker (which Strong thought at the time was “a silly
     story”) and The Gunfighters.  Strong had actually taped Doctor Who
     right from the first episode, albeit with a cheap second-hand tape
     recorder which did not have a good quality microphone, but later wiped
     most of his early recordings for re-use (three episodes survived
     unwiped, but they are of poor quality and are of existing episodes
     anyway; namely The Sea of Death, Strangers in Space and The Space
     Museum although part of World’s End also survived).  He had also
     approached the BBC before about his recordings, when the hunt for
     missing episodes was at its peak, but had been told that they were only
     interested in video material at the time.  Later however, the
     newly-formed Doctor Who restoration team became interested and borrowed
     Strong’s tapes, which were transferred to DAT (Digital Audio Tape) by
     Paul Vanezis and are retained by the BBC for future use.  The quality
     of Strong’s recordings was so high that some were even superior to the
     soundtracks on the telerecordings of existing episodes held by the BBC,
     and his recording of The Tenth Planet episode 2 was used to redub the
     film print.  This quality stemmed from the fact that Strong had a good
     quality tape recorder (which he bought early in December 1965) and he
     discovered a way to connect his tape recorder directly to the
     television, thus producing the recordings of outstanding quality that
     became known as the “crystal clear” recordings.

     This still left early stories either with no audio at all known to
     exist or only very poor quality copies.  The final gaps were plugged in
     1995 when another fan, David Holman, came forward with his own high
     quality recordings of many episodes.  Holman began recording Doctor Who
     with Marco Polo using a good quality microphone (and managing to keep
     the other people in his house quiet for nearly a year’s worth of
     Saturdays!).  He continued to record well after Strong had lost
     interest and it is believed his collection extends up to Frontier in
     Space episode three.  Whilst the quality of his recordings was not as
     high as Strong’s they were far superior to the other copies of some
     episodes, particularly Marco Polo.  Some small problems were found with
     Holman’s recordings: he had edited the episodes together into
     compilations, and quite often the overlap sections would be missing and
     have to be patched in from other fan recordings before the audio of the
     complete story can be released..  It is assumed that Holman did this to
     make the stories “flow” better – it seems unlikely he was trying to
     save tape as several of his reels have a few blank minutes at the end.
     Some of his episodes were also recorded too loud and some distortion
     occurs however this can be overcome with modern digital technology.
     Holman’s collection included Galaxy 4 as well, and so the current, very
     fortunate state of affairs was reached, whereby high quality audio
     recordings of all missing Doctor Who episodes are known to exist.  The
     restoration team also borrowed Holman’s tapes to allow the BBC to have

     In the couple of years since the initial rediscovery of these audio
     recordings other fans have taken both sets of recordings and have
     increased the sound quality even further using the latest digital
     technology.  Some problems still remain as artefacts of the time when
     the recordings were made; for example Strong’s recording of The Savages
     :4 suffers from a brief burst of static probably caused by interference
     from an improperly suppressed electrical source.  These audios are
     freely available through fan channels for the cost of tapes and return
     postage.  They are also the source of the soundtracks for the latest
     telesnap reconstructions.  One thing that should be cleared up however,
     is that Holman and Strong recorded every episode of Doctor Who (with
     the exceptions listed above) during the periods they were taping the
     show.  They didn’t magically predict which episodes would be missing in
     30 years’ time and only record them!  Of course, only the recordings of
     episodes no longer extant in the BBC archives are of interest (with a
     few exceptions such as the aforementioned Tenth Planet :2) as, although
     the quality might not always be as good, it is far simpler to use the
     soundtrack of the film prints for episodes which do still exist.  One
     further use of the audio recordings is to dub over clips which are
     either silent or have an incorrect soundtrack (some clips from The
     Power of the Daleks episodes 4 and 5 fall into this category) or to
     help in the restoration of material known to be missing from prints of
     episodes recovered from overseas (as in the case of the recent BBC
     Video release of The War Machines).

     Most recently audio recordings made by another fan (David Butler) have
     come to light.  They are of similar quality to Holman’s recordings but
     Butler did not edit episodes together so his recordings are complete.
     It seems he only recorded the first and last episodes of a serial but
     the recordings are still useful (the reconstruction of The Invasion
     episodes 1 and 4 uses Butler’s audio of episode 1 and Holman’s audio of
     episode 4).

Q. I keep hearing that a complete colour version of The Ambassadors of Death
exists.  If this is true, why haven’t the BBC colourised the serial and
released it on video?

     It is true that a complete colour version of The Ambassadors of Death
     exists.  This was recorded off air from WNED Channel 17 Buffalo, an
     American PBS station for a gentleman named Tom Lundy in 1977. This
     broadcast was in colour and the serial was one of the very first Doctor
     Who stories shown by the station.  On a technical note, the story was
     recorded onto Betamax tape, not U-Matic as was long rumoured in
     fandom!  Ian Levine later obtained U-Matic copies of all Lundy’s tapes
     and these were the versions supplied to the BBC for restoration (and
     are the source of the long-held fan myth that the original recordings
     were made on U-Matic tape).

  [Six screen grabs from the colour Ambassadors showing the varying degrees
  of colour faults - hard to describe so check out the version of this FAQ
                    with images if you want to see them!]

     Unfortunately, the recording machine was in Toronto (it seems Lundy
     paid a friend up there to tape the serial for him, and later bought
     copies of other colour Pertwee serials off other people) and was
     attempting to record a New York station — it’s not surprising therefore
     that the signal was weak.  This manifests itself as “rainbows” of
     colour, most of the time fairly weak and superimposed over the original
     colour picture (see the images – they’re worth 6000 words
     altogether!).  The only episodes not to suffer excessively from this
     are episodes 1 and 5 (the interference is still present but is not
     nearly so noticeable).  The original 2-inch PAL colour transmission
     tape for episode one survives and it is far superior in quality to the
     off-air version of the episode, hence there is no need to colourise
     this episode.  Episode 5 has also been restored to colour by the BBC
     Restoration Team and has been broadcast on BBC Prime.  Episode 6 has
     also been restored, however it suffers from a brief burst of rainbowing
     near the beginning of the episode and so is only suitable as a source
     of colour clips.  The colourised versions of episodes 5 and 6 have been
     transferred to D3 digital videotape and have been given to the Film and
     Videotape Library at Brentford, however episode 6 is apparently only
     usable with the permission of the Archive Selector.  The vaults of WNED
     17 have already been searched; nothing has been found.

     The rest of the story is similarly afflicted with colour blurs.
     Episodes 3 and 4 are very badly affected, as here the rainbows are so
     strong that the entire colour signal has been lost, and even if the
     rainbows could be removed the resulting picture would have very little
     original colour left (see images).  Removing the rainbows is in itself
     a very difficult task – the biggest headache is that they are rarely
     static and their nature changes from scene to scene (sometimes they are
     diagonal lines across the picture, sometimes they are vertical bars).
     This means that any algorithm to remove them must be capable of
     self-adaptation – a difficult thing to program.  All attempts so far to
     remove the colour interference patterns have so far been unsuccessful
     although the BBC do retain a copy of the raw colour version of the
     serial, derived from the original Betamax tape (although several
     generations removed from it).  The restoration team would still like a
     better quality copy of episode 5 to work from and are very keen to get
     in touch with Tom Lundy himself, however he seems to have disappeared.
     If you have a contact address for him, Steve Roberts would very much
     like to hear from you!

     Despite the picture interference, the raw colour version of the serial
     is very watchable.  In particular, the sound remains perfect throughout
     (even when the picture interference is strongest in episodes 3 and 4)
     and the quality of episode 5 is much better than the black and white
     version both in terms of sound and picture quality.

Q. More Than Thirty Years in the TARDIS contains a brief extract subtitled
as The Mind of Evil, but it’s in colour.  I thought the story only survived
in black and white?

     No complete colour episodes exist from this serial.  However three
     brief colour clips from episode six do still exist.  They are:

  DESCRIPTION                                                      DURATION
                                (MINS, SECS)
  From the beginning of the episode (including opening titles)
            to Yates telling the Brigadier where the missile is.
  From Jo bringing in a meal for Barnham to Benton's phone ringing
       From the Doctor finding the body outside the process room to the
   Doctor saying "Good grief, it's stronger than ever now!"


       1. Timings are for PAL (European/Australian) video, the overall
          duration in NTSC (North America) is 4'36".
       2. On most fan copies, the picture breaks up during the first and
          last few seconds of each clip.  The picture element of the last
          clip breaks up before the Doctor speaks his line.
       3. It has been rumoured for some time that a longer version of the
          final clip exists, including the Keller Machine going wild.  These
          scenes are not present on any fan copies nor were they on the
          version supplied to the BBC for restoration.
       4. Originally the raw colour footage was used to colourise the
          appropriate sections of the black and white telerecording of the
          episode, held by the BBC Film and Videotape Library, in the same
          manner as the three complete Pertwee stories.  This was done in a
          hurry and the result (extracts from which were used on both More
          Than Thirty Years in the TARDIS and the UNIT Recruitment Film
          broadcast before episode six of the 1993 UK repeat of Planet of
          the Daleks) is not very good.  The quality of the raw footage is
          excellent (almost as good as Terror of the Autons) and the
          original BBC copy has since been unearthed and a straightforward
          standards conversion done on it.  The results are said the be
          highly satisfactory.  This new standards conversion will be used
          to colourise the black and white footage again, to be included as
          a short bonus on the end of the BBC Video release of The Mind of
          Evil in May 1998.
       5. By the time the serial was broadcast in colour on WTTE it is
          highly probable that the original BBC colour tapes had already
          been wiped or destroyed.
       6. For full details of all the clips known to exist from missing
          episodes of Doctor Who, see Steve Phillips’ clips article.

 [Six screen grabs from the colour clips from The Mind of Evil episode six]

     The colour extracts survive by pure chance.  Tom Lundy, the originator
     of the colour versions of  Doctor Who and the Silurians, The
     Ambassadors of Death and Terror of the Autons, had a full off-air
     colour version of The Mind of Evil which he had taped in c. 1978, off
     WTTE Chicago.  However he did not like the story very much and decided
     to reuse the tapes he had originally recorded it on.  It should be
     pointed out that this was at a time when video tapes could cost almost
     US$30 per one hour tape and many of these early home video users reused
     tapes as they simply couldn’t afford to buy any more blanks.  In 1983,
     Lundy destroyed his colour copies of episodes one to five by recording
     over them with an American football match.  He also decided to record
     over episode six  (which was on a different tape) sometime in 1983
     although it is not known what replaced the episode on the tape.
     However for some reason he did not rewind his tape all the way and
     hence the first four minutes of the episode were left intact.  At the
     time it is almost certain Lundy had no idea he was destroying the only
     colour copy of the serial in the world.  As for the colour Ambassadors
     of Death, Ian Levine had obtained colour U-Matic copies of Lundy’s
     tapes and was able to supply the remaining minutes of the recording to
     the BBC.

Q. What is so wrong with The Faceless Ones episode 3 that the currently
existing print is considered untransmittable?

     This episode, although rumoured to exist as early as 1985, was finally
     returned to the BBC in April 1987.  The same person returned The Evil
     of the Daleks :2 a month later.  The print had suffered badly in the
     hands of the film collector who returned it, and had been played often
     on an old and badly-maintained projector.  As a result the film had
     physically snapped several times and had been crudely sellotaped back
     together.  These breakages resulted in the loss of perhaps four frames
     each time the film broke, and the sellotaped portions were now even
     more likely to stick in the projector and break again.  This continued
     abuse has left the print with many small jumps where a few frames are
     missing, but also with some rather large jumps where upwards of half a
     second of material is missing (it is possible these result from even
     more severe projector damage such as a rip or even punching the
     sprocket teeth through the film – see the screen shots which are taken
     from consecutive frames as they appear on the currently held print).
     Such jumps would be completely unacceptable in a transmission situation
     and hence the print is currently classified as untransmittable.  It is
     possible that some of these jumps could be overcome with morphing
     techniques, however this has yet to be tried and as the cleaning up of
     this episode wouldn’t render the entire story transmittable, such a
     project probably won’t be given very high priority unless BBC Video
     should take an interest in releasing the two episodes that exist of the
     story.   Some of the damage, such as the sprocket holes, could be
     cleaned up fairly easily, which would still leave the jumps, but these
     alone might not prevent the episode being released on video – so if you
     want them, speak up!

 [Two screen grabs from consecutive frames of The Facelees Ones episode 3 as
                  they appear in the currently held print]

Q. Bearing in mind that it’s now highly unlikely colour versions of the
black and white only Pertwee episodes will turn up, is there any chance that
the black and white versions will be computer colourised somehow?

     The main problem with computer colourisation is that it’s very
     expensive – the current rate is around US$2000 per finished minute of
     programme.  Actually this works out at only $1.33 per frame, but with
     25 frames per second the costs tend to mount up rather quickly.  The
     technique usually carried out is to have a human operator colourise one
     frame and then to allow the machine to interpret this frame and the
     colour information in it, and to try to apply it to the next frames,
     until the operator judges that the results are no longer satisfactory
     and the process is stopped and repeated.  Such a process was used
     during the colourisation of Doctor Who and the Silurians to overcome a
     colour fault on the NTSC tape similar to those on various episodes of
     The Ambassadors of Death, around the junction of episodes five and six,
     and a sample of The Ambassadors of Death has been colourised in this
     way.  The results are very impressive, but the deciding factor is the
     cost, and it is doubtful that a video release of The Ambassadors of
     Death, for example, would give BBC Worldwide a return on its outlay of
     $200,000 to have the four episodes of the serial that cannot be
     colourised in the conventional way, restored to colour.  Further
     evidence for this is in the decision to release The Mind of Evil on BBC
     Video in May 1998 in black and white format.  Perhaps $50,000 would not
     be too much to pay if colourising one episode in this way allowed an
     entire serial to be released in colour, as in the case of Planet of the
     Daleks or Invasion of the Dinosaurs.  However it must be remembered
     that the computer colourisation process has its limitations – where
     there is no original colour source (such as an off-air recording) to
     work from, the original colours can only be approximated to, not
     matched exactly.  This would especially be the case for something like
     a computer colourisation of all six episodes of The Mind of Evil where
     only a few minutes of original colour footage exist, together with a
     handful of colour production stills.  The biggest company of this kind
     is American Film Technologie whose services have already been used by
     the restoration team (see above), however all their computers are in
     storage at the time of writing.

Q. I hear loads of rumours about private film collectors who have missing
material but won’t surrender it.  Is there a grain of truth amongst them

     A very old chestnut, this one.  Careful research by various people has
     revealed that many of the rumours circulating in fandom over the years
     are with only a very slight basis in fact.  Such rumours are for
     example, that a private collector has some or all of The Macra Terror
     (almost certainly confusion with some amateur-shot clips from this
     episode, which were rediscovered in 1996 after being held by a
     prominent fanzine editor for many years) and that William Hartnell was
     given a print of The Dalek Masterplan :The Feast of Steven after it was
     transmitted (he was actually given a portion of The Dalek Invasion of
     Earth which later found its way to the BFI).  Other rumours are much
     harder to conclusively dismiss: they include the long-held belief in
     fandom that the fourth episodes of The Dalek Masterplan and The Tenth
     Planet were stolen from the Blue Peter office in November 1973.  The
     evidence for this is thin: certainly The Traitors was signed out from
     the Archives for Blue Peter to use clips from, and despite repeated
     memos to the person who signed the episode out (who went by the name of
     J. Smith!) the print was never returned to the Archives.  It is certain
     that The Tenth Planet episode 4 was obtained from BBC Enterprises –
     there is no evidence that the Archives ever had a copy of the episode.
     Furthermore, Enterprises were continuing to sell the story abroad until
     1974 (although this does not necessarily mean that the print of episode
     4 was returned to them after Blue Peter had finished with it; they
     would have retained a master negative to strike new prints from, before
     this and any other prints they held were destroyed when the sales
     rights ran out).  This is an example of how fan rumours can take a
     known fact and compound the slight mystery surrounding it, to suggest
     something that was not in fact the case is a certainty.

     The purpose of this FAQ is not to dismiss out of hand every fan rumour
     of the past 20 years, but to counter suggestions that material exists
     but is just out of reach, which is not really the case.  Private film
     collectors are a notoriously insular bunch, and it takes some time to
     be accepted into their circles before they will reveal what they have.
     Some material has indeed been recovered from private collectors (The
     Reign of Terror :6, The Faceless Ones :3, The Evil of the Daleks :2,
     The Abominable Snowmen :2, The Wheel in Space :3 and an unedited copy
     of The Dominators :5) but it seems unlikely that reports of up to 80
     missing episodes existing in private hands are true.

Q. What are these cine-clips I hear about?  How do they differ from normal

     A reel of footage, almost certainly shot by a fan pointing his 8mm cine
     camera at a domestic TV set during the original transmissions of the
     Hartnell and early Troughton episodes, was rediscovered in April 1996.
     Because of the differing frame rates of the cine camera and the TV
     screen, the images on the film are afflicted with some interaction
     between the camera shutter and video scan of the TV which is seen as
     dark lines that slowly move up the picture, plus typical 8mm vignetting
     (darkening of the images towards the corners of the screen).  The
     resolution of the camera is poor and hence the images lack detail when
     compared to professionally-copied clips.  Many of the clips are very
     brief, lasting no more than a few seconds and some last less than half
     a second and are of course silent.

     The reel is of interest however because of the material included — many
     classic scenes are only preserved as moving images in this way.  Such
     treasures include Steven’s leaving scene (The Savages episode 4), the
     prelude to the regeneration sequence (The Tenth Planet episode 4),
     early shots of the new Doctor in the TARDIS (The Power of the Daleks
     episode one) and scenes of the Doctor inspecting the pilot’s office
     (The Macra Terror episode 3).  See the images version of this FAQ for
     some screen grabs of these.  Some stories such as The Myth Makers and
     The Savages have the only known existing TV material from them
     preserved in this way. See Steve Phillips’ clips article for full
     details on what the reel contains, and what other clips are known to
     exist from missing episodes.

     Since its initial rediscovery, the footage has been cleaned up as far
     as possible by many fans, mostly those also involved in the telesnap
     reconstructions project.  The first fan copies were transferred to
     video at 25 frames per second (fps), which was about a third too fast
     in places (this could be established as the reel also contains many
     scenes from existing episodes, particularly The Chase).  It was slowed
     down to c. 18fps by Michael Palmer who also removed various tints from
     the raw footage.  The other obvious thing to do was to mate the clips
     up with the correct audio track and this was recently done by Mal
     Tanner.  Due to the poor quality of the footage, the BBC Archives have
     not formally expressed an interest in obtaining a copy, however some
     Betacam copies are floating around (just in case, apparently!) and the
     footage is used in many fan reconstructions, particularly Bruce
     Robinson’s The Savages and Michael Palmer’s The Tenth Planet episode

     It should be pointed out that to preserve the full detail of the image
     would have required equipment far more powerful than Michael Palmer and
     Mal Tanner had available.  However Mal in particular deserves
     commendation for his careful research that pinned down accurately the
     locations within the individual episodes of much of the footage and
     enabled the appropriate audio track to be added.  Some mysteries still
     remain: the reel contains a short scene of the Hartnell Doctor talking
     to himself; originally believed to have been from The Myth Makers it
     now seems possible it is instead from The Dalek Masterplan.  This
     raises the question of who originally shot the reel: it was at first
     believed to originate from Australian broadcasts but if the clip
     referred to above is from Masterplan this theory cannot be true (the
     Australian censors deemed Masterplan untransmittable, even if cuts were
     made, presumably due to the grim nature of the story itself). Steve
     Roberts, however, believes that the material does stem from Australian
     transmissions and that this clip is not from Masterplan (evidence in
     support of this theory is that the camera does not move at all between
     episodes 1 and 2 of The Power of the Daleks – these were shown
     back-to-back on the same day in Australia).   The different sections of
     the reel (containing clips from different stories, whether existing or
     not) have different tints which could easily have arisen during the
     telecine process (for example, the section containing clips from The
     Chase has a pale brown wash over it, whilst the sections from The
     Savages and The Power of the Daleks are strongly blue-tinted) and the
     different sections seem to have been shot at different speeds (The
     Chase clips are way off but The Macra Terror sections are almost at the
     correct speed) which points to a clockwork camera (fondly remembered
     for their variable speeds!).  A possibility is that two cameras were
     used (as a roll of film would only last four minutes or so) and that
     the colour tints arise from shooting on different stocks of film
     (possibly even some colour and some monochrome film stock).

Q. What are these “behind the scenes” pieces of footage from the sixties and
seventies that are referred to by people?

     Several reels of footage showing work in progress on various stories
     are now known to exist.  There are three very common reels plus two
     which are a lot rarer (one may not still exist).  The common reels show
     location work in progress on The Smugglers (shot on 16mm colour
     Ektachrome film by the owner of the farm being used as the location,
     durn. 2'37"), The Abominable Snowmen (shot on colour standard 8mm film
     by director Gerald Blake, durn. 3'26") and The Daemons (believed to
     have been shot by a local 8mm enthusiast in Aldbourne, the village
     which appears on screen as Devil’s End, again on colour standard 8,
     durn. 6'16").  Timings are for PAL (European/Australian) video.  The
     other reel reportedly shows studio work in progress on Fury From the
     Deep which was shot by the director, Hugh David.  The format and
     duration of this reel are unknown and it is uncertain as to whether the
     footage still exists – certainly there are far fewer fan copies in
     circulation and, unlike the first two reels, which appeared on the
     Mastervision release The Doctors – Thirty Years of Time Travel and
     Beyond in 1993, no commercial release of this footage is available.
     The final reel of footage shows the Emperor Dalek’s throne room from
     The Evil of the Daleks episode 7 (there is also a brief sequence of
     model Daleks trundling through the wreckage from towards the end of the
     episode, which lasts 10 seconds and mostly shows two hands holding the
     models.)  Kevin Davies has seen this reel and confirms its existence.
     The current fan versions of the first two reels circulating are very
     high quality, and unlike the cine-clips from missing episodes the
     footage does not suffer from cut-off to any great degree (as it was
     shot in a conventional manner, as opposed to pointing the camera at a
     TV screen!).  However, the reel showing work underway on The Smugglers
     does have footage of certain scenes that were used in the finished
     programme, albeit from different camera angles.
         [Screen grabs from The Smugglers, The Abominable Snowmen and The
                                  Daemons reels]

Q. Is it true a “slash print” of The Wheel in Space episode 6 exists?

     No!  This is another very common misconception, which stems from the
     earliest pirate copies of the episode that were floating around fan
     circles.  A slash print is an early working copy of a programme,
     containing an unfinished soundtrack (missing things such as incidental
     music and possibly sound effects) and also missing some visual effects
     which would have been added in post production.  Unlike many episodes
     of the era, The Wheel in Space episode six was recorded directly onto
     35mm film out of the studio, rather than videotape as was the more
     normal case.  The studio sound was recorded onto the optical soundtrack
     of the film, as well as onto a separate 35mm magnetic film soundtrack.
     The film was edited in the conventional way, with pictures and magnetic
     sound being edited and then the sound mixed down onto another 35mm
     magnetic film for use on transmission. The crucial point here is that
     the edited film still contained the parts of the optical soundtrack
     recorded from the studio, although it was never intended to be used.
     Because there is a physical offset of 12 frames between sound and
     pictures on 35mm film (or 26 frames on 16mm), whenever the pictures are
     edited the optical soundtrack runs on for a few seconds after the cut
     into the beginning of the next shot (such an effect can be seen on the
     raw versions of the recently recovered Australian censor clips, where,
     because the edits to the original episodes had been made by physically
     cutting the film and splicing it back together again, the soundtrack
     contains a few seconds of sound from the portion of the programme
     immediately following the cut) – and the sound for the new shot hence
     starts slightly late. Also, because the optical soundtrack contains
     only material recorded from the studio, it will not contain some music
     and effects added in post-production.

     The early pirated copies mistakenly used the optical track, instead of
     the final mix magnetic master, hence the audio is unfinished and out of
     synch with the picture edits – and thus was the myth of the slash print

Q. What are the “Australian censor clips”?

     When BBC Enterprises offered the Hartnell and Troughton episodes for
     sale to overseas TV stations, the format was 16mm black and white film,
     telerecorded from the original videotape that the programme was made on
     and transmitted from (telerecording was a process of transferring a
     video recording to a format that was then considered more durable and
     easier to handle).  The telerecording process produced a master
     negative from which the appropriate number of prints could be struck,
     depending on how many companies wished to purchase the programme in
     question.  The 16mm prints were then supplied to the TV stations that
     had purchased the programme as their transmission masters.  In the case
     of Australia, strict censorship laws were then in force regarding what
     could be shown on Australian TV and at what times of day, and all new
     programmes had to be passed before the censors for review and if
     necessary, editing, before the programme could be transmitted.  In the
     case of Doctor Who, the censors deemed that several scenes had to be
     cut before the programmes could be transmitted – usually these were
     scenes of “excessive”  violence (such as fights or stabbings, or other
     death scenes) had to be excised.  This was done by physically cutting
     the film and splicing it back together, and the censorship laws decreed
     that all material cut had to be kept indefinitely in government
     repositories.  In 1996 two Australian fans, Damian Shanahan and Ellen
     Parry, began researching the days of the by now repealed censorship
     laws, and discovered paperwork pertaining to the material that had been
     excised from early Hartnell episodes of Doctor Who broadcast by ABC TV
     Australia – however they could find no evidence of the cut material and
     it seems it was destroyed some time previously.  They then found more
     paperwork detailing cuts to later Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee
     episodes and when they followed the trail eventually came to the actual
     film, which had been held in a government archive near Sydney.  An
     interview with Damian Shanahan can be found in Bruce Robinson’s Change
     of Identity newsletter, issue 5.

     Between this find and the original process of excising the material,
     the original BBC Enterprises sales copies and the ABC Australia
     transmission masters had been destroyed, leaving the cut material as
     clips from episodes which no longer exist in their complete form.  When
     the BBC Archives, and in particular Steve Roberts, found out about the
     material, they took swift action to recover it and after negotiating
     some diplomatic obstacles, a copy of all the material was returned to
     the BBC on a Digital Betacam (a broadcast standard) video cassette.  As
     the original means of editing the film prints had been simply cutting
     and splicing them back together, no account had been taken of the 16
     frame offset between the pictures and associated soundtrack present on
     all 16mm film (originating in the distance between the parts of a
     projector or telecine machine which reproduce the pictures and those
     which deal with the optical soundtrack), hence there is an audible
     click at the start of each clip and the soundtrack runs on for a second
     or so at the ends of the clips.  The find was very important in
     providing clips from stories for which very little or no TV material at
     all was known to exist (such as The Smugglers, The Highlanders and Fury
     From the Deep) and for helping to fill known cuts in the prints of
     existing episodes which had been returned from overseas (such as The
     War Machines).  As a result, only three stories are now left with no TV
     material (such as a clip or an episode) known to exist from them: these
     are Marco Polo, Mission to the Unknown and The Massacre.  See Steve
     Phillips’ clips article for full details.  It is hoped that the longer
     clips at least will make an appearance on the end of the BBC Video
     release of The Ice Warriors in November 1998, meantime they play an
     important role in fan reconstruction projects such as Richard Develyn
     and Robert Franks’ The Smugglers, The Highlanders and Fury From the

Q. Can you think of any other questions to add to this FAQ?

     If so, mail me!

Thanks to Robert Franks, Steve Roberts, Bruce Robinson and Graham Strong for
their help in compiling this FAQ.

This FAQ is written and maintained by Dominic Jackson.  Please e-mail any
suggestions or corrections to  Please feel free
to distribute this FAQ either in text or HTML format, but on the conditions
that you acknowledge me as the author and that you keep the end credits
section intact.  Text © Dominic Jackson 1997.
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