Rumors have been flying for months that an unspecified number of Doctor Who episodes, destroyed decades ago and thought to be lost, had been recovered. Fingers were being pointed in every direction, evidence had supposedly been dug up, and the internet reached fever pitch over it all. While I was hopeful at first, I quickly decided that the wisest course of action was to stay out of it and wait to hear something official.
Earlier this week, we heard something official.
The actual news will be revealed in a few hours, but I felt it was important to say a few words about the circumstances surrounding the recovery of these episodes. All of this is speculation based on no special knowledge. I am only speaking as someone to whom Doctor Who has been very important for many, many years.
Outpost Skaro reported the following on its website:
But there is one important thing to say: it was confirmed to me that the rampant speculation and personal attackes (sic) that has been going on in some quarters of fandom has made the acquisition more difficult. … I asked how, and was told even discussing that would create difficulties. The story can be told, but not yet.
It sounds to me like this whole thing has been a clusterfuck. I think these episodes were found by somebody who may have their own (likely reasonable) priorities and concerns, and it’s very easy to surmise that becoming involved with the rather, shall we say, “passionate” Doctor Who fanbase has created some bad experiences for them over all this. Add to that possible financial motivations and, based on the nature of these rumors over the past several months, possible poor management of the situation by the BBC, and it sounds like this whole thing has come close to derailing itself because of politics and greed, and political reasons may be why we haven’t gotten all the recovered episodes yet and “there may be more on the way.”
All I want to say is that people should just cool their heads here and back off. We all love Doctor Who, and I know we all would give any number of limbs or internal organs to get some of these missing episodes back. But the fact of the matter is that these episodes either exist or they don’t (and it’s sounding like more may indeed still exist). They are likely not going anywhere. It’s highly unlikely that anybody will maliciously destroy these episodes, although I would say those chances are reduced even further if everybody could just remain civil about all this. The best thing fans can do to ensure the safe recovery of these episodes—which is something that everybody wants—is to back off and let the BBC do what they need to do in order to bring them home. We’ll get what’s left eventually, and nobody is helping by letting tempers flare and resorting to baseless speculation and personal attacks. This needs to stop.
Don’t make a difficult situation worse; just let the people who are involved in this situation handle it the way they’re supposed to. And hopefully by tomorrow, we’ll all have some more Doctor Who that we never thought we’d be able to see.