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Lost Doctor Who episodes rematerialised

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Two of the hundreds of missing episodes of Doctor Who have been found. The discovery was revealed at the Missing Believed Wipe event at the British Film Institute on Sunday. The two episodes date from 1965 and 1967, and star the First Doctor, William Hartnell and the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton.

Airlock, the second of the four-part story Galaxy Four, was originally aired in 1965. It starred William Hartnell as The Doctor and it also features Peter Purves and Maureen O'Brien. The story is about a race of cloned females, the Drahvins, which also features an appearance by tiny robots called the Chumblies.

The second lost episode found was part of The Underwater Menace. It was Troughton's third appearance as The Doctor and it shows him fighting an evil scientist attempting to restore Atlantis.

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More than 100 instalments of Doctor Who are still lost because the BBC did not start routinely archiving its shows until 1978. They usually wiped film from tapes to re-use it for another programme. The episodes were found by former TV engineer, Terry Burnett. He had bought them at a school fete in Hampshire in the 1980s but did not realise that they were missing episodes. It is understood that the copies of the missing episodes originated from Australian TV channel ABC; with the content differing from the original BBC transmission due to censorship.

Doctor Who writer and actor Mark Gatiss said: "Christmas has come early for Doctor Who fans everywhere. It's always wonderful when a missing episode turns up but it's been years since the last one so to have two is just brilliant.

"Add to that a proper bit of action from the legendary Chumblies (and the horrifying Rills!) plus the utterly mesmeric Patrick Troughton on great form. Well, what more could we all ask for?"

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They will be released on DVD next year.

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Doctor Who

The long-running BBC TV science fiction series that started in 1963 and recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary. 2017 saw Peter Capaldi regenerate into the show's first female Doctor played by Jodie Whittaker. The Thirteenth Doctor's first season debuts in 2018, with Chris Chibnall replacing Steven Moffat as the current showrunner.

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