The Interview

DWO caught up with Doctor Who Restoration Team member, Paul Vanezis to discuss the recent Lost Episodes find.

It's been 7 years since the last missing episode was found, and fans had started to give up al hope, how did the latest find come about?

This discovery was made by two people, Ralph Montagu and a film collector meeting and realising there was a bit of a connection. Ralph was working on the Dr. Who restorations in the past and Terry Burnett had some film, but didn't know what.

What kind of condition were the stories in when they were returned to you and how much work will there need to be applied to their full restoration?

There's a lot of work to be done on both episodes. Air Lock is missing the last 27 seconds of action and the closing credits. There are many scratches and scuffs plus the usual issues we have with black and white film recordings such as off-locks, videotape dropout etc... Some of the damage will take a lot longer to repair than usual. Underwater Menace poses a different set of problems as well as the more usual. Firstly, it's the ABC's censored print, so the censor clips need to be re-instated. We've already had the clips re-scanned by the National Archives of Australia who have been very helpful. There are numerous film breaks, missing frames, deep scratches etc... and a two second section missing in the middle. That will be the most challenging repair.

How hard was it keeping this news under your hat for so long?

Keeping the discovery quiet wasn't a problem. We just didn't tell anyone. But some news did leak out and there are always one or two people who because of their small minds feel they must be the one to tell the world, even though they have nothing to do with the discovery and weren't even attending Missing Believed Wiped. Most people who needed to be told towards the end, because we were screening the material at a public event had the good sense to keep the secret and make it the truly memorable screening it turned out to be.

Is there anything you feel the public can do to help in the search for missing serials, what are your hopes for future missing material, and do you believe there is a chance more may be found?

There are 106 episodes missing from the BBC, but I don't think there are 106 episodes missing in the world. Now, I don't want to get peoples hopes up. I've been mis-quoted before, but I am certain there are episodes out there with private collectors. I know fans are excited by these finds and rightly so, but we're also looking for other lost programmes as well. Yesterday, the BFI screened the Dennis Potter 'Emergency Ward 9', found by a friend of mine Ian Beard. That is an incredible and far more important discovery in my view that the Doctor Whos, yet we're all talking about Hartnell and Troughton eps. I of course understand why, but I think more recoveries like this are more likely if people don't go round asking about lost DW, but black and white TV material in general. So, yes. More material will surface, but I don't know when.

Finally, if you could have one round trip in the TARDIS, anywhere in time and space, where would you go and why?

The TARDIS is not real.

© Copyright Doctor Who Online, 2011.
Page Updated: 12/12/2011

Interview Details

Interview with:
Paul Vanezis
Doctor Who Restoration Team Member
Conducted by:
Doctor Who Online

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