As the DVD came out on Monday, you’ll no doubt have seen The Web of Fear by now – and isn’t it brilliant?! The man we have to thank for finding both the Great Intelligence-fronted serial and The Enemy of the World, which sees Patrick Troughton shine as both the Doctor and the evil Salamander, is Philip Morris.
Radio Times caught up with the hero of the hour, and discovered that, if it weren’t for Morris’ timely intervention, the film cans might’ve been destroyed forever:
These films were the last survivors of two classic Patrick Troughton tales, which should have been destroyed years ago according to contract… [The Nigerian programme purchaser] informed me he had instructions to burn them. I informed him it was not necessary and the BBC would be delighted to have them back.
Morris continues to search for long-lost gems, not only of Doctor Who, but also The Sky at Night, Dad’s Army, and countless others:
[We’re] working in South America, South East Asia, as well as a whole host of other larger and smaller countries. We are also working with lots of private film collectors around the globe transferring lots of old domestic video recordings from old reel-to-reel tapes, Shibaden and Philips 1500/1700 [obsolete videotape formats].
He isn’t, however, quizzed over the ‘omnirumour ‘ – that the two serials found are just a small part of an even greater haul – and in the comments section, writer Patrick Mulkern says he couldn’t see the point in pressing the man for a response to rumours.
Ian Levine, who saved The Daleks for us all to enjoy, is also looking for long-lost episodes again, but is growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of news:
He is so clearly dragging it out and playing with us. He’s playing you all – am I really the only one who can see this ???”
Starburst‘s JR Southall provides an upbeat response, though:
With a project like this, you wouldn’t hand things over and release stories until the search is done, otherwise you might end up releasing a story with an episode missing only to be accused of forcing people to double-dip if that episode turns up subsequently (rush releasing two stories for the anniversary notwithstanding). Likewise, if better copies of things turn up, you save yourself a potentially expensive tricky restoration job by only starting work once all your assets are assembled. It really doesn’t make sense to release anything until the assets are all assembled…
Once that’s over, we should find out whether any more Doctor Who has been found (I’d be surprised if the answer was no) and how much… Let’s face it, if it weren’t for Phil Morris, TIEA, and the Project Africa team who got him on the road in the first place, the prospect of seeing *any* of these episodes would stand very close to nil. We’re not losing anything by waiting, but we might be gaining an awful lot.
I’d just like to add my appreciation of the incredible work done restoring the two serials. I was astonished to see how crisp Web now is. I also just searched for images of the storyline and found a few telesnaps. How amazing it was to think that, for over forty years, that’s one of only a few ways we had to enjoy the Great Intelligence’s dastardly scheme!
To the fans, never give up hope. Be patient. People are working very hard in lots of very volatile and dangerous corners of the globe, sometimes paying with their nervous systems, which is a hard thing to give. As always, TIEA are out there. Expect the unexpected.
Read the full interview over at Radio Times!