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article imageBBC archive retrospective to feature the lives of a Time Lord

By Andrew John     Feb 15, 2010 in Entertainment
The BBC is soon to mount a retrospective Doctor Who archive release, showing how the Corporation has coped with the ten incarnations of the 900-odd-year-old Time Lord so far.
This – revealed in the UK’s Independent – is part of a huge programme of making BBC archives available online.
“From early documentaries to comedy gold, the BBC’s vast archives are finally being made instantly accessible,” says the paper today.
“After three years of work, 50,000 hours of visual content have been digitised, but that’s less than 10 per cent of the total and the great majority of what’s been converted is not available for public view.”
Roly Keating is a former controller of BBC4 and then BBC2, and it is his job to open up the archive. He accepts, says the paper, that it is no longer good enough for broadcasting to hide away its treasures.
“Audiences that have grown up with the internet – that means all of us now – have come to expect that they can, for a price, access almost everything from the past. The word ‘archive’ is not something you would acknowledge in film or music or literature. Casablanca is not an archive movie, Blonde on Blonde isn’t an archive album, it’s just music,” he says. “We are trying to get the best of broadcasting on to that same footing so that it is immediately accessible to people.”
As for Doctor Who, this already has an online archive of its earliest programmes, but, says the paper, it “will be the subject of a new retrospective looking at how the BBC has coped with the 10 variations in appearance of the Time Lord.”
Those incarnations began with William Hartnell in 1963 and since then we have seen regenerations into Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann (in the 1996 movie), Christopher Eccleston and tenth Doctor David Tennant. The eleventh Doctor is being played by Matt Smith, who, at 26 when he began filming, was the youngest actor to take on the role.
Some episodes of Doctor Who were classed as “missing” by the BBC, because there were no known film or videotape copies left after they had been junked to make space in the 1960s and 1970s.
Twenty-seven incomplete Doctor Who serials are missing, along with 108 of 253 episodes from the first six years of the programme. Others were thought to be lost until copies were recovered from various sources, mostly overseas broadcasters and some Who fans who were able to provide the missing links.
Among the stories missing or with missing episodes are “Marco Polo”, “The Crusade”, “Mission to the Unknown”, “The Daleks’ Master Plan”, “The Web of Fear”, “The Wheel in Space” and “The Space Pirates”. Both the BBC and Who fans continue to try to locate missing stories.
The series is unique, however, in having all of its episodes existing in audio form, recorded by fans at home.
More about Doctor Who, BBC, William hartnell, Patrick troughton, Jon pertwee
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