More than 100 episodes of Dr Who, featuring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, have been unearthed from archives in Ethiopia.
As happened with so much TV heritage of the era, the cost of tape and the cost of storage meant an awful lot of program material has been lost forever, since it was always cheaper to record over the top of shows rather than store them.
That's made the hunt for TV archives a detective story. International sales are one avenue that can help locate lost episodes, and that's how 106 episodes have been located at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency, ERTA. The national broadcaster purchased the episodes between 1964 and 1969.
Back in the UK, the episodes – which include The Crusade (set in the 12th century at the time of Richard the Lionheart), the Enemy of the World and The Ice Warriors) – screened just once before being wiped.
According to The Sunday People, the discovery was announced by Stuart Kelly, who the newspaper describes as a Dr Who expert, at the Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland last week.
Since the discovery of just two episodes is sufficient to get the fans excited, turning up more than 100 will have the Beeb turning metaphorical cartwheels during the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations. ®