We take a further break from my countdown from least-loved to best-loved Doctor Who serial to revisit what has been my best liked post so far by you the readers – the rumour that many of the 97 missing episodes of Doctor Who have in fact been found.
The rumour took a bit of a battering this week with some quite extraordinary outbursts on Twitter by Phil Morris, the chap who discovered The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear. Off the back of these comments certain voices highly esteemed in the fanbase (not least Eddie McGuigan from Outpost Skaro) concluded that the omnirumour was dead. As far as I can work out, the reasoning runs along these lines:
1. Phil Morris holds a very dim view of the current Doctor Who production team, and his recent comments reflect an underlying agenda to shape the show to his tastes.
2. The main reason his opinions are getting airtime is that fans are awaiting confirmation or denial that he has found additional episodes.
3. Almost all of the rumours seem to have stemmed from Morris, and therefore must be taken with a pinch of salt in view of the points above.
So the question to us dear readers is this: has Morris been pulling the wool over our eyes? And more directly for my review: how much longer will The Reign of Terror, The Tenth Planet, The Moonbase and The Ice Warriors remain unpurchased?
While unquestionably some of Morris’ remarks have been ill advised, it does not necessarily follow that the Omnirumour itself is completely fabricated. For me, the major unanswered question remains the number of NDAs signed around the release of Enemy and Web last year. My impression (which could well be mistaken) is that the NDAs did not simply refer to the news embargo on which episodes were confirmed for release the next day. That being the case, a number of fans who love the show and the history of the show, had a major motivation to agree to be silent on news that excited them.
So to my mind – that says to me that the omnirumour has neither been proven nor disproven. There is probably more to come – and from the chatter it seems that Marco Polo is a given – but it is now distinctly possibly that the scale of the recovery, at its most extreme in the omnirumour, may well be no more than opportunism on the part of Morris. The rumour might be true … but there’s now a reason to suppose that it might not be.
I make no judgements, and I continue to hope for the best – but the moment The Moonbase hits the £6 mark i’m planning to place an order. And if by that stage the rumour has not been confirmed as true, I suspect the other animated episodes will follow in quick succession.