Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The Omnirumour: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Believe Completely
I talked about recently (read it here) the fact that there are many (97) missing episodes of Doctor Who from the first few years and first two Doctors of the show.
I also talked about how there was a rumor (or in British terms, rumour) that many, many more episodes had been found as well.
At the time, I didn't consider those reports to be credible.
I did, however, feel that Marco Polo had also been found and that perhaps its return was imminent.
I still feel that way about Marco Polo (and there have been a few rumblings that perhaps that return is very, very imminent, perhaps even this weekend imminent, we'll have to wait and see on that).
However, I now also believe that there are in fact many, many more returns to look forward to.
Yes, even perhaps all of them.
In that previous post on missing episodes I talked about how Feast for Steven (the seventh episode in the epic twelve part The Dalek's Master Plan) would never be found since it was never copied for an overseas sell. Well, now I am even convinced that its return is possible.
You see, there were copies made of each of these stories, and many of them instead of being destroyed the way they were supposed to be found their way into the hands of private collectors.
When Phillip Morris (not the tobacco one, the one who returned Enemy of the World and Web of Fear) went in search of lost episodes throughout Africa, there are records that tens of thousands of film canisters were shipped by him back to England. And the rumors were (by many of the same people who then told us that Web of Fear and Enemy of the World would be released via iTunes before the 50th Anniversary even amidst the BBC's denials that anything at all had been found, in other words, people who have been proven correct in the recent past on these very subjects) that over 90 missing episodes were amongst the missing. This rumor has come to be known as the Omnirumour. Counting the nine we have already received, this meant that only 16 episodes were still missing.
Those 90 episodes recovered (if recovered they indeed were, because remember this is all just rumor, if rumor with some pretty strong credence to it) were the result of over five years searching and working towards recovery throughout Africa by Phil Morris, which included some truly scary moments such as being held hostage at gunpoint.
Five years of searching, however, apparently was rewarded with 90 of the 106 missing episodes.
Is it so hard to believe then that in the year since this discovery (because that shipment occurred over a year ago now) that Morris has been able to recover the final 16 as well?
I don't think that it is.
And the reason that I believe this is because the private collectors, who held episodes that no one else had, were now in danger of holding onto episodes that might be amongst Morris's finds. In other words, the value of those episodes would never be higher than they were at that very moment.
Once the find was officially announced, they might be holding onto something that anyone with an iTunes account could have.
It isn't that hard to believe that the BBC World Wide and Phil Morris were able to approach these private collectors (and there are channels that know who a lot of these people are, and others have come forward trying to make the best of the situation when they've heard that many if not most of the episodes have already been found) and broker deals to return the episodes that they have.
There are a lot of things that need to happen before we actually start seeing a lot of these episodes. Restoration work needs to occur on even the best quality film canisters.
There are probably a lot of reasons why we haven't heard definitively that every episode is returned, but if the Omnirumour is true, we will be hearing at some point in the not too distant future. Many sources are reporting that a late April announcement is in the works if all parties can get together for that announcement.
The main thing to take away is that sources that were correct about Enemy of the World and Web of Fear also seem confident that many if not all of the episodes are in safe hands, and having read up extensively on the Omnirumour since my last post, I for one believe.
And as Phil Morris said to an audience at a British Film Institute event recently, "Expect the Unexpected!" All 97 episodes returned would be quite the unexpected pleasure!
For now, all we can do is wait.
Until Next Time, Hopefully a new version of the 50 year old story Marco Polo will soon be a reward for our patience.