If the rumors are true, it will be a bright day for Whovians everywhere and everywhen. Up until now, the only way to have seen every single episode of Doctor Who would to have been born before the series began fifty years ago. Overall, there are 106 missing Doctor Who episodes amounting to 27 incomplete or totally missing stories from the first six years of the show. Those would be the Episodes for the First Doctor (Hartnell) and the Second Doctor (Troughton)
However, Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool released an article claiming that he had heard from reliable sources that many of the missing episodes have been found- including the complete run of William Hartnell episodes.
Of course, it is still hearsay and rumor.
In the early days of the show, it was policy for the archive to be destroyed periodically. Between 1967 and 1978, the BBC destroyed large quantities of their film archives. Nearly all of the master tapes from 1963 through 1969 were destroyed or taped over. In total, there are ten full episodes for the First and Second Doctor that are completely missing and seventeen are partially missing.
This means that 12 out of the 29 First Doctor serials are incomplete or missing, and 15 out of the 21 Second Doctor serials are also missing. Among the missing episodes is the finale of “The Tenth Planet”. This means that The Doctor’s first regeneration is completely missing.
The rumor goes that a television engineer in Africa held on to many items from his career- items that would normally be destroyed. Among the items it is said he collected include the entirety of the First Doctor’s run.
It is unclear, though vehemently hoped, that among the episodes that this engineer saved are ones related to Troughton’s tenure as The Doctor including the complete “Evil of the Daleks.” Johnston does maintain, though, that the entirety of “The Tenth Planet” has been recovered.
While it would be amazing to have all of the episodes recovered, all we can do is hope that this is true as official word has not come down from the BBC.
But, as the Third Doctor tried to say as he slipped into his fourth incarnation “Where there is life, there is hope.” (The full quote is “A tear, Sarah Jane? Where there’s life there’s…” The First Doctor’s were “Ah, yes. Thank you. It’s good. Keep warm.” I don’t think they apply well here.)