Paul Vanezis speaks about the Doctor Who Missing Episodes Omnirumour!

For those of you who were sleeping, Paul Vanezis, who was instrumental in the return of Enemy of the World and (most of) The Web of Fear, was involved in a Q&A with the Missing Episodes group on Facebook.  Below are his responses.

For those of you interested in our take of the omnirumour, click HERE and scroll down to two of our earlier episodes where Mark and Rob wax lyrical about all things missing episodes!

Paul Vanezis Q&A December 2014

Robin Bland–It is generally known that, prior to the release of Enemy and Web, you made
some statements that could be seen as deliberately misleading regarding the recovery of
those stories, and you were criticized in some quarters for doing so. Can you tell us the
reasons behind those actions, and would you do it again if needed?It’s a fair criticism, but if you look at the context of what I was responding to,
everything I said was truthful. Mixed in with the rumours were some contorted facts
and we wanted the ‘reveal’ to be a surprise, just as we managed to achieve in 2011
with ‘Airlock’ and ‘The Underwater Menace’. We didn’t quite get there, but we were
close. In truth, I didn’t need to bother because I wasn’t actually wrong footing a
great number of people, just those on the forums.


Mark Blackwell–I’ll be Captain Obvious and ask: Do you believe/suspect Phil Morris has or
has discovered even more episodes?

I only believe the evidence ofmy own eyes and I haven’t seen anything which would
make me believe or suspect Phil has more. What I would say is that due to Phil, we
are 9 missing episodes better off than we were five years ago. He found episodes that
we never expected to find.


Jon Washbrook–How long does it generally take to restore one 25 min episode? What’s the
worst condition find that has been successfully restored and what compromises have been

Once the transfers from film or tape have been done, two weeks is a good average to
spend on a single episode, but ultimately it depends on the budget for restoration,
the deadline and the condition of the material. I think ‘The Lion’ would have to be
the worst condition film, although I think the team could do a lot more with it now.


Paolo Sammut–Given Philip Morris’s spectacular finds of Enemy of the World and (most of)
Web of Fear, do you think that we are living in a new more hopeful world where potentially
anything might turn up in the future and what do you think to the idea that say in 5-10 years
that the Doctor Who archive may be nearly complete ?
It’s the law of diminishing returns that we’re fighting, but I have always said I’m
100% that more episodes will come back. I say this in the full knowledge that I will
never be proven wrong because a film may lie undiscovered in the collection of a
film collector and remain in that collection until long after I’m gone. But I don’t
know if anything more will be found in my lifetime.
Brad Phipps–In terms of remastering episodes, how much of the intermediate stages are
kept as masters; IE raw dump from film, cleaned up version, non-videfired version, vidfired
version, etc? With everything transferred to digital file would there ever be a need to go back
to Digibeta / D3 / 2 Inch tape?

The raw film transfers are kept as is an un-vidfired version of the restorations. If the
Restoration Team ever need to go back to film, it’s because some of the early film
transfers were done by operators who didn’t zoom out of the TV safe area enough.
It’s one of the reasons why Steve Roberts insists on the team looking after the first
film transfer because outside of the BBC, operators treat film recordings as film and
apply a TV safe area to the transfer. It’s actually the opposite to how the film
recordings need to be treated. We have gone back to Quad tapes in the past, notably
for the original ‘Robots of Death’. By chance, I popped into TVC when they were
doing the transfers for the Special Edition and noticed that they were using the old
transfers we’d rejected for one of the episodes, so we were able to swap out the duff
transfer just in time.


Tony Chamberlain–Paul, Earlier this year you posted some photos of an excellent model recreation
of a scene from the end of “Power of the Daleks” that you had made and filmed for
an insert for “Victory of the Daleks, that was sadly not used in the final cut…..can you tell us
some details about the circumstances that led to it’s creation?

Yes. That was fun to do and of course, we couldn’t tell anyone! Mark Gatiss was
worried that the usual boring clips would be used for ‘Victory of the Daleks’ and
asked if there was anything we’d found that hadn’t been seen before. Trouble is,
everything pretty much was on DVD and there wasn’t really anything new, so I
suggested recreating a scene. The mercury swamp was something I thought could be
done to his deadline. As usual, there was no money, but John Kelly was keen to help
out. He has some 60’s 16mm gear, so we shot using that and I also had a camera
booked to do some HD tests for ‘The Sky at Night’. We spent one Saturday shooting
in a barn in Gloucestershire. It wasn’t totally successful, but the mercury swamp
stuff looked good. We had some full size 60’s Daleks to play with as well. The footage
was never used though as the scene was dropped, but that’s TV for you.


Noel Taylor–Hi Paul, as fans become more impatient for an announcement from Phil
regarding further missing episodes, some have posted (on other forums) some rather
unpleasant accusations about him: that he has episodes but has no intention of returning
them, that he is impossible to work with, etc. As someone who knows and has worked with
Phil, can you vouch for his integrity? Can you reassure us that his priority with any recovered
material – *if* he finds or has found any – will be to get it out to the public as soon as possible,
even if other considerations like the ongoing search might mean we have to keep waiting for
now? Thank you for making yourself available for this Q&A.

If you’ve heard a rumour, it’s most likely not true. Rumours are exactly that and as
more people hear them, it’s impossible to know for certain what is the truth of it all.
After a while it just all turns to mush. I certainly don’t recognise the Phil I know in
the descriptions given by some spreading the rumours. Phil is a good friend and has
always been honest with me. If he can’t tell me something, he’ll tell me he can’t. If he
can’t say anything there will be a very good reason why he can’t.
Grant Wheelwright & James Hope–What episode would you most like to see found so that
you can work on it ?

It’s very unlikely that I would work on a restoration these days other than doing
film repairs as I did with the last lot. I’m just too busy making actual programmes,
but there are lots of episodes I’d like to see. I’ve always liked ‘The Moonbase’ ever
since I read the book. The first episode of ‘The Wheel in Space’ sounds creepy. I’d
like to see that. Anything really.


Bill Gorman, Jon Washbrook & Connor Lewis Farley–Paul, thanks for your work with the
Restoration Team! Do you have a personal favorite for the work you’ve done on any of the
releases be it for broadcast, VHS, or DVD and if so, which?

I was very pleased with how the transmission tapes for both ‘Spearhead from Space’
and ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ looked for the 1999/2000 repeats that I looked after. The
5.1 soundtrack of ‘The Five Doctors’ SE is a favourite. The commentary on ‘The
Ark in Space’ which I produced and the ‘New Beginnings’ box set. I was very
pleased with that. Also, the interview with Paul Joyce was an experience.


David Parker–Paul, what’s the best thing that fans on the forums can do to help facilitate the
return of any missing material? Does discussing any current rumours online help the process
(by publicising the search, for example), hinder it (either by raising expectations or driving
people underground), or does discussion make no practical difference to your work

It makes no difference to anything.


Dave Wood–Can you tell us about any near misses? Either paper trails that seemed very
exciting but ran cold upon investigation, or worse, items that likely existed when the Who
archive was being repopulated in 1980s but fans/BBC didn’t get there in time and items
confirmed as destroyed/lost in the intervening years? Are there any confirmed examples of
items sent back to Enterprises post 1978 but still junked in error?

Adam Lee missed the destruction of the BFBS archive by two weeks. Literally two
weeks prior to him calling them they wiped and destroyed all their quad recordings.
No idea if there was any DW in there, but you never know. I managed to get back
some 525 recordings of two BBC classic serials that we only had on black and white
film. Previously we’d got back two episodes of ‘Nana’ from BBC Worldwide
Americas and I’d also asked for the complete ‘Resurrection’ and ‘The Black Tulip’.
Colour copies, albeit NTSC would have been nice. When they arrived back at
Windmill Road they were mistakenly wiped before they could be transferred. Don’t
ask how. Earlier than that, it’s difficult to be certain if things were thrown away in


Carl Strelhow & Ian Parr–What would be the cut-off point of when a film print cannot be
restored as I assume with the Doctor Who prints (if anymore exist are perhaps in places that
wouldn’t be considered optimum conditions be it Africa or peoples homes) so do you think
that as time passes on and the poor environment of some storage facilities that there will
become a time when no matter what is out there will be damaged beyond repair? Also what
is the worst condition where film print can be restored?

I imagine that if film has been left untouched and in a dark room as with ‘The
Enemy of the World’ and ‘The Web of Fear’, the films will be fine. Heat and
humidity are the killers, but a room with no windows is probably relatively safe as
long as fresh air can get in. The worst problem with the Nigerian films were the tape
splices which were falling apart. But if you touch a film and the emulsion sticks to
your fingers, that is pretty bad.


Andrew Jenner–What are your current thoughts on the fate of the Sierra Leone prints? In
2012, it sounded like you suspected Galaxy 4 through Smugglers were destroyed there,
based on (then) new information. Recently, Jon Preddle and Phil Morris have each said that
they now believe it was all sent back in 1974. In Phil’s case, he mentions having their
paperwork to confirm. Do you agree, or are you still of the opinion that the episodes were
destroyed in 1999? Thanks!

The ‘new’ information was a first hand account of a screening which described what
we all decided must be ‘The Savages’. Jon Preddle has another theory; it could have
been ‘The Monster of Peladon’. But looking again at the description, I feel sure it
was indeed ‘The Savages’. We know that some film material was still there very late
and if Phil says he has records that things were sent back in the mid 1970’s, I’m sure
that information is correct. But we’re talking about Africa here. We know from
Nigeria that nothing can truly be ruled out.


Brad Phipps–Do you believe technology would reach (has already reached?) a stage where
the classic series might be upscaled to 1080 for a Blu-Ray release? And on the flipside
would the BBC see a market for it?

I think that there is a lot we can still do. One thing we have suggested in the past is
putting the episodes on Blu-Ray at the maximum bit rate. Then fans would have
basically the episodes in the same quality as the master-tape. I’d like to see that. We
can upscale now to a very high standard and reinstate the surviving film in HD, and
we have talked to the BBC about doing exactly that. Who knows if it will ever
Wendy Birdson–it was reported that Phil Morris handed over a Morecombe and Wise reel
that was beyond repair. Phil later posted on facebook that he had a spare copy of that same
episode that was in good shape. Have you followed up on this comment to determine if it is

I don’t think that Phil said there was another copy. I think he said that there might
be another one. I haven’t discussed it with him, but the ‘runny’ print is having one
last process applied to it, probably as I type this. Don’t forget, both the BBC and the
BFI said nothing could be done with it, so if anything can be got off it, it will be a


Ally Wilson, Paul Roberts & Tony Ward–You used to post “Africa Search” updates on Missing
Episode Forum, but they abruptly stopped, although the search obviously continued after
that. Are you still working closely with Philip Morris on his search? Are you two acting
independently, or cooperating? If the latter, who does what? And is there really such a need
for secrecy at this time?

Is there a need for secrecy? Yes. I think the reasons must be obvious, but basically
there will always be someone who will interfere; we’ve already seen that happening.
I speak to Phil most weeks and we keep in touch via email and Skype. If he needs
information, he gets a message to me and I reply. Skype is good if he’s somewhere
where there is decent internet. Usually there isn’t.


Wyn Lewis–In the recent Q&A, Richard Molesworth, when asked if there was anywhere he
was unable to access during his research, mentioned rumours that many BBC Enterprises’
sales records/information from the 60s/70s is locked away in “deep storage.” Have you
heard a similar rumour, and can you shed any light on this ?

Yes and no, respectively.


Justin Watson–Paul, What Doctor Who stories would you consider the least likely to have
missing episodes turn up? Are there any particular episodes that would, in your opinion, be
incredibly unlikely? (Feast of Steven, Mission to the Unknown, Tenth Planet part 4, for

There is nothing that could categorically never turn up, but ‘Feast of Steven’ has the
least going for it. Enterprises never made any recordings. There is a slim possibility
that it was recorded for internal review, but if it was, it’s difficult to envisage a
scenario where it might have survived. Those with the least chance of surviving are
the ones sold to the smallest number of countries, so ‘Power of the Daleks’, ‘Tenth
Planet’, ‘The Daleks’ Masterplan’; very unlikely. But of course, collectors could have
bagged any of the cache of Australian prints that were returned in 1975, so who


Mark Parmeter–Paul, among the comments you generously contributed to my 2004 Missing
Episodes article “Expecting the Unexpected” ( ),
you went on record at the time stating that, regarding missing episodes, “I’m 100% sure.
There will be future discoveries.” At this time in 2014, are you willing to repeat that confident

Ha! It’s a very good article that. And I was right then. Yes. As I said above, I will never
be proven wrong. The Sun will expand and destroys life on Earth before then.


Mark Vanderlinde-Abernathy–What led you to visit Cyprus? Was there a tip from someone
saying the Reign reels were there?

No. I was intrigued at the possibility of copies of any missing Doctor Who existing
overseas. The subject had been widely discussed in the fan newsletter of the DWAS.
I showed some visiting relatives the Hartnell title sequence and they confirmed that
they had seen it before in 1966. I wrote a letter and the CBC wrote back with a list
of the episodes they had. I didn’t actually visit the station until July 1989, when I
discovered a much bigger haul of missing episodes, just not ‘Doctor Who’.


Dave Hoskin–Hi Paul. Just a question about private collectors, if I may. I wanted to follow up
on some of your public remarks, one on GB and another at DWO. The first relates to this
post: … tcount=735
Many people have attempted to parse your remark about the collector “time wasting” as not
ruling out the possibility that they may have had something. I was wondering, if you *can*
confirm that the collector did not have any missing television in his possession, and if so,
would you be able to tell us the details of what exactly it was hoped he might have (why was
16 the magic number, why was he “time wasting”, that kind of thing)?
The other public comment was here:
…but this is the quote I’m especially intrigued by: “There are 106 episodes missing from the
BBC, but I don’t think there are 106 episodes missing in the world. Now, I don’t want to get
peoples hopes up. I’ve been mis-quoted before, but I am certain there are
episodes out there with private collectors.”

There isn’t much more I can add regarding the time-waster. I don’t want to give him
and people of his ilk the oxygen of publicity because they might decide to do it again.
In normal circumstances you’d never get to hear about it and it really isn’t worth any
further remark other than to say he said he had stuff and then refused to show any
evidence of what he said he had. As you know, I believe it when I see it. I didn’t see it.
As for being certain that private collectors have more lost episodes, well it’s a no
brainer isn’t it. If Terry Burnett can have two films from the 1975 Australian cache and
not realise for 30 years, so can another collector.


Christopher Springate–it was mentioned in richard molesworth excellent Q&A recently that
there is another home grown based line of enquiry in the non-theatrical sales of doctor who
in the 60s to organisations, charities , education and most notably the armed forces ( who i
believe at the very least has seasons 1 and 2 of hartnell ) how much has this been looked
into in your search for MEs ?

Variously chased. The obvious one was the Terry Nation estate. Easy to do as the
BBC has a great relationship with them and Terry’s former agent is Steven Moffat’s
mother-in-law. No, the films weren’t missing ones and besides, they couldn’t be
located and were most likely chucked out.


Jon Washbrook–Are there any search avenues that you’ve not been able to follow up on?

Yes, of course.


Ron Merritt–We have heard that sometime in the mid 90’s or so an African station called to
say they had the first two seasons of Doctor Who and the person they spoke to at the BBC
said they were not wanted and to destroy them. Is this a true story and if so when was it
found out about? Is it known which station called and were they contacted again to see if
they still had them? I assume if it was known about when it first happened someone would
have tried getting in touch with them to say no please don’t destroy them, we want them
back? So just curious about more details and if it’s true or not?

I have no idea. However, I did ask BBC Worldwide’s sales division back in 2011
what would happen if someone called today from a foreign station and said that they
had old BBC films. They said that if the films were really old, they would tell them to
destroy them under the terms of the contract. So I said that regarding ‘Doctor Who’
which is a really big brand and some episodes are missing, surely they should just
ask for all the old films back. They told me not to be silly as all the old episodes were
on DVD. Fortunately, I knew a senior person who worked in that department and
she did something about it. I’ve mentioned this story to a few people, so I guess it’s
possible that the same story has got contorted. What you’ve got to remember is that
the sales people just deal with contracts for current material and have no idea what
a 16mm film is or that there are any missing episodes of anything.
Rich Hughes–Hi Paul, have you uncovered any evidence that sheds any light on whether
episode 7 of The Daleks’ Masterplan, The Feast of Steven, was film recorded?
Mark Vanderlinde-Abernathy–Have you heard anything about the supposed Taiwan reels? I
know last we’ve heard there was no movement on that front.
Nothing at all. Keith Perron who allegedly has them hasn’t responded to any
message I’ve sent to him.


Dave Wood–Did the 2012 and 2013 recoveries do anything to either reinforce or change
your previous understanding of how episodes were distributed and decommissioned? Has
this opened up new lines of enquiry and do you (personal opinion) expect any further
recoveries to be announced within the next 12 months?

The return of ‘The Web of Fear’ and ‘The Enemy of the World’ helped me
understand more about how films and tapes moved in the Asia-Pacific region. It was
Damian Shanahan actually that helped me understand it better. But it also
confirmed my belief that the surviving print of ‘The Web of Fear’ part one was not
the Hong Kong print, but in fact the Australian one. I had always suspected it was
from Australia.


Justin Watson–There are always rumours of private collectors retaining Doctor Who
episodes that are unavailable to the general public.
Some even suggest that there are secretive trades being conducted.
What is your view on this? Do you believe collectors are out there knowingly keeping Doctor
Who material from the public?
For the uninitiated, can you shed some light on on the world of the collector….some general
background on what they are like from your perspective; is there, or has there been an effort
to track down such collectors?
And how much success have you and Phil had in gathering info from the collecting world ?

Film collectors are just normal guys who get on with their hobby. They speak to and
deal with other collectors. You are not a collector, but a Doctor Who fan. You do not
move in their circles, you don’t socialise with them and you don’t deal with them,
because you don’t have any film to trade. Most film collectors want beautifully
clean, mint condition colour films projecting on their screens at home. They don’t
want old dodgy black and white films. A single Doctor Who print is not a very
desirable thing for a film collector to have. If each episode was a single story, like an
episode of ‘Dad’s Army’ or ‘Steptoe and Son’, something that could be screened as a
support film, then a film collector would be happy. I recently spoke to the guy who
sold David Stead his three episodes which were all from different stories, one in
Spanish as I recall. He told me that he had sold all three a few weeks before he
subsequently sold them to David and the guy who bought them had returned them
because he discovered that they weren’t a complete serial. Because there was no
story for him to follow, they were useless to him. If you were a film collector, you
would see his point. So no, I don’t think that a film collector is knowingly
withholding a print. As for secret trades; nah. If that had really happened, one or
more would have slipped out.


Luke Curtis–You said “Do you want the truth or something beautiful” last year, any chance of
getting either anytime soon?

I didn’t say anything of the sort. You’re talking about a link to a Paloma Faith song
I tweeted. That tweet wasn’t related to the subject of Doctor Who at all. People just
make assumptions that all I think about is Doctor Who, that all I talk about is
Doctor Who, that all I work on is Doctor Who. Doctor Who takes up a very small
amount of my time.

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