Since Doctor Who began on November 23rd 1963, there have been 790 episodes. However, not all of them have seen the light of day. In the very early stages of Doctor Who at the BBC, some tapes where “lost” or recorded over by “mistake”. Today, we take a look at some key episodes that went missing and briefly outline the adventures had. You could say, we’re making up for “lost time”. Note, this article is looking at episodes that are completely lost. Part two (coming soonn!) will examine those partially lost. So without further ado…
4. Marco Polo
The fourth episode of Doctor Who, Marco Polo, is missing all seven episodes featuring William Hartnell as the first Doctor. It was first broadcast between February 22nd to April 4th 1964. The episode saw the TARDIS crew (The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbra) land in the Himalayas of Catchay in 1289. The TARDIS is badly damaged, so the team are picked up by Marco Polo’s caravan on its way along the legendary silk road.
The episode focuses on The Doctor and his friends try to prevent the sinister plans of the mysterious strange man, Tegana who tries to urge Marco to have the Doctor and his friends killed off after they discover his attempts to try and sabotage the caravan. He does this to try and stop Marco Polo’s attempt to kill Kublai Khan the emperor in Peking in a time of his highest powers and reign. The TARDIS crew must try to get the TARDIS back but Marco Polo has taken it to give to Kublai Khan as a gesture of good faith. Eventually, they manage to stop Tegana. This then gets them the trust they once had with the emperor restored and with that, he allows them to leave the land in the TARDIS.
Books: Written once in book form by John Lucarotti and published by Target Books in December 1984.
CD & DVD: In 2003, to mark 40 years of Doctor Who, a special three disk set was released with clippings of the original episode. It also included a free map of China which was referred to as Catchay in the episode. In 2006, a special box set was released by 2Entertain that featured a 30 minute long rendition of this episode as an extra on the episode, The Edge of Destruction. The box set was called The Beginning.