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Wednesday, February 10, 1999 Published at 16:07 GMT


Lost Dr Who back on screen

It will be first time The Lion has been seen for 30 years

Dr Who fans in the UK got a real treat on Wednesday when footage from previously 'lost' episodes of the cult science fiction show were screened on TV.

The episodes went missing over 30 years ago after the original transmission in 1965, and were rediscovered last summer at a film fair in New Zealand.

[ image: The missing episodes were discovered in New Zealand]
The missing episodes were discovered in New Zealand
Film collector Bruce Grenville was browsing through stalls at the fair when he stumbled on the old 16mm footage.

The Lion - which stars William Hartnell as the first Doctor - was part of a four-episode adventure called The Crusade.

The footage was restored by technicians at the BBC, and was shown on The National Lottery Show.

The search for missing episodes is by no means over - 109 out of a total 470 Dr Who programmes have vanished.

In the 1960s broadcasters did not realise the potential value of vintage television, and the BBC and other broadcasters frequently wiped tapes containing what would now be considered priceless programming.

[ image: People have been urged to check their attics for tapes of old TV shows]
People have been urged to check their attics for tapes of old TV shows
In September the British Film Institute asked television buffs to check their attics for tapes of old TV shows.

The discovery of The Lion does not even complete the whole story of The Crusade - the second and fourth episodes of the tale are still missing.

The National Lottery show also traced the history of the lost episodes, and included interviews with Mr Grenville and William Russell, Hartnell's off-screen assistant.

The Dr Who theme was continiued when Frazer Hines - who played the famous Timelord's sidekick Jamie McCrimmon in the 1960s and 1970s - started the night's lottery draw.

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