Report: Lost 'Doctor Who' Episodes to be Released Online This Week

On the eve of the show's 50th anniversary, long-lost episodes of Doctor Who are rumored to have been discovered and cleaned up for digital release.

Just in time for the show's 50th anniversary, it's appearing increasingly likely that some of the mythical "lost" episodes of the BBC's Doctor Who have not only been recovered, but might even be released online this month.

More than a hundred episodes of the long-running science fiction series from the 1960s and '70s had been thought to be permanently lost due to a then-contemporary policy of destroying or wiping videotape and film of existing programming in order to create storage space for newer content. Who was far from unique in this -- many other BBC series from the same period suffered similar fates -- although Who has the distinction of having audio recordings of all of the missing episodes, thanks to the diligence of fans at the time of the original broadcasts.

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Following expansive research and restoration efforts -- not to mention the occasional lucky discovery -- only 106 episodes of the show were believed still to be lost, barring any number of rumors claiming their discovery. This weekend, however, such rumors took on new clarity with the Radio Times reporting that some of the missing episodes had been found in Africa and would be released and digitally re-mastered on iTunes this week.

According to Bleeding Cool, which has been tracking this particular rumor for months now, the episodes will form the Patrick Troughton-era storylines of "Enemy of The World" and "Web of Fear." Asked to confirm the rumor, a BBC spokesperson said: "There are always rumors and speculation about Doctor Who missing episodes being discovered -- however, we cannot confirm any new finds."

The British Daily Mirror newspaper reports that a press conference is expected at the end of this week to officially announce the news. Whether such an event actually happens -- or any lost episodes have been found -- remains a mystery to all but the time travelers among us, for now, it seems.