The BBC has confirmed that it has found a collection of lost episodes of Doctor Who in Nigeria and has since remastered 11 of them to present two stories that have not been available since they first aired in 1967 and 1968. They are available to buy exclusively on iTunes.
Both stories come from Patrick Troughton's time as the second Doctor. The BBC had only one episode of The Enemy of the World in its archive, and the recovery of the tapes revealed the other five.
The Web of Fear is the other remastered and restored arc although episode three of the six is still missing. The restoration team has reconstructed this part of the story using a selection of the 37 images that were available from the episode along with the original audio recording.
Both series are available for £9.99 each. Individual episodes can be bought for £1.89 each.
It is believed that several other episodes were also recovered, but the BBC is yet to reveal its plans for them and how it will release them for viewing by fans.
"The tapes had been left gathering dust in a store room at a television relay station in Nigeria," said Philip Morris, director of Television International Enterprises Archive, who handed the tapes over to the BBC.
"I remember wiping the dust off the masking tape on the canisters and my heart missed a beat as I saw the words ‘Doctor Who’. When I read the story code I realised I’d found something pretty special."
Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, with a special episode planned for its birthday on 23 November: The Day of the Doctor. It unites the two previous Doctors, played by Matt Smith and David Tennant as they seek to uncover the mystery of the missing Doctor, played by John Hurt.
The BBC has revealed that 27 episodes from early series of the show are still missing.