Two classic 1960s episodes of the BBC science fiction series "Doctor Who", thought lost forever, have been found, the British Film Institute said Monday.
The missing episodes, dating from 1965 and 1967 and starring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton respectively in the title role, were bought at a village fete in southern England in the mid-1980s, the BFI said.
The copies are thought to have originated from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The BFI said the copies had been in the private collection of a former TV engineer. They have now been given to the BBC archives.
"Doctor Who", which ran from 1963 to 1989 and was revived in 2005, is one of BBC television's top entertainment programmes.
Some 106 episodes dating from between 1964 and 1969 are missing from the BBC archives due to a tape-wiping policy which was in place for much of the 1960s and 1970s.
Video tape was expensive at the time and so transmission tapes were wiped in order to be reused.
"Doctor Who" was sold around the world during the 1960s. Top BBC programmes were transferred on to film for foreign broadcasters, the corporation said, and the BFI sometimes manages to recover these copies.
(c) 2011 AFP