Fans of the long-running British sci-fi television series Doctor Who have reacted with disappointment at the news that a recently unearthed 1960′s episode called, ‘Doctor Who and the Nignogs’, will never see the light of day. It will not be aired, made available over the internet or released on DVD due to it’s controversial content.
During the 1970′s, recordings of many classic TV shows were ‘junked’ in order to save storage space by the BBC, who could not have foreseen the demand for these programs with the advent of video (and later DVD) releases and the growth of sci-fi fandom. Doctor Who was one of the shows most particularly hard-hit, with over 100 black and white episodes now missing.
Doctor Who fans, or ‘Whovians’, were therefore overjoyed last week to learn that tapes containing an entire episode of the original series had been discovered in the attic of a former BBC employee. However euphoria swiftly turned to disappointment when it was revealed that the episode in question was the much-maligned ‘Doctor Who and the Nignogs.’
Mervyn Dennis of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society explained why fans are so disappointed. ‘The 1960′s produced many classic episodes which are now missing. Many of these, such as The Crusades, Marco Polo and The Web of Fear are considered prime examples of British television drama. Others are noteworthy for their quirkiness or relevance to Doctor Who mythology, such as ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ where the Doctor famously breaks the forth wall, or ‘The Tenth Planet’, where he regenerates for the first time.’ He continued. ”Doctor Who and the Nignogs’ does not rank among these episodes.’
Plans for the material to be screened on BBC4 as part of a ‘Missing Classics’ night has had be shelved due to the content of this episode, with a repeat of ‘Dad’s Army’ taking it’s place, followed by a ground-breaking 1977 episode of ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show’ where the entire cast appear without makeup.
(Written 9 Mar 2009)