Written by Louise MacGregor
Sometimes we misplace things.
Sometimes those things don’t matter a tremendous amount, sometimes someone leaves your front door open a crack and launches a frantic four-hour hunt to locate your pet cat.
And sometimes the BBC loses episodes.
I’m sure I’m not the only one tantalised by the thought of actually seeing some of the legendary TV shows that lost out on an episode or more thanks to some forgetful fudge down in the BBC archives department.
But which episodes would we most like to see come out of retirement?
1. The World of Wodehouse - Entire Series
A follow-up to The World of Wooster, The World of Wodehouse returned to Blandings castle for another bash at the curiously useless brand of upper-class toffs and fools that Wodehouse articulated so brilliantly.
Sure, we did get Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie taking on the iconic Jeeves and Wooster duo a few years later, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that there are somewhere in the realm of thirteen episodes of Wodehouse adventures that we’ll never get a chance to eat scones over.
2. Doomwatch - Spectre at the Feast
If The X-Files had been produced a quarter of a century earlier, featured an even more apocalyptically awful basis for every episode, and had been so thoroughly steeped in Britishness that tea was squelching out of the bottom of it’s shoes, it would have been Doomwatch.
The freak-of-the-week spectacular boasts only one complete series out of three still available, with scattered episodes from series one and three lost to the alms of time.
Not much is known about them, but this title alone makes it the one I would watch if I could only save one episode (which is, as we’ll all agree, the ultimate Sophie’s choice).
3. A for Andromeda - The Last Mystery
Now, I’m one of those people who likes to hear the end of the story.
So if I had to pick one episode of this iconic sci-fi series to see, it would be the final one.
Only one episode, donated to the BBC by a private collector, exists in full, with six others lost apparently forever.
And while I would much prefer to watch the densely plotted science fiction kick into high gear over the course of seven slow-burning episodes, there’s no way I could survive without knowing how this thing ended.
Bonus points: a chance to see a young Julie Christie attempting to subversively act more than the director wanted her to.
4. Sherlock Holmes (1951) - A Scandal in Bohemia
The very first Sherlock Holmes television adaptation to make it to the small screen, the live-broadcast 1951 version is another of those series whose existence is all but forgotten thanks to wiped tapes.
Starring the brilliant Alan Wheatley (he of The Pickwick Papers and Brighton Rock fame) as Holmes, I think I’d probably pick one of Conan Doyle’s best-known stories, just to get a look at how they adapted it against the constraints of live TV.
5. Doctor Who - The Abominable Snowmen
You didn’t think you were getting through this list without at least one reference to Doctor Who, did you?
Now, I have very special reason to want to see this particular serial, most of which was junked - because it terrified the daylights out of my father when he was a child (and, in a bizarre twist of fate, he came face-to-face with a Snowman years later at a tiny science-fiction and horror prop exhibition, an experience which no doubt shortened his life more than the cigarettes).
If I could leap into a burning building and save all the 97 lost Doctor Who episodes, I would, but this one is just too tempting to ignore.
More of Louise's startling insights can be found at The Three Penny Guignol