On the afternoon of Sunday 4 April 1999 a car pulled up outside the Auckland
Airport Centra Hotel. Wearing a black T-shirt, a florescent yellow baseball
cap, and hunkered over slightly by the weight of his backpack, Bruce Grenville
walked through the hotel's lobby, carefully carrying a slim metal film can and
flanked by three men dressed as security guards. As camera crews from both TV1
and TV3 news, and newspaper photographers scurried around him Bruce began a
slow walk down the hotel's main corridor. He held the film can in front of him
in the manner of, as one newspaper journalist later succinctly put it, "a
priest carrying an offering to the altar".
Inside the can was Bruce's 16mm film print of the recently rediscovered The
Lion, the first episode of the 1965 Doctor Who serial The Crusade.
This previously lost episode has been the subject of an unprecedented level of
media attention since its rediscovery in early January 1999. The occasion was
the first public screening of the film itself. A video copy supplied by the BBC
had "premiered" at an American convention a few weeks earlier but this was to
be the first - and only - public showing of the actual film print, projected on
the big screen. Bruce Grenville later sold the film in an online auction.
The screening of The Lion was a scheduled event at Conquest II,
1999's NZ science fiction convention, a four-day event drawing in around 250 SF
fans from around the country. A number of these fans witnessed Grenville and
his security guard escort making their slow walk through the hotel. (The
so-called 'security guards' were in fact friends of the convention organisers,
dressed up to look the part at Bruce's request). The reaction of these
assembled fans was of mounting amusement and some incredulity at this unusual
and unexpected spectacle. The news media were not slow to pick up on the
reactions of the onlookers, and one unidentified fan was later reported in the
Herald as describing Bruce as: "the kind of guy who gives science fiction a bad
The screening of the episode was a major drawcard for the convention,
packing out the main room set aside for events. Conquest II's organiser,
Norman Cates, said that a significant number of people had paid to come along
on the Sunday just to attend the screening.
The full story of the 16mm film of The Lion, how it came to be in
Bruce Grenville's possession and the media attention its discovery has
attracted, begins soon after the episode first aired on BBC Television in 1965,
thirty-four years ago.
The Lion was recorded on two-inch, 405-line monochrome videotape at
the BBC's Riverside Studios on the evening of Friday 5 March 1965. This tape
was the master-copy of the episode and was used for the broadcast on BBC1,
Saturday 27 March 1965 at 5.40 p.m.
After the broadcast the tape was held by the BBC's Engineering Department
and was requisitioned by BBC Enterprises, who arranged for a 16mm black and
white film recording (called a 'telerecording') to be made for the purposes of
overseas sale. The master videotape would then have been returned to the BBC
Engineering Department's videotape library (where tapes were usually eventually
either erased for re-use, or destroyed). BBC records state that the 405-line
videotape of The Lion was wiped on Friday 31 January 1969.
BBC Enterprises stored their 16mm film telerecordings as negatives from
which positive prints could be struck whenever a fresh print was required.
Every time an overseas television company purchased the rights to a story, BBC
Enterprises would either have a 16mm film positive struck from the negative, or
arrange for an overseas broadcaster who had previously purchased and
transmitted the story to pass on their film copies to the new broadcaster.
The BBC Film Library (a separate department from BBC Enterprises or
Engineering) held a 16mm film copy of The Lion for a time, but the print was
junked sometime prior to 1972. BBC Enterprises' 16mm film negative of The Lion
was destroyed sometime between 1972 and 1978.
The Crusade was purchased and transmitted by ten countries between
1966 and 1971, as listed below. These countries received 16mm film prints of
the story's four episodes.
- Australia - January 1966
- Gibraltar - May 1966
- Singapore - May 1966
- Nigeria - July 1966
- Zambia - October 1966
- Barbados - June 1967
- Mauritius - November 1967
- Sierra Leone - August 1968
- Jamaica - March 1969
- Ethiopia - October 1971
Some countries, like Australia, would have received newly struck
16mm prints; others would have received films sent on from prior
broadcasters (a system often referred to as ‘bicycling’).
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) purchased The Crusade in early 1966. The episode was given a G rating by the Australian Film Censorship Board and was passed with no cuts required. It was broadcast on a regional basis starting in March 1966. It was later repeated, with the last regional screening taking place in February 1968.
The Crusade was received by the NZBC (New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation) as part of a batch of seven stories (31 episodes) that had a screening rights start date of 19 September 1967.
This batch included everything from The Reign of Terror to The Crusade. The first four stories (17 episodes) of this batch were sent to New Zealand by the ABC in July 1967. The origin of the other three stories (14 episodes) - including The Crusade - is unknown. (They were either dispatched from the BBC in London, or from one of the other countries who had already screened it. They almost certainly did not come from Australia, as the ABC's prints were still needed for upcoming regional repeats.)
The batch of seven stories was catalogued by the NZBC as episodes B-271-21
through to B-271-51. The first part of this code, "B-271" is the programme
identification number ('B' was the NZBC code for a programme running between 20
and 30 minutes) and the second part was the sequential episode number. Twenty
episodes (100,000 BC to Marco Polo) had previously been acquired
and catalogued by the NZBC, so the first episode of The Reign of Terror was
therefore logged as episode B-271-21, the second as B-271-22, and so on. The
Lion had the NZBC catalogue number B-271-48.
All television programmes had to be viewed and assigned a rating by the New
Zealand Government film and television censors before they could be cleared for
broadcast. This batch of 31 episodes was viewed and rated between 26 September and 27 November 1967.
The Lion itself was viewed on 21 November 1967. A 'G' rating meant that
a programme was suitable for general viewing, whereas a 'Y' restricted the
broadcast of material with this rating before a certain time of the evening.
This demarcation, or 'watershed', is believed to have been around 7.30 p.m. in
the mid-sixties on New Zealand television. The first batch of Doctor Who
episodes acquired by the NZBC (100,000 BC to Inside the Spaceship)
were rated 'Y' and had start times no earlier than 7.57 p.m. Subsequently the
programme was screened around two hours earlier in the evening. This required
that the censors had cleared each and every broadcast episode with a 'G'
From this batch of seven stories, three were rated 'Y' and therefore not screened. These were The Dalek Invasion of Earth,
The Web Planet and The Crusade. Although two sets of records
(independently researched by Graham Howard and Nigel Windsor) indicate that The
Crusade was rated 'G', other sources (more on this later) gives the censor
rating for The Crusade: The Lion as 'Y'. Although the question remains
as to which of the contradicting records is correct, the fact that all other
sixties Doctor Who stories rated 'G' were screened weighs heavily in
favour of a 'Y' rating for The Lion. It is even conceivable that both
records are correct - the episode may have originally been given a 'G' rating,
but subsequently reviewed and re-rated.
Whether the rest of The Crusade was also reviewed and rated 'Y' is
unknown. Certainly the sword-fights early in The Lion may have accounted for
the decision to assign a 'Y' rating to this particular episode, but surviving censors' records indicate this kind of act of violence was usually cut or trimmed. Whatever was the reason, the very fact that one episode was classified 'Y' was reason enough for the whole story to be rejected for broadcast in Doctor Who's regular time-slot.
On a hypothetical tangent, if The Crusade had been screened (but The
Web Planet - which was also rejected by the censor - had not), The Lion
would have most likely been first broadcast in Christchurch on CHTV-3, at 5.30
p.m. on Friday 10 May 1968, since the last episode of The Romans screened in
this slot the previous week. Extending this hypothetical scenario, The Lion
would have subsequently screened in Wellington on WNTV-1 on Friday 21 June, in
Dunedin (DNTV-2) on Friday 12 July, and in Auckland (AKTV-2) on Friday 7
After broadcast by the last of the four New Zealand television regions
(usually Dunedin), all film prints were returned to TV Head Office in
Wellington, who then dispatched them to the film store located on Harriett
Street in Thorndon. Every year on 1 April, the NZBC undertook a stock-take of
their film holdings at Harriett Street (HS). In the 1970 stock-take, all
stories from this September 1967 batch, barring The Web Planet (which had not
been transmitted), were still held. All four episodes of The Crusade are
marked "HS 1.4.70".
The first two stories from the 1967 batch, The Reign of Terror and
Planet of Giants, were subsequently destroyed in mid-1971. Records do
not show what happened to The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Rescue, The
Romans, The Web Planet or The Crusade after 1970. It appears likely
that most if not all other Doctor Who film prints from the 1960s had by
this time either been destroyed or 'bicycled' to other countries. (A large
number of episodes, including everything held by the NZBC from Galaxy 4 to The
Power of the Daleks, was sent to Singapore in 1972, and The Time Meddler
was sent to Nigeria in 1973 - from where it was later returned to the BBC).
Down at the Dump
By early 1973, the NZBC was preparing to relocate to the new TV Centre that
was still undergoing construction at Avalon, in Lower Hutt. While the main
studios and other technical facilities were not due to be completed until March
1975, some of the administration departments were able to relocate early. One
of these departments was the film store. The store at Avalon was a lot smaller
than Harriett Street (which had been in service since late 1964), mainly
because by the early 1970s the NZBC was gearing towards broadcasting more and
more from colour video tape, so the storage requirements for tape were not as
extensive as that required for film stock. To avoid the time and expense of
moving all the films from Harriett Street to Avalon, a final stock take was
undertaken with a particular emphasis on identifying films for which the
screening rights had expired and the distributors had said they did not want
returned. Amongst the piles of these thousands of unwanted film prints was The
Lion. (Whether any other episodes of Doctor Who were also present is
The consignment of films was signed off by the NZBC and in the spring of
1974 loaded on to trucks to deliver to rubbish tips around Wellington. These
films were supposed to have been buried forever, but a Wellington-based film
collector was forewarned of the dumping, and arrived at the Karori landfill in
time to intercept the delivery. The film collector persuaded a workman at the
dump to let him take as many of the 16mm films as he could fit in his van. He
might have taken more but he was told that he had to leave some as evidence
that the films had actually been delivered to their destination. To aid this
deception, the collector removed some of the film reels and left the empty film
cans to be buried. There probably wasn't time to pick and choose which films to
take, so it was good fortune that The Lion was among the 321 films the
collectors took away with him.
In 1975 the collector typed up a catalogue of his hoard (the catalogue bears
the heading "16mm FILM CATALOGUE 1975" on its cover page). This list included
much of the detail from the labels that was still attached to the film reels or
film cans, and included NZBC and censorship information. On page 12 of the 17-page
document is the following entry:
DR. WHO" BRT. BBC 24 min. "Y"
The Lion B-271-48
This is the only Doctor Who episode on the list. It is this document
that provides the sole evidence of the 'Y' rating assigned to the first episode
of The Crusade. BRT indicates it is British, and "24 min" is the approximate duration (the actual
duration of The Lion is 24 minutes, 56 seconds). The catalogue number,
"B-271-48", matches to the notation on the NZBC's Programme Traffic records.
Over the years, the collector sold many of the films to other collectors;
including fellow film buff David Lascelles who bought The Lion. Lascelles long
ago sold the episode on to another collector, but came forward in January 1999
in the aftermath of the media publicity, to tell the story of the NZBC dumping.
The 16mm film print of The Lion had several owners within New Zealand over a
period spanning nearly a quarter of a century. In all of this time it seems
that no-one assigned any special significance or value to this film print, and
certainly not one owner or viewer of the film appears to have realised that
this was one of many episodes sought after by the BBC, that is, not until
On the Lion's Trail
Shortly after the discovery of The Lion in January 1999, Wellington
Doctor Who fan Graham Howard discovered more about the film's
provenance. Graham takes up the story: "The fact that there were film
collectors around New Zealand who held episodes of old overseas television
programmes came as a surprise to me. Although there was always the possibility
that the odd episode might have slipped out of the NZBC or TVNZ, the extent of
the 'slippage' appears to be far more widespread than I could have imagined.
"A Wellington film collector I contacted to discuss the likelihood of there
being other missing material, perhaps in private collections, mentioned that he
knew the person who sold The Lion to Bruce Grenville. Since Bruce did not know
the identity of the person who sold him the film, and previous attempts to
track this person down had failed, I asked if I could contact him myself.
"Around January 1998 Larry Duggan, a film collector from Featherston, bought
around 40 reels of film, for which he paid $150. The films purchased by Larry
were mostly newsreels and documentaries. However, among these items was the
pilot episode of an old British sitcom called The Rough with the Smooth, and an
obscure episode of Doctor Who called The Lion.
"The person who had previously owned the films, an 'eccentric' Wellington
painter, had been storing them with at least a hundred or so other films, and a
huge quantity of other items - in fact, some 150 tonnes worth - on an isolated
property near the Wahine Gorge. This unusual situation had come about because
around two years previously this collector had sold the house he had previously
been using to store all of these possessions (including The Lion, which had
probably been stored there for at least the previous ten years), and so needed
an alternative site. Dean Fletcher, the owner of the Wahine Gorge property, had
agreed to store the collector's possessions for six months in exchange for a
storage fee. However, two years later he had still not received any money. The
gear was stored in boxes and crates, but was exposed to the weather and was
deteriorating noticeably. So Dean decided to sell off what he could, while he
still could, and dump or otherwise destroy the rest. This decision quite
possibly saved The Lion, because in his view it is unlikely the films
would have survived another winter. Since Dean knew Larry was a serious film
collector he asked him to have a look through the films, take what he wanted
from them and make him an offer. Perhaps ironically, Dean and his wife enjoy
Doctor Who, and he would never have sold the episode to Larry if he'd
known it was in there!
"Larry remembers enjoying Doctor Who years ago, so he picked out The
Lion from the collection, but says he didn't particularly care for this
episode, so [in May 1998] he sold it at a film collectors' convention in
Napier, for five dollars. Larry never showed it to anyone else - it never
occurred to him that the print was in any way unique. He was therefore
surprised to learn of the systematic junkings by the BBC in the 1970s. Of
course, I had to ask him if he had ever come across any other episodes of
Doctor Who over the years he had been collecting films. The answer was
an emphatic 'no', but that he would now be very alert to any future
'sightings'! (He has my number!)."
In May 1998 the Film Buffs Association, a New Zealand club for film
aficionados, held in Napier the first of their bi-annual conventions. The Lion
film reel was on sale at this event on a trader's table as one of a pile of
films regarded as having little interest or value to buyers. The seller of
these films, as mentioned above, was Featherston film collector Larry Duggan.
Bruce Grenville attended this convention, and was on the lookout for
interesting items to add to his own collection of 16mm films. Grenville enjoyed
Doctor Who as a casual viewer and noticing the film can marked 'Dr Who',
he offered to buy it. Larry informed Bruce that it was an incomplete story,
part of a larger adventure but that the rest of the episodes were missing. For
this reason Larry considered that the film had little value - it would have
been much more collectable (and therefore more valuable) as a complete
adventure - and was therefore apparently happy to sell it to Grenville for
just $5. Grenville brought the 16mm film print of The Lion back to Auckland
with him and stored it away in a cupboard with his many other 16mm films at his
Grey Lynn flat.
Grenville has many interests; he is a doctor of archaeology and also
operates his own letterpress printery. In the early 1980s he was involved in
science fiction fandom and produced a whole range of printed stickers and other
paraphernalia for a Dunedin SF convention called Octacon. These days
Grenville produces newsletters and postage stamps, all relating to the fantasy
kingdom of Sedang. He has recently signed a contract with a London film
producer to make a movie about Occussi-Ambeno, a fictitious country of his
Grenville also runs Sedang Cinema, which he describes as "a mobile picture
service that specialises in providing movie shows for functions and children's
parties in the client's own home". Grenville also screens his films in his flat
for his friends. Grenville's collection contains over 200 films, and these are
all documented in a catalogue he has produced and distributed, as well as
featuring on a website (www.sedang.hm)
created and maintained by a colleague in Canberra, Australia. The Lion first
appeared in both Bruce's printed catalogue and on the Sedang Cinema website
sometime in the latter half of 1998. Perhaps remarkably, despite being
accessible on the Internet throughout the world, no one picked up on the
listing, at least not to the extent of following it up with Bruce. The
catalogue and Internet entry was as follows:
Doctor Who (BBC) B/W, episode one of a mini-series "The Lion".
Starring William Hartnell as the First Doctor, King Richard the Lion-heart
in Jaffa fights with the Saracens, who capture one of the doctor's female
Over the second half of 1998, Bruce screened The Lion many times for
his own enjoyment as well as for friends and visitors to his flat. Bruce was
completely unaware of the film's rarity. As far as he knew, the BBC held a full
set of Doctor Who stories. One of his friends for whom he screened The
Lion was Cornelius Stone, a former TSV reader (he was one of this journal's
earliest subscribers back in 1987).
Some weeks after Cornelius saw the film, he encountered his friend Neil
Lambess in Pop Culture, a comic shop in central Auckland, on Saturday 17
October 1998. Cornelius told Neil that he'd watched an episode of the animated
television series Escape from the Planet of the Apes, projected on 16mm
film at Bruce's place. Neil, a devoted fan of Doctor Who, had long
believed that missing episodes still exist in New Zealand, and has pursued
rumours and tenuous leads about various episodes. When Cornelius told him about
the Planet of the Apes film, Neil asked if Bruce also had any Doctor
Who on film. Neil says, "This throwaway comment jogged Corn's memory and
then he remembered! I've often thought since that if I hadn't said that, none
of us would be any the wiser" You should always follow up any lead: if I'd
assumed that Corn' knew Bruce didn't have any Who I'd have never asked -
I almost didn't!"
Cornelius told Neil that he'd seen an episode from a William Hartnell story
set at the time of the Crusades, which he thought was called The Lion. Neil was
immediately interested, but thought it likely that this was in fact The
Wheel of Fortune, the surviving third part of The Crusade, an
episode that has always been held by the BBC (and has been available on video
as a featured episode on The Hartnell Years tape). Neil did however
encourage Cornelius to speak to Bruce, both to confirm the episode title and to
check if it was okay for him to contact Bruce.
For various reasons it wasn't until the beginning of January 1999 that
Cornelius and Neil was able to confirm that the episode was apparently called
The Lion. Cornelius put Neil in contact with Bruce on the morning of
Sunday 3 January. Neil arranged for himself and one other to go to Bruce's Grey
Lynn flat that evening to view the episode, and gained Bruce's permission to
videotape it at the same time. Neil then phoned Jon Preddle in Hamilton, but
Jon decided not to make the journey up to Auckland on what might prove to be a
false lead. In addition, Jon didn't have a video camera, and knowing that I
did, suggested that Neil phone me instead. Neil and I arranged to meet up and
go to visit Bruce together. All Bruce had asked for in return for showing us
the film was a copy of his favourite Doctor Who story, The Sun
Makers, which he remembered seeing on its 1987 broadcast.
Upon arriving at Bruce's flat at the arranged time, Neil and I discovered
that Bruce and his flat mates had begun to watch a German language film on
video, Veronika Voss, which continued to run for nearly two hours. This
1982 black and white Fassbinder movie has consequently become a part of mine
and Neil's memory of seeing The Lion for the first time, not least of
all because we were forced to sit and politely endure what seemed like a very
long and slow-moving film when what we really want to see was the Doctor Who
Neil had asked me to bring along a video camcorder so that we could record
the episode off-screen. I set up the camera on a tripod, and we stayed very
quiet during the screening to avoid extraneous noises on the soundtrack.
We had checked the Titan script book of The Crusade in advance, so
when the episode opened with two knights entering a forest clearing, we knew
straight away that was indeed the story's first episode. Concrete evidence came
thirty seconds later with the episode title "THE LION" superimposed over a shot
of the TARDIS materialising with a most unusual sound effect!
After the final credits had rolled on screen, Neil and I were excited, but
remained deliberately restrained in our excitement for fear of harming our
chances of negotiating for the loan of the film. We didn't know how Bruce would
react if he knew exactly how sought-after his film print actually was. We did
however explain that it was a missing episode, and that the BBC would very much
like to borrow the film for a few weeks in order to clean it up and take a copy.
Bruce appeared pleased and surprised. He had believed that the BBC possessed
a complete collection of Doctor Who episodes, and that his was just one
of many film copies in circulation. He explained that he had previously been
seeking to trade the film for another Doctor Who film in colour, or with a
science fiction plot, but above all, he wanted a complete story rather than his
single episode. Fortunately for everyone concerned, Bruce had not encountered
another film collector with a Doctor Who episode to trade. The Lion
ends with the words 'Next Episode: The Knight of Jaffa', and not knowing how
long the story was meant to be, Bruce hoped that if he could locate this next
episode, it would perhaps complete the story.
Neil and I established that Bruce would be willing to loan the film to the
BBC, but wanted some time to consider this first. We agreed to get back in
touch in a week, and departed with our off-screen camcorder recording as the
only hard evidence that we'd just seen a episode believed to be lost forever by
the rest of the world's Doctor Who fans.
Negotiating the Return
At 2 a.m. in the morning on Monday, 4 January, following a late night
celebratory phone-call by Neil and myself to Jon Preddle, I emailed Steve
Roberts. Steve is a BBC engineer who heads the unofficial 'Doctor Who
Restoration Team', the group responsible for, among other projects, restoring
The War Machines and The Ice Warriors, and recolourising
successfully three Pertwee stories. I wrote in my email:
name's Paul Scoones. I run the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club. I have
some awesomely good news. Another fan and myself have tracked down a film
collector in New Zealand with a missing episode of Doctor Who; namely The Lion,
episode 1 of The Crusade. I was initially very sceptical, but tonight we
went to visit this collector and he played us the film print on his projector.
We couldn't believe our luck - it is indeed The Lion!!
Steve replied within a few hours, beginning his message "Excellent news
mate, much kudos to you and your mate for tracking that one down!" Arrangements
were made to send him a VHS copy of my off-screen recording so that Steve could
make an advance assessment of the amount of restoration work involved.
I asked Steve to keep the news under wraps because I was worried that if
word leaked out before the BBC could borrow the film, Bruce might be tracked
down and made an offer for the film by another fan wanting it for their
collection. We mutually agreed to try and give Doctor Who Magazine the
exclusive story on the find, and although the timing of the next issue meant
this wasn't to be, DWM did get articles written especially for the magazine
from Steve and myself.
Neil lives in Whangarei (which is around two hours drive north of Auckland)
so Neil and I agreed that I was in a better position to negotiate with Bruce
and to handle the return of the film to the BBC. We had intended to give Bruce
a week before approaching him again but after communicating with Steve, I began
to worry about the possibility of Bruce having second thoughts, someone else
tracking him down, or worse still, the film becoming accidentally damaged. So
three days later I phoned Bruce and sounded him out again on loaning his film
to the BBC. He agreed, and I arranged to pick it up on Thursday 7 January.
When I turned up at Bruce's flat on the Thursday evening, however, he had
changed his mind. As Bruce pointed out, I could walk out the door with the film
and never be seen or heard from again. I could appreciate his point of view,
but I was frustrated at having made a wasted journey across town. I returned
home to print out emails from Steve Roberts and write a personal letter of
assurance setting out the intention to copy the film and promptly return it to
Bruce. I delivered these documents to Bruce later the same night, and these
proved to be enough to set his mind at rest. Bruce permitted me to leave with
the film in my possession. I left with a sense of relief and triumph, and the
next morning dispatched the film to Steve Roberts at the BBC by Federal Express
international courier. It arrived on Monday 11 January. Steve held on to the
film for a month, during which time it was cleaned and copies were taken of the
episode. Steve returned the film on Friday 5 February, and I received it the
following Monday. I hand-delivered the film back to Bruce on the evening of
Tuesday 9 February.
With the film safely on its way to the BBC in early January, there was
nothing to stop us going public with the news, but I thought that if the find
could be kept under wraps for ten days, then TSV would get the world
exclusive. Neil and I devised a press release that we intended posting to the
Internet and faxing to the media timed so that the news would hit the papers
just as most local readers were receiving their copy of TSV 56. Steve Roberts
and his restoration team, and Gary Gillatt and the rest of the DWM team all
agreed to this plan of action. What Neil and I failed to realise, however, was
that Bruce was making plans of his own.
A journalist for the local Sunday Star-Times newspaper, Annie Kearns,
was told about the find by her friend Cornelius Stone and recognised the
episode find as an opportunity for an exclusive story for her paper. Kearns
interviewed Bruce on Sunday 10 January. The article was planned to appear in
the following Sunday's paper, breaking the news about this lost episode of
Doctor Who being found in New Zealand. I learned of this on the Monday
when Kearns phoned me at work to get my views for the story. It was then that I
realised that TSV wouldn't get the scoop we'd hoped for, as the issues would
not be ready to post out just after Kearns' story went to print.
On the afternoon of Tuesday 12 January, Bruce typed up a one-page press
release and faxed it off to television stations, newspapers and radio stations.
Bruce later explained to me that he had had a change of heart about giving
Kearns the exclusive story. The release gave the full story about the episode
find, included my name and contact number, but unfortunately omitted any
mention of Neil Lambess. I only became aware of Bruce's actions when Deborah
Diaz, a reporter at the New Zealand Herald, phoned me on Tuesday
afternoon for an interview. I got Diaz to read parts of the release to me and I
stressed the importance of Neil Lambess's name being included in the story.
In this press release and in subsequent interviews and releases, Bruce made
mention of screening the film at Conquest II, the National SF convention
at Easter, and then auctioning the film via the Internet. Neil and I had
suggested to Bruce that he should screen the film at the convention, so that as
many people as possible could share the experience, but the notion of an
Internet auction was not something we'd discussed. For obvious reasons we
steered clear of any suggestion of selling the film in conversations with him,
lest he change his mind about loaning it to the BBC. When I spoke to Deborah
Diaz, she wanted me to put a price on the film. I was reluctant to do so, but
when pressed, offered the figure of £1000, which was subsequently quoted in
Radio and television stations began phoning that evening, and it was at this
point that I emailed everyone I could think of with our own version of the
press release that had been intended to go out the following week. Overnight,
it appeared on most of the major Doctor Who-related Internet sites and
newsgroups, with fan reactions on rec.arts.drwho ranging from sceptical to
overjoyed. Understandably, some fans thought it was yet another hoax, but this
soon quashed by Steve Roberts' own postings to the newsgroup, assuring everyone
that the find was genuine.
Deborah Diaz's story made the front page of the Metro (Auckland) edition of
the Herald on Wednesday 13 January. This high profile was undoubtedly
due in part to the lack of major stories. Michael Jordan's retirement from
basketball, the ongoing Clinton impeachment proceedings and a possible
development in the hunt for missing teenagers Ben Smart and Olivia Hope were
not enough to shunt a short piece about a Doctor Who episode found in New
Zealand off the front page. The story had been distributed via the NZPA (New
Zealand Press Association) to all other newspapers around the country and at
least fourteen daily papers - including both editions of the Herald - carried
What the Papers Said
Deborah Diaz's story appeared in more than a dozen New Zealand daily
newspapers on Wednesday 13 January. Most papers ran the full story, though it
was truncated in The Daily News, The Waikato Times, The Evening Standard,
and ironically, in both the Metro and Northern editions of the Herald.
The Evening Post and the Herald (Northern edition) both featured
the story on the papers' masthead, complete with a photo of William Hartnell as
the Doctor. The Evening Post and the Herald (both editions) were
also the only papers to feature a photo, again of Hartnell, alongside the
article. The only other significant variation across all of the papers was the
title - remarkably no two were exactly the same:
- Big thrill for 'Dr Who' fans (Daily Telegraph)
- Dr Who episode found in NZ (Daily News)
- Dr Who episode takes a time trip of its own (Waikato Times)
- Dr Who film find (Wairarapa Times Age)
- Dr Who in reappearing episode pleases fans (Herald Northern edition)
- Dr Who travels in time and space, winds up in Auckland (Evening Post)
- Dr Who turns up in Auckland (Gisborne Herald)
- 'Dr Who' turns up in NZ (Otago Daily Times)
- Dr Who? Dr Who, that's who (Evening Standard)
- Dream find for Dr Who fans (Wanganui Chronicle)
- Lost Dr Who emerges from tardis in Auckland (Rotorua Daily Post)
- Lost Dr Who episode appears in Auckland (Bay of Plenty Times)
- Missing Dr Who episode turns up in Auckland (Northern Advocate)
- Time traveller reappears (Herald Metro edition)
I was interviewed early in the morning of Wednesday 13 January by IRN news,
and Radio Pacific also ran an early morning report. I was forced to take most
of the day off work as both TV1 and TV3 news wanted to interview me at home
with my Doctor Who collection. TV3 was the first to record an item,
followed by TV1 later in the afternoon. (The intervening time gave me the
opportunity I needed to put the finishing touches on TSV
issue 56 and take it to the printers). Radio 5 phoned from the UK in the
middle of the TV1 interview. Bruce held a 'press conference' that evening at
his flat that I did not attend, but I did however provide a copy of the on-
screen video recording.
Thursday saw the story run in most major British newspapers, including large
features in The Guardian and The Times. Bruce and I were
interviewed on 'Radio 5 Live' in the UK. Bruce talked about Doctor Who episodes
being held by the BBC on Laserdiscs and U-matic tapes, but there wasn't time on
air for me to correct these inaccuracies.
Having lost her exclusive on the story, Annie Kearns salvaged an article
from the material she'd assembled that focussed on the legality of Bruce
auctioning what was technically the property of BBC Enterprises. Kearns quoted
Steve Roberts as saying "What Bruce has is stolen property and, in fact, by
buying it he may very well open himself up for legal action." (Steve was
annoyed at being misquoted, as it was not Bruce's buying the film but rather
selling it that was the issue.) In the article Bruce expressed
confidence that no legal proceedings would take place. The story ran in the
Sunday Star-Times on 17 January as planned.
Although Kearns had missed out on her exclusive, her story appears to have
been the first to address the legal ramifications of Bruce's ownership - and
therefore his right to sell the film.
Television News Reports
The 6pm news on TV1 and TV3 on the evening of 13 January both featured the
story of the episode find. Both items were around one and a half minutes long.
As the film itself was already in the hands of the BBC, both reports cleverly
edited together their own footage of Bruce Grenville operating his film
projector with clips from the off-screen home video footage of the episode shot
by Paul Scoones.
The TV3 report by Jacquie Hudson played as one of the leading items of the
news hour. The first interview was with "Dr Bruce Grenville - Film Buff", who
talked about finding the film in Napier saying that he was " in the right place
at the right time and bought it at a really cheap rate." After revealing that
this rate was just $5, Hudson then talked to "Paul Scoones - Dr Who Fan Club",
who was described as being the one who realised the significance of Bruce's
purchase. I said: "We sat down to watch it, he flicked the switch, rolled the
camera and sure enough it was a missing episode - so it was incredible! We just
couldn't believe our eyes when we first saw it." Jacquie Hudson then described
how the BBC threw the episodes out, but now encouraged people to return the
films, and I commented: "Our big hope is that there are other missing episodes
out there in New Zealand. Having found one makes it all the more likely there's
another." Hudson concluded the report with the comment that what happened to
the other missing episodes is a mystery. (I subsequently received some ribbing
from friends for apparently confusing a film projector with a film camera in
this interview, but in my defence what I was actually referring to was the
video camera that I was using to record the episode.)
Over on TV1, reporter Paul Hobbs covered the story in an item near the end
of the news hour. Like TV3, the first interview was with "Bruce Grenville -
Rare Episode Owner", who talked about buying the film for $5. Hobbs then said
that a "Time Lord expert" realised its significance, and this introduces "Paul
Scoonese - Dr Who Fan Club" (yes, that's really how it was spelt!), who said:
"Amazing - every fan's dream to find a missing episode of Dr Who." The report
then featured Fred Gapes of TVNZ, interviewed in a programme storage area at
TVNZ: "Obviously this film has fallen into someone's hands at the time of
junking." The report then cut back to Bruce, who talked about the BBC borrowing
the film. Hobbs wrapped up the item, lying on my front lawn surrounded by
Doctor Who models, by mentioning the forthcoming Conquest II
screening and the online auction.
The Right to Sell
The question of whether Bruce Grenville legally had the right to sell the
film print of The Lion was to cause some embarrassment for the BBC. The
media first raised this issue in the Sunday Star-Times on 17 January,
but Steve Roberts had addressed the problem when he wrote to Bruce on behalf of
the BBC on 13 January, thanking him for allowing the BBC to borrow the film.
Steve had of course seen the stories in the newspapers and on the Internet that
Bruce intended to put the film up for public auction. Steve said in his
letter: "Because the print should have been either returned or destroyed after
the contract period had expired, it is technically still the property of the
BBC and therefore can be classed as stolen property... If you proceed down this
path, you may open yourself up to legal action."
The letter had potentially serious ramifications not only for Bruce's case
but also for anyone else that might be in possession of a missing episode film.
If the BBC's position was that the films were stolen property, would any holder
of a Doctor Who episode risk prosecution or confiscation of their film
by approaching the BBC? In effect, the BBC were cutting off the possibility of
further missing episodes being returned. Steve Roberts later explained to me
that Bruce's case had put the BBC in a position that they had not been in
before. "Basically, all these things were written on the basis that the print
was the property of the BBC and Bruce wasn't in a position to sell it - this
was the official Press Office line at the time we were asked to talk to the
press. However, since then, Sue Malden in Information & Archives has
unilaterally moved to overrule this line. I'm not sure if this applies to
anyone, or just to this particular case. Obviously though, some damage has
already been done."
As a result of Malden's overruling, Steve Roberts again wrote to Bruce on 18
January, apologising for any worry or confusion his first letter might have
caused. He wrote: "I'm pleased to be able to confirm that the BBC's official
position is now that the film is your property and that you may sell it on or
otherwise dispose of it as you please. You bought the print in good faith and
therefore you are entitled to be considered as the legal owner... I have been
asked to point out, however, that the ownership of the print is limited to the
physical acetate film, not to the copyright of the programme contained on it.
This must also be made clear to anyone who wishes to buy the film from you."
Mindful that Bruce would most likely receive his first letter several days
before the second, Steve asked me to contact Bruce to explain the situation
before both letters arrived. I duly reassured Bruce in a letter dated 18
January that there was no legal threat from the BBC, enclosing the relevant
passages from Steve's letters, which had been e-mailed to me.
Despite both Steve and I moving quickly to inform Bruce of the revised
decision, he nonetheless chose to issue another press release after receiving
the first letter. In his statement, Bruce claimed that the film was about to be
the subject of a court case. "If the BBC wish to make a legal battle out of
this and bring the galaxy's most famous time-traveller into the courtroom, we
will certainly fight the issue, and will have top legal daleks in action to
defend our ownership of the film."
Although the story was not nearly as widely publicised as the initial news
of the episode find, it did get picked up by at least two New Zealand radio
stations, and articles appeared in the Herald, the Dominion and
the Evening Standard. Deborah Diaz again wrote the Herald report, which
appeared on Wednesday 27 January. The reports said that the BBC was threatening
take legal action if Bruce persisted with his plan to sell the film, and in
both cases quoted extensively from Steve Roberts' first letter.
I wrote to the editor of the Herald the same day as the article
appeared, refuting the claims made in the article and quoting from Steve's
second letter. For reasons best known to the newspaper, my letter was not
printed until two weeks later. In the meantime, the issue had been resolved.
Bruce issued yet another press release, on 28 January, this time quoting from
Steve's second letter. The Herald, the Dominion and the Evening Standard
reported the 'resolution' of the so-called dispute on Friday 29 January.
Bruce wrote to TSV in late January, giving his response to the BBC's
suggestion that the film was 'stolen property': "What a lot of rubbish! As I
put it to some radio stations that rang me, it's like having an old chair that
you decide to dump, so you put it out for the garbage truck. It is taken to the
tip, where your neighbour sees it, and brings it home. Next day, you walk past
your neighbour's house and see the chair on his front veranda. 'That's stolen
property!' you scream, racing up his driveway. 'Give it back!' No,
more like 'found' property, or flotsam & jetsam. Hardly stolen! If it weren't
for us film buffs rescuing stuff like this from the tips, there would be many
more missing episodes than the 109 presently lost."
I later asked Bruce why he had chosen to publicise Steve Roberts' first
letter, aware as he was from my own letter to him that the BBC's stance had
already changed on the issue. Bruce explained that he wanted to generate
additional publicity for both the episode's screening at Conquest II and the
subsequent Internet auction.
According to Bruce Grenville, his publicity-seeking actions brought him
criticism and the threat of ostracism from the New Zealand Film Buffs
Association, of which he is a member. The association's members apparently felt
that Bruce should have kept quiet about his find. Bruce was defiant; feeling
that he had raised public awareness of the need to hunt out missing Doctor Who
episodes and hoped that the exposure his story had been given would result in
other episodes coming to light. As for the film buffs who apparently felt that
he has brought their hobby unwanted public exposure, Bruce points to the
February 1999 issue of the film-collecting fanzine Reel Deals, in which
editor Mike Trickett applauds the BBC's recognition of Bruce Grenville as the
film's rightful owner. Trickett cites the BBC's stance as "a big step forward
for film collectors. We now have a major film producer, accepting that the
person holding the film has legal ownership of it and with certain restrictions
regarding copyright, he can sell it... I believe most collectors will be happy
with this result." Bruce's conduct over the Doctor Who episode was on the
agenda to be discussed at the business meeting at the Film Buffs Convention
held in early May 1999. Bruce had been prepared to defend his actions, but was
approached by the association's president just prior to the meeting and told
that it had been dropped from the agenda. "I assume his change of attitude was
caused by the favourable editorial in Reel Deals," says Bruce.
The Lion and the Lottery
The discovery of a lost Doctor Who episode attracted huge media
interest in the UK, and resulted in the story of Bruce's find being featured on
the BBC1's live jackpot National Lottery draw, hosted by Carol Smillie and her
special guest for the occasion, Frazer Hines, wearing his Jamie costume. The
show regularly featured a segment called The National Lottery Amazing Luck
Stories, and the lottery draw was recorded in front of a live audience of
Doctor Who fans on Wednesday 10 February. The pre-recorded documentary
briefly covered the lost episodes and the rediscovery of The Lion. Interview
subjects included William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Gary Gillatt (Doctor Who
Magazine Editor), Sue Malden (BBC Archives), Paul Vanezis (BBC Restoration
Team) and Bruce Grenville.
The documentary recreated the film collectors fair, using The Lion
film can itself as a prop, though the fact that it clearly had a Sedang Cinema
label, attached by Bruce after he bought the film, rather destroyed the
illusion for the few who were in the know!
Bruce had been invited to the UK for the recording of the documentary, but
problems with his passport prevented him from making the trip. In his
interview, which was recorded in Auckland, Bruce says: "So he and his buddy
came around that evening... We chatted about it, and I said not a problem to
put it on, so I put it on for them and they were just ecstatic. It was like a
really big religious experience for them."
Limited Edition Video
When The Tomb of the Cybermen was recovered in 1992, the BBC hastily
released the newly found story on video. The same happened with The Lion.
By Friday 22 January - less than three weeks after the episode was found - the
BBC had plans in place to put The Lion out on video for the middle of
the year. The special 'Limited Edition Box Set' included both existing episodes
of The Crusade, paired with The Space Museum on one tape.
William Russell presented The Crusade in character as an elderly Ian
Chesterton, recalling his adventures aboard the TARDIS, and reminiscing about
The Crusade. Russell provided a brief summary of each episode's events,
filling the gaps created by the missing parts two and four.
The full-length soundtracks of the two missing episodes were included on a
CD along with the video, entitled Doctor Who - The Crusade and The Space Museum.
The box also included a TARDIS key-ring and a set of four photo postcards
featuring stills from the two stories. Both the video sleeve and the CD case
booklet contained detailed descriptions of the rediscovery of The Lion and the
restoration of this and the other episodes included in the set. Bruce
Grenville's name was included, but both Neil Lambess and I were omitted
(although my name did appear on the video's closing credits). This oversight was
unfortunately not noticed until it was too late to be corrected on the UK set,
which was released in June 1999, however Steve Roberts swiftly arranged for the
text to be corrected on the packaging for Roadshow's Australasian release in
July - just six months after The Lion was rediscovered.
Bruce never made any secret of his plans to sell the film. Early on, he
decided that the best way to do this was via auction, and apparently phoned
Bonhams (the UK auctioneers responsible for selling off the BBC's Doctor Who
props and costumes in the early 1990s). Bruce asked if they would sell the film
for him with a reserve of £1 million. It seems they turned him down.
The sale was instead handled by Auckland-based Turners Auctions, who took
out colour magazine advertising for a 'Doctor Who Live Internet
Auction'. Turners set up an Internet web page to promote the sale, and
interested buyers were encouraged to advance register their interest in taking
part in the auction.
When arrangements for the auction were still in the early stages, Bruce
said: "We will also throw in a second-hand Eiki projector and take-up spool, so
the successful bidder can watch it... I am hoping to get over $1 million, and
feel I would be silly to sell such a unique item at any less. I should be able
to buy a house and get a bit more organised with that sort of money. This all
presupposes that there are some millionaire American Doctor Who fans eager to
spend large to get a unique collectable bit of paraphernalia. Let's hope this
is the case. Doctor Who made a big impact in the States in the late
1980s, so hopefully some of those fans are now rich and eager!"
The internet auction was due to take place 17 September 1999. Interested
bidders were required to register in advance, but just a few days before the
sale was due to take place Turners pulled the auction because there were just
five registered bidders. The auction was rescheduled in October and sold for
US$850 to a New Zealand bidder.
Bruce Grenville later revealed that he didn't make any money from the sale
of the film. The money raised wasn't enough to cover the auction company's
expenditure on advertising. Fortunately for Bruce, he wasn't required to pay
The film was subsequently listed on eBay in November 1999, selling for US$3150
to a UK bidder called David Goldstein. However the sale fell through when
Goldstein failed to pay. The film was listed for a second time on eBay in
January 2000, where it attracted 43 bids, and this time sold for US$1275. The
current owner of the film print is unknown.
Lost in Time
In November 2004 the BBC released the Doctor Who DVD box set Lost in
Time, which featured 18 episodes from incomplete 1960s stories, including
The Lion. DVD producer Paul Vanezis invited Adam McGechan and I to
contribute a video segment about The Lion to appear on the DVD as a coda
to The Missing Years documentary (which had previously been released in
1998 as part of The Ice Warriors box set several months before The Lion
was rediscovered). Interviews with Neil Lambess, Bruce Grenville and myself
were recorded on the evening of 26 May 2004 in my living room. The interviewer
was Adam McGechan and the cameraman was Nigel Windsor. Eight short segments
from this material appeared on the DVD.
The original version of this article was published in TSV 57 in July 1999.
This revised version was compiled in March 2007, and contains numerous
corrections and additions, including information about the NZBC film archives
and New Zealand government censorship, provided by Jon Preddle from the
research that Jon has conducted in recent years.
I concluded the original article expressing regret that the awareness
generated by all of the publicity surrounding The Lion in the first half
of 1999 hadn't resulted in any further missing episode discoveries. I wrote 'we
can only hope that there won't be cause for The Lion to be described in
some future Doctor Who reference book as "The last of the rediscovered
Doctor Who episodes.'" In fact that hope was rewarded first with Graham
Howard's early 2002 discovery here in New Zealand of several short censor clips
from missing episodes of The Web of Fear and The Wheel in Space,
and in January 2004 with the discovery of Day of Armageddon, the second
episode of The Daleks' Master Plan, in the UK.
For assistance, material and/or advice, thanks to Jon Preddle, David
Lascelles, Graham Howard, Steve Roberts, Bruce Grenville, Nigel Windsor,
Cornelius Stone, David Ronayne and, most importantly of all, Neil Lambess -
without whom there would be no article!
For details of how The Lion was restored, check out
on the Restoration Team website. The information on this page originally
appeared as part of this article, with Steve Roberts' permission.