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New Zealand gets in on sci fi icon's 50th birthday

By Darren Bevan

Published: 7:42AM Thursday March 07, 2013 Source: ONE News

50 years, 11 television incarnations and hundreds of episodes on, BBC sci fi show Doctor Who is gearing up for its big anniversary with a touch of Kiwi style.

Wellington based script writer Neil Cross has penned two episodes for the upcoming run of the BBC series, which will start airing in the UK on March 30th. The two stories will form part of an eight episode run which runs into the series' 50th anniversary in November.

Meanwhile, four of the original actors who portrayed the Doctor on screen and on full cast audios will be heading to New Zealand shores for a convention in April.

Actors Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy (who appeared recently in The Hobbit) will be over for the Lords of Time convention in Auckland on April 13th. Heading along with them will be the current voice of the Daleks and Cybermen, Nick Briggs.

The last time Paul McGann was in New Zealand was for the Auckland Armageddon festival in 2010 - and his unveiling of a new costume for his eighth Doctor (who appeared on screen only once) caused a meltdown in the Who fan world.

Doctor Who began running on BBC TV on November 23rd 1963 just after the announcement of the death of US president John F Kennedy.

Since its start in black and white, there have been over 750 episodes made - and of those 106 are still missing from the show's early years in the 1960s, presumed wiped after the BBC decided to junk its recordings.

But fans of the show are still optimistic collectors worldwide potentially have undiscovered episodes lying around. 

In 2011, two episodes of the show from the 1960s were discovered when a fan who had purchased them in the mid-1980s found out the BBC did not hold copies of them. Clips from stories from the era were discovered in New Zealand back in 2002 but the biggest find came in the form of a complete episode from a serial from William Hartnell's era.

The Lion, the first part of The Crusade was found in Auckland in January 1999 by fans Neil Lambess and Paul Scoones after it had been bought by a collector and put up for sale via the internet. Scoones, who's written books on the show and works on the official BBC DVD releases, runs the Retrospace collectables store in Takapuna with his wife.