‘Marco Polo’ was the fourth ever story in the fifty year old series, originally airing in 1964. It was BBC policy at the time to reuse video tapes, taping over old episodes in the process. As a results, upwards of 100 classic Doctor Who episodes have been lost to time.
In ‘Marco Polo,’ the first Doctor, William Hartnell, travels to 1289 China where he and his companions get into trouble with the famed Venetian explorer Marco Polo and the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan.
Until now, the episodes have only existed as audio recording accompanied by scattered still images. But back when the show first aired, an enterprising fan recorded the episodes by pointing a 16mm film camera at his TV, or so the rumour goes. Apparently, the results were pretty good; good enough for the BBC to reconstruct a complete product by combining the film with the existing audio.
If the rumour holds true, we should get an official confirmation next month.