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Submission + - The Titanic Was Officially Found 30 Years Ago

BigBadBus writes: In the early hours of 1st September 1985, a camera package operated by a joint French-American team uncovered the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, sunk 73 years before. The leader of that portion of the expedition, Dr.Robert D.Ballard went on to great success while the French team, who did 80% of the work, have been more or less forgotten.
That expedition marked the first time that humans had seen the wreck for 7 decades — or had they? Since then, some little evidence has emerged that says the wreck was actually found at least ten years previously, but documents that would prove this are classified until 2033. What we know of the backstory can be found here which also describes Dr.Ballard's intense secrecy in 1985, how his company stood to gain from the discovery and his changing attitude towards salvage when museusm turned down his proposal to "traffic" in recovered artefacts.
Disclosure: I am the author of that article.

Submission + - DNA Trounces A Titanic Fraud->

BigBadBus writes: When the Titanic sank in April 1912, the only first class child to perish was 2 year old Loraine Allison; the Allison's maid, Alice Cleaver had already absconded with baby Trevor, leaving the child's grief-stricken parents to search the ship for their son, unaware that he was safe in a lifeboat. The three members of the Allison family left on the Titanic perished together.
In future decades, a lady by the name of Helen Loraine Kramer came forward to claim that she was actually Loraine, and that she had been saved by a "Mr.Hyde" who had bundled her into a lifeboat. There seemed to be no proof to back up this claim, and suspicions were further stoked when Hyde was identified as the Titanic's chief designer, Thomas Andrews, who it seemed had turned his back on his family in Ireland to raise Loraine as his own. The further fact that Kramer/Allison would have to be 9 years old when she gave birth to her first daughter was seemingly no impediment to this bizarre story. With Kramer's death, her granddaughter Debrina Woods took up the mantle of proving the link to the Allison family, alluding to suitcases of evidence to back up her claim, but prevaricating on whether any DNA testing had been carried out, while she writes her book and movie script.
A few weeks back, a rival researcher acting on behalf of the actual Allison family finally got the results of the mitochondrial DNA analysis of Kramer and descendants of the Allisons: there was no match, meaning that Kramer's claims can now be consigned to the dustbin used to file the similar bogus claims of Princess Anastasia/Anna Anderson and other frauds.
This has not detered Woods, who has claimed to have "CLOSER genetic participants" than her opponent, but this simply shows ignorance of how mitochondrial DNA is passed down the family line.

Link to Original Source

Comment Rephrase the question - and a Merry Christmas! (Score -1, Offtopic) 189

Perhaps I can ask about improving YOUR chances of getting these discounted items? :)
You could go to my website (see the URL below) and click on and one of the Amazon links; you don't have to buy the item on display as you can remove it from your shopping basket. We get a tiny commission (about 10 cents or less) for each item sold while you are logged on.
Have a very Merry Christmas (and who knows, maybe next Christmas WE can afford to buy some of these wonderfully discounted items :)

Comment Ghost Hunts (Score 2) 273

In the past, I used to go on Ghost Hunts. Yes, you read that right. But now its all heavily commercialized and genuine researchers are being forced out. Damn you "Most Haunted" and your cheque-book negotiation tactics; now placed don't allow access unless you wave a big cheque under the owner's nose!

Comment Re:Glad (Score 1) 184

Yes, thanks, I knew most of this.
Just a few points: It was actually BBC Enterprises in the 1960s and 1970s. TV shows were marketed under conditions but with one important addition; if the prints had exceeded their agreed sales target and weren't to be sent to another TV station, they were to be either sent back to the BBC or destroyed, and a certificate of destruction issued as proof. I suspect that many episodes were routinely destroyed as part of the sales agreement; it is cheaper to burn or thrown out than go to the hassle of shipping them back.
You're right about the Film Archive though. Only a random assortment of 16 and 35mm black and white episodes wound up there. I forget how many, possibly about 30 or so. Then when it was found that BBC Enterprises had made telerecordings/kinescopes of practically all the episodes, efforts were made to find out what they had. Unfortunately, they had been destroying episodes for about 5 years at that point so there were big gaps. The BBC Film Archives stopped the junking almost straight away and requisitioned the exisitng film prints from Ents. Later on, VT was also requisitioned, and it became the BBC Film and Videotape Library. By the time this had happened, a lot of colour video tape had already been wiped by the BBC Engineering Dept. for reuse.

One thing we must bear in mind is that this didn't just affect Dr.Who. Nearly all of the BBC output was affected. Some dramas have many hundreds of episodes missing. And it isn't just a BBC problem. Many Independant TV station in the UK have lost material. Its just that Dr.Who is soooooo high profile ;-)

Comment Re:The public paid for them, the BBC threw them aw (Score 1) 184

Yes, they managed to get the colour information back from 11 episodes, but strangely it was rather weak and needed a fair amount of extra work to enhance it. Even so, the results, while usually good, are variable in places. At the start of episode 2 of the Mind of Evil, the flesh tones of Jo and The Doctor seemed to be "flashing" for want of a better word. And when people move, there is sometimes a trail of multicoloured mess left behind them. Still, some colour is better than no colour. If you don't like it, turn it off :)

Comment Re:Glad (Score 1) 184

By "we" I was speaking collectively. I wasn't born until 1971, but the sentiment echoed time and again by hundreds of people is the same: we paid for those episodes, technicians, actors and other production staff slaved over them, and some bean counter years later decided they were worthless. No one stopped to think that some people might have wanted to see them again.

Comment Another point to make (Score 4, Informative) 184

The gentlemen who found these episodes did so of his own remit. He told fans in 2005 his plan:

"'does anyone know,what ian levine,plans to do about the recovery of missing episodes,i myself have been considering,a little overseas travel, i work overseas and i think by traveling to some or even all countrys and searching ,is maybe the best way now,of finally putting the rumours,and stories to rest,if its there lets go there,and ask politely it can do no harm,who knows i might turn up a thing or two'

'yes i see your point,i have contacted the restoration team,and offered my services,free at no cost to them ,whatsoever,but i have had no are perfectly right the beeb themselves should do this,but they dont seem to want to know,official paperwork and authorisation,from the beeb would have been great,but if not forthcoming i will go it alone with whatever ,background information i can find and see were it leads me,any help from anyone interested will be much appreciated,to all fans i will give it my best shot for dr who'"

For those not in the know, Ian Levine is a superfan, who saved many of the early episodes from destruction and found many others. The above appeared on a forum dedicated to discussing missing episodes, and is partially run by BBC staff members some of whom restore the old episodes for DVD release. Apart from Ian Levine, everyone wrote him off. The BBC didn't seem to want to know. But if the story is right, he must have managed to acquire some paperwork to show how the episodes had been cycled round the world; when one TV station had finished with them, they would be sent to another one to reduce costs of producing new episodes from the negatives.

Another thing I'd like to mention. In 1984 the BBC and Levine contacted old foreign TV markets who had bought the early years of the show to find lost episodes. Most stations didn't bother to reply; 6 did come back from Nigeria (the newly found episodes were from a relay station so its not surprising they were missed) and one from Australia. Iran said "Who in the name of Allah are you talking about?" But as Phillip Morris has shown, you need to go over there and physically sift through the paperwork and film cans. Expecting an overworked archivist to do it isn't going to work, especially if the documentation of what they have is fragmentary. But I do wonder what other "lost" TV shows were found sitting on the shelf. When Dr.Who has been found in the past, other TV has usually come back, but it is rarely, if ever reported. This makes TV historians fury with despair, as the archival side of things is so Dr.Who-centric.

Normally, the episodes should have been returned to England when they had been shown an agreed number of times, or destroyed. Happily this isn't the case. I'm not too surprised that they were overlooked. My dad worked in Nigeria from about 1968-72 and I was born there. He says they are slovenly and corrupt. That's not being racist, that is what they are like over there, from his personal experience (like one local member of the Lagos glitterati who paid off the police to stop criminal proceedings after he nearly killed my mum in a speedboat accident). And yes my dad does recall Dr.Who being shown in Nigeria!

Comment Glad (Score 4, Informative) 184

I'm glad that this got accepted! Apologies for the slightly garbled last sentence; I typed that at about 2am and was extremely tired. The reporting embargo was due to be lifted at midnight, but two papers had prematurely reported the news on their websites. These news items were pulled; an irate BBC contacted one of them and read them the riot act (mind you, it was the Northern Echo, my home newspaper which has a murky reputation, so what do you expect?)

By about 11.50pm GMT the news had broken and links to iTunes gone up. Amazon links a short time later and then YouTube material. I put the iTunes and Amazon pre-order links on my website (see link in my signature)

Sadly, I think the following quote from the BBC shows their contempt for us. This is from one of the papers that broke the embargo:

"Asked whether viewers might also see the recovered episodes, without having to pay Apple £1.89 per episode or £9.99 to download the complete stories, BBC Worldwide said licence-fee payers had already enjoyed a chance to watch the programmes in the late 60s"

Don't they realise that WE might have wanted to watch this stuff again at some point?

Submission + - BBC Unveil Newly Discovered Dr.Who episodes-> 1

BigBadBus writes: Putting paid to months of speculation, the BBC announced at a press conference today that it had recovered 9 previously lost episodes of Dr.Who, from the Patrick Troughton era (1966-69). The episodes complete "The Enemy of the World" and almost complete "The Web of Fear" (leaving one episode outstanding). The episodes were found in a relay station in Nigeria by Phillip Morris; previously Nigeria had been checked and had returned 6 lost episodes in 1984. The episodes are now available from UK and US iTune stores and can be for pre-ordered from
Link to Original Source

Comment More news (Score 4, Informative) 158

The Radio Times, the BBC's listing magazine, has run an article saying that two "episodes" have been found, but when a BBC spokesman was asked for details, they were blanked. It looks like the BBC aren't talking to the BBC ... again! Now the Mirror newspaper is weighing in again, saying that there will be a big press conference in a London hotel on Tuesday evening, and the material will be made available to buy on iPlayer on Wednesday. A couple of friends have said its two Troughton "stories" but no one in the BBC is saying anything official. Make of that what you will :(