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  • The Honeymooners: One of the most noteworthy sets of "Lost Episodes" belongs to the legendary Jackie Gleason series. Seventy-nine episodes were missing for several decades and thought to be lost ... until they were "recovered" in the mid-1980s (shortly before Gleason's death). Many, but not all of the "Lost 79" have now been recovered.
    • Many of the "lost" episodes were produced by the DuMont Network, which was on the air for a few years in the late 40s and early 50s. Almost all of the DuMont programming is long lost - in fact, most of the then-surviving reels were dumped in the ocean in the mid- 1970s. Only a handful of shows remain today - a sizable run of Life Is Worth Living (an early show featuring talks by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the films coming from his private collection), spotty selections of Captain Video (the first sci-fi television series), Rocky King, Detective, and a few others.
    • One account held that The Honeymooners shows were never truly "lost" -- the kinescopes were sitting in Gleason's vault, and he just waited for an opportune time to capitalize on them. Also, these were not self-contained sitcom episodes per se -- they are sketches from Gleason's variety show, and vary in length from 7 or 8 minutes to nearly an hour. It was thought for a long time that they would not be marketable in a world where viewers expect "sitcoms" to be a be a normal 30 minutes long (all right, 22-24 minutes with commercials), but they were eventually edited and cobbled together to fit normal broadcast time slots.
  • Bonanza: When the long-running western entered syndication in 1973, there were 14-1/2 years (430 episodes) available for syndication. The initial syndication package offered to TV stations contained 260 episodes -- the first six seasons (complete, minus one 1965 episode), plus select episodes from the eighth through 11th seasons (1966-1970, those considered to be the "most popular" amongst fans); this is the package that airs currently on TV Land. For years, the remaining episodes -- a single show from the 1964-1965 season, the entire 1965-1966 season, the remaining 1966-1970 episodes and the last three seasons -- were never shown in syndicated reruns, and to some appeared to be "lost." However, they had not disappeared, but were rather packaged into a second syndicated package; these episodes have aired on CBN and the Hallmark Channel. To date, there are no known instances of the entire run of 430 episodes — from the premiere to the final episode — being aired as part of a single rerun package on a TV network or station.
  • Just try to look for excised footage from season one episodes of The Muppet Show. The only known sources they are available in are either bootlegs or Betamax tapes. If you try to find them on DVD, think twice.
  • The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy): With 11 years and 343 episodes in the series, TV stations only made room for the final seven seasons (1957-1964) of the show when it entered syndication in the mid-1960s. The status of the 1953-1957 shows is unknown.
  • My Three Sons: Although all episodes exist and have been aired, the CBS color episodes spanning the sixth through the first half of the 11th season (1965-early 1971) were for years the only episodes shown in syndication. The ABC black-and-white episodes from 1960-1965, along with the final 1-1/2 color seasons (spring 1971-1972) were included in a second syndication package that was not nearly as widely distributed.
  • I Love Lucy: The legendary CBS comedy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had a Christmas episode, aired in 1956 and never seen again on terrestrial TV ... until December 1989 when it was rebroadcast. Although the episode is in TVLand's library, it is rarely shown.
  • You Can't Do That on Television has a couple of missing episodes.
    • The very first season from 1979 on Canada's YTV is gone because it was done live and never recorded for future reruns.
    • YTV also banned the episode "Divorce" (though there have been claims that it has aired on Canadian television).
    • Probably the most infamous example is Nickelodeon banning the episode "Adoption" out of fear that children from adopted families (or rather, their parents) wouldn't like the jokes about adoption (most of which involve treating adopted children like cheap labor). The "Adoption" episode was aired in Canada, but it was edited to remove a character named Lance Prevert saying, "Damn bureaucrat!" after the adoption agency tells him he can't return adopted kids after using them to do chores.
    • A fire at the main CJOH production facility in February 2010 destroyed many of the master tapes of the earlier episodes.
  • A 1971 episode of The Dick Cavett Show was never aired (and probably never will be) because a guest, Prevention Magazine publisher J.I. Rodale, died of a heart attack during taping. The story about the guest's death was told by Cavett himself.
  • Many, many, many early Soap Operas have episodes that are presumed lost (i.e. As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and Search for Tomorrow) by the producers of the programs (Procter & Gamble for the most part). Most soaps, according to The Other Wiki, began preserving the episodes by 1976 to 1979. However, some soaps already began preserving early episodes prior to that time. For example, The Young and The Restless still has all the episodes since its premiere in 1973 intact, and Search's episodes that aired during the NBC run (after it was canceled by CBS) are still said to survive. Black and white episodes of Guiding Light are also said to still exist through kinescopes, though the picture for the episodes began deteriorating. The quality for the audio was fine.
    • Some soaps even have all of their episodes gone. For example, Procter & Gamble erased all the episodes of Search for Tomorrow's CBS run.
    • Even when episodes survived, good luck seeing any re-runs. With few exceptions (such as the odd re-runs of the first two episodes of Days of Our Lives), soaps aren't re-run anywhere even when the tapes survived.
    • Averted by Dark Shadows. The show aired from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. In all, it aired 1,225 episodes, all but one of which survived. However, a home audio recording of the one episode that did not survive still exists, and was used to construct a sort of mash-up episode.
  • Puttnam's Prairie Emporium has not been rebroadcast since its national run on YTV in the early 90s, and the master tapes have been long since destroyed.
  • Perhaps the most famous example of a TV series with missing episodes is Doctor Who. In the 1970s, a large number of episodes from the show's early years were destroyed to clear out room in the BBC archives. Every so often, a syndication copy of one of the episodes turns up, but it is likely that many of these episodes are gone forever. Doctor Who fans have joked that, ironically, the only way to watch every episode of the series would be with a time machine.[1] These purges resulted in the loss of episodes of other BBC series as well, but none seem to have similar notoriety.
    • The missing episodes (currently standing at 106) are all from the first six seasons from 1963-69, the eras of William Hartnell as the First Doctor and Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. Of the first six seasons, the hardest hit by the mass erasure were the third (28/45 missing), fourth (33/43 missing), and fifth (27/40 missing) seasons (by contrast, the first is missing 9/42 episodes, the second 2/39 episodes, and the sixth 7/44 episodes). There are no complete serials from the fourth season, while the fifth season has only one complete serial, The Tomb of the Cybermen - and that was lost until the 1990s. The missing episodes from this era include some significant firsts for the series:
      • The final episode of The Tenth Planet, the only missing episode from the serial, features the Doctor's first ever regeneration scene, from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton. Famously, a few seconds' footage of the regeneration exists because it was broadcast during an edition of the BBC children's show Blue Peter (at a time when one of its presenters was Peter Purves, who had played First Doctor companion Steven). [2]
      • Episode 3 of the Second Doctor serial The Web of Fear, one of five lost episodes from the serial, includes the introduction of the series' longest-running recurring character, Colonel (later Brigadier) Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. (Moreover, in something of a case of a missing scene within a missing episode, the first meeting between the Doctor and the future Brigadier takes place off screen.)
      • Episode 1 of the completely lost Fury from the Deep features the first use of the Sonic Screwdriver (which, in its first appearance, was just that, a screwdriver which operated using sound waves); indeed, in the absence of episodes indicating the contrary, Jon Pertwee said in an interview in the 1980s that he believed for many years that he had been the first Doctor to use the Sonic Screwdriver until being told that Patrick Troughton had been the first.
    • Some of the First and Second Doctors' companions were hit particularly hard by the purges:
      • Only 18 of Steven's 45 appearances have survived, including three complete stories (four if "The Chase" is included).
      • Of Dodo's 19 appearances, only 11 survive, including three complete stories (in one of which she is absent for two episodes).
      • Just 12 of Victoria's 41 appearances are known to exist, including just one complete story (The Tomb of the Cybermen (see above)).
      • A mere 12 of Ben and Polly's 36 appearances have survived, including just one complete story (The War Machines, in which they were not yet considered "companions"; their most complete story as companions is The Tenth Planet (see above)).
      • In absolute terms, Jamie was hit hardest of all, but only because he had the most to lose; of the 113 episodes in which he appeared in the Second Doctor era, only 55 have survived, including six complete stories.
    • Fortunately, audio for all of the lost episodes and many telesnaps still exist (although quality varies wildly), which have made reconstructing episodes possible. Loose Cannon Production offers most of them for free (VHS only), complete with bonus materials and interviews.
      • Some of these have been released on CD, with linking narration by some of the surviving actors (William Russell, Frazer Hines, etc).
    • The BBC commissioned Cosgrove Hall to reconstruct the two missing episodes of Second Doctor serial The Invasion for DVD, in an animated format similar to Scream of the Shalka and The Infinite Quest. In June 2011 it was announced that "The Reign of Terror" would have its missing episodes animated for DVD, with animation by ThetaMation.
    • Luckily, the Australian ABC (equivalent of the BBC) kept its copies of a number of episodes. The kicker? Australians didn't have color TV back then, so a lot of episodes from the Third Doctor era which originally aired in color are only available in black and white. Most of the episodes in question have since been subjected to color recovery technology using color information in the chroma dots in the black and white copies; most notably, the 2009 DVD release of Planet of the Daleks, the 2012 DVD release of Invasion of the Dinosaurs, and the (pending) 2012 DVD release of The Ambassadors of Death mark the first time the full stories have been available in color for over 35 years.
      • As of March 2012, the six episodes of The Mind of Evil are the only Third Doctor episodes not to have been subjected to color restoration. They are being worked on by the official team, but the available copy of the first episode has no chroma dots and so cannot be re-colorized using the technique, while there has been some difficulty producing stable re-colorizations for the other episodes, meaning it will be some time before the serial is released on DVD. (A short color clip of the last episode exists courtesy of an American fan who recorded a color broadcast on Betamax in the 1970s but unfortunately taped a football game over most of it, not anticipating its future value.)
    • Also of note is the Fourth Doctor serial Shada, written by Douglas Adams, which was abandoned when filming was 2/3 complete due to industrial action at the BBC. It was later shown with Tom Baker filling in the missing gaps, which are sadly significant - especially towards the end. It was later re-made in animated format, but starred the Eighth Doctor. (This is available for viewing on the BBC Doctor Who website.) Later still, an official novelisation by Gareth Roberts, working from Adams' scripts, was published. Adams himself, meanwhile, largely recycled the plot of Shada for Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency in 1987.
    • The losses almost didn't end there, either. In one of the Doctor Who retrospective specials, one of the crewmen related a story about a time he was in a BBC warehouse and happened to pass a cart containing master tapes due for erasure. Among these tapes was the second ever Doctor Who serial The Daleks, meaning the introductory story of one of the most iconic British sci-fi monsters was very nearly lost forever.
  • Probably the second-most famous victim of the Great BBC Purge was Dad's Army. It's very surprising, given the BBC's criteria for dumping, that only four episodes, all from Series 2, were lost in the first place. A few were later recovered and broadcast. At least some of the episodes which remain lost exist in audio-only recordings.
    • One episode, however, is usually only rebroadcast in graveyard slots, since one of the jokes concludes the with the line 'be quiet, you silly old fakir.' You can probably guess how Jonesy pronounces 'fakir.'
    • Another Dad's Army episode that is now not re-broadcast is "Absent Friends", which centers around Mainwaring, Pike, Jones and Godfrey attempting to capture an IRA suspect. It was initially pulled from schedules in the 1980s because of The Troubles; twenty years on it still can't be shown because of its potentially offensive portrayal of the Irish.
  • Though Dad's Army is perhaps the most high profile example due to its otherwise high survival rate and frequency of re-runs, many British sitcoms from the 1960s have numerous missing episodes:
    • Twelve of the twenty episodes of The Likely Lads are missing. Its 1970s sequel series, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, survives intact.
    • Sixteen episodes from the early black and white series of the hugely influential Till Death Us Do Part (the British forerunner of All in The Family) are either partially or completely lost, although audio-only recordings do exist of some of the missing episodes. The colour episodes of the series survive intact.
    • A notable aversion to this is Steptoe and Son, which has no completely lost episodes. However, the only surviving copies of the seven episodes from the first colour series from 1970 are in black and white.
  • British television featured two long-running police dramas in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s - Dixon of Dock Green (1955-76) and Z Cars (1962-78). The vast majority of episodes of both have been wiped (Dixon was hit hardest - out of 430-odd episodes only 30 still survive - while around two-fifths of the 800-odd episodes of Z Cars still exist in some form), which, among other things, means the loss of early television appearances by the likes of Sean Connery and Michael Caine (both of whom appeared in guest roles in (different) episodes of Dixon of Dock Green in the 1950s before finding fame as film actors).
  • Another prominent victim of the BBC's practice of tape-wiping was Top of the Pops. Most early episodes of TOTP were wiped by the BBC; only four complete episodes exist from the 1960s (one and most of another with the presenter's links mute), and the show's archive only exists in full from 1977 onwards.
    • Many of the Beatles' performances on the programme in the 1960s are lost; ironically, a 25-second clip of a 1965 performance of "Ticket to Ride" on an otherwise lost episode is preserved in the Doctor Who episode "The Executioners" (the first episode of the story collectively known as "The Chase"). The scene featuring the Beatles is noteworthy for companion Vicki's surprised reaction to hearing them play "classical music".
    • Following the sexual assault allegations against Jimmy Saville and Gary Glitter in 2012, none of the episodes featuring them have been repeated.
  • Among the many other mostly lost pop music showcases on 1960s British television is Juke Box Jury, which aired from 1959 to 1967 and featured a panel of guests, often from the pop world themselves, voting on which of a series of new singles would be a "Hit" or a "Miss". One 1963 episode featured all four Beatles on the panel; another from 1964 featured all five members of the Rolling Stones. These episodes were among those lost in the purges, and are high on the BBC's recovery wish list for the programme.
  • BBC Television's commercial rival, ITV, did its own (less well-known) archives purge at roughly the same time as the BBC. The most notable victim of that purge was The Avengers, which is missing a good portion of its first series.
    • At the time of the purges, ITV was a loose collection of regional broadcasters rather than a single organisation, and individual stations had widely varying attitudes toward programme preservation. On the other hand, it's quite possible that a few shows which might otherwise have been wiped, have survived by being re-recorded down the line by regional stations for timeshifting purposes.
  • Many fans of Monty Python's Flying Circus may not know that the series came very close to being completely wiped. According to the Monty Python documentary "Almost the Whole Truth (The Lawyer's Cut)", the BBC had designated the show for "wiping" after the first season aired, as they believed the show had no shelf life whatsoever for re-runs. However, Terry Gilliam was alerted to this and cut a deal with the BBC to buy the corporation new tapes to use in exchange for the master tapes of season one and all future Python episodes. This would create a major irony, as Gilliam stated that when the BBC decided to re-run the series after all due to its runaway popularity, they had to approach him to borrow the master tapes he now owned in order to strike their own prints for the re-runs.
  • The pre-Python sketch series At Last the 1948 Show ran for thirteen episodes in 1967 and was the first TV series to star Graham Chapman as well as Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman, and the second to star John Cleese (the first being The Frost Report - see below). Aside from some sketches compiled into specials for Swedish and Australian television, the series was wiped and believed lost for many years. However, kinescopes of three episodes from the first series and two from the second series were recovered in 1994 and 2003, with a third episode from the second series cobbled together from the aforementioned compilations, and a fourth (mostly complete) episode from the second series (containing the famous "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch, previously only available as part of the compilations) returned to the BBC from a private collection in 2010. Various isolated sketches exist from each of the other six episodes except for the first episode of the first series, probably adding up to the length of three or four episodes, so that between sixty and ninety minutes' worth of material is still missing. Most of the missing material exists as audio recordings, except for part of the last episode of the second series and possibly some of Aimi MacDonald's link segments. (Audio recordings of these episodes and many other programmes mentioned on this page were returned to the BBC in 2008 from the collection of BBC Radio WM employee Ed Doolan, who made audio tapes of many BBC programmes from 1967 onward.)
    • After At Last the 1948 Show, Marty Feldman headlined a number of sketch programmes in the late 1960s and early 1970s (concurrent with his former castmates' more famous projects, Monty Python and The Goodies), starting with Marty (re-titled It's Marty for its second season) in 1968-69; only seven of the series' fourteen episodes are known to have survived.
  • Rather less fortunate in terms of preservation is the other proto-Python series, Do Not Adjust Your Set, which was the first series to star Eric Idle as well as David Jason (later of Only Fools and Horses and Danger Mouse), and the second to star Terry Jones and Michael Palin (after Twice a Fortnight - see below); barely nine full episodes of the 27 episode run remain, all from the first series from 1968. The lost second series from 1969 includes all of Terry Gilliam's animated segments for the programme. As with At Last the 1948 Show, audio recordings do exist for some, but not all, of the missing episodes.
    • Terry Jones and Michael Palin's follow-up series, The Complete and Utter History of Britain, ran for six episodes in 1969, with the first broadcast episode having been edited down from the first two production episodes. The series was believed completely lost until the discovery of both the first two broadcast episodes and the first two production episodes. The film segments were also recovered from the other four episodes by Terry Jones (the videotape segments are still missing). Interestingly, the only reason the surviving episodes were not wiped was because they were filed in the archives as history programmes rather than as comedy programmes!
  • Years before he interviewed Richard Nixon, David Frost got his start in television by fronting a series of satirical sketch shows - That Was the Week That Was (1962-63), Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life (1964-65), and The Frost Report (1966-67) - which launched or boosted the comedy writing and performing careers of many British comedians, including all five British Pythons, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Antony Jay, Jonathan Lynn, Barry Cryer, and Willie Rushton. The broadcast runs of the first two series are mostly complete (TW3 is missing just one episode of 37, while only two of the 62 episodes of Not So Much a Programme are known to be lost; each series is also missing one pilot episode), but The Frost Report (which featured John Cleese, Ronnie Corbett, and Ronnie Barker as regular sketch performers) is missing 14 out of 29 episodes, all but one from the second series (fortunately, audio recordings exist for every missing episode).
    • Frost went on to present three concurrent variety/interview programmes on ITV between 1968 and 1970, Frost on Friday, Frost on Saturday (on which the Beatles' promotional film for "Hey Jude" had its British television premiere), and Frost on Sunday. A combined total of over a hundred episodes were recorded for these programmes, of which only 23 survive (six of Friday, seven of Saturday, and ten of Sunday).
  • The Goodies' early television careers are similarly poorly served by surviving recordings.
    • The sketch series Twice a Fortnight, which ran for ten episodes in 1967, was the first TV series to star Graeme Garden, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, as well as Bill Oddie (who had already made some appearances in TW3 and the also mostly wiped BBC3; the latter is now mostly remembered for an episode in which Kenneth Tynan dropped the first F-bomb heard on British television) and future Yes Minister co-writer Jonathan Lynn. The videotape segments from the series have been completely wiped, leaving only the outdoor film segments. As the programme featured regular musical guests, this also means the loss of appearances by the Who, Cream, Cat Stevens, the Small Faces, and the Moody Blues.
    • Only about ten or twenty minutes survive of the follow-up series Broaden Your Mind, which ran for thirteen episodes across two seasons in 1968-69 and was the first TV series to cast Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, and Bill Oddie together, though Oddie only jumped on board for the second season, and does not feature in any of the surviving footage. (Audio-only recordings exist for all thirteen episodes.)
    • Even two episodes of The Goodies itself only exist in black and white editions for export (a third only existed in this form until a tape surfaced at BBC Scotland in the late 1990s and was restored to broadcast quality) - one of them, the first season episode "Caught in the Act" AKA "The Playgirl Club", only exists as a low quality studio master. The original version of the classic episode "Kitten Kong" was also wiped when the episode was re-edited for submission to the 1972 Montreux TV Festival (at which it won the Silver Rose); only the Montreux edit exists now.
      • The other B&W-only episode of The Goodies, the second season episode "Commonwealth Games", had had a scene cut by the censors (involving administering a sex test to the potential Commonwealth Games athletes) and the only existing version of the episode featured a noticeable jump cut. Video of the scene was recovered in 2009 from the National Archives of Australia. The following year, a missing spoof advertisement for "Dreaded Wheat" from the otherwise complete second season episode "The Lost Tribe" was also recovered from the NAA.
  • Following Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett's rise in prominence on The Frost Report, David Frost executive produced a series of vignettes under the title Ronnie Barker's Playhouse, which ran for six episodes on ITV in 1968 and was intended to test possible sitcom pilots starring Barker. Only one episode, "Alexander", still exists in the ITV archives.
    • Among the missing episodes is "Ah, There You Are", the only one to get a spinoff series in the form of Hark at Barker, in which Barker played bumbling aristocrat Lord Rustless, presenting a sitcom/sketch show from his ancestral home of Chrome Hall. The series ran for fifteen episodes across two series in 1969 and 1970 and featured writing from Eric Idle, Graeme Garden, and Bill Oddie as well as Alan Ayckbourn and Barker himself writing under assumed names; though all fifteen episodes have survived, the second series episode "Rustless at Law" only exists as a low quality, off-air black and white recording (ITV had made the transition to colour in late 1969).
    • Following the two Ronnies' return to the BBC in 1971, Barker revived the character of Lord Rustless for His Lordship Entertains, a sitcom which ran for six episodes on BBC 2 in 1972 and in which Chrome Hall had been converted into a hotel (prompting Barker to describe the series as "Fawlty Towers mark one" in later years). All six episodes were wiped and thought permanently lost until the recovery of the first episode in 2009. (Barker was the sole writer for the series (using a pseudonym) and published the scripts for the series in book form; some of them have occasionally been re-enacted on stage.)
  • Spike Milligan's Q sketch series is often cited by the Pythons themselves as having had a significant influence on the Monty Python television series, due to its often anarchic style, swipes at the BBC, and avoiding ending sketches with anticlimactic punchlines in favour of simply rushing into the next sketch. The first series, Q5, consisted of seven episodes which aired in the spring of 1969 (Python debuted the following autumn); only three episodes have survived, and only one is in the original colour (and is not present in any fan collections). Audio recordings exist of at least three of the missing episodes. The remaining five series have survived intact, but have not been re-run in decades.[3]
    • Between Q5 and Q6, Milligan wrote and starred in the sketch series Oh In Colour, which aired for six episodes in 1970. Copies exist of all six episodes but, ironically, only in black and white!
  • Milligan's former Goon Show co-writer, Eric Sykes, wrote and appeared in a number of comedy programmes in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Sykes and a... (1960-65), Sykes and a Big Big Show (1971), and Sykes (1972-79), in all of which he co-starred with Carry On grande dame Hattie Jacques. Only 25 of the 59 episodes of Sykes and a... are known to exist, while only two of the six episodes of Sykes and a Big Big Show have survived (one in black and white only). Sykes survives in its entirety, though the first series episode "Journey" only exists in black and white.
  • All of the videotape footage from the 1970 colour series of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Not Only... But Also was wiped. This despite the fact that Cook and Moore not only actually offered to pay for the series to be preserved, but also offered to do a one-for-one swap -- for each tape the BBC gave them, they'd give the BBC a replacement in virgin, unused videotape. The BBC still turned them down and wiped the series. The exterior film footage has survived, as have eight of the sixteen black and white shows from 1965-66 (including the pilot but not the 1966 Christmas special), shows which were transferred to film. Audio-only recordings exist of at least half a dozen of the wiped episodes of Not Only... But Also, as do the scripts of the second and third series.
    • Their 1968 ITV series Goodbye Again didn't fare much better - although all episodes have survived, some of the interior footage only survives as black and white copies.
  • Cook and Moore's Beyond the Fringe castmate Alan Bennett appeared in an acclaimed sketch variety series called On the Margin, which ran for six episodes in 1966 and featured future political commentator John Sergeant alongside Bennett, as well as guest appearances from Fringe cast member Jonathan Miller, readings by poets John Betjeman and Philip Larkin, and clips of old music hall routines by such performers as Arthur Askey and Max Miller. The tapes were wiped in the 1970s, although the music hall clips survive (in their original contexts), as do the scripts. Audio clips exist of some episodes, and an audio compilation was released by the BBC in 2009.
  • The British series Adam Adamant Lives!, about an adventurer in Edwardian England who is cryogenically frozen and wakes up in the 1960s, ran for 29 episodes across two seasons in 1966-67 and was one of the inspirations for the Austin Powers movies. Only 17 episodes survive, all but two from the first season. The scripts of the missing episodes have survived, however, and were included as a bonus on the DVD release along with a four-minute audio clip of the first episode from the second season.
  • United! was a BBC soap opera about the fortunes of fictitious struggling Second Division football team Brentwich United. It ran for 147 episodes from 1965-67 and featured many writers and producers who were concurrently working on Doctor Who (such as Gerry Davis, Derek Hayles, John Lucarotti, and Innes Lloyd). After the series was axed, the episodes were wiped, and not a single one has survived.
  • The BBC were still conducting purges as recently as 1993, when then Archive Selector Adam Lee ordered the wiping of numerous videotaped children's series from the 1970s and 1980s, believing they were of no further use and not bothering to consult the Children's Television division first. Series thus affected included Play School and its sister show Play Away, storytelling showcase Jackanory, and art programme Vision On (specifically geared toward deaf or hard of hearing audiences).
    • Supernatural sitcom Rentaghost was another victim of the 1993 purge, but as the series had been sold for re-broadcast on UK Gold, copies of the missing episodes were later returned to the BBC. However, it has not been re-run in many years and, apart from the first season, is unlikely to see a DVD release any time soon due to contractual disputes with the surviving cast members and rights problems with music clips used in the programme.
  • Multi-Coloured Swap Shop was a seminal BBC Saturday morning children's programme which aired from 1976 to 1982 and either launched or boosted the television careers of Noel Edmonds, John Craven, Keith Chegwin, and Maggie Philbin. Believed for many years to be a victim of the 1993 purge, it was instead wiped in the late 1980s as the Quad tapes onto which the series was recorded were no longer the standard in Britain but were still widely used in Australia, and so Roy Thompson, then Deputy Head of Children's Television, ordered the tapes wiped and sold to Australian broadcasters. Most surviving episodes only exist as off-air domestic recordings.
    • Tiswas aired opposite Swap Shop on ITV from 1974 to 1982 and launched the television careers of Chris Tarrant and Lenny Henry, but although the episodes were taped in case of investigation by the Independent Broadcasting Association, most of the tapes were eventually wiped on the assumption they would have no future value, and many of the episodes which were not wiped were stored in conditions which led to deterioration below broadcast quality. Of over 300 episodes, only 22 are known to exist in their entirety in watchable quality, mostly from domestic recordings.
  • In 1973 the BBC produced an extremely gritty hard-science fiction program called Moonbase 3, which was canceled the same year. All the tapes of it were destroyed, and the program became semi-mythical to Science Fiction fans. Twenty years later, NTSC copies of the program were found at an American PBS affiliate, and made available in DVD format. Excellent series.
  • Timmy and Lassie happen upon a crashed, radioactive satellite in a Missing Episode of Lassie, never shown because people were already scared enough by the prospect of nuclear material falling from the sky. Finally shown in the 1990s on Nickelodeon.
  • After 9/11, several episodes of Power Rangers which featured the destruction of skyscrapers were pulled from syndication.
    • A "Lost Episode" example: the original Pilot for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was advertised as such. Notable changes include the casting of the Yellow Ranger as Audri DuBois as opposed to Thuy Trang, Zordon being known as "Zoltar", and the Zords being referred to as "Droids".
  • The Star Trek episode "Miri" was only shown once by the BBC (at least until the 00s). Three other episodes, "Plato's Stepchildren", "The Empath" and "Whom Gods Destroy" were also omitted. It was not until the advent of home video that British viewers were able to see these episodes - they weren't shown on UK TV until the 1990s! And "Patterns of Force" wasn't shown on German television for decades, for obvious reasons. (Hint: Planet Of Nazis)
    • A color copy of the original series pilot, "The Cage", was lost; the complete episode only existed in black-and-white, except for segments that had been chopped up and reused in the first season two-part episode "The Menagerie." When "The Cage" was first released on videocassette in 1986, it combined color segments from "The Menagerie" with black-and-white segments. A complete color copy was eventually discovered and released in 1990.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground" wasn't screened by the BBC until 2007 (and satellite channel Sky One edited their showings until 2006) because of references to terrorism in Northern Ireland.
    • Another Next Generation episode, Conspiracy, was similarly delayed due to the (rather uncharacteristically) graphic depiction of a man pretty much literally exploding, guts and all.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation "Masterpiece Society" was not rebroadcast for many years in the United States, just because it wasn't very good.
  • While not an entire episode, a scene from one episode of Three's Company disappeared in 2001 when, after 17 years, someone noticed that John Ritter inadvertently exposed his scrotum while changing position.
  • Since Best Brains failed to license the rights in perpetuity, many episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 can not be rebroadcast now, and indeed may never see the (legal) light of day again (especially the Godzilla episodes, due to Toho denying them the rights). Also, the first three episodes and the unaired pilot of Mystery Science Theater 3000's "season zero" (on local Minneapolis television station KTMA, before it was picked up by The Comedy Channel) do not exist in any private fan collections (though the master tapes do exist; see below).
    • Jim Mallon, Mystery Science Theater 3000's producer, said in an interview that he still has the master tapes of the lost episodes, so they still exist, just not in a form anyone can actually watch (Mallon excepted). Proof of the tapes' existence can be found in the form of high quality videos of some of the host segments which were posted to the Best Brains website, and the unaired pilot has been shown in its entirety during Mystery Science Theater 3000 and/or Cinematic Titanic panels at the odd convention (at least one such screening was captured on camera by an audience member and posted to YouTube, although anyone seeking an uploaded copy should bear in mind the usual caveats about the dodgy quality (and legality) of bootleg recordings).
    • It's widely stated that one of the main reasons why Mystery Science Theater 3000 ultimately got bounced from Comedy Central was due to Best Brains not wanting any of the first season episodes to ever re-air on the network, due to them largely disowning the episodes. Best Brains has also stated that they have no intention on releasing the KTMA episodes onto DVD, though this stance has largely softened since the DVD rights have switched to Shout Factory!, who has made a huge push towards increasing the extras on their Mystery Science Theater 3000 releases. In particular, they've announced that they will be culling the best "host" segments from the KTMA episodes for a new bonus series that will spotlight the rarely seen "Season 0".
    • Many of the unreleased episodes can be viewed in their entirety on YouTube. However, due to YouTube's 10 minute limit, the episodes are posted in parts. The admins over there have taken the odd tactic of pulling different parts of episodes claiming copyright infringement while leaving most of the rest of the episode posted.
      • This may be due to the attitudes of Best Brains ("Keep Circulating the Tapes", except for the legal releases) as opposed to the copyright holders of the movies mocked on the show.
    • The season 9 episode with the film Gorgo is notable because it only aired once (technically twice, but the other was just a repeat broadcast later the same day) before rights issues forced Sci-Fi to take it out of rotation.
  • Three episodes of Firefly were never broadcast and did not see the light of day until the DVD release of the series, and later on Sci Fi Channel. Why? Well, it was aired on FOX....
  • ABC Family aired a long-lost episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? from the first season (it got preempted by coverage of the Lewinsky scandal).
    • FiveUS in the UK aired a handful of never-before-seen episodes mixed in with their usual reruns a couple years ago. (They're mostly notable because one of them is a Greg/Denny episode--one of the only American episodes without Wayne.) Since there was only one actual "missing" episode, it's assumed that FiveUS somehow got a hold of the original taping footage and used it to cobble together their own episodes (since a large chunk of episodes were made like that, it's not exactly noticeable). Nobody knows why.
  • The X-Files episode "Home" was so disturbing that executives vowed never to air it again, in rerun or syndication. An Internet campaign led to it earning the top spot in a viewer-selected marathon on FX some years later, and the episode has since been added to the regular rotation.
  • The Married... with Children third season episode "I'll See You In Court" (which had the Bundys and the Rhoades suing a motel for videotaping couples having sex and using the videos as porno movies for other couples who check in) was banned due to pressure from Terry Rakolta (the mom from Michigan who protested against the show's crude and sexual humor after seeing the season three episode "Her Cups Runneth Over"), which wasn't aired until June 2002.
    • This episode was advertised in the DVD release as "never before shown episode"; of course, the DVD was released in 2005, years after the fact. Especially hilarious since this marketing lie was copied verbatim for the Region 2 release -- where the episode was shown in regular syndication, over a decade before the DVD release.
  • A conspiracy theory holds that abbreviated seasons of TV shows (i.e., early cancellations) are becoming more common because season-collection DVD sales are pretty brisk for sets that have multiple unaired episodes. Firefly, Wonderfalls, and Day Break are all cited as possible evidence, with the success of Firefly DVDs as the instigating factor. It seems plausible, at least until you realize that the people who cancel the shows and the people who profit from DVD sales are usually not one and the same.
  • The third-season The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Pieces of Fate Affair", written by Harlan Ellison, was hardly ever seen in syndication for many years, because of concerns about possible lawsuits over unflattering parodies of various literary figures in that episode.
  • George Lucas has said that he will do his best to make sure the Star Wars Holiday Special is never seen again, anywhere, and that he would happily destroy every last copy if he could. But while the special will likely never have an "official" Lucasfilm re-release, it is very widely available from unofficial sources.
  • An episode of Degrassi the Next Generation, in which female student Manny goes to have an abortion at the end of an episode after discussing it with her boyfriend and parents, was not shown on the 'N' Channel during its original broadcast run (on CTV in Canada). It was only due to fan pressure that the episode was added to the channel's rotation. In a similar vein, a sequence from the premiere of the original Degrassi High, in which student Erica goes to have an abortion, and pushes through angry protesters at an abortion clinic with her sister, was not shown after its original airing on television.
    • Although the DTNG episode about Manny's abortion is now in rotation in the US, it's usually shown during the late night hours.
    • The first season final, in which Ashley takes ecstasy and kisses Sean, was skipped over in Australia and the US. This caused confusion the following season.
  • Two episodes of Seinfeld were lost from the show's syndication run until 2002. One, "The Invitations," was pulled due to the death of Susan by toxic envelope glue being too close to the anthrax scare shortly after September 11. The other, "The Puerto Rican Day," was pulled because of a scene where Kramer accidentally burns the Puerto Rican flag. The episode aired once on network and was not seen again on television for four years. But after a few years it was quietly removed from the syndication package again.
    • During season 2 an episode called "The Bet", which involved Elaine buying a gun, was all set to be filmed. But during rehearsals most of the cast objected to the script, saying it was way too dark and not all that funny, so production was halted. Since they quickly needed another script to fill the slot, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David borrowed the premise from a rejected sketch that David wrote for Saturday Night Live and hammered out "The Phone Message" in two days.
  • The FOX sitcom Titus had a lot of episodes that either came close to being banned and one that was banned, but aired after the series finale. These episodes are:
    • "Intervention" (almost banned because the censors thought the show was glorifying alcoholism [since the episode is about Titus's dad, Ken, being urged to drink again because of how boring he is when he's not drinking])
    • "The Wedding" (almost banned, but ended up being shifted in the schedule, due to the plot point where Juanita, Titus's Ax Crazy, schizophrenic mother kills her abusive second husband during her son's wedding)
    • "Insanity Genetic" parts 1 and 2 (temporarily pulled due to the September 11th attacks [the plot focused on Titus having a mental breakdown on an airplane following his mom's death and, through many misunderstandings, the FBI suspecting Titus and his friends of being terrorists]; aired in August 2002)
    • "The Protector (originally supposed to air in the middle of the third and final season; was banned because the episode dealt with child molestation [Amy discovers that the boy who harasses her in school is the son of the man who molested her as a child while her parents were in jail] and ended up airing as the series finale, even though the true last episode is the two-parter episode "Insanity Genetic". Because of this, the references to Amy being molested that were shown in "The Session" and the aforementioned "Insanity Genetic" two-parter don't make a lot of sense, and viewers end up not getting a good insight as to why Amy is such a bad kid (besides the fact that her mother is a drug addict, her stepfather is an abusive alcoholic, and both of her parents are never around to care for her).
  • Max Headroom was cancelled with 3 completed episodes left unaired. 2 were shown 6 months later when a writers' strike left a shortage of new programming, while the last episode had to wait until the Sci-Fi Channel showed the series 8 years later.
  • Heroes had one of the most stunning examples of this: a lost season premiere. The last episode of season two was supposed to end with the virus being released, but the Writer's Strike stopped that. But not until they filmed the first episode of the third season. They started over from scratch, but the episode is still out there somewhere.
  • Friends had an episode that had to be scrapped and reshot after 9/11 -- about to leave on their honeymoon, Chandler and Monica get stopped in airport security when Chandler jokes that he has a bomb in his luggage. The two are dragged off to have their luggage searched, jokes about underwear ensue. The episode was reshot with Chander and Monica trying to sneak into the superior private lounge (or something like that) at the airport. The original storyline never aired.
    • The scenes that were reshot were eventually made available on Youtube.
  • Many of the early episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, including his first episode as host, were lost due to tape reuse.
    • The Tonight Show was originally hosted by Steve Allen between 1954 and 1957 and was titled Tonight Starring Steve Allen; the episodes which he presented have long since been wiped, as have most of the other series Allen presented during the early years of television.
  • Due to changeovers in the front office of TNT, 11 episodes of the Wall Street show Bull have never been shown in the United States. These changes delayed the showing of the series Breaking News until Bravo picked it up in 2002.
  • The Prisoner episode "Living in Harmony" was not broadcast in its original American run on CBS due to its plot, which involved Six rejecting a call to arms. It was felt that, with an active draft for Vietnam, which many had protested and sought to escape, it probably wasn't a good idea to show it. An explanation offered at the time was the use of mind-altering drugs to a far greater degree than elsewhere in the series (the call to arms is presented through a "waking hallucination"). In all later runs, the episode has been shown in its correct place.
  • The Twilight Zone episodes "Miniatures", "Sounds and Silences", and "A Small Drink From a Certain Fountain" were caught up in litigation over possible plagiarism when the series was first put into syndication. The lawsuits were eventually settled, but the episodes vanished for decades.
    • "The Encounter", which starred Neville Brand and George Takei, is one of the others, but not because of possible plagiarism. Takei played a Japanese-American man, whose father had been a traitor to the U.S., during World War II. It provoked an angry reaction from the Japanese-American community and was not rebroadcast or included in syndication.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Earshot", about Buffy trying to find out who's behind a plan to kill every Sunnydale High student and climaxing with Jonathan taking a rifle to the school clocktower, was quite understandably pulled when the Columbine Massacre happened four days before it was to air. Somewhat less justifiable is that season's finale was delayed for the same reason. Was a giant snake monster really hitting too close to home?
    • It probably had more to do with the episode having high school students rig their school with explosives and blow it up.
    • Once More with Feeling was not aired in syndication (e.g. on FX) for a while because of its longer than usual run-time. A trimmed down version of the episode is sometimes shown (indeed, many episodes are trimmed down slightly for time).
  • Are You Being Served has been airing multiple times per week pretty much continuously for the last 20 years on many US public television stations. This is a series which ran for ten years and produced 69 episodes. If you guessed that the one episode that isn't in the regular rotation in US markets was the one involving an elaborate blackface number, you'd be right.
    • Also, the episode "Top Hat and Tails" wasn't aired in the US for years simply because it had been misplaced.
    • Are You Being Served's pilot episode was (like other shows above) originally recorded in colour but wiped, with only black-and-white copies surviving. However, the original colour was restored in 2009 via an ingenious technique. It's worth catching the restored version to see the results even if you're not a fan of the show.
  • This concept is played with a little bit in the Red Dwarf special "Back to Earth" by explicitly stating that there are two more seasons to the show, and that the special takes place after 'series 10', while we have no episodes of those seasons whatsoever. Perhaps this is more Lampshade Hanging in that more shows could have been made had the creator not been trying so hard for The Movie, but it's an interesting twist.
  • Tru Calling's final episode wasn't aired on the original broadcast, but it was shown when the series was being rebroadcast on The Sci-Fi Channel.
  • JAG has a unique example of this in "Skeleton Crew", the last episode produced for the show's first season and a Cliff Hanger. While the episode was completed, NBC didn't air it and ultimately cancelled the series. CBS picked it up again, but opted not to finish the story out. What sets it apart is that the episode eventually did air via syndication on USA, was included in the DVD release, and was re-edited into an episode from the series' third season, "Death Watch".
    • Of note, "Skeleton Crew" centered around an investigation into the death of an old flame of Harm's, Dianne Schonke, played in that episode by Catharine Bell. When she joined the cast as Major Sarah Mackenzie in season 2, the fact that she resembled Harm's old acquaintance was referenced, and later became a plot point in "Death Watch".

 Sarah: Sounds like I have a twin out there somewhere...

*flashback to Dianne's bodybag being closed*

Harm: Not anymore.

  • The final episode of Dollhouse's first season was not aired on TV during the initial run. The FOX network paid for 13 episodes and counted the unaired original pilot as one of them and did not wish to show a 14th episode. However, 20th Century Fox, the show's producers, had DVD contracts requiring 13 episodes, so Whedon created "Epitaph One". Oddly, it is considered one of the best episodes in the series and is quite possibly the reason the show got a second season. It was eventually aired as between seasons one and two. It was shown as the season one finale internationally.
    • The original pilot episode has also never been aired.
  • VR 5 had three: "Sisters", "Send Me An Angel" and "Parallel Lives". One was dropped because of preemption, another due to sexual content, and the third because it didn't make any sense without the first two. Aired in Canada, but never in the United States.
  • Thirteen episodes of Wonderfalls were produced, but the show was cancelled after four episodes. All thirteen are on the DVD release.
  • A strange version of this is the Eurovision Song Contest. Depending on who you ask, the 1964 edition, which took place in Copenhagen, is lost due to an archive mishap at the Danish broadcaster's, or has never been shown again because of a Spanish anti-Franco protester showing up near the end. There are bits of it that are still shown, including the winner's reprise by Gigliola Cinquetti.
  • Parodied in Mr. Show with Bob And David; at the beginning of the episode, the hosts declare to the audience that the episode being filmed is intended to be the "lost episode" of the series, which will be trotted out years later to much fanfare. At the end of the episodeBob and David give the only tape of the episode to a uniformed security guard, who walks outside and tosses the tape into outer space in a 2001 parody.
  • If the Myth Busters episode where they see if a cereal box really is more nutritious than the sugary cereal inside seemed a little odd... well, that wasn't the originally planned test. It was supposed to be a mouse test, one cage of mice getting cereal and one getting cardboard pellets. One of the blooper videos that Adam and Jamie show at lectures has the unairable result: one of the "cardboard" mice decided its cagemates were much more appetizing, so it killed and ate them. Adam holds a partly-eaten mouse up to the camera for the producer's benefit.
  • The first 20 stories of Ace Of Wands are missing.
  • At least two episodes of Home and Away have never been seen in the UK. One involved the students of Summer Bay High being confronted by gunmen and ITV felt it was Too Soon after a similar incident in Ireland. Another banned episode involved Duncan making a bomb.
  • Hardly anyone has seen the earliest examples of the wildly popular Mexican sitcom El Chavo Del Ocho because it originated as a sketch on an hour-long variety show "Chespirito", named for Chavo's creator. Some of the sketches that were judged to be high-quality enough were edited together into half-hour episodes (resulting in a short season zero), but because of Old Shame, the earliest Chavo sketches haven't been seen in decades.
  • When rerunning Cagney and Lacey, Lifetime omitted the first season episodes featuring Meg Foster as Cagney. The first DVD release does likewise, labeling the second season (featuring Sharon Gless as Cagney) as the first season.
  • A lot of early Japanese television shows from NHK are lost. To give an example, there was a popular children's puppet show that ran for 8 years (from 1956 to '64) called "Chirorin Mura to Kurumi no Ki" (Chirorin Village and the Chestnut Tree). There were over 800 episodes produced. Of those episodes, how many survive? No more than four, from the show's final year. Another puppet show, "Hyokkori Hyotanjima" (ran daily from 1964-1969), has a bulk of its series lost, too, with only eight (out of 1,224) episodes surviving. Years later, in the early 1990s they tried remaking the missing episodes using the original puppets and any actors still alive at the time.
  • Sesame Street has a few of these. For example, the unaired episode unoffically known as "Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce".
  • The 1983 "Conflict" episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood were originally created to help children cope with the war-related themes of The Day After miniseries, but were deemed inappropriate to air after 1996 due to real-life wars happening. This week has not been released on Amazon.com, unlike most of the 1979-2001 episodes. Interestingly, it did re-air once--following 9/11, ironically enough.
  • The television version of Hancock's Half Hour ran for seven series from 1956 to 1961 for a total of 63 episodes, of which 26 are lost. The first four series were broadcast live and only occasionally captured on telerecordings if a technician or actor wanted a viewable copy; the first series is completely lost, while only one episode from the second series[4] and five each from the third and fourth were preserved. Off-air audio recordings exist of a further six episodes from the fourth series. The remaining three series were pre-recorded on videotape and survive in their entirety. See Radio for the radio episodes lost.
  • For some reason, ITV does not air these episodes of Police Camera Action (year of episode airing in brackets):
    • Police Stop! (also full unedited version of Danger Drivers Ahead! from 1994 pilot version of series)
    • Helicops (1995, but the 2007 episode of the same title does get aired. Never happens to the episode Safety Last which was part of the 1995 series, and the original 1995 episode does get aired, as well as the unrelated 2007 series episode).
    • Don't Look Back In Anger -- uncontroversial road-safety episode from November 1997, rarely if-ever aired.
    • Learning the Hard Way -- series finale of 1998 series, last seen on ITV 17th January 1999, but not aired since then.
    • Danger Ahead -- from the 2000 series, but bizarrely never aired in syndication. Last aired on ITV 7th August 2000
    • Ford (alternate title The Fords) -- last seen on ITV 7 January 2002 but never aired since then.
    • Police in Pursuit from 2007 series with Adrian Simpson - never aired on ITV 4, and not even on ITV 1, so a literal Missing Episode.
    • Given the show's high levels of Fandom, which is on a par with Twilight - albeit in a more subtle way - it's surprising that the missing episodes were not lost.
  • The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, the first TV series to star an Asian-American actress (Anna May Wong, who, incidentally, was also the first Asian-American film actress), is lost because the master tapes were dumped into Upper New York Bay back in the 1970s along with the rest of Dumont Network's tapes because nobody wanted to keep them. A few publicity shots did survive, but that's it.
  • Much of the early material from The Guiding Light has been lost, particularly serials from the radio years and the early television era. Since GL has roughly 18 solid months of material, this is not surprising.
  • The last four (of six) parts of The Quatermass Experiment are missing because technology to record TV programmes for posterity was in its infancy at the time and the results for the first two episodes were so bad they gave up. Many TV shows from before the 1960s don't exist nowadays for this reason.
    • For an example of how bad the attempt to film (British standard at the time 25 fps) a video monitory (British standard at the time 50 fps) looked, check the title card on The Other Wiki.
  • TBS stopped airing the Mama's Family episode "Gert Rides Again" sometime in the early 2000's, apparently because their master tape of it was somehow destroyed. Fans were able to see the episode again when ION began airing the show in 2006.
  • The Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (featuring a mentally disabled man who believes himself to have the power of the magician he works for, who ends up cutting a woman in half during a poorly prepared trick) was skipped during its original run, the result of the sponsor feeling it was too dark. It was later seen unedited in syndication.
  • Several episodes of WCW Monday Nitro have not been rebroadcast on WWE Classics when they would have normally been included in the schedule of programs. In the case of at least one episode (the episode originally aired on 9 June 1997), the master tape for that show contained several problems with the audio, and was unfit for broadcast. Other episodes have been heavily edited (or omitted entirely from rotation) due to Chris Benoit appearing prominently within them.
  • My Family has an episode in which Susan is temporarily blinded from the shock of catching Michael in bed with a girlfriend, and struggles to hide her condition from the rest of the family. This episode is considered offensive to blind people and, while it reportedly received only four complaints from viewers, it is now banned from British TV (but can be found on the Series Four DVD.)
  • "Bored She Hung Herself", a 1970 Hawaii Five-O episode about a deadly yoga technique that bears more than a passing resemblance to Erotic Asphyxiation, has been banned since its original broadcast, allegedly because a viewer accidentally died while imitating the technique. The episode was never syndicated, and it's not included on the second season DVD box set.
    • 20 years later in Japan, popular anime show Sazae-san had to remove a skit involving the main character doing a dangerous stunt involving a bean that appeared at the end of each episode and replace it with another one after a child almost died imitating the stunt, in a similar fashion to this incident. More info on this can be seen in Anime and Manga.
  • ICarly has a pilot episode about how the webshow came to be. Nick has never bothered reairing it inside the US but it has been seen in Canada a few times.
    • It's reaired in the US, but very rarely. Also very rarely airing is iGo Nuclear.
  • Neighbours episode 4175 was accidentally skipped over when aired in Australia. It was later shown in New Zealand and the UK.
  • A number of Iron Chef episodes are now considered missing, namely the Ishinabe and Nakamura era battles, due to Food Network not dubbing those episodes for some arbitrary reason. (The most likely explanation is they stopped because they got the go-ahead to do Iron Chef America.) Sadly, this includes the Beijing Special, where four chefs of different Chinese cuisines go head to head in the Forbidden City. There's a website dedicated to finding copies of these missing episodes from VCR copies.
  • In the episode "Koi Pond" of The Office, the cold open featured Michael pretending to hang himself in the office's haunted warehouse in front of several children. This scene was cut in subsequent re-airings and was surprisingly absent from the DVD release.
  • Masters of Horror episode "Imprint" was never aired in the U.S., due to rampant Squick. It did get released on DVD.
  • The last season of Get Smart was pulled from a majority of television circulations after a dispute over the copyrights (after the season was canceled by NBC and picked up by CBS). Yeah, even Get Smart DVDs did not have these episodes, too.
  • 12 live action segments for The Super Mario Bros Super Show went missing from DVD releases, apparently over legal reasons. Several of the missing segments (9001: A Mario Odyssey, Baby Mario Love, and Texas Tea) were later reinstated on the internet.
    • After the show ended its circulation run in 1991, DIC ordered almost all of the Club Mario reprints (excepting "The Unzappables", which later was picked up by internet distributor Hulu and iTunes) destroyed. Most of the destroyed segments are available for viewing on YouTube. You can see one here.
  • For almost forever, fans of the 1966 Batman TV series have been waiting for a proper DVD release. Much of the reason for the wait is a countless amount of disputes between Fox (the producers and copyright holders for the show), DC Comics (owners of the Batman comic book character), and probably co-producer Greenway Productions. Other issues may include clearances for the many celebrity cameos, music, or even the unique design of the show's Batmobile. The above issues mainly seem to affect "new media," as the show is still available for traditional syndication, and currently shown on cable's The Hub.
  • When Japan aired The Monkees TV show, they made two additional special episodes appropriately titled "The Monkees In Japan" (parts 1 and 2), which highlighted the Monkees' visit and concert in their country. The episodes aired only in Japan, and were shown only once, on October 11 and 18, 1968 respectively. The episodes have not been aired, in Japan or anywhere else, since. The video footage from both parts is thought to be lost, however a low-quality recorded audio track from portions of the episodes still survive, and is known among fans as the bootleg CD Made In Japan.
  • Much of Square One TV, 3-2-1 Contact, and many other PBS shows from the 70's and 80's. Only a handful of episodes were released to VHS, and no full episodes have been posted on YouTube so far. Good luck finding tapes.
  • When Nickelodeon in the UK screened Gilmore Girls, they were happy not only to cut episodes in its 6pm Sunday slot but also to drop the odd episode, most notably "The Big One" (in which Paris loses her virginity, fails to get into Harvard, and has a meltdown live on C-SPAN as a result of the latter). Unsurprisingly the channel dropped the show itself after the first three seasons.
  • Due to its 6pm Wednesday slot, Channel 4 screened all but one episode of My So-Called Life ("Weekend," in which Rayanne handcuffs herself to the Chases' bed). The series was only repeated once (in an even earlier slot) and has never been shown on British television since.
  • A majority of episodes from The Jack Benny Program are missing. Out of 257 episodes (by the IMDb's count), about 30 have survived and slipped into the public domain (and thus released often from multiple home-video sources.) CBS owns the masters for about 25 additional episodes (also believed to have lapsed into the public domain), but thus far has refused to release them or to allow access to third parties.
  • The Eerie Indiana episode "Heart On A Chain" was never rerun when the show was syndicated on Fox Kids (it's unclear whether it was ever run when syndicated on The Disney Channel). It is, however, available on DVD.
  • Much like the Buffy example above, an episode of Bones was pulled because the plot included a boy being killed on a college campus, and it was set to air right after a similar, high-profile event in real life. It was eventually aired later in the season, but some of the side plots, such as Hodgins proposing to Angela and being rejected, were cut because they didn't fit the show's established timeline.
  • Similarly, Leverage pulled The Mile High Job, which was set on a plane and devoted much of its comedy to making fun or water landings after the Miracle on the Hudson. The episode was later aired in its original form after the media frenzy had died down.
  • The Too Close for Comfort episode “For Every Man, There’s Two Women”—the plot of which attempted to milk laughs from Monroe’s rape by two large women—only aired once in 1985 and never again...until Antenna TV aired the show in 2011. More on this “lost” episode in this Kindertrauma post.
  • The Law and Order franchise had some type of instance with this. Based on news reports, rumours were going on that some episodes from the franchise's incarnations were destroyed by the 2008 Universal Studios fire. This has been dismissed as speculation, as (according to Universal) the original copies may have been saved in another vault.
    • "Sunday In The Park With Jorge", from the 11th Season, was never reran on NBC since its initial airing after complaints about the very negative portrayal of the Puerto Rican community, though it was later shown on TNT.
    • The Law and Order SVU episode “Unstoppable”, originally part of the show's eighteenth season, was inspired by the sexual assault allegations against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, as the episode featured a man running for President of the United States, using Trump-like rhetoric to immerse his followers, when suddenly numerous women came out accusing the man of sexual assault. By that time, the Access Hollywood tape featuring Trump boasting about committing sexual assault was leaked to the mainstream media. The episode was repeatedly delayed up to the aftermath of the election, which, unsurprisingly, was won by Trump. Once Trump took office as President of the United States, the episode will probably never air.
  • At least two episodes of Quincy were never repeated on NBC (although they were, and are, still shown in syndication):
    • "Nowhere To Run," in which a teenage girl is killed in a fall which proves to be a suicide triggered by her incestuous relationship with her father and subsequent pregnancy.
    • "Never A Child," dealing with a runaway falling into the clutches of a child pornographer.
  • The Dutch TV Series Pension Hommeles and Ja Zuster Nee Zuster from the late 50s launched (or reinforced) the career of many Dutch singer/actors. The songs were written by Annie M.G. Schmidt and several amongst them are considered to be classics. Unfortunately most of the original tapes of the series were lost in the intervening decades, and the first episodes of Pension Hommeles were broadcast live so there were never tapes of it in the first place.
  • The Nickelodeon original movie Cry Baby Lane aired on the night of October 28th, 2000, was deemed so excessively scary that it was never re-aired or released on home video. The network officially denied the thing ever existed, leading many to wonder if the entire concept was a Creepy Pasta taken to the next level. A full version has been found and uploaded to YouTube, however.
    • After years of denying its existence, Teen Nick finally re-aired the movie on October 31, 2011 as part of its late-night block The 90s Are All That.
  • The Miami Vice episode "Too Much Too Late" was not aired on NBC because of the controversial child-molestation storyline, though it was later aired on USA network,
  • Saturday Night Live has a few episodes that have only aired once and were either never seen at all (or in full) after that point:
    • The season four episode hosted by Milton Berle was so frought with cast tension over Milton Berle overrunning the show (which he did, if the Texaco Playhouse cold open is indicative of anything) that Lorne Michaels barred the show from being rerun on TV (the episode does appear on the season 4 DVD set).
    • The season five episode hosted by Strother Martin was scheduled to rerun during the summer of 1980, but the summer of 1980 was also when Strother Martin died (the fact that the episode contained a sketch with Strother Martin filming a video will didn't make matters any better).
    • All of season six's episodes haven't aired on American TV since 1980-1981 due to how poorly received the season was, and a DVD release of the entire season is out of the question due to music licensing issues and the fact that the season was an Old Shame for the show.
    • The last episode of season 6 (which was the first episode helmed by Dick Ebersol after Jean Doumanian and most of her cast were fired -- the only Jean Doumanian cast members in this episode were Denny Dillon, Gail Matthius, Eddie Murphy, and Joe Piscopo) hasn't been seen in its original form on American TV since it first came on. All reruns (including the 60-minute cable ones) have most sketches replaced with pretaped sketches from the Dick Ebersol episodes (and a couple from the Jean Doumanian episodes) to fill the void left behind by the original sketches that were removed.
    • The 1981 season seven Halloween episode hosted by Donald Pleasence (with musical guest Fear) was banned after its first appearance due to Fear's raucous performance and the dark, disgusting humor of the sketches (though the ones displayed are nothing compared to what was supposed to air: one sketch about Nazi soldiers thinking of "good reasons" for killing Jewish people, another sketch in which Donald Pleasence drains the blood of his date and serves the drained blood as wine, and a third sketch featuring puppets cannibalizing Jane Fonda).
    • For reasons unknown, the season 27 episode hosted by Alec Baldwin (with musical guest POD) never reran after its premiere (though some of the sketches featured can be found on the DVD release of the special Saturday Night Live: The Best of Alec Baldwin).
  • When the Disney Channel aired reruns of Boy Meets World they didn't air several episodes from the later seasons that dealt with more mature subject matter, including one about teen drinking and two that focused more on sex.
  • The Drew Carey Show had an unusual example in the episode "Two Drews And The Queen Of Poland Walk Into A Bar"; the episode itself wasn't banned, but the original opening of the episode (Mimi meeting the King of Poland, her aunt dying and Mimi stealing her aunt's ring in order to claim her title) hasn't been seen since its original airing due to complaints of the sterotypical portrayal of the Polish community. Every other airing of this episode in the U.S. uses the opening from the episode "It's Your Party And I'll Crash If I Want To" in addition to removing all references to Poland and Mimi's Polish heritage, though other countries like Australia have aired the original version of the episode.
  • The A-Team gave us "Without Reservations", which was meant to be the second-to-last episode of the series, but was lost and never aired in syndication. It was found a few years later and aired as the last episode during reruns. It continues to be listed (on the DVD sets, Netflix, etc.) as the last episode, but it is canonically the second-to-last. Murdock's t-shirts (which read "Almost Fini" in this one and "Fini" in "The Grey Team"), as well as their conversation at the end of "The Grey Team" both make it pretty clear that "The Grey Team" takes place some time after "Without Reservations."
  • Unlike virtually every Disney Channel Original Movie, the 9/11-centric Tiger Cruise is hardly ever shown on the channel (while this is a given for older DCOMs, it applied to this one almost from the start) and it would seem has never been screened internationally (certainly not in Britain) - and although two of its stars have become better known since then, it hasn't gotten any kind of physical release (it wouldn't even be a case of Billing Displacement to prominently display Hayden Panettiere on the cover, since she does in fact star in the film. Jennette McCurdy as her sister, on the other hand...).
  • The local versions of Romper Room have mostly disappeared, the master tapes having been erased and reused by station managers years ago.
  • In a particularly sad example of Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things, the series Winchell-Mahoney Time (1965–1968) featured what was regarded as some of the best work of the famed ventriloquist and comedian Paul Winchell. In 1988, Winchell was involved in a dispute with the studio about the rights to the syndication of the 288 surviving tapes. The studio responded by vindictively erasing all the tapes. Winchell proceeded to sue them for a whopping $17.8 million, but the damage was done forever.
  • The "Klansmen" episode of The Professionals has never been screened on British terrestrial television - not in the show's original run due to its questionable content, and not in any subsequent runs (with the exception of a 1997 airing on the now-defunct Superchannel, it's also never been shown on UK cable television). However, this episode has aired overseas.

Notes

  1. or get lucky and have something shiny in space reflect the signal back : http://www.themarysue.com/lost-doctor-who-episodes-found-in-space/
  2. The reason why the episode was "supposedly" lost was because Blue Peter wanted to use a clip from it for a TV Special and never gave it back, even though the BBC archives didn't suggest there being a copy there at that time. The Daleks' Master Plan was never given back, however, suggesting this episode's absence.
  3. The most readily available fan copies of Q6, Q7, and Q8 were recorded from Australian broadcasts in 1979 and 1986.
  4. (the only surviving television episode to feature Kenneth Williams)
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