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Dr Who find in NZ prompts legal threat from BBC

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THE BBC is threatening legal action against a New Zealander who has the only known copy of an early Dr Who episode.

About 700 episodes of the science fiction classic were made and, till Bruce Grenville's find, 110 were missing.

The black and white 16-millimetre film features the first doctor, William Hartnell, and was the first in a series of four entitled The Crusade. It is with the BBC in London for restoration, but Dr Grenville, owner of Sedang Cinema, Auckland, said yesterday the BBC was now claiming ownership.

A letter from Steve Roberts of BBC Resources to Dr Grenville starts off thanking him for allowing the BBC to borrow the print. He goes on to express concern at Dr Grenville's plan to auction the print.

"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 ... I believe that if you proceed down this path, you may open yourself up to legal action. I strongly suggest that you seek the advice of a specialist in company, contract and copyright law before you proceed any further. I'm sorry that I'm having to say this to you when you've been so generous in allowing us access to the print, but I really think you need to look into the legality of what you are doing with some urgency."

Dr Grenville said his advice was that the film came under the category of "flotsam and jetsam".

"The New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation complied with their contract with the BBC by consigning the film to the tip, and it is indeed fortunate for us all that some film buff or scavenger at a later date retrieved the film from the tip before the bulldozers squashed it all into landfill." Rather than being "stolen" property, the film was "found" property.

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  • APA 6th ed.: (1999-01-26). Dr Who find in NZ prompts legal threat from BBC. The Dominion Post p. 6.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Dr Who find in NZ prompts legal threat from BBC." The Dominion Post [add city] 1999-01-26, 6. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Dr Who find in NZ prompts legal threat from BBC." The Dominion Post, edition, sec., 1999-01-26
  • Turabian: "Dr Who find in NZ prompts legal threat from BBC." The Dominion Post, 1999-01-26, section, 6 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr Who find in NZ prompts legal threat from BBC | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr_Who_find_in_NZ_prompts_legal_threat_from_BBC | work=The Dominion Post | pages=6 | date=1999-01-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 October 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr Who find in NZ prompts legal threat from BBC | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr_Who_find_in_NZ_prompts_legal_threat_from_BBC | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=17 October 2019}}</ref>