Graham Strong was a 14-year-old schoolboy when Doctor Who began in 1963. A keen electronics student, his hobby included building valve and transistor radios, as well as repairing televisions for neighbours. He was the proud owner of a second-hand Reel to reel tape machine and decided to use this to preserve the audio of this exciting new serial.
I can’t recall if I actually recorded the first episode of Doctor Who. The earliest recording I still have was the first episode of The Keys of Marinus first shown on 11 April 1964. Recordings were made via a basic crystal microphone (which came with the machine), hanging over the television speaker with a plant pot placed on the top of the T.V. to keep the microphone in place! Mother was given instructions to not enter the room when ‘recording was in session’Following The Daleks' Master Plan, episode 7, Strong, used his electronics knowledge to wire the audio output from the television into the Tape recorder. A highly dangerous procedure that breaks every rule of electrical safety but one that resulted in recordings that were crystal clear.
Strong was one of a small number of early fans who recorded audio from the now missing stories. However, he is believed to be the only one to record directly from the Television, resulting in the superior quality of his recordings.
In 1994 an accidental meeting with a Doctor Who fan who had contacts in the BBC brought his collection to the attention of the corporation. By this time the master tapes of most early episodes had been junked and the episodes were either missing or only existed as film prints. After reassurance that his tapes would be carefully cared for, Strong handed over recordings containing over 100 Doctor Who episodes.
Strong's recordings have been used for the animated releases of missing episodes such as Power of the Daleks. His recordings are so clear that they often exceed the quality available on the surviving film prints of the episodes, and as a result, a number of DVD's of early episodes contain audio taken from Strong's recordings rather than the film print.