Once the BBC realised they had made a mistake by junking early episodes of the programme, they hatched a plan to try to find them. In the 1970s, they established the BBC Film and Videotape Library and named Malden as its first "archive selector". She held the post until sometime in the 1980s. As the head of the library, one of her first acts was to decide what programmes she would actively try to recover. Thanks in part to pressure from Ian Levine, the Doctor Who production office and the outcry of the nascent fan community, she made Doctor Who a priority.
She began to piece together what had actually happened to the episodes, something not fully understood by the BBC at the time. Perhaps her most significant achievement was the discovery of two separate libraries. She quickly determined that the BBC's own library of videotaped masters had been entirely and systematically wiped, because the videotape medium itself was perceived to be more valuable than the information recorded on it. What was completely unknown to most employees of the BBC was that Pamela Nash had been building up her own library of 16mm telerecordings of the episodes in a separate library at BBC Enterprises. The existence of this second library resulted in the immediate recovery of some episodes — notably the entirety of The Daleks.
It also led Malden to an extensive paper trail. Nash's team had paperwork detailing where prints of Doctor Who had been shipped and which countries had bought the episodes. This allowed Malden and her successors — like the Doctor Who Restoration Team — to go on a global and sometimes fruitful hunt for episodes.
While unable to recover every missing episode, nor directly responsible for every successful recovery, it is largely Malden's work which established the framework by which any episodes were recovered at all.
As documentary subject[edit | edit source]
Malden has been the subject of several fan interviews over the years. She is perhaps best known from her appearances in professional documentaries made about the phenomenon of missing episodes. She is prominent in the 1998 video documentary, The Missing Years, which is included on the Lost in Time DVD release. She was more recently featured on the 2009 BBC Radio 4 investigation, Doctor Who - The Lost Episodes.