Kaleidoscope uncovers lost BBC drama in RNLI vault

kaleidoscopebanner

CLASSIC TV organisation Kaleidoscope has uncovered a 1950s BBC maritime drama long thought lost at sea.

Broadcast in 1959, Medico — a documentary drama about emergency medical services for ships at sea — was thought not to have been recorded.

But following enquiries with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which had lent one of its lifeboats for use in the programme, Kaleidoscope discovered the complete play in the charity’s vaults.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope describes the recovery of Medico as a “remarkable discovery”.

He said: “It all started on the Kaleidoscope Facebook page a few weeks ago.

“Regular readers of our Facebook page will remember Elaine Trethowan enquiring about a lost film featuring her father and the RNLI Penlee Lifeboat.

“Eventually James Cellan Jones remembered it was a play/drama called Medico and made by the BBC in 1959.

“Not surprisingly, a 1959 BBC play was not recorded according to the BBC Archives so I began to hunt for the film inserts, hoping they may survive.

“The hunt drew an initial blank but undeterred I approached the RNLI to check their vaults. They also said it was missing, but there were some cans from the 1950s that featured the Penlee Lifeboat.

“I asked them to check the cans. It was the complete BBC play Medico, which the BBC maintain was never recorded!”

Medico, described as an exciting drama-doc about the maritime emergency medical services provided by the Post Office, was broadcast by the BBC on January 7, 1959.

Starring Welsh character actor Meredith Edwards, and featuring TV and film director James Cellan Jones among the production team, the programme won writer Robert Barr the Prix Italia for live documentary.

Kaleidoscope now have a transfer of the play and plan to screen it for the first time in over 50 years at its Missing Believed Wiped in the Heart of the Midlands event in Stourbridge, West Midlands, on Saturday, April 5.

Tickets are priced £20 and are available now at www.kaleidoscopepublishing.co.uk

Leave a comment

Filed under BBC, Discoveries, Drama, Events, Kaleidoscope

Guest Post: Refinding Rod ‘the Mod’ Stewart documentary after 48 years

ROD STEWART’S film archive has survived remarkably well compared to other artists, mostly thanks to infrequent television appearances.  In fact with the exception of seven Top Of The Pops performances, everything of note broadcast in the UK from mid-1973 onwards survives intact.

Rod StewartAs for the sixties, all that has ever come to light has been poor quality footage of Steampacket at the 1965 Richmond Jazz Festival and what appears to be home movie footage of the Jeff Beck Group at the Fillmore East in New York dubbed with ‘Shapes Of Things’. Around a decade ago a short Swedish film of the Jeff Beck Group in the recording studio with Mickie Most and featuring great footage of ‘Plynth’ was discovered. And that’s it!

Rod Stewart’s most significant sixties television appearance was a 30-minute documentary titled ‘An Easter With Rod’ (otherwise known as ‘Rod The Mod’), produced by Francis Megahy and Fred Burnley. This was sold as “a portrait of a typical mod” and screened on 2 November 1965.

There has never been any serious hope of finding this film which had been assumed to have been wiped.  Last week that assumption changed when the BBC announced they had found this documentary at the British Film Institute (BFI) in “bits and pieces”.

I had always suspected ‘An Easter With Rod’ still existed due to a quote from Geoff Wright (one of Rod’s early managers) in George Tremlett’s 1976 paperback The Rod Stewart Story:

“He would turn down any idea that he thought was ‘pop’ rather than ‘blues’. That was something he repeated again when he was interviewed in that film ‘Rod The Mod’, which is an interesting film to see now because many of the opinions he expressed then he has flatly contradicted in his later career.”

But when Long John Baldry spoke to Smiler magazine in 1993 hopes faded when in response to a question about concerts being filmed, he said:

“There was a documentary, but maybe Rod has put pressure on for it to be destroyed. It was a show called ‘Rod The Mod’. It showed us travelling round all these places in a vile van we had which was a Bovril cattle van. I’d bought it for £40 and had it converted. Our heating device was actually a Kerosene Stove secured with ropes!

“Lord knows what would have happened if we had collided with anything, we’d have all gone up in smoke! The film was a history of us going hither and hither, going up to Stoke on Trent and places like that. The crew were there all the time. It was a black and white thing and I know that when it was broadcast it was called ‘Rod The Mod’ because it was built around Rod. It was very interesting but it’s never seen the light of day since.”

‘An Easter With Rod’ has been sought many times over the years by numerous writers of books and producers of television documentaries but no one ever managed to locate it. The most recent search was three years ago by Andy Neill, author of the excellent Faces biography ‘Had Me A Real Good Time’. Andy is a thorough and meticulous researcher and it was fair to assume that if he could not locate it, then it did not exist.

The discovery of ‘An Easter With Rod’ is one of the most significant musical finds ever of swinging sixties London – not just for Rod Stewart fans, but as a visual documentation of the R&B scene that was emerging, the fashions and attitudes and for unique footage of London architecture that has long disappeared – most notably the newsagent’s run by Rod’s parents that he grew up above.

David Bowie’s lost Top Of The Pops clip made the national news and was the subject of newspaper articles and huge interest on internet forums – and quite rightly too.  Whereas, so far, the reaction to this equally significant find has been luke warm at best.

On 9 July a BBC Rod Stewart documentary used around 10 minutes of footage out of the 30-minutes that was originally broadcast in 1965. The film deserves to be lovingly re-assembled and broadcast in full. This is musical history in the making featuring one of the biggest singers the World has ever seen.

If, like me, you believe this important piece of musical and cultural social history deserves to be re-assembled and broadcast in full please join our campaign to make it happen.

Please email the BBC in your own words telling them how much you enjoyed Tuesday’s documentary and how much you would like to see the full Rod The Mod sixties documentary in its entirety. And don’t settle for a standard reply!

You can also join our forthcoming ‘Rod The Mod’ Facebook campaign to be announced shortly at www.rodstewartfanclub.com

JOHN GRAY
Smiler Retro

4 Comments

Filed under Discoveries, Music, Sixties' Music

Lost episodes of The Avengers to be remade by Big Finish Productions

The AvengersBIG FINISH Productions is delighted to announce that it has signed a licence with STUDIOCANAL to produce full cast audio productions of 12 lost episodes of the classic TV series The Avengers.

Lost for over fifty years, the missing episodes from the first series of the cult classic have been lovingly recreated on audio from the original scripts.

The Avengers first launched in 1961, and starred Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel and Patrick Macnee as the elusive and suave John Steed. Beginning with the murder of Keel’s fiancée, and his sworn intent to avenge her death, that first year comprised 26 episodes. Sadly, only two of them exist in their entirety as film prints (Girl on the Trapeze and The Frighteners), while just the first act remains of the opening episode, Hot Snow.

Working from the surviving scripts, Big Finish will be presenting the adaptations in three four-disc box sets. The scripts will be adapted, with minimal changes, by John Dorney, the director is Ken Bentley and the producer is David Richardson. The executive producers are Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery.

“We are absolutely thrilled to add this wonderful series to our catalogue,” says David Richardson, “and we look forward to faithfully recreating those classic lost episodes. We have two brilliant, high-profile actors for the roles of Dr Keel and John Steed – look out for an announcement of the casting once recording begins in July.”

“This opportunity confirms the enduring appeal of this classic TV series and the resonance of the SC collection in the context of British Film and Pop culture,” says John Rodden, General Manager Home Entertainment at STUDIOCANAL.

Volume 1 of The Avengers: The Lost Episodes will be released in January 2014 (and includes a full recreation of Hot Snow), with Volumes 2 and 3 following in July 2014 and January 2015.

Each person who pre-orders will be entered into a draw to win a copy of The Avengers: Series 1 and 2 on DVD box set, containing the remaining three first series episodes.

For for more information visit www.bigfinish.com

2 Comments

Filed under Audio, Cult TV, ITV, Releases

New book explores the strange case of The Avengers’ missing episodes

IN THE mid-Sixties, The Avengers proved itself to be a cultural phenomenon. Despite its quintessential Englishness, it transcended international barriers, and established itself as British television’s most successful export of the day. Front cover of The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes - The Lost Stories of The Avengers Series 1

Today, it remains hugely popular, perhaps because of the schizophrenic nature of the show as it developed; it was a series of many colours, with something for everyone. But the earliest episodes of the show – produce by ABC Television and pairing Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel alongside the mysterious John Steed (Patrick Macnee) – have, since their 1961 broadcast, disappeared from view, the vast majority of the recordings lost forever.

The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes lifts the lid on that first year, and retells the stories in extended synopsis form, covering twenty-four episodes, often with script extracts, in greater depth than ever before. The book also boasts a detailed introduction, which explores how these much sought after programmes came to be lost, and a detailed retelling of an alternative, untransmitted version of the episode Double Danger.

The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes – The Lost Stories of The Avengers is available in hardcover (£19.99) and paperback (£14.99) from Hidden Tiger. Visit www.hiddentigerbooks.co.uk

Read an interview with authors Alan Hayes, Alys Hayes and Richard McGinlay about their fantastic new book.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Cult TV, Interview, ITV

Declassified at last – Lost episode of Hugh and I Spy recovered by Kaleidoscope

A LOST episode of Hugh and I Spy — featuring popular 1960s TV double-act Terry Scott and Hugh Lloyd — has been recovered by Kaleidoscope.Hugh and I

The classic TV organisation joined forces with the Tim Disney Archive to buy the 16mm print of the episode, Tea or Coffin, from a collector on internet auction site eBay.

The recovered show, broadcast by the BBC on February 26, 1968, is said to be in “superb” condition and is now the only episode that remains from the six-part series — a sequel to the popular Hugh and I sitcom, which ran from 1962 – 67.

It will be shown at the BFI’s Missing Believed Wiped event later this year.

In Hugh and I Spy, written by John Chapman and produced by David Croft, Terry and Hugh found themselves unwillingly involved in espionage and double-dealing.

As befitting the spy genre, each episode ended in a cliffhanger.

Tea or Coffin was the final episode of Hugh and I Spy and starred Fred Emney and Rex Garner (series regulars) plus Derek Sydney, Robert Gillespie, Jasmina Hamzavi, Francisca Tu, David Toguri, Roger Carey, Julie Mendez, Dino Shafeek, Rafiq Anwar, Paul Anil and John Louis Mansi.

Leave a comment

Filed under BBC, Comedy, Finds, Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope uncover treasure trove of lost Pan’s People performances

A ‘treasure trove’ of steamy Top of the Pops performances by TV dance troupe Pan’s People is set to get men’s pulses racing once more — after being lost for over 40 years.

In an era before pop videos, the all-female group’s sultry routines to chart toppers of the day gave millions of dads a reason to tune in to the BBC’s flagship music show every week.

Yet despite being a staple of the programme for nearly a decade, the majority of Pans People appearances no longer exist — wiped by the BBC, along with hundreds of vintage editions of Tops of the Pops, in the late 1970s.

But now a dozen “sorely missed” Pans People performances — to hits by pop stars including T.Rex, Barry White, Elton John, The Jackson 5 and Diana Ross — can be seen again, after being uncovered in a music producer’s private collection.

The long-lost clips — choreographed by Felicity “Flick” Colby and featuring well-remembered Pan’s People dancers including Patricia “Dee Dee” Wilde, Louise Clarke, Ruth Pearson and Barbara “Babs” Lord — will be screened by Midlands-based TV research organisation Kaleidoscope at a special event in June.

Wilde, who hopes to be attending the one-day event on June 1, says it will be an “exciting if poignant experience” watching the clips since co-founders Colby and Clarke have both died in the last two years.

She said: “Considering that Pan’s People danced on Top of the Pops week in, week out, for so many years, it’s such a pity that most of our routines have been lost, wiped by the BBC back in the 70s.

“To hear that some of them have now been recovered thanks to a collector recording them himself and keeping the tapes all these years really is wonderful. Often we never even saw them go out as we were so busy.

“I can’t wait to see them again and it’s just so sad that neither Flick nor Louise are with us to enjoy their rediscovery too.”

The rare clips, dating from between 1973 and ’75 and featuring Pan’s People dancing to hits such as Truck On Tyke by T.Rex, (For You) I’ll Do Anything You Want Me To by Barry White, Island Girl by Elton John, I Want You Back by Jackson 5 and All Of My Life by Diana Ross, were tracked down in the collection of record producer and songwriter Ian Levine.

Other “significant” finds include dance routines to Dance With The Devil by legendary rock drummer Cozy Powell, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman Turner Overdrive and Rhythm And Blue Jean Baby by Lynsey De Paul.

Kaleidoscope spokesperson Chris Perry said: “This is a major find of missing Pan’s People performances in great condition not held by the BBC, Pan’s People or anyone else.

“Ian recorded the clips off the TV back in the 1970s using an early video recorder, and the tapes had sat unused on his shelf until donated to Kaleidoscope last year.

“We’ve received a huge haul of 20,000 tapes from Ian which we are currently cataloguing. We’ve also recently come across an almost complete Top of the Pops missing from the archives from 1976 so who knows what else is waiting to be found!”

Pan’s People expert Mike Morton, who will be releasing a biography of the dance troupe next year, added: “All in all this is a remarkable collection that manages to capture all the excitement and energy that made Top Of The Pops the greatest music show on television.

“Watching Pan’s People dance to the T.Rex hit ‘Truck On Tyke’, for example, is such a treat as no footage exists anywhere in the world of that particular Marc Bolan song, while they look like five sexy dream-catchers with feathers hanging from their waists in an electric performance alongside Cozy Powell.”

Pan’s People first appeared on Top of the Pops in 1968, four years after the programme was first aired, dancing to US Male by Elvis Presley.

They also appeared on other TV shows of the era including Lulu, The John Denver Show and The Two Ronnies.

Their last Top of the Pops appearance was in April 1976, dancing to Silver Star by The Four Seasons, but the troupe remained popular after leaving. During this period Sarah Brightman, who later married composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, was briefly a member.

For more information on Kaleidoscope’s The Ballroom! event on June 1, visit www.kaleidoscope.org.uk

ENDS

1 Comment

Filed under Finds, Kaleidoscope, Music, Television, Top of the Pops

The Tenth Planet episode four to be animated for DVD release

The Tenth Planet animated stillTHE TENTH PLANET – the Doctor Who story that marked the close of the William Hartnell era – is to have its missing fourth episode animated for DVD release, BBC Worldwide has confirmed.

Broadcast in October 1966, The Tenth Planet was the first story to feature iconic foes the Cybermen, the first to introduce the concept of regeneration and the last to feature the First Doctor as the series’s lead. The final installment of the story, episode four, has been missing from the BBC Archives since the mid-1970s and is possible the most sought-after of the lost Doctor Who episodes because of its historical importance to the show.

The missing episode four will be animated by Australia-based Planet 55 Studios, which used its patent Thetamation process to recreate the lost episodes 4 and 5 of Hartnell adventure The Reign of Terror for its DVD release last month.

Doctor Who range producer Dan Hall said: “It’s a real thrill to be bringing such an iconic Doctor Who episode back to life. Without the events established in The Tenth Planet episode 4, there would be no Doctor Who as we know it!”

The Tenth Planet DVD is set to be released in late 2013 and is expected to also include a reconstruction of the missing episode using existing telesnaps which featured on the VHS release in 2000.

A selection of stills from the new animation work-in-progress can be seen via a gallery on BBC Worldwide’s official Doctor Who 50th Anniversary website.

There is also a showreel available to watch on the Planet 55 website featuring a scene of the First Doctor stalked in the snow, inspired by The Tenth Planet.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animation, Doctor Who, Recons, Releases, Telesnaps