A Bird in the Hand…

Mogul logoAN EARLY episode of drama series The Troubleshooters has been returned to the BBC.

The series two episode “Birdstrike”, from 1966, was handed over earlier this month after the intervention of Kaleidoscope.

The classic TV organisation had been called upon to act as an intermediary between the BBC and an unnamed collector due to “concerns” on the part of the latter.

A digital copy of the 16mm telerecording is now back in the BBC archives and Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry says the recovery demonstrates “that collectors have nothing to fear” about returning lost shows.

He said: “The collector had concerns with the returning of the episode, including the worry that the BBC would retain it and only give him a digital copy – something no enthusiast wants.

“But after we were approached, we were able to expedite the process of returning the episode quickly and smoothly, with the collector getting to keep his original copy.

“It just goes to show that collectors have nothing to fear about returning missing material to the BBC.

“Kaleidoscope is always happy to help facilitate this and collectors can contact us in strictest confidence by email.”

Broadcast between 1965 and 1972, The Troubleshooters was a 50-minute drama series created by author John Elliot, who co-wrote A for Andromeda with Fred Hoyle, and based around international oil company “Mogul”.

The first series, which went out under the title Mogul, was concerned with the internal politics of the company, but was not as well received as expected.

For series two (or one, depending on your viewpoint), the show was renamed and rebooted – shifting and broadening the focus to the actual workings of the company and international dealings of the Mogul field agents, the eponymous “troubleshooters”.

It went on to run for seven series, making the transition to colour from the fifth series in 1969, and ending in 1972.

In the newly discovered episode, “Birdstrike”(tx 04/06/66), the troubleshooters have to investigate who was to blame for the crashing of the first aircraft using Mogul’s new fuel – the company or the pilot?

Geoffrey Keene as Brian Stead

Geoffrey Keen as Brian Stead

It stars a young Robert Hardy as “ruthlessly ambitious” troubleshooter Alec Stewart and Geoffrey Keen as Mogul’s “tough” deputy managing director Brian Stead.

Archive television enthusiast Marcus Payne was also involved in the recovery of “Birdstrike”, being the first person to spot the episode’s rarity and open a dialogue with the collector.

Marcus, who last year found a missing episode of The Rat Catchers on a file sharing website (read the Wiped feature here), said:

“I was glad to act as a conduit for a second time and am always happy to help as a consultant to anyone else who might want to know the value of what they have or how to return it.”

The recovery now means there are 15 extant episodes from series two, out of 26. Of the other series, 6 of 13 survive from series one (Mogul), six out of 26 from series four, two of 26 from series five, and two of 17 from series six.

Thankfully, all 15 episodes of the final series are still held in the archives, though only as b&w 16mm film copies.

Only one colour episode of The Troubleshooters survives in its original colour 2″ videotape form- “Camelot on a Clear Day” from Series 5 (tx 1/06/70). A copy of this episode can be viewed at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

A well-researched article on The Troubleshooters is posted on the Britmovie forum.

  • To contact Kaleidoscope, email: cp@kaleidoscopepublishing.co.uk

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Filed under Discoveries, Television, Video

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