A LOST episode of Our Man at St. Mark’s — the ’60s ecclesiastical comedy starring Leslie Philips — has been recovered after being bought on internet auction site eBay.
PRAISE BE: Leslie Philips starred in A-R comedy show Our Man at St. Mark's.
The 16mm film print of “A Previous Conviction” was bought with the assistance of classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope and The Tim Disney Archive.
It’s recovery brings the total number of surviving episodes to four and doubles the number of surviving episodes to feature Carry On . . . star Philips in the lead role.
It will now be transferred to digital format before being offered for loan to the British Film Institute. A public screening is also expected at some point “in the not too distant future”.
Broadcast by A-R between 1963 and 1965, Our Man at St. Mark’s was a “light-hearted but superior” comedy that revolved around the day-to-day exploits of a parish vicar.
“A Previous Conviction” (Tx 23/10/63) hails from the first series of the show and stars regular cast members Philips, as the slightly eccentric Reverend Andrew Parker, Anne Lawson as his girlfriend Anne Gibson and Joan Hickson as his housekeeper, Mrs Pace.
In the episode — guest-starring Warren Mitchell, Frank Tregear and Freddie Jones — Revd Parker’s attempt to give an ex-convict a fresh start in life becomes more than complicated when Anne decides to take a hand.
With the recovery of the print, four out of the 35 broadcast episodes are now known to exist. The others are the very first episode, “The Facts of Life” (Tx 25/09/63), “We Do It on Saturday” (Tx 18/06/64) and “A Funny Thing Happened to Amanda” (Tx 26/04/65).
Philips only appeared in series one of the show. For the remaining two series (1964–5), Donald Sinden took over the charge of St Mark’s as vicar Stephen Young.
Life with The Lyons: Ben Lyon and his wife Bebe Daniels with children Richard and Barbara Lyon.
A MASSIVE collection of Life with The Lyons episodes has come to light, with select shows set to be broadcast as a tribute to late series writer Bob Block.
A Scottish collector and fan recently contacted the BBC after hearing an episode of the popular ’50s radio sitcom aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra.
Only three editions of the show, starring real-life man and wife Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels, survive in the BBC Archives, but the fan had over 200 recordings in his collection
Radio 4 Extra has now announced that a season of lost episodes from the “Scottish collection” will be broadcast in the “near future” on the digital station, as a tribute to Lyons scriptwriter Bob Block, who died last month.
The recordings are taken from star Ben Lyon’s original reels and are said to be in “very good condition”.
Life with The Lyons was one of the BBC’s earliest domestic sit-coms.
Ditching the typical musical interludes in BBC radio comedies of the time, the show, which also starred Lyon and Daniels’ children, Barbara and Richard, ran for ten series between 1950 and 1961.
It proved so successful that it later switched to TV.
In addition to writing for Life with The Lyons, Bob Block was also the creator and writer of Robert’s Robots, Pardon My Genie, Galloping Galaxies, and fondly-remembered BBC children’s series Rentaghost.
A NEW documentary on Bob Monkhouse featuring a wealth of archive material the performer himself rescued from destruction is to be screened on TV.
The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse tells the “extraordinary story” of comedian Bob Monkhouse’s life and career, recounted for the first time through the “vast private archive” of films, TV shows, letters and memorabilia that he left behind.
The 90-minute programme, which airs January 3, 2011, has been made by the BBC with assistance from classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope.
Volunteers spent over a year sifting through the huge collection of film reels, videos, scripts, photographs and audio tapes amassed by the performer during his lifetime and passed on to the group following the death of his widow in 2008.
Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope described the forthcoming BBC Four show as a “real gem”.
He said: “I’ve seen the show and it’s full of brilliant archive material from the Bob stuff we rescued.”
Bob Monkhouse was a prolific comic, writer and performer famous for his sharp one-liners, topical gags and “charming smile”.
In a career spanning over 50 years, he appeared in countless TV and radio shows including My Pal Bob, Mad Movies, The Golden Shot and Celebrity Squares.
Monkhouse died of prostate cancer in 2003, aged 75.
The performer was a keen collector of TV and radio shows throughout his life and thanks to his foresight, many hours of vintage comedy material featuring Bob, his writing partner Denis Goodwin, and stars such as Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Tommy Cooper, Frankie Howerd, Arthur Askey, Benny Hill and June Whitfield have been saved.
The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse is on BBC Four at 9pm, January 3.
A RETIRED comedian is set to receive an extra special Christmas present this year after his son tracked down a recording of his one and only TV appearance.
Kenneth Elcocks went under the stage name of ‘Kenny Windsor’ when he appeared before 10 million viewers on hit ITV talent show New Faces in 1975.
The performance featured his favourite character, Farmer George, the Shropshire Lad, and earned the comic fourth place on the scoreboard for that week.
It proved to be his only time on the box, however, and over 30 years later, funnyman Kenneth is yet to see his one moment in the spotlight.
But that’s about to change thanks to son Lee, who secretly set out to find a copy of the show (tx 8/2/75) after discovering the mastertape had long-since been wiped.
After only two months searching, the 32-year-old, from Telford, managed to find an old domestic recording in the possession of his dad’s former agent.
The family now plan to surprise Kenneth, 73, with a DVD conversion in time for December 25th.
Speaking to Wiped News, Lee says he left “no stone unturned” in his hunt for the episode.
He said: “Dad has never seen a recording of the show as it went out on air. He said he would love to see it again but probably never would. It was then that I thought I would give it a go and try and get a copy.
“I thought a simple email to ITV would do the trick but back in the early to mid-70s, both they and the BBC recorded over TV shows as tape was expensive.
“I put an appeal out for anybody who may have a recording of the show and the chap who saw it just happened to be my dad’s old agent. He got in touch and confirmed he had a tape.”
Lee got in contact with his local paper, the Shropshire Star, as well as BBC Radio Shropshire and the ATV Network website to publicise his search. He also emailed former New Faces judge Tony Hatch and three of the other acts who had appeared on the show
Earlier this month, he heard back from talent agent Bernie Lewis, who had kept a recording on a Phillips N1500 tape along with a “boxful” of promotional posters, photographs and other things.
Lee is now looking forward to finally getting to see his dad on the small screen.
“The tape has not been stored in an attic but in a cupboard in the house, so hopefully the recording will still be OK.
“I already have a contact who will convert it for for me, Colin McCormick from Video99, and I’m sure he will try his best.
“I cannot wait to see it. I’ve never seen a moving image of my dad in his younger days, He was 36 when he speared on the show. He will be amazed I’m sure and we may even see some tears.”
New Faces marked the first and last TV appearance of character comedian Kenny Windsor, though he continued to do clubs and pubs after the show for many years.
According to Lee, his father’s low score on the night was down to a last-minute change of material.
He said: “He had rehearsed four times during the day and everything was going well, but just before the main recording one of the staff at the show told him that he couldn’t do a major piece of the act, because the joke was not suitable for 6pm on a Saturday night!
“He had to drop that part of the act last minute and quickly had to think of something else to fill the time.”
Lee added: “The winner of that nights show was a chap called Dennis D’ell, who back in the mid sixties was the lead singer in a band called The Honeycombs who had a number one hit with ‘Have I the Right?
“The day after there was a story in a national newspaper saying that he should have never have been on the show, let alone allowed to win it as he was already ‘famous’. It was a bit of a scandal, but nothing compared to the X-Factor scandals you get now!”
Lee plans to visit his father, who lives in Bath, on December 4th and present him with the DVD and memorabilia, along with a scrapbook about the quest to find it.
“His old scrapbook now has the empty pages filled with every email and all the newspaper media he’s had recently but knows nothing about,” said Lee.
“I’ve told his wife that we will be visiting on the 4th December with the recording. She is over the moon, and sworn to secrecy!”
In his hunt, Lee has also found an audio recording of another lost episode of New Faces, and now means to go on tracking down old episodes.
He said: “I had a reply to one of my appeals that went out on ATV network from a chap who also appeared on New Faces, but had not got a copy.
“The show, broadcast December 3, 1977, features the band he was in, Dry Ice, but it seems the episode is not in the ITV archives.
“It turns out the man does, however, have an audio copy of the show, which is better than nothing.
“My dad’s old agent has also said something very interesting. He had acts before and after my dad who also went on New Faces, and he has tapes of them all!
“What condition – I don’t know – but watch this space!”
Running between 29 September, 1973 and April 2, 1978, New Faces was famous for being a tough talent show .
It was produced in Birmingham by ATV in front of a live studio audience and became notorious for regular panellist Tony Hatch’s scathing critique of some acts.
Other regulars judges included Terry Wogan, Clive James, Noel Edmonds and Arthur Askey.
Many early episodes have been lost including both Lenny Henry and Victoria Wood’s appearances, though VHS copies of these have since been located.
The show was revived briefly by Central from 1986 to 1988 and hosted by former winner, comedienne Marti Caine.
READ ON: The ATV News Network story can be found here. The story as it appeared in the Shropshire Star is here. WordPress blog Excerpts from a 70′s Teenage Rock Opera has a post sharing personal memories of watching New Faces back in the seventies.
HOME AUDIO recordings of lost episodes of Not Only… But Also have been discovered at a house in Kent.
The recovery of the soundtracks to 11 episodes from the mid-sixties and early 1970s means that some form of recording now exists for each and every episode of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s seminal TV comedy series.
The “bootleg” copies were found at the home of NOBA fan Graham Webb, who had recorded them off the TV at the time of transmission, using a reel-to-reel tape recorder.
Mr Webb, a freelance artist and writer, was only alerted to their rarity after attending the British Film Institute’s (BFI) Missing Believed Wiped event.
There are now plans by the BBC to make the recordings, said to be generally of good quality, available to the public.
Dick Fiddy of the BFI says the tapes, recovered with the assistance of freelance writer and researcher Charles Norton, are an “amazing find”.
He said: “A lot of the comedy is quite verbal. You’re not losing a tremendous amount.
“You know what Pete and Dud look like. You can imagine what situation they’re in. You can imagine what expressions they’re pulling.
The programmes, broadcast between 1965 and 1970, capture the duo “at the height of their comedy powers,” Mr Fiddy added.
Mr Webb, of the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, kept copies of many of his favourite shows using a reel-to-reel tape recorder soldered into the TV speaker.
He listened “avidly” to the NOBA tapes for over a decade, until boxing them up in the early 1980s after buying a video recorder.
The 63-year-old says he never told anybody apart from friends about the recordings because he “thought it was illegal, recording stuff off the BBC”.
Mr Norton, who was hired by the BBC to track down audio recordings of otherwise lost shows, says the recovery of the Webb tapes now means that every episode of the three series of Not Only… But Also is represented in some way visually or in audio.
He said: “Some of our recordings are slightly incomplete in some way and there’s one episode where we only have a few film sequences. However, we do now have something for each episode.”
Out of an original run of 22, eight episodes of Not Only… But Also still reside in the BBC archives, with one, Series 1, Episode 6, located in America in 2004.
In addition to the Graham Webb recordings, which include the soundtracks to 10 lost episodes from series 1, 2 and 3, the BBC holds further audio recordings, including duplicates, for seven episodes from series 2 and 3. Film inserts also exist from series 1 and 3.
Not Only… But Also
KEY: BBC (recovered by the BBC in 2003); ED (recorded by Ed Doolan); GW (recorded by Graham Webb); MN (recovered by Matthew North, 2005); f/r (film recording)
SERIES 1 (BBC, 1965, B&W) Series 1, Episode 1 – tx: 09/01/1965 – Exists, 16mm f/r. Featuring: (John Lennon, Norman Rossington) Car Wash Opening/Initials/The Ravens/Good Dog Nigel/Deaf Ted, Danoota and Me. Music: Diahann Carroll (Humdrum Blues, Brown Baby, Blues In The Night), Dudley Moore Trio (Swingles Theme, Grwmst, Just in Time).
Series 1, Episode 2 – tx: 23/01/1965 – Exists, 35mm f/r. Featuring: (Barry Humphries, Roddy Maude-Roxbury) One-Man Band Opening/Silent Film extract/Tarquin Mordente – Silent Film Producer/Painting on Television/Roddy Maude-Roxbury monologue/Guide to the North Circular/Pete and Dud – A Spot of the Usual Trouble/Striptease. Music: Goldie & The Gingerbreads (Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat), Dudley Moore Trio (I Won’t Dance), Dudley and Orchestra (Got a Lot of Livin’ to Do).
Series 1, Episode 3 – tx: 06/02/1965 – Exists, 35mm f/r. Featuring: (Joe Melia, Bill Wallis, John Wells) Cinema Opening/Sir Arthur At The Tailor/The Great War/Pete and Dud – The Worst Thing in the World/Alan A’Dale. Music: June Christy (You Came a Long Way from St Louis, Just in Time, Remind Me, My Shining Hour).
Series 1, Episode 4 – tx: 20/02/1965 – Exists, 35mm f/r. Featuring:
(Barry Humphries, Anna Quayle) Gypsy Violinist Opening/Tramponuns/Tramponuns Film/Anna Quayle Monologue/Prospective Son-In-Law/Incidents in the Life of My Uncle Arly/Pete and Dud – Art Gallery. Music: Marian Montgomery (The Exciting Mr Fitch, Wasn’t the Summer Short?, Close Your Eyes), Dudley Moore Trio (Indiana).
Series 1, Episode 5 – tx: 06/03/1965 – Missing, 35mm mute film inserts only. Featuring: (Mel Torme) London Bus Opening (exists as silent film sequence)/Pete and Dud – On the Bus/Canvassing Dracula (exists as silent film sequence)/Job Offer/Privates Cigarettes Advertising (exists as silent film sequence)/Betting Agent/Restaurant (exists as silent film sequence). Music: Mel Torme (Limehouse Blues, My One and Only Highland Fling/Dat Dere Daddy).
Series 1, Episode 6 – 40’40” tx: 20/03/1965 – Exists, Held on DigiBeta ex-US NTSC copy; Audio exists, GW. Featuring: (Peter Sellers) Doomed Pilots Opening/Boxer-Cum-Painter/Pete and Dud – Superstitions/The Gourmets. Music: T-Bone Walker (Hey Baby, Goodbye Baby), Dudley Moore Trio (I Love You Samantha).
Series 1, Episode 7 – 27’26” tx: 03/04/1965 – Missing; Audio exists, GW. Featuring: (Eric Sykes, John Bluthal) The Grand Order of the Bull/Pete and Dud – Religions/Making of a B-Movie/Ballroom Dancing Competition. Music: Blossom Dearie (I Wish You Love), Dudley Moore Trio (Baubles Bangles & Beads).
SERIES 2 (BBC, 1966, B&W) Series 2. Episode 1 – tx: 15/01/1966 – Exists, 16mm f/r. Featuring: (Henry Cooper, Terry Downes) Underwater Pianist Opening/At the Zoo/Fight of the Century/A Bit of a Chat. Music: Cilla Black (Let There Be Love).
Series 2, Episode 2 – 26’57” tx: 22/01/1966 – Missing; Audio exists, GW, BBC. Featuring:
(Alan Freeman) Scottish (“Curse of the McLooneys”) Opening/Pete And Dud – Diseases/The Most Boring Man In The World Competition/Interview with the Most Boring Man in the World/Six Of The Best. Music: Dakota Stanton (High On A Windy Valley, Morning Glory)
Series 2, Episode 3 – 18’05” tx: 29/01/1966 – Missing; Audio exists, GW. Featuring: Court Jester Opening/Italian Restaurant/Ol’ Man River/Blue Movie/Pete and Dud – Music. Music: Blossom Dearie (You Turn Me On Baby), Dudley Moore Trio (Softly As In The Morning Rise).
Series 2, Episode 4 – tx: 05/02/1966 – Missing; Audio exists, MN, BBC. Featuring: Pete and Dud At The Seaside Opening/The Frog And Peach/Commercials/Slapstick Comedy. Music: Emil Lancey (If I Were A Bell, Rainy Day), Cook and Moore (Isn’t She A Sweetie).
Series 2, Episode 5 – tx: 12/06/1966 – Missing; Audio exists, MN. Featuring: Monk Opening/The Psychiatrist/The Epic That Never Was/Father And Son. Music: Dionne Warwick (Walk On By, Unchained Melody).
Series 2, Episode 6 – 26’02” tx: 19/02/1966 – Missing, 35mm film inserts only; Audio exists, GW, MN. Featuring:Student Prince (Drinking Song) Opening (35mm film exists)/The Music Teacher/The Walrus and the Carpenter (35mm film exists)/Pete And Dud – Sex. Music: Dudley Moore Trio (Summertime), Dusty Springfield (Wives And Lovers).
Series 2, Episode 7 – tx: 26/06/1966 – Exists, 16mm f/r. Featuring: Caveman Opening/Bo Dudley/Superthunderstingcar/Pete and Dud – In Heaven. Music: Marian Montgomery.
Christmas Special – tx: 26/12/1966 – Exists, 16mm f/r. Featuring: (John Lennon) Fox Hunt Opening/Fairy Cobbler/Pete and Dud – The Unexplained/Swinging London (Lionel Bloab – Destructive Artist, Rev. Gavin Thistle, Penny Ryder, Simon Accrington, “L.S. Bumblebee”, The Ad Lav Club). Music: Marian Montgomery (“I’ll be Tired of You”, “I’m Old Fashioned”), Dudley Moore Trio.
SERIES 3 (BBC, 1970, Colour) Series 3, Episode 1 – tx: 18/02/1970 – Missing, film inserts only; Audio exists, ED. Featuring: Tower Bridge Opening (film insert exists)/Pete and Dud – The Wardrobe (Dud Dreams)/Piano Tuner/Bargo (film insert exists)/Poets Cornered with Spike Milligan. Music: Nanette Newman, Dudley Moore Trio, Spike Milligan (On the Ning Nang Nong).
Series 3, Episode 2 – 28’27” tx: 04/03/1970 – Missing, film inserts only; Audio exists, GW. Featuring:Lavatory Humour Opening (film insert exists)/Scriptwriter/The Glidd of Glood (film insert exists)/Pete and Dud – 0-0-Dud/Poets Cornered with Willie Rushton. Music: Nanette, Dudley Moore Trio, Joe Cocker & The Grease Band.
Series 3, Episode 3 – 24’06” tx: 18/03/1970 – Missing; Audio exists, GW, ED. Featuring: Railway Station Opening/Sir Arthur’s World of Worms/Pete and Dud – Racial Prejudice/In the Club/Poets Cornered with Barry Humphries. Music: Nanette; Dudley Moore Trio; Michael Chapman.
Series 3, Episode 4 – 37’39” tx: 01/04/1970 – Missing, film inserts only; Audio exists, GW. Featuring:Not Only… But Psycho Opening (film insert exists)/Pete and Dud – The Futility of Life/Permission to Marry/Good vs. Evil Cricket Match (film insert exists)/Poets Cornered with Frank Muir. Music: Nanette; Dudley Moore Trio; Alan Price.
Series 3, Episode 5 – 36’27” tx: 15/04/1970 – Missing, film inserts only; Audio exists, GW. Featuring: Flowers Opening/Sir Arthur on Flowers/Geriatric Medicine (Undercover Doctor)/Pete and Dud – Heaving Thighs Across Manhattan (Writing A Blockbuster)/Ludwig! (film sections survive – two lengthy studio-based “chat show” sections missing)/Poets Cornered with Ronnie Barker. Music: Nanette; Dudley Moore Trio (“Lillian Lust”); Yes.
Series 3, Episode 6 – 23’19” tx: 29/04/1970 – Missing; Audio exists, GW. Featuring: Newspaper Opening/Lengths/The Conman/Pete and Dud – As Nature Intended/Poets Cornered with Denis Norden. Music: Nanette; Dudley Moore Trio; Arrival.
Series 3, Episode 7 – 40’32” tx: 13/05/1970 – Missing, film inserts only; Audio exists, GW. Featuring:Birmingham-Mandalay Cycle Race (film insert exists)/The Lunch Party/Pete and Dud – Self-Improvement/The Making of a Movie (film insert exists)/Poets Cornered with Alan Bennett. Music: Nanette; Dudley Moore Trio; John Williams.
READ ON: The Graham Webb story has been covered on BBC Radio 4 (PM, Six O’Clock News) and BBC Radio 5 (5 live Drive). Listen to a compilation of the broadcasts, including clips from some of the recovered shows, below.
CLASSIC TV organisation Kaleidoscope has revealed its annual Raiders of the Lost Archives list for 2009 – 2010, detailing all the missing material located in the last 12 months by the group along with the BBC, ITV, BFI and missing episode hunters.
Particularly notable on this year’s list is the Library of Congress finds, where over 60 long-lost British dramas dating beween the late fifties and early seventies were discovered sitting in an American archive. The assortment of plays and adaptations boast a who’s who of acting talent including Sean Connery, David McCallum, Charles Gray, Susannah York, Patrick Macnee, William Gaunt, Norman Rossington, Ron Moody, Derek Jacobi, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, Nerys Hughes, Patricia Routledge, David Hemmings, Kevin Stoney, Hywel Bennett, Thora Hird, John Gielgud, Michael Gambon, Hugh Paddick, Robert Hardy, Peggy Ashcroft, Leonard Rossiter, John Le Mesurier, Patrick Stewart, Brian Rawlinson, Michael Gough, Bernard Horsfall, Michael Hordern, Patrick Troughton, Jeremy Brett, Patrick Wymark, Bernard Cribbins, Betty Marsden, Edward De Souza, Patsy Rowlands, Gerald Flood, Donald Wolfit, Philip Madoc, Geoffrey Bayldon, Frank Finlay, Henry McGee, Jane Asher and Graham Crowden.
Also on the list are classic comedy shows starring Benny Hill, Dick Emery, Frankie Howerd, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, the Monty Python team, The Goodies, Marty Feldman, Bob Monkhouse, Denis Goodwin, Ronnie Barker, Willie Rushton, Frank Muir, Denis Norden, Alan Bennett and Hattie Jacques; serial dramas such as No Hiding Place and The Troubleshooters; light entertainment including The Rolf Harris Show; music from The Hollies, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Showaddywaddy, The Arrows and Guys n Dolls; and children’s programmes by animator Oliver Postgate and the Smallfilms studio, including Ivor the Engine.
Last but not least, the list reveals some good progress in the BSB recoveries campaign of Ian Greaves, including episodes of The Happening, I Love Keith Allen and Up Yer News.
Speaking about the impressive list, Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry said: “It’s been a great year for recoveries all round and goes to show there’s still more out there to find.”
A LOST Charlie Chaplin film has been discovered at an antiques show in America.
Early Days: A still from "A Thief Catcher".
The 10-minute silent film – a Keystone comedy called A Thief Catcher – features the English comic actor in a cameo role. It is reckoned to be one of the first, if not the first, cinematic outing for his famed ‘Tramp’ character.
The 16mm print was found last year in Michigan by internationally respected film historian and collector Paul Gierucki.
Gierucki says he didn’t get round to viewing the print until March this year – thinking it was just another old Keystone comedy.
But when he did, he spotted an unmistakable moustached Keystone Kop and realised he was watching a previously unknown Chaplin film.
He confirmed his find with fellow collector Richard Roberts, sending along a frame grab.
Though Chaplin’s Tramp character was first presented to the public in Kid Auto Races at Venice (released Feb 7, 1914), it was filmed AFTER Mabel’s Strange Predicament, which hit cinemas two days later, on Feb 9.
A Thief Catcher, though, began production on January 5, 1914 – one day before Mabel’s Strange Predicament started shooting.
Roberts said: “It’s either his second moustache picture or his first. It cements the concept that he had the character before he came to Keystone and didn’t slap it together on the way to the shooting stage one day.
“Even when he’s doing a minor part he’s doing that character. It’s a new brick in the Chaplin biography. And this opens up the door to other unknown Chaplin appearances at Keystone.”
A Thief Catcher stars Ford Sterling, Mack Swain and Edgar Kennedy. It was the 36th film Chaplin made and he appears on-screen for around three minutes.
It was filmedabout a month after Chaplin started work at Keystone Studios, in Edendale, California, and was released by the Mutual Film Corporation on February 19, 1914.
According to Roberts, the film “fell through the cracks pretty quickly” and was not included in a Chaplin filmography compiled by the British Film Institute in the late 1930s.
Until its discovery, the short – which is said to be in “decent” condition – was thought to be among the estimated 75 per cent of all silent films that have not survived to the present day.
A Thief Catcher will get its first showing in over 90 years at Slapstickon, a comedy film convention in Rosslyn, Virginia, on July 17. You can read more about the discovery on the Washington Post website.
COMEDY sketches featuring John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Marty Feldman and Frankie Howerd have come to light after being missing for over 40 years.
The long-lost material, dubbed “comedy gold dust”, also features early appearances by Tim Brooke-Taylor, Arthur Mullard and Yootha Joyce.
The black & white footage, which dates from the 1960s, was handed over to the British Film Institute as part of its ongoing campaign to plug gaps in the British TV archives.
Dick Fiddy, TV consultant at the BFI, says that a private collector is to thank for the recovery of a missing edition of “Monty Python” precursor “At Last The 1948 Show” and an absent episode of “The Frankie Howerd Show”.
He said: “Recently, a private collector contacted the BFI’s “Missing Believed Wiped” project and handed over two priceless missing items of 1960s TV comedy.
“It’s good news all round with these finds – they feature some of the UK’s finest clowns at their peak and are pure comedy gold dust.
What was found
At Last the 1948 Show, Associated Rediffusion, tx 31 Oct 1967, Series 2, Programme 6
Includes: Police Banquet/Return Of The Sydney Lotterbies/The Chartered Accountant dance/MI5 Banquet/Dentistry With A Difference/The Four Yorkshiremen
The Frankie Howerd Show, BBC tx 15.01.65
With Yootha Joyce, Arthur Mullard., Julian Orchard, Felix Bowness; Wr: Galton & Simpson; Prod: Duncan Wood
“The ‘Frankie Howerd Show’, for example, not only features more rare Frankie stuff but boasts a script from Ray Galton and Alan Simpson and – particularly precious – the great Yootha Joyce hamming it up as a tipsy vamp trying to have her way with the aghast Frankie.”
Until the late 1970s, broadcasters regularly wiped TV shows to re-use expensive video tape and save space in their archives.
Both newly-recovered shows were casualties of this purge.
Thames Television destroyed all but two episodes of famous pre-”Python” sketch series “The 1948 Show”, which ran between 1967 – 8 and starred John Cleese, Marty Feldman, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Aimi Macdonald.
The BBC, meanwhile, wiped the entire second series run of “The Frankie Howerd Show”, aired in 1965.
Mr Fiddy says the BFI, in conjunction with key partner organisations including classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope, has done much to undo the damage.
He said: “The ’1948 Show’ episode plugs yet another gap in what has become the most successful rebuilding project of the entire “Missing Believed Wiped” initiative.
“Material has come back from Sweden, Australia, industry personnel and private collectors to rebuild the once-thought-lost programme.
“This latest retrieval is a near-complete episode which can be restored with the help of an existing clip of one of the two missing sketches and an audio recording of the other.”
Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope added: “Once again our partner organisation the BFI have found some brilliant examples of previously-lost TV. Hats off to Dick Fiddy and his team for tracking down these hilarious episodes.”
Both items will be shown later this year at Missing Believed Wiped, to be held at BFI Southbank.
If you want to check if you have a missing item, please contact Dick Fiddy at the BFI (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Titles – At Last the 1948 Show
The Four Yorkshiremen sketch: (From left) John Cleese, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Marty Feldman, Graham Chapman
Titles – The Frankie Howerd Show
Ooh err missus: Frankie Howerd embraced by a vampish Yootha Joyce
PREVIOUSLY lost recordings featuring celebrated comedy duo Morcambe and Wise are to be aired for the first time in over 50 years.
Morcambe and Wise: The Garage Tapes documents the rediscovery of 45 hours’ worth of material – including episodes of their first radio show – found last year during a clear-out.
The BBC Radio 4 programme, presented by impressionist Jon Culshaw has been made by Whistledown. The independent radio company was contacted by Doreen Wise, widow of Ernie, after she came across two boxes of reel-to-reel tapes and a leather suitcase packed with 78rpm acetates.
These were passed on to Whistledown radio producer David Prest, who says that “three-quarters” of the old recordings were missing from the archives.
He said: “There were 45 hours of tape and we worked out that three-quarters of this stuff was thought lost. The BBC hadn’t kept much of it, but Ernie had.
RESTORED: Producer David Prest cleaning one of the 78rmp acetates.
“After six months of restoration, we had a little piece of history – the missing link between their stage and TV careers.”
The most important find is a near-complete run of Morcambe and Wise’s first radio show, You’re Only Young Once, made for the BBC BBC Northern Home Service between November 1953 and June 1954.
Also found were the fledgling duo’s appearances on BBC radio programmes Variety Bandboxand Variety Fanfare going back to 1949, sound copies of their Sixties’ Great Yarmouth and Blackpool stage-shows, song demos and audio doodles, and the speeches from a 1974 Variety Club lunch held in their honour.
You’re Only Young Once featured skits, songs and cameos from fellow comics such as Bob Monkhouse and Harry Secombe, and, according to William Cook, author of Morecambe & Wise Untold, are important for illustrating the evolution of their comedy.
He said: “They were never Northern comics in the vein of George Formby. They looked across the Pond to that Abbott & Costello style of quick-fire repartee.
Jon Culshaw, a Morcambe and Wise fan, narrates The Garage Tapes.
“It’s recognisably Morecambe & Wise. But it’s like The Beatles’ Hamburg tapes. They’re almost playing cover versions, haven’t yet discovered the thing that makes them special.”
The garage tapes are believed to be ‘run off’ copies recorded at 33/4 ips by studio engineers immediately after the recordings, and acetate copies for which Doreen Wise paid the studio engineer a few shillings.
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CSO, The Cult Television Fanzine is currently running a competition on Facebook. Just search for "CSO - The Cult TV Fanzine" and "Like" their page to be in with a chance of winning one of three available DVD copies of the Channel 5 1999 film DOOMWATCH - Winter Angel. Competition winners will be announced on 30th March 2013. There is also […]