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New Zealand Censor Clips Discovery

Over 10 minutes worth of clips from various missing 1960s BBC and ITV shows have been recovered from New Zealand thanks to the assistance of classic TV organisation, Kaleidoscope.

The unique 16mm material was returned earlier this year, with the aid of Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry and the BBC’s Andrew Martin, after being discovered by Wellington Doctor Who fan Graham Howard on a reel of censor clips that forms part of a film enthusiast’s private collection.

A “censor clip” is footage deemed “unacceptable” by television censors and cut from a programme before broadcast, in this case by NZBC (New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation). The censors’ reasons for excising material can include deeming it to be of an unacceptably violent, horrific or sexual nature.

It is not the first time censor clips from otherwise missing programmes have come to light, and from the same collection. Back in 2002, Graham was responsible for locating and returning to the BBC precious seconds of Doctor Who footage from missing episodes two, four and five of  “The Web of Fear” and episode five of “The Wheel in Space”, found on two large reels of censor cuts, labelled “Television extracts”.

The material from the recently located third reel has yielded clips from the following missing shows:

  • The First Lady, BBC 1968 – 9. Starring Thora Hird as a “crusading local councillor” in a gritty northern town, The First Lady was a highly regarded drama series that ran for two series. Out of 39 50-minute b & w episodes made, only one survives in the archives – season one’s “A Time of Fear” (tx 25/7/68). The censor clips, running to approximately five minutes, come from “The Battle of Waterloo Street” (tx 24/4/69), “Mrs Whatever” (tx 26/5/68) and “Blow Hot, Blow Cold” (17/4/69). Of particular note is a continuous three-and-a-quarter minute segment removed from season two’s “The Battle of Waterloo Street” featuring character Tom Danby, son to Hird’s Sarah Danby, confronting a knife-wielding youth.
  • The Four Seasons of Rosie Carr, BBC 1964. All four episodes of this period drama were wiped but the censor clips feature three sequences from episode one, “Spring At The Winged Horse” (tx 4/7/64).
  • Emergency Ward 10, ATV.
  • Drama 62: “The Teeth Of Treason”, ATV (tx 29/7/62). Written by Jacques Gillies.
  • The Gamblers: “You’ve Got A Lucky Face”, A-R (tx 11/7/68).

All the clips were screened at Kaleidoscope’s last event, held on June 6th, 2009, along with censor clips from existing shows: Fraud Squad: “Run For Your Money”, ATV (tx 11/7/68); The Gold Robbers: “Rough Trade”, LTV (tx 11/7/69); and The Flaxton Boys, YTV 1969.

You can read Wiped’s review of June’s Kaleidoscope event here.

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