Tag Archives: Smallfilms

Lost Episodes Of Ivor The Engine Found In Pig Shed

THEY WERE the shows that delighted a generation of children. Now, priceless, long-lost episodes of Ivor the Engine and other animations by the late Oliver Postgate are once again set to entertain – after being found in a pig shed.

Described as a “treasure trove” from the “golden era” of children’s TV, the find includes 26 episodes of Ivor, featuring the adventures of the little green locomotive from the “top left-hand corner of Wales”.

The 10-minute black and white animations – described as the “real Ivors” by experts – were discovered among a pile of 40 rusty film reels in the disused pig shed of artist and animator Peter Firmin.

Firmin, 82, had kept them and other sixties’ show created by Postgate on his farm in Blean, Kent, where they had gathered dust for over 40 years.

Former business partner Postgate, who died in 2008, aged 83, had handed him the the unique 16mm recordings in the assumption that the crude stop motion animations had “had their day”.

TV historians, however, have hailed the haul as an “important” recovery which will “shed new light” on the early output of revered production company Smallfilms.

Founded by Postgate and Firmin in 1958, Smallfilms went on to make some of the most-cherished British children’s programmes ever to grace the small screen including Clangers, Noggin the Nog and Bagpuss, once voted the nation’s favourite children’s show in a BBC poll.

Along with the newly-found episodes of Ivor the Engine, dating from between 1962 and 1964, a number of Postgate’s lesser-known programmes such as 1960’s The Seal of Neptune and The Mermaid’s Pearls, from 1962, have also come to light.

The missing shows were identified by members of Midlands-based TV research organisation Kaleidoscope, who had been called in by Postgate’s son Daniel after he decided to have a clear out of his late father’s archives.

There are now plans to have the shows digitally restored and re-released.

Speaking from his home in, Daniel Postgate said: “Dad never discussed the whereabouts of his early films with me so it was a complete surprise, and joy, to find them.

“These are major finds – genuinely missing episodes from a much-loved children’s TV show.

“They haven’t been seen in over 40 years and will tell us a lot about Dad’s early work and how he developed Ivor as a series. That was difficult before because so little was thought to exist.

“Although Dad later remade the shows again in colour, I suspect these earlier outings will in due course come to be seen as the ‘real’ Ivors.”

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope said: “This is an exciting discovery of early work by one of Britain’s most fondly-remembered animators.

“Creations such as Ivor the Engine, Clangers and Bagpuss have gone down as classic children’s shows from a golden era of television.

“We found so many previously lost Smallfilms productions that they filled an estate car.”

The Postgate find is one of many included on Kaleidoscope’s annual Raiders of the Lost Archive list, revealed last Saturday, October 23,  at BAFTA in London.

Other major recoveries made by Kaleidoscope, the British Film Institute, BBC and individual TV historians this year include episodes of The Benny Hill Show, The Rolf Harris Show, and Monty Python precursor At Last the 1948 Show, as well as more than 60 star-studded BBC and ITV dramas found in the Library of Congress, in Washington DC, America, back in August.

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Filed under Children's TV, Finds, Kaleidoscope, Television

Kaleidoscope Raiders of the Lost Archives list 2009 – 2010

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.”

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