Tag Archives: The Frankie Howerd Show

Kaleidoscope launch Treasure Hunt appeal to track down domestic recordings of TV and radio shows

TV RESEARCH organisation Kaleidoscope has announced the launch of its appeal to recover long-lost television and radio programmes.

The purpose of the appeal is to get members of the general public searching through their attics, cellars, garages and sheds looking for home-recordings of otherwise lost shows.

Until the early 1980s, broadcasters such as the BBC regularly disposed of archive programmes to re-use expensive tape and free up space. As a result, there are massive and significant holes in Britain’s television and radio archive. Countless hours of comedy shows, dramas, documentaries and other broadcasts have been lost, destroyed, or were never recorded in the first place.

Though there have been campaigns to look for lost material before, such as Kaleidoscope’s The Raiders of the Lost Archives Appeal, these have always been very general searches. This time, the appeal is specifically targeting domestic home-recordings. We are looking for people who may have made domestic recordings of a TV or radio programme in their own home at the time of broadcast.

Up until the 1980s, it was very common for people to make ‘off-air audio recordings’ of their favourite television or radio programmes. More often than not, a microphone would simply be propped up against a television speaker. There are even cases of programmes being taped on home video recorders as early as the 1960s and 1970s. These are the kind of things that we are looking for.

The appeal, which is backed by the BBC and British Library Sound Archive will launch officially at Kaleidoscope’s “DJ Heaven” event in Stourbridge, on Saturday, June 4.

Encouragingly, a number of exciting finds have already been made following a call to former broadcast engineers via BBC in-house magazine Ariel. Discoveries include audio recordings of seminal comedy shows such as Monty Python precursors At Last the 1948 Show and Twice a Fortnight, Broaden Your Mind, The Frost Report, The Ken Dodd Experience, The Morecambe and Wise Show, The Frankie Howerd Show, Not Only… But Also, World of Beachcomber, Till Death Us Do Part and many more.

A specialist group of volunteers has been given the Herculean task of sifting through and preserving in digital format the huge amount of missing material that is expected to be uncovered over the course of the year-long appeal.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope said: “We know for a fact that many people recorded their favourite shows off the TV and radio as far back as the early 1950s.

“The purpose of the Treasure Hunt appeal is to uncover those domestic recordings and we ask people to search their homes for old reel-to-reels, cassettes and early video tapes that might just be sitting in the attic or cellar gathering dust.

“You never know, they could represent the only copies of classic shows still in existence.”

Anyone who can offer any recordings should contact Kaleidoscope via www.losthshows.com.

READ ON: Plea put out for ‘lost’ TV shows (BBC News, June 3, 2011)

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Filed under Appeals, BBC, Kaleidoscope, Missing Episodes Hunting, Radio, Television

At Last… Another Episode of 1948 Show Recovered

At Last the 1948 ShowCOMEDY 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 (dick.fiddy@bfi.org.uk).

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