Monthly Archives: October 2009

On The Margin CD Review

JUST a quick note to say you can read my review of BBC Audiobooks’ excellent On The Margin release over at comedy website Chortle.

It’s a great release and is strongly recommended to those who like their humour with a touch of the sophistical (after all, it IS Alan Bennett). Read it here.

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Clip Find Broadens Our Minds

A BRIEF sketch from one of the precursors to classic comedy show The Goodies has been discovered, restoring valuable seconds’ worth of footage to an almost completely erased series.

Broaden Your Mind titles

MIND EXPANDING: A still from the title sequence of BBC sketch show Broaden Your Mind.

The 10-second colour excerpt shows Tim Brooke-Taylor seated inside a house while a voice-over provided by Graeme Garden asks, “Do you know where wasps go in the winter-time?”. Brooke-Taylor suddenly jumps up, face contorted with pain scratching at (unseen) wasps under his clothes.

The clip then concludes with a graphic featuring question marks.

The filmed clip hails from the start of series one, episode four of Broaden Your Mind (tx 11.11.68), a surreal BBC sketch show that ran to 13 episodes over two seasons between 1968 and ’69.

Sadly, almost the entirety of the series – subtitled “An Encyclopedia Of The Air” – is missing from the archives, wiped after its first broadcast. Only a few filmed inserts remain, included as an extra on Network DVD’s 2003 release The Goodies At Last, though audio copies of all episodes exist, recorded off-air by a fan at the time of original transmission.

Brooke-Taylor and Garden would go on to make fondly remembered 1970s sitcom The Goodies with Bill Oddie, who joined them for the second series of Broaden Your Mind. Guest stars for the series included Monty Python‘s Terry Jones and Michael Palin, and The Burkiss Way‘s  Jo Kendall.

The find is thanks to Australian Broadcasting Corporation researcher John Williams and comes just weeks after John revealed that he had found a missing scene from an early episode of The Goodies.

John said: “The ABC bought and ran the series between 1971 & 1973 (thanks to Andrew Pixley, Lisa Manekofsky and Alison Bean for confirming that with me). I traced the clip to a staff goof reel/Xmas reel for the year 1972, that I managed to secure by donation to the ABC archives in 2008.

“Given that the goof reels had clips from various sources on them, I thought to check the goof reels that fell into the 1971 & 1973 date range. I had a hunch that something from BYM, being a comedy, might have been included on one of the Xmas tapes seeing as they featured various spoofs and skits, as well as clips from various television comedies.

“Andrew Pixley (the noted Doctor Who historian) confirms that the b&w clip is the ‘opening filmed gag from Broaden Your Mind show 1/4, which is in fact a piece missing from the existing soundtrack’. As ever, TBT makes physical humour look deceptively easy.”

The BBC has been notified of the clip’s existence and plans are under way to return the footage to the UK, hopefully in time for the British Film Institute’s forthcoming Missing Believed Wiped event, to be held in January 2010.

Here are some rare clips from Broaden Your Mind:

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YouTube Clip Is A Real Sweet Find

A LOST Top of the Pops clip featuring glam rockers The Sweet has surfaced on video sharing website YouTube.

The band’s first of two Top of the Pops performances of hit single ‘Action’, which reached #15 in the UK charts, comes from the 10th July, 1975 edition – which is officially missing from the BBC archives.

It was uploaded to YouTube by music collector Phil Moss, who announced the find over at the Missing Episodes forum.

The rare footage was originally recorded off-air by The Sweet’s lead singer Brian Connolly using early VCR the Phillips N1500.  It was part of a tape featuring band performances culled from shows between 1974-5.

Being an old domestic recording, the clip suffers from occasional vertical jitter, drop outs, colour loss and top screen tearing, but is still watchable and could be improved with restoration.

In a 1974 magazine article Brian discussed his new VCR, which cost him £1,000 (approximately £5, 570 in today’s money) and the novelty of video tapes (£18 each, the equivalent of £150 today).

He said at the time: “I’ve got this fantastic machine. It’s like a T.V. tape recorder. You can record any programme you like, then you’ve got it as long as you want.

“I’ve got a few Top of the Pops shows recorded. They should be fun to look back on in a few years time.”

Sadly, it seems those complete shows were discarded at some point but at least rock fans can once again get to see some vintage Sweet ‘Action’.

  • For more information on pop stars and VCRs, check out this informative thread from the Missing Episodes forum.

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Real Goodies Discovered In Australia

THE MISSING “rude bits” from an early episode of 70s BBC comedy classic The Goodies have been discovered filed away in an Australian archive

Goodie Gumdrops: A still from The Goodies episode "Commonwealth Games". L-R Reginald Marsh, Tim Brooke-Taylor

GOODIE GUMDROPS: A still from The Goodies episode "Commonwealth Games". L-R Reginald Marsh, Tim Brooke-Taylor

The near-legendary ‘Sex Test’ scene from season two’s “Commonwealth Games” (aka “Sporting Goodies”), tx 8/10/71, features a group of geriatric, bowler-hatted politicians lining up in front of a sexy young woman’s bedroom for one-to-one examinations of a very personal kind!

It forms part of a greater storyline where The Goodies – Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden – are asked to train the British Commonwealth athletic team for the next Commonwealth games. Being wholly comprise of superannuated MPs , the team fails its training tests and is replaced by the super chaps three.

The black and white 1″ VT, which lasts for approximately 40 seconds, was located in the National Archives Of Australia by ABC researcher John Williams.

John, who has previously uncovered missing footage from such shows as At Last! The 1948 Show, says he first became aware there was missing material from the archived episode of “Commonwealth Games” after visiting the Goodies Rule OK website.

He explained: “I am indebted to the Goodies Rule OK site for alerting me to the fact that the only surviving copy of this episode (the BBC had wiped the original tapes) had been returned to the BBC by the ABC some years later, and that there was a segment cut from this story.

“This episode was cut for the family afternoon/early evening viewing time-slot that the Goodies occupied in Australia for many years on ABC TV.

“The physical cut material was sent to the Censorship Board, much akin to the Doctor Who censor clips recovered in Australia by Damian Shanahan  that eventually made its way to the NAA (a repository for Government records, military records, photographs, and ex-censor’s material). It was a legal requirement to deposit cut material (from movies/TV) with the Censorship Board.

He continued: “This surviving copy of “Commonwealth Games” has a pretty drastic looking cut. It got me thinking about the possibility of the missing ‘rude bits’ from this episode being held at the National Archives!

“After some searching for any material relating to The Goodies at the NAA, I narrowed the search down to a few compilations and amazingly the cut footage was on the first compile that I looked at!

The 'Sex Test': The British athletics team, surrounding Graeme Garden, prepare for the 'Sex Test'.

PHYSICAL SEXERCISE: The British athletics team, surrounding Graeme Garden, prepare for the 'Sex Test'.

“The material shows a queue of bowler-hatted, elderly politicians lined up outside a bedroom (curiously situated in part of the British Minister For Sport’s office – the minister being played by Reginald Marsh). The minister’s secretary (dressed in a revealing negligee) invites the politicians into a chroma-key/CSO bedroom; sometime later, the secretary gives a whispered report to the minister about the ‘performance’ of the geriatric pollies, then infers that she had also tested the performance of the Goodies.. an indignant Minister then mutters “And I didn’t even get a cup of tea this morning!”

“It’s a great thrill to find this footage, let’s hope it sparks some further DVD releases.”

According to Goodies Rule OK, Tim and Graeme spoke about the discovery during an interview on 702 ABC radio. The footage was given its first public screening in over 30 years during Sydney’s World’s Funniest Island festival, held last weekend.

The website has temporarily uploaded a copy of the radio interview, which can be found here.

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Telesnap Treat For Avengers Fans

Images from The Avengers Declassified website

Images from The Avengers Declassified website

THE FIRST two seasons of The Avengers have been released by Optimum in what has to be the most comprehensive DVD release yet.

The Avengers: The First Two Seasons

The Avengers: The First Two Seasons

Including all that remains of season one (1961)  and the entirety of season two – which saw the arrival of Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale – the eight-disc digitally restored DVD set also boasts a huge wealth of extras.

Of particular interest to missing episode enthusiasts will be the inclusion of recently discovered telesnaps from missing season one episodes.

Telesnaps are sets off-screen photos taken off the TV during original transmission. The inventor, John Cura, captured many shows in this way,  famously including Doctor Who.

Thanks to him, and Avengers producer Leonard White for saving them in scrap books, fans can at last get a real idea of the visual feel of a significant number of missing season one episodes, including Dead of Winter (tx 9/12/61).

DVD Special Features

  • Surviving Ian Hendry Series 1 episodes:

– “Hot Snow” (Act One only, 15 minutes)

– “Girl on the Trapeze”

– “The Frighteners”

  • Exclusive audio commentary by Producer Leonard White on the surviving footage from the opening episode, “Hot Snow”.
  • Police Surgeon – “Easy Money” (tx 10/09/60) – starring Ian Hendry. The only surviving opening episode of the series that is regarded as the precursor to The Avengers.
  • Filmed introduction to Police Surgeon by Producer Leonard White.
  • Exclusive, newly filmed interview with Honor Blackman.
  • Exclusive audio commentary by writer Martin Woodhouse on “Mr Teddy Bear”.
  • Exclusive audio commentary by Producer Leonard White on “The Mauritius Penny”.
  • Exclusive audio commentary by writer Roger Marshall on “Death of A Great Dane”.
  • Exclusive audio commentary by actress Julie Stevens on “A Chorus of Frogs”.
  • Filmed introductions by actress Julie Stevens.
  • Insert reprint of original publicity brochure for the first Honor Blackman season.
  • Insert reprints of Leonard White’s scrapbooks featuring telesnaps of lost Series 1 episodes.
  • PDF material: original scripts, TV Crimebusters comic strip, TV Times covers (for Police Surgeon and The Avengers), a ‘knit with The Avengers’ feature from Woman’s Mirror featuring Hendry and Ingrid Hafner, and music cue sheets.
  • Extensive stills galleries featuring both b&w and colour promotional stills and behind=the-scenes photos.

The Avengers: The Complete Series 2 & Surviving Episodes From Series 1 has a RRP of £79.99 but you can find it cheaper from websites including Play.com (£57.99). There are good reviews of the release on the Television Heaven website and at Cathode Ray Tube.

TV Times covers (for Police Surgeon and The Avengers), a ‘knit with The Avengers’ feature from Woman’s Mirror featuring Hendry and Hafner modelling some choice knitwear and music cue sheets.

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Bob’s Full House – New Book From Kaleidoscope

THE MANY TV and radio treasures saved from oblivion thanks to the foresight of a much-missed star are set to be revealed in a new book from Kaleidoscope Publishing.

Bob Monkhouse, the prolific comic, writer and performer was famous worldwide for his sharp one-liners, topical gags and charming smile. He died of prostate cancer in 2003, aged 75, leaving behind a mystery — did he own a mythical collection of films that were the sole surviving copies in the world?

Bob's Full House, published by Kaleidoscope.

Bob's Full House - Published by Kaleidoscope.

Indeed a vast collection of film reels, videos, scripts, photographs and audio tapes WERE amassed by the performer during his lifetime, and after the death of his widow were handed over to Kaleidoscope in 2008 for future generations to enjoy.

Until the early 1980s, both the BBC and ITV regularly wiped programmes after broadcast, or simply never recorded them in the first place. 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, can now be enjoyed again.

Bob’s Full House contains between its 408 pages details of the material found within the Bob Monkhouse Collection. It is illustrated with many stills and script extracts from Bob’s work which no longer survives in broadcast form.

Any enthusiast of television will enjoy this informative and well-researched guide to the golden years of radio, film and television light entertainment.

  • Introduction by Bob Monkhouse’s daughter, Abigail.
  • Bob on the Box – as complete a listing as we can manage cataloguing Bob’s entire TV career with the items in Bob’s video collection marked and those previously thought missing highlighted
  • We Are The Masters Now – other television programmes found in the Monkhouse archive which were previously thought lost – until now.
  • Continuity Corner – details of the more interesting continuity and presentation found on Bob’s videotape recordings.
  • Wired for Sound – radio programmes and other audio gems recorded and saved by Denis Goodwin and Bob Monkhouse.
  • Monkhouse Movies – an inventory of the film prints found in Bob’s collection.
  • Tech Ops – some of the more interesting items of audio-visual equipment we found.
  • More than 150 pages of photographs, images of memorabilia and script extracts.

First to be released is a special edition hardback book, limited to 100 copies, each of which comes with a signed photograph of Bob Monkhouse and, rather bizarrely, a book-plate which says, ‘This book belongs to Bob Monkhouse’.

At least £5 from each sale will be given to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation.

Anyone who has a ticket for Kaleidoscope’s Bob’s Full House event (October 24th) may pre-order the accompanying book at the reduced price of £27.99 for collection on the day.

Assuming it doesn’t sell out via pre-orders alone, it will be available for sale at the event at the same price.  Please note Kaleidoscope will only be able to accept cash or cheques on the day; they can only take card payments in advance via PayPal. Any PayPal pre-orders intended for collection at the event must be made no later than Thursday, October 22nd. For anyone ordering for delivery by post, no books will be despatched until after the Bob’s Full House event.

To pre-order a copy of the book visit Kaleidoscope Publishing.

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