A MISSING play by veteran TV writer Alan Plater has been returned to the BBC after years hidden away in academia.
‘Let There Be Light’ (tx 22/01/70) in an early work from the Hull-born playwright and scriptwriter, whose notable works include episodes of The First Lady, Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt!, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Beiderbecke Affair and an adaptation of A Very British Coup.
It was transmitted as part of Scene, an award-winning BBC Schools programme broadcast in colour from 1968 – 2002.
Aimed at teenagers and topical in nature, the anthology-based series consisted of 30-minute dramas and documentaries. Sometimes controversial and dealing with issues pertinent to teens, such as race, drugs, sex and disability, Scene featured scripts by leading playwrights including Willy Russell, Fay Weldon and Tom Stoppard.
The Plater-penned episode was returned to the BBC in early February after years spent in the archives of a British university.
The discovery was broken on the Missing Episodes forum byBBC Birmingham Staff Director and member of the Doctor Who Restoration Team Paul Vanezis.
He wrote: “A bit of early 2010 good news. On Monday this week, an edition of the BBC series Scene entitled ‘Let There Be Light’ written by Alan Plater was returned to the BBC studios at the Mailbox in Birmingham.
“The film was one of three black and white 16mm optical sound films returned by the Media Archive for Central England at the University of Leicester, the other two being already surviving editions of Play School.
“The films were supplied to the University by BBC Enterprises in the 1970s.”
The find leaves three episodes out of a total of 91 still missing, while, according to Lost Shows.com, a further five only exist on “formats inferior to the original”.
Scene received critical acclaim for some of the episodes shown under its banner. These include nominations and awards for ‘Terry’ (1969 – BAFTA Flame of Knowledge Award, ‘Alison’ (1996 – BAFTA nomination for best schools drama), and ‘Junk‘ (1999 – BAFTA for best schools drama).
Alan Plater CBE, born 1935, has worked extensively in British TV from the 1960s to the present. A trained architect, he became a full-time writer in 1961 and has over two hundred assorted credits in radio, television, theatre and film – plus six novels- to his name.
Plater first made his mark as a scriptwriter on ’60s BBC police drama Z-Cars. Other works of the BAFTA and Emmy-award winner includes The Loner (1975), the Beiderbecke Trilogy (1985 – 8), Fortunes of War (1987) and A Very British Coup (1988). For more information on Alan Plater, visit his Wikipedia entry or biography on IMDB.
To see a clip of the 1970s title sequence to Scene, visit TV Ark.