Monthly Archives: August 2010

Wiped! Doctor Who’s Missing Episodes

A NEW book examining how episodes of Doctor Who came to go missing, and then turn up again, is released this September.

Wiped! Doctor Who’s Missing Episodes is written by Doctor Who Restoration Team member Richard Molesworth and published by Telos Publishing.

You can find out more about the book, including a brief interview with the author, over in the Out Now section.

Here’s the official blurb:

In the 1960s, the BBC screened 253 episodes of its cult science fiction show Doctor Who, starring William Hartnell and then Patrick Troughton as the time travelling Doctor. Yet by 1975, the Corporation had wiped the master tapes of every single one of these episodes. Of the 124 Doctor Who episodes starring Jon Pertwee shown between 1970 and 1974, the BBC destroyed over half of the original transmission tapes within two years of their original broadcast.

In the years that followed, the BBC, along with dedicated fans of the series, began the arduous task of trying to track down copies of as many missing Doctor Who episodes as possible. The search covered BBC sales vaults, foreign television stations, overseas archives, and numerous networks of private film collectors, until the tally of missing programmes was reduced to just 108 episodes.

For the first time, this book looks in detail at how the episodes came to be missing in the first place, and examines how material subsequently came to be returned to the BBC. Along the way, those people involved in the recovery of lost slices of Doctor Who’s past tell their stories in candid detail, many for the very first time.

No more rumours, no more misinformation, no more fan gossip. The truth about Doctor Who’s missing episodes can now be told in full!

  • Wiped! Doctor Who’s Missing Episodes, by Richard Molesworth, is out September 2010, priced £15.99 (+p&p). You can order a copy from Telos Publishing.

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Bath – Queen of the West

NOT all finds can be on the same scale as the recovery of a lost Doctor Who, Out of the Unknown, Hancock’s Half Hour or Top of the Pops, but nevertheless each discovery still counts.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a link to a news story I recently wrote on behalf of the British Film Institute, which was published in the Bath Chronicle on August 19.

It concerns the discovery of a missing episode of 1950s BBC TV show About Britain, presented by Richard Dimbleby.

The edition in question (tx 21.11.52) is called “Bath – Queen of the West” and no prizes for guessing which English city it shines the spotlight on.

You can read the full story of the discovery, made in a cinema no less, here.

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Are You Free For Next Kaleidoscope Event?

THERE’S less than a week to go until the next Kaleidoscope event, featuring none other than Are You Being Served? actor Trevor Bannister on the guest list.

Taking place Saturday, September 4th, 12:00 – 7:00 pm, in Stourbridge, West Midlands, the hotly anticipated event will also feature a rare screening of the recently recolourised pilot of the entendre-laden sitcom and a special presentation on the exciting discoveries Kaleidoscope has made while cataloging and restoring the archive of much-loved animator Oliver Postgate, who died last year.

Wiped will be bringing you a special news feature on the Postgate archive shortly, but in the meantime read on to see what’s in store for attendees this Saturday.

THE MAIN ROOM

* 12:00 pm The opening of BBC2 was delayed and went ahead a day late. On the night news bulletins from Alexandra Palace explained why BBC2 was not on air (TX: 20/04/1964 and 21/04/1964).

* 1:00 pm White Horses – episode 1 with English subtitles. Opening of the much-loved series from 1965, co-produced by RTV Ljubljana. Stallion Boris is stolen by gypsies who dye his white coat brown so that no one will recognise him. Shown many times with English dialogue in the UK from 1968, the dubbed soundtrack has since been lost. These subtitles have been added by a dedicated collector of the series who has spent years finding the best prints available and adding the subtitles.

* 1:30 pm A Tribute to Norman Tozer introduced by Maurice Kanareck. Kaleidoscope remembers a good friend, former ATV continuity announcer Norman Tozer, who sadly passed away in July 2010. This special presentation is introduced by Maurice Kanareck, a former Presentation Director for both the BBC and ATV.

* 1:45 pm Break

* 2:00 pm Guest Panel – Trevor Bannister. Kaleidoscope welcomes the versatile actor best known for playing Mr Lucas in Are You Being Served? and for roles in Last of the Summer Wine, The Dustbinmen and many serious dramas including The War of Darkie Pilbeam, Z Cars, Catch Hand, Coronation Street and Armchair Theatre. Trevor Bannister will be looking back at his long career with clips of his most famous roles as well as other appearances including Coronation Street, Softly Softly, The Troubleshooters, Object Z and Steptoe and Son.

* 3:30 pm Break

* 4:00 pm Smallfilms – Rediscovered Treasures. During 2010, Kaleidoscope has been working with the estate of Oliver Postgate to catalogue and restore the Smallfilms archive. We are pleased to present their early works The Mermaid’s Pearls, Ivor the Engine and The Dogwatch, all recovered from Oliver Postgate’s personal collection of film cans, plus the rarely seen “election episode” of Clangers, “Vote for Froglet” and an extract from Blue Peter about the 1970s Noggin the Nog stage play.

* 4:45 pm Shades of Greene – “The Overnight Bag”. Tim Brooke-Taylor stars in an adaptation of Graham Greene’s short story scripted by Clive Exton (Thames Television, 1976). A new book from Kaleidoscope on The Goodies will be available in late 2010. Written by Andrew Pixley, it will also include details of other roles undertaken by the trio such as this one.

* 5:00 pm Call Earnshaw – Trevor Bannister stars in this pilot for an unmade series produced by Yorkshire Television for Channel 4 (TX: 17/12/1984).

* 5:30 pm Little Big Time – The sole surviving episode of this zany Southern Television series starring Freddie Garrity and Pete Birrell from Freddie and the Dreamers and also featuring Talfryn Thomas. Sourced from a Philips 1500 tape, the recording also features original continuity (TX: 07/08/1974).

* 6:10 pm The Liberace Show – The flamboyant entertainer stars in his own ATV show, also featuring Jack Benny and Rolf Harris (TX: 15/06/1969).

* 7:00 pm Closedown – the final broadcast of Associated-Rediffusion, audio soundtrack only set to a photographic still.

THE BAR

* 12:00 pm The War of Darkie Pilbeam – “Phase Three: August 1945”. Trevor Bannister takes the role of the eponymous spiv in this Granada production from 1968 written by Coronation Street creator Tony Warren (TX: 26/07/1968, converted from 405 line videotape).

* 1:00 pm Villains – “A Joker For Your Buttonhole”. An episode scripted by John Lucarotti featuring an excellent cast including Trevor Bannister, Glynn Edwards, Bernard Kay and Christopher Benjamin (TX: 19/02/1965, converted from 405 line videotape).

* 2:00 pm Atlantic Showboat – Brought to the screen by its host Hughie Green, this show features an outstanding cast of some of the foremost stars of the day including Duke Ellington, George Formby, Lionel Blair and Shirley Bassey (TX: 10/01/1959).

* 3:00 pm Are You Being Served? colourised pilot – The experimental Colour Recovery process has resulted in some outstanding restorations of material only surviving in black and white back into its original colour. Relive the pilot of this much-loved sitcom, starring today’s guest Trevor Bannister in his best known role.

* 3:30 pm Break

* 4:00 pm The Wednesday Thriller – “The Imposter”. Catherine Lacey, Margaret Tyzack and Trevor Bannister are among the cast in this BBC thriller produced by Bernard Hepton, before he began working in front of the cameras (TX: 01/09/1965).

* 5:00 pm Television Theatre from Wales – “Zombie”. An early BBC production from Wales, this play stars William Dexter and Trevor Bannister (TX: 22/07/1968, converted from 405 line videotape).

* 5:30 pm Summer Playhouse – “Travelling Light”. Based on a book by Leonard Kingston, Trevor Bannister stars in this Granada production also featuring Morag Hood, Martin Shaw and Patsy Smart (TX: 11/09/1967, converted from 405 line videotape).

* 6:50 pm Closedown

All material at Kaleidoscope events is screened with the permission of the copyright holders.

Programmes and timings may be subject to change before the day.

Guests appear subject to professional and personal commitments.

  • Kaleidoscope’s September event is being held at the Function Suite, The Talbot Hotel, High Street, Stourbridge, West Midlands DY8 1DW, on Saturday, September 4, 2010. Admission is FREE and money raised on the day will be in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

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‘Lost’ BBC Sean Connery Drama Was Never Missing

PR CONNERY? Critics have been quick to pounce on claims a TV adaptation of Anna Karenina starring former James Bond Sean Connery was ever missing.

HOW CAN you find something that isn’t lost? That’s the question classic TV fans are asking following the announcement that a missing BBC Sean Connery drama has been ‘found’.

Claims that a 1961 adaptation of Anna Karenina starring the former 007 has been ‘rediscovered’ in the BBC archives have drawn the ire of TV professionals, collectors and enthusiasts alike since the ‘news’ was announced, on August 18.

Both the BBC and The Telegraph have run with the story which, it is argued, is a “non-story” and “cynical PR stunt” devised to promote the forthcoming DVD release through Simply Home Entertainment.

Critics have pointed out that the b & w period drama, directed by famed television director Rudolph Cartier, has been “known” to be safely held within the BBC since first broadcast on November 3, 1961.

They cite the fact that a Region 1 DVD release of the ‘supposedly lost’ programme was released in America by BBC Video in April 2008, two whole years before Anna Karenina’s ‘rediscovery’.

They also say that clips from the drama were screened during a 1990 edition of BBC 2’s The Late Show featuring a retrospective on Cartier, who died in 1994, aged 90. The feature was later repeated on July 1, 1994, under the title Rudolph Cartier: A Television Pioneer.

Three years later, in 1997, further clips from the drama apparently appeared in an edition of the BBC’s Before They Were Famous.

Posting on Gallifrey Base, Doctor Who Restoration Team member and BBC employee Steve Roberts said of the ‘find’: “Wow, what an AMAZING find! Well, it would be if it hadn’t be(sic) safely secured and completely catalogued in the archive since the day it was made!”

Chris Perry, spokesperson for TV research organisation Kaleidoscope shared the sentiment, writing on forum The Mausoleum Club: “It was never lost. The story is complete rubbish.”

TV enthusiasts have been quick to find holes in the Karenina discovery story, with BBC commercial executive Nick Lee coming under particular fire.

His comments that he “just found this in the archive” and that “perhaps it wasn’t on the radar” have been noted for their “ambiguity” and “misrepresentation”, especially with counterclaims that the tape has been logged on the BBC’s filing system for “years”.

A sentence within the Telegraph article has also been for highlighted for underlining the “hazy” nature of the story:

The BBC is rather hazy on the details of why this classic adaptation was forgotten for half a century and was thought no longer to exist.

So is the “long-lost” Anna Karenina recovery true or false? PR spin, error or hard fact?

Let the evidence speak for itself…

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Can You Guess What It Is Yet?

A MISSING episode of the The Rolf Harris Show has been recovered after being bought online by a consortium including classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope.

The 16mm film print was acquired by the group off internet auction site eBay in May after the original buyer, who had outbid the consortium at the first attempt, could not raise the necessary cash.

Hailing from series three and transmitted January 18, 1969, the episode features Rolf and The Young Generation with special guests The Beverley Sisters, Marek and Wacek, and Ivan Rebroff and his Balalaika Ensemble.

The Rolf Harris Show

tx 18.1.69 (BBC)
written by Spike Mullins
written by Joe Steeples
designed by Roger Murray Leach
choreography by Dougie Squires
produced by Stewart Morris
directed by Stewart Morris

The print, which has some repaired sprocket damage at the start along with the odd splice and tram line, is to be cleaned before being returned to the BBC – a stipulation made by Kaleidoscope in return for a £200 contribution to the consortium’s fund.

Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry said: “The genre of variety shows was decimated by the mass wiping of videotape during the 1970s.

“Rolf will be delighted to learn that some of his earliest work has been found again.”

The Rolf Harris Show (BBC) ran between 1967 – 70. According to Lost Shows.com, out of an original total of 56 episodes, 35 episodes are missing, a further two are incomplete and three others exist on formats inferior to the original.

You can see some stills from the recovered print in the gallery below.

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