Monthly Archives: June 2011

Pathfinders in Space finally comes to DVD

The Pathfinders in Space Omnibus DVDINFLUENTIAL early sixties TV sci-fi series Pathfinders is to be released on DVD for the first time after the one missing episode was discovered – in the ITV archives.

Until recently it was long thought that episode 1 of Pathfinders to Venus, “SOS From Venus”, was lost save for the soundtrack.

But earlier this year the entire eight-part 1961 serial was found complete within the archives and will be released this December by Network DVD along with earlier series Pathfinders in Space and Pathfinders to Mars.

One of ITV’s earliest dramas written specifically for children, Sydney Newman’s Pathfinders series has been described as the “missing link” between seminal BBC radio show Journey Into Space and Doctor Who, the latter of which Newman also created.

Over three series broadcast during 1960 and 1961 the Pathfinders journeyed to the moon and other worlds, facing drama at every turn – from space hazards to Venusian dinosaurs.

With intelligent and engaging scripts by Malcolm Hulke and Eric Paice, and a strong cast including actors Gerald Flood (Conway Henderson) and George Coulouris (Harcourt Brown), the series proved tremendously successful with the viewing public and even got into the regional top ten – unheard of for a children’s programme.

In addition to all 21 episodes, The Pathfinders in Space Omnibus DVD also features an image gallery and production booklet by noted archive television historian Andrew Pixley. It is released on December 31, 2011.

READ ON: PATHFINDERS ON TELEVISON by Andrew Pixley.

 

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Filed under Finds, ITV, Releases, Science Fiction, Television

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