Category Archives: Books

New book explores the strange case of The Avengers’ missing episodes

IN THE mid-Sixties, The Avengers proved itself to be a cultural phenomenon. Despite its quintessential Englishness, it transcended international barriers, and established itself as British television’s most successful export of the day. Front cover of The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes - The Lost Stories of The Avengers Series 1

Today, it remains hugely popular, perhaps because of the schizophrenic nature of the show as it developed; it was a series of many colours, with something for everyone. But the earliest episodes of the show – produce by ABC Television and pairing Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel alongside the mysterious John Steed (Patrick Macnee) – have, since their 1961 broadcast, disappeared from view, the vast majority of the recordings lost forever.

The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes lifts the lid on that first year, and retells the stories in extended synopsis form, covering twenty-four episodes, often with script extracts, in greater depth than ever before. The book also boasts a detailed introduction, which explores how these much sought after programmes came to be lost, and a detailed retelling of an alternative, untransmitted version of the episode Double Danger.

The Strange Case of the Missing Episodes – The Lost Stories of The Avengers is available in hardcover (£19.99) and paperback (£14.99) from Hidden Tiger. Visit www.hiddentigerbooks.co.uk

Read an interview with authors Alan Hayes, Alys Hayes and Richard McGinlay about their fantastic new book.

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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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Weekly Round-Up – 09/05/10

PHOTO FIND SHEDS LIGHT ON THE WICKER MAN

A CACHE of previously unseen photographs from the filming of seminal ’70s horror movie The Wicker Man have solved a long-standing movie mystery.

The rare images, hidden away in a suitcase for almost 40 years, confirm the existence and substance of missing scenes from the acclaimed cult horror.

Following the film’s release in 1973, Christopher Lee, who played sinister Pagan devotee Lord Summerisle, claimed several scenes had been cut.

The contents of that missing footage and its eventual fate have never been solved, though it has been suggested the negatives were used as landfill during the building of the M3.

With the discovery of the pictures, in the attic of photographer John Brown, some gaps at least can be filled – namely, that the scenes were indeed filmed as Lee stated.

Brown was employed to document the film and the images, including stills from missing scenes, are to be published for the first time in a revised edition of Inside the Wicker Man, by Allan Brown.

They include a scene in which Sgt. Howie (Edward Woodward) closes a mainland pub that is open after-hours and another where the policeman receives a massage from Willow McGregor (Britt Ekland). Also captured on the contact sheets is a drinking contest in The Green Man pub

There’s a highly informative story on the discovery over on The Times website.

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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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