Category Archives: Releases

Lost episodes of The Avengers to be remade by Big Finish Productions

The AvengersBIG FINISH Productions is delighted to announce that it has signed a licence with STUDIOCANAL to produce full cast audio productions of 12 lost episodes of the classic TV series The Avengers.

Lost for over fifty years, the missing episodes from the first series of the cult classic have been lovingly recreated on audio from the original scripts.

The Avengers first launched in 1961, and starred Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel and Patrick Macnee as the elusive and suave John Steed. Beginning with the murder of Keel’s fiancée, and his sworn intent to avenge her death, that first year comprised 26 episodes. Sadly, only two of them exist in their entirety as film prints (Girl on the Trapeze and The Frighteners), while just the first act remains of the opening episode, Hot Snow.

Working from the surviving scripts, Big Finish will be presenting the adaptations in three four-disc box sets. The scripts will be adapted, with minimal changes, by John Dorney, the director is Ken Bentley and the producer is David Richardson. The executive producers are Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery.

“We are absolutely thrilled to add this wonderful series to our catalogue,” says David Richardson, “and we look forward to faithfully recreating those classic lost episodes. We have two brilliant, high-profile actors for the roles of Dr Keel and John Steed – look out for an announcement of the casting once recording begins in July.”

“This opportunity confirms the enduring appeal of this classic TV series and the resonance of the SC collection in the context of British Film and Pop culture,” says John Rodden, General Manager Home Entertainment at STUDIOCANAL.

Volume 1 of The Avengers: The Lost Episodes will be released in January 2014 (and includes a full recreation of Hot Snow), with Volumes 2 and 3 following in July 2014 and January 2015.

Each person who pre-orders will be entered into a draw to win a copy of The Avengers: Series 1 and 2 on DVD box set, containing the remaining three first series episodes.

For for more information visit www.bigfinish.com

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The Tenth Planet episode four to be animated for DVD release

The Tenth Planet animated stillTHE TENTH PLANET – the Doctor Who story that marked the close of the William Hartnell era – is to have its missing fourth episode animated for DVD release, BBC Worldwide has confirmed.

Broadcast in October 1966, The Tenth Planet was the first story to feature iconic foes the Cybermen, the first to introduce the concept of regeneration and the last to feature the First Doctor as the series’s lead. The final installment of the story, episode four, has been missing from the BBC Archives since the mid-1970s and is possible the most sought-after of the lost Doctor Who episodes because of its historical importance to the show.

The missing episode four will be animated by Australia-based Planet 55 Studios, which used its patent Thetamation process to recreate the lost episodes 4 and 5 of Hartnell adventure The Reign of Terror for its DVD release last month.

Doctor Who range producer Dan Hall said: “It’s a real thrill to be bringing such an iconic Doctor Who episode back to life. Without the events established in The Tenth Planet episode 4, there would be no Doctor Who as we know it!”

The Tenth Planet DVD is set to be released in late 2013 and is expected to also include a reconstruction of the missing episode using existing telesnaps which featured on the VHS release in 2000.

A selection of stills from the new animation work-in-progress can be seen via a gallery on BBC Worldwide’s official Doctor Who 50th Anniversary website.

There is also a showreel available to watch on the Planet 55 website featuring a scene of the First Doctor stalked in the snow, inspired by The Tenth Planet.

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Out of Town – The Lost Episodes with Jack Hargreaves

OVER 30 lost episodes of Out of Town featuring presenter Jack Hargreaves have been released on DVD for the first time, after being tracked down by TV enthusiasts.

For over 20 years Out of Town was a television programme that provided a window on country life in rural Britain.

Fishermen and farriers, horsemen and horticulturalists were prominently featured as presenter Jack Hargreaves took the Southern Television cameras around the country, in the 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s, to explore pursuits and activities many of which have long since disappeared.

When broadcast by ITV, these programmes soon won a large following for the entertaining and informative way that they gave a gentle insight into country life, but as time has passed since the last transmission in 1981 they have become a nostalgic, historical, record of life in Britain from a bygone age.

Hundreds of programmes were broadcast by Southern Television but they were feared lost when the company lost its ITV franchise in 1981. Apart from 28 episodes that were recreated by presenter Jack Hargreaves in 1986, using extracts from films used in the original TV programmes with new footage filmed by Jack, it was presumed that all other examples of the original Out Of Town series had been lost forever.

In 2012, after extensive research by Jack’s stepson Simon Baddeley, Simon Winters, the classic television organisation Kaleidoscope, and Southern Television archive expert David King, 34 complete original episodes of Out Of Town – not seen since their original broadcast in 1980 & 1981 – came to light and are now being made available on DVD by Delta.

Over twenty eight hours of Out Of Town are presented on 10 DVDs. Only edited versions of some of the location films that are included have been seen on DVD – featured in the 28 programmes produced in 1986 – but the significant part of them are being presented in their original form for the first time since they were broadcast three decades ago.

Each disc also includes a special feature which allows the viewer to enjoy off-air studio comments and countdown clocks.

The limited edition collectors’ box set comes in an engraved presentation box with an exclusive booklet which offers an insight into Hargreaves’s life and how the lost episodes were discovered, and includes charming photos of Jack whilst filming on location.

The contents of the ten DVDs are as follows:

Volume 1: Coarse Fishing and seven other original films

Coarse Fishing / Yerro’s Operation

A River for All Seasons / Bass Fishing

Pebbles / Tidal Mill

Chalk Hills / Chalk Springs / Stagecoach

Volume 2: Gean Tree Furniture and seven other original films

Gean Tree Furniture / Southern Television Sea Angling Championships

Garden Competition / Dry Fly Fishing

Model Making / Teaching Fly Fishing Techniques

The Theft of the Countryside / Fell Ponies

Volume 3: Heavy Horses and six other original films

Heavy Horses / Fly Fishing in June

Gypsy Caravans / Fishing for Pollock

21st Anniversary Programme

Sheep Farming / Bite Indicators

Volume 4: Into the Past at Appleby Fair and seven other original films

Into the Past at Appleby Fair / Private Rivers

Fishing for Barbel / Ferrets

Pigeon Decoy / Fishing with a Dog Knobbler

Freeze Branding / Perch Fishing

Volume 5: Pony Riding and eight other original films

Pony Riding / Next Generation / Wild and Cottage Gardens / Sheep Fair / Barbel

Pannage / Dry Fly Fishing on the River Test

Wheels / Grayling Fishing

Volume 6: Sheep Dogs and five other original films

Sheep Dogs / Guns

Multiplier Reel Casting / Hounds

Corn Threshing / Eden Vale

Volume 7: Blackmore Vale and five other original films

Blackmore Vale / Breeding Lurchers

Annual Agricultural Show / Pheasant Shooting

Old Railway Line / Cloudburst at the Agricultural Show

Volume 8: Pigeons and six other original films

Pigeons / Fishing for Next To Nothing

Fishing for Minnows / Kingfishers / Corn Flail

Summer Fishing / Village Fair

Volume 9: Fish Hooks and five other original films

Fish Hooks / Gardening Earthworm Farm

Southern Fishing Competition In Ireland / Rabbit Catching

Observing The Country / Working Dog Show

Volume 10: Saving The Countryside and five other original films

Saving The Countryside / Going to Market

Sheep Farming / Centenarian Angler

Parsonage Down / First English Culture

  • Out of Town – The Lost Episodes with Jack Hargreaves is out now, priced from £149.99. For more information visit www.outoftown-dvd.co.uk/

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Original Out of Town episodes to be released on DVD after recent rediscovery

Jack Hargreaves

Out of Town presenter Jack Hargreaves

THE SOLE surviving episodes of Out of Town — the leisurely countryside series fronted by Jack Hargreaves — are set to be released on DVD . . . after being rediscovered at a BBQ.

The shows, dating from the early 1980s, were believed to have been lost forever when the distribution company that owned them wiped the master tapes.

But copies of the 34 episodes were kept by the man tasked with remastering them to digital format, and came to light last year after a chance conversation at a summer party.

Rights to the shows — dating from 1980–81 and including the very last broadcast episode — have now been secured by the Delta Leisure Group, which is planning to release them on DVD at a date yet to be decided.

The episodes are the original TV broadcast programmes, as made by Southern Television. They were located by David King, Simon Baddeley, Simon Winters and classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope.

They feature the following location films:

Coarse Fishing/ Donkey Vet
A River for all Seasons/ Bass Fishing
Pebbles/ Eling Tidal Mill
Chalk Hills and Chalk Springs/ Stagecoach
Gean Tree Furniture/ Fly Fishing
Garden Competition/ Bulls & Countryside (dry fly fishing)
Model Making/ Fly Fishing
The theft of the countryside/Fell Ponies
Heavy Horses/ Fly Fishing
Gypsy Caravans/ Sea Fishing
Sheep Farming/Bite Indicators
Into the Past/Private Rivers
Wood Sculptor/ Ferrets
21st Anniversary Programme
Pigeons/Fly Fishing
Pony & Horse Branding/Perch Fishing
Pony Riding/Next Generation/Gardens/Sheep
Pannage /Dry Fly Fishing
Wheels/Grayling Fishing
Sheep Dogs/Guns
Multiplier Reel Casting/Hounds
Growing Corn/Eden Vale
Blackmore Vale/Dog Breeding
Annual Agricultural Show/Pheasant Shooting
Old Railway Line/Annual Agricultural Shows
Pigeons/Fishing
Fishing/Kingfishers/Corn
Fishing/Village Fair
Fish Hooks/Gardening
Southern Fishing Competition/ Rabbit Catching
Observing The Country/Dog Show
Saving The Countryside/ Going to Market
Sheep Farming/ Fishing
Parsonage Down/First English Culture

Out of Town ran for almost two decades, with viewers of all ages fascinated by Hargreaves’s gentle expeditions through the countryside and insights into the bygone ways of rural life.

When the demise of ITV franchise Southern Television in 1981 brought the much-loved programme to a close after 18 years, Hargreaves went on to make a further series of 27 Out of Town episodes for commercial release.

These direct-to-video episodes — using original cut film inserts Hargreaves had bought from Southern married with a new voiceover track and links — have recently been re-released by Delta.

But the original series, with it’s fondly-remembered studio ‘shed’ setting, has not been seen since original transmission

Delta, which has acquired the DVD rights from Endemol Worldwide Distribution, has said that it welcome the views of those with an interest in the release of these episodes on DVD and can be contacted by email at outoftown@deltaleisuregroup.co.uk.

  • READ ON: You can read more about Out of Town over at Television Heaven. You can also listen to an audio recording of the last broadcast episode of Out of Town here.

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WHAT TO BUY THE MUSIC LOVER WHO HAS EVERYTHING: A COMPILATION OF PREVIOUSLY MISSING RECORDINGS

Radio Tymes sleeveCHRISTMAS is just around the corner, and if you are stuck for a gift to buy – and the intended recipient enjoys rare pop gems from the golden era of British music – then the latest release from Top Sounds is highly recommended.

Following on from three previous “excavations” of 1960s and early ’70s BBC radio session performances with the Shapes And Sounds anthologies, specialist label Top Sounds has released its most ambitious collection of previously lost or hard-to-find tracks yet with Radio Tymes.

Nigel Lees has once again searched high and low to source missing gems from private collections and BBC transcription discs, delivering a treasure trove of very rare and desirable recordings from the likes of Deep Purple, The Move, The Yardbirds and none other than The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The compilation gets off to an impressive start with a highly charged rendition of “The Painter” by Deep Purple, taped for Chris Grant’s Tasty Pop Sundae in July 1969 and then lost in the ether for more than 40 years. It is notable for a great performance by lead singer Rod Evans and is well worth a listen. The other Purple track on the album, first single “Hush”, is even more impressive, and historic, coming from the only known recording of the rock band’s very first British radio appearance – aired on John Peel’s Top Gear on June 30, 1968.

While Radio Tymes captures Deep Purple right at the beginning of their career, it presents pioneering guitar band The Yardbirds at the close of theirs with three shining recordings from the legendary group’s final BBC session (on Top Gear) in 1968, including arguably the best take of stable cover “Dazed and Confused”. Though an off-air recording of the wiped Top Gear session was previously known to exist, it was lo-fi to say the least. Thankfully, Top Sounds has now managed to uncover a second recording of much better quality.

Other big names to enjoy on the release are The Move – with two tracks featuring Birmingham’s  finest, “Cherry Blossom Clinic” and “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”, from the very first Top Gear, in October 1967 – and, in what could possibly be Top Sounds’ biggest scoop to date, The Jimi Hendrix Experience on Dee Time, performing “Burning of the Midnight Lamp”.

Unheard anywhere since its broadcast in 1967, the live version of Experience’s fourth single Midnight Lamp marked the band’s second and final appearance on Dee Time. As Nigel writes in the comprehensive accompanying booklet to Radio Tymes, hardly any material from the popular sixties BBC chat show – presented by DJ Simon Dee – remains, so this recently unearthed recording is of double importance.

Rounding out the compilation are Top Gear session tracks from important psychedelic band Tomorrow with Keith West, playing their underground anthem “My White Bicycle”, Welsh blues-rock band Love Sculpture with a live version of “Sabre Dance” and two colourful covers, and Barclay James Harvest belting out upbeat rocker “Night”.

As with previous Top Sounds releases, all the music has been professionally restored and the album is accompanied by an attractive booklet packed with photos, illustrations and detailed information.

Radio Tymes is a legitimate collection licensed from the BBC and the relevant record companies, and has been a costly labour of love for Nigel. The only way Top Sounds is going to be able to continue delivering such treats is if music lovers show their support through their wallets so I highly recommend the album, available both on CD (£12.99) and vinyl (£14.99), to you all.

  • To buy a copy or for more information visit the Top Sounds website.

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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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AudioGo releases long-lost Dick Barton adventures

DICK BARTON – Special Agent rides again, with the release of two classic 1940s radio adventures recently unearthed in Australia.

The complete serials, dating from 1949, were among 338 episodes of the hugely-popular show discovered in the vaults of the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.

The recordings, found in 2009 by freelance researcher Charles Norton but not announced until earlier this year, are accurate copies of the original broadcasts, made by the BBC for international distribution between 1948 and 1950.

AudioGo has now released two of the recovered stories, Dick Barton and the Cabatolin Diamonds, and Dick Barton and the Paris Adventure, on CD and as downloads.

Co-created and written by Edward J. Mason and Geoffrey Webb,Dick Barton – Special Agent was the BBC’s first daily serial, running between 1946 and 1951 on the Light Programme.

Heralded by the instantly memorable signature tune, Devil’s Galop by Charles Williams, the adventures of special agent Dick Barton and his friends Jock Anderson and Snowy White were essential listening for an entire generation.

At its peak, 15 million listeners tuned in for their 15-minute fix of criminal masterminds, espionage and adventure.

Sadly, very few original BBC recordings (starring Noel Johnson, Duncan Carse and then Gordon Davies as Barton) still survive. Out of 711 episodes broadcast on the Light Programme between 1946 and 1951, only 3 episodes were preserved – 100, 442 and 711 – along with two short clips.

However, a number of early Barton tales were re-recorded for transmission overseas, recycling the original scripts and music cues.

These re-stagings, starring Douglas Kelly, Moira Carleton, Clifford Cowley, Richard Davies, William Lloyd and Patricia Kennedy, found new audiences in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

In Dick Barton and the Paris Adventure (tx 14 March – 14 April 1949), Barton and his friends join forces with the French police on the trail of an international smuggling operation. Can Dick defeat the villainous Spider Kennedy? Will he escape from Paris alive?

Dick Barton and the Cabatolin Diamonds (tx 18 April – 19 May 1949) sees Dick’s plans for a Mediterranean cruise cancelled when the Home Office ask him to help them crack a gang of international diamond smugglers. Can Dick thwart the evil Henri De Flambeau before it’s too late?

Though over 60 years old, both serials are said to have “excellent” sound quality.

READ ON:

LONG-LOST RADIO HERO DICK BARTON RETURNS (Daily Express, February 16, 2011).

WHEN CHARLES MET DICK – Wiped News interview with Charles Norton.

Audiobook Review: Dick Barton and The Paris Adventure

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