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Kaleidoscope uncovers lost BBC drama in RNLI vault

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CLASSIC TV organisation Kaleidoscope has uncovered a 1950s BBC maritime drama long thought lost at sea.

Broadcast in 1959, Medico — a documentary drama about emergency medical services for ships at sea — was thought not to have been recorded.

But following enquiries with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which had lent one of its lifeboats for use in the programme, Kaleidoscope discovered the complete play in the charity’s vaults.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope describes the recovery of Medico as a “remarkable discovery”.

He said: “It all started on the Kaleidoscope Facebook page a few weeks ago.

“Regular readers of our Facebook page will remember Elaine Trethowan enquiring about a lost film featuring her father and the RNLI Penlee Lifeboat.

“Eventually James Cellan Jones remembered it was a play/drama called Medico and made by the BBC in 1959.

“Not surprisingly, a 1959 BBC play was not recorded according to the BBC Archives so I began to hunt for the film inserts, hoping they may survive.

“The hunt drew an initial blank but undeterred I approached the RNLI to check their vaults. They also said it was missing, but there were some cans from the 1950s that featured the Penlee Lifeboat.

“I asked them to check the cans. It was the complete BBC play Medico, which the BBC maintain was never recorded!”

Medico, described as an exciting drama-doc about the maritime emergency medical services provided by the Post Office, was broadcast by the BBC on January 7, 1959.

Starring Welsh character actor Meredith Edwards, and featuring TV and film director James Cellan Jones among the production team, the programme won writer Robert Barr the Prix Italia for live documentary.

Kaleidoscope now have a transfer of the play and plan to screen it for the first time in over 50 years at its Missing Believed Wiped in the Heart of the Midlands event in Stourbridge, West Midlands, on Saturday, April 5.

Tickets are priced £20 and are available now at www.kaleidoscopepublishing.co.uk

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Lost Doctor Who footage and musical performances by the Spencer Davis Group unearthed

RARE behind-the-scenes footage from Doctor Who has been discovered.

The brief clip shows movie Doctor Peter Cushing preparing to battle arch foe the Daleks during the making of an early big-screen adaptation of the long-running sci-fi series.

The precious black and white footage, taken on the set of cult sixties film Dalek Invasion of Earth: 2150 A.D., also captures director Gordon Flemyng — father of actor Jason — behind camera as he talks with stunt-men and plans out the movie’s climatic final scenes.

The material is the first to be uncovered documenting the 1966 film and forms part of a ‘lost’ TV show found recently in the possession of a collector living in Wales.

Though the BBC wiped the master-tape of A Whole Scene Going, a copy of the magazine show — also featuring an interview with Flemyng and musical performances by the Spencer Davis Group — was made and found its way on to the collector’s circuit.

Classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope, which recovered the unique 16mm film print in conjunction with the Tim Disney Archive, said the find will “delight” Doctor Who and vintage music fans alike.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope said: “A Whole Scene Going is an exciting TV find on two fronts.

“For Doctor Who fans there’s a fascinating glimpse into the making of feature film Dalek Invasion of Earth: 2150 A.D., showing Peter Cushing as the Doctor on the set along with director Gordon Flemyng and lots of Daleks.

“For music lovers there are priceless performances by classic British beat band the Spencer Davis Group as well as American singer/songwriter Judy Collins.

“Sixties pop shows were routinely shown live or wiped after transmission so it’s great to find one that slipped past the eraser’s magnet!”

Tim Disney of the TDA said: “How this print came into existence or found it’s way to a Welsh village, we’ll never know.

“However, one theory is that it could have been film recorded by BBC Wales from the network feed down the line from London for transmission at a later date.”

A Whole Scene Going was a short-lived TV teen culture show hosted by Wendy Varnels and Barry Fantoni.

The recovered edition, from March ’66, captures Flemyng at Shepperton Studios while directing an action-packed finale involving Horror icon Cushing and an army of Robomen thwarting a Dalek plan to drop a giant bomb into the Earth’s core.

Cushing played the Timelord — currently portrayed on TV by Matt Smith — in two Flemyng-directed films during the height of “Dalekmania”, also starring in 1964’s box-office hit Doctor Who and the Daleks.

Interspersed with the footage is an interview with Flemyng — who died in 1995, aged 61 — revealing that he preferred making “entertainment pictures”as opposed to more high-brow films, but “didn’t take them any less seriously”.

The emergence of A Whole Scene Going has also got music fans excited with the discovery of a rare interview with the Spencer Davis Group, who also perform chart-topping single “Somebody Help Me Now” in the studio.

Kaleidoscope and the TDA — who bought the film print privately from the collector — are currently in the process of returning a digital copy to the BBC Archive.

Eager fans will get the chance to see the recovered footage for the first time in more than four decades at Kaleidoscope’s next screening event, taking place in Stourbridge, West Midlands, on Saturday, June 9.

Tim Disney of the TDA added: “Dr Who was not the primary draw for us in recovering this programme, but the content of the programme as a whole — the exciting period of popular culture it reflects and it’s place in the history of British television.

“Thankfully, after the collector discovered he had a unique TV recording he was keen to ensure it would be returned to the BBC archives, turning down silly money offers to deal instead with Kaleidoscope and the TDA.”

To see a clip from the recovered show visit www.timdisneyarchive.com. For more information about the screening visit www.kaleidoscope.org.uk.

Click here for full contents of the recovered episode of A Whole Scene Going.

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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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Lost Top Of The Pops Featuring Lesley Judd Found

A MISSING episode of Top of the Pops featuring Blue Peter presenter Lesley Judd dancing with Pan’s People has been recovered from eBay.

TOP OF THE POPS (tx 12/02/76)
Presented by Noel Edmonds
CHART POSITION
MARMALADE
‘Falling Apart At The Seams’
New
BARBARA DICKSON
‘Answer Me’
#9
THE WALKER BROTHERS
‘No Regrets’
#7
BILLY OCEAN
‘Love Really Hurts Without You’
New
THE O’JAYS
‘I Love Music’ (danced to by Pan’s People)
#30
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA
‘Evil Woman’
New
GUYS ‘N’ DOLLS‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ New
THE SURPRISE SISTERS
‘La Booga Rooga’
New
DAVID RUFFIN
‘Walk Away From Love’ (video)
#10
MANUEL & THE MUSIC OF THE MOUNTAINS ‘Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto De Aranjuez (Theme From 2nd Movement)’ (Pan’s People) #8
SLIK
‘Forever And Ever’
#1

The recovered 1976 edition is presented by Noel Edmonds and also features performances by Billy Ocean, Marmalade, Guys ‘N’ Dolls, The Walker Brothers and Electric Light Orchestra.

A domestic Philips N1500 video recording of the show was purchased from the internet auction site by a consortium including classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope in December.

Despite being 34 years old, the tape is said to “play perfectly”.

The episode, broadcast on February 12, 1976, is particularly notable for the only appearance of then Blue Peter presenter Lesley Judd with Pan’s People.

Judd, a former dancer, performed a routine to top 10 single ‘Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto De Aranjuez (Theme From 2nd Movement)’ with the regular TOTP troupe.

A recording of the rehearsal for the song – which reached number 3 in the charts and proved to be the biggest hit for orchestra Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains – appeared on the next edition of Blue Peter, transmitted February 16, 1976.

Though the children’s show was retained in the BBC archives, the corporation wiped the TOTP episode. Prior to the recovery, all that survived were clips of ELO and Guys ‘N’ Dolls.

Chris Perry of volunteer group Kaleidoscope described the find as “one in a million”.

He said: “Nine times out of ten when old tapes turn up for sale on eBay they are just junk and a waste of money.

“But in a rare case of it actually being correctly labelled, we recovered a 1500 cassette containing the missing TOTP advertised. That’s a one in a million chance.”

The episode will now feature in a forthcoming Kaleidoscope music-themed event set to take place in June, when it will officially be handed to the BBC.

Below are some stills from the recovered episode:
 
 
 

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The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse

The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse

A NEW documentary on Bob Monkhouse featuring a wealth of archive material the performer himself rescued from destruction is to be screened on TV.

The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse tells the “extraordinary story” of comedian Bob Monkhouse’s life and career, recounted for the first time through the “vast private archive” of films, TV shows, letters and memorabilia that he left behind.

The 90-minute programme, which airs January 3, 2011, has been made by the BBC with assistance from classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope.

Volunteers spent over a year sifting through the huge collection of film reels, videos, scripts, photographs and audio tapes amassed by the performer during his lifetime and passed on to the group following the death of his widow in 2008.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope described the forthcoming BBC Four show as a “real gem”.

He said: “I’ve seen the show and it’s full of brilliant archive material from the Bob stuff we rescued.”

Bob Monkhouse was a prolific comic, writer and performer famous for his sharp one-liners, topical gags and “charming smile”.

In a career spanning over 50 years, he appeared in countless TV and radio shows including My Pal Bob, Mad Movies, The Golden Shot and Celebrity Squares.

Monkhouse died of prostate cancer in 2003, aged 75.

The performer was a keen collector of TV and radio shows throughout his life and 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 have been saved.

  • The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse is on BBC Four at 9pm, January 3.

READ ON: The BBC Four website has a two-minute clip from The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse featuring Bob on the Golden Shot. Kaleidoscope Publishing has released a book containing the full list of what was found within the Bob Monkhouse Archive. Bob’s Full House is available in paperback, priced £19.99.

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Lost Episodes Of Ivor The Engine Found In Pig Shed

THEY WERE the shows that delighted a generation of children. Now, priceless, long-lost episodes of Ivor the Engine and other animations by the late Oliver Postgate are once again set to entertain – after being found in a pig shed.

Described as a “treasure trove” from the “golden era” of children’s TV, the find includes 26 episodes of Ivor, featuring the adventures of the little green locomotive from the “top left-hand corner of Wales”.

The 10-minute black and white animations – described as the “real Ivors” by experts – were discovered among a pile of 40 rusty film reels in the disused pig shed of artist and animator Peter Firmin.

Firmin, 82, had kept them and other sixties’ show created by Postgate on his farm in Blean, Kent, where they had gathered dust for over 40 years.

Former business partner Postgate, who died in 2008, aged 83, had handed him the the unique 16mm recordings in the assumption that the crude stop motion animations had “had their day”.

TV historians, however, have hailed the haul as an “important” recovery which will “shed new light” on the early output of revered production company Smallfilms.

Founded by Postgate and Firmin in 1958, Smallfilms went on to make some of the most-cherished British children’s programmes ever to grace the small screen including Clangers, Noggin the Nog and Bagpuss, once voted the nation’s favourite children’s show in a BBC poll.

Along with the newly-found episodes of Ivor the Engine, dating from between 1962 and 1964, a number of Postgate’s lesser-known programmes such as 1960’s The Seal of Neptune and The Mermaid’s Pearls, from 1962, have also come to light.

The missing shows were identified by members of Midlands-based TV research organisation Kaleidoscope, who had been called in by Postgate’s son Daniel after he decided to have a clear out of his late father’s archives.

There are now plans to have the shows digitally restored and re-released.

Speaking from his home in, Daniel Postgate said: “Dad never discussed the whereabouts of his early films with me so it was a complete surprise, and joy, to find them.

“These are major finds – genuinely missing episodes from a much-loved children’s TV show.

“They haven’t been seen in over 40 years and will tell us a lot about Dad’s early work and how he developed Ivor as a series. That was difficult before because so little was thought to exist.

“Although Dad later remade the shows again in colour, I suspect these earlier outings will in due course come to be seen as the ‘real’ Ivors.”

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope said: “This is an exciting discovery of early work by one of Britain’s most fondly-remembered animators.

“Creations such as Ivor the Engine, Clangers and Bagpuss have gone down as classic children’s shows from a golden era of television.

“We found so many previously lost Smallfilms productions that they filled an estate car.”

The Postgate find is one of many included on Kaleidoscope’s annual Raiders of the Lost Archive list, revealed last Saturday, October 23,  at BAFTA in London.

Other major recoveries made by Kaleidoscope, the British Film Institute, BBC and individual TV historians this year include episodes of The Benny Hill Show, The Rolf Harris Show, and Monty Python precursor At Last the 1948 Show, as well as more than 60 star-studded BBC and ITV dramas found in the Library of Congress, in Washington DC, America, back in August.

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Kaleidoscope Raiders of the Lost Archives list 2009 – 2010

CLASSIC TV organisation Kaleidoscope has revealed its annual Raiders of the Lost Archives list for 2009 – 2010, detailing all the missing material located in the last 12 months by the group along with the BBC, ITV, BFI and missing episode hunters.

Particularly notable on this year’s list is the Library of Congress finds, where over 60 long-lost British dramas dating beween the late fifties and early seventies were discovered sitting in an American archive. The assortment of plays and adaptations boast a who’s who of acting talent including Sean Connery, David McCallum, Charles Gray, Susannah York, Patrick Macnee, William Gaunt, Norman Rossington, Ron Moody, Derek Jacobi, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, Nerys Hughes, Patricia Routledge, David Hemmings, Kevin Stoney, Hywel Bennett, Thora Hird, John Gielgud, Michael Gambon, Hugh Paddick, Robert Hardy, Peggy Ashcroft, Leonard Rossiter, John Le Mesurier, Patrick Stewart, Brian Rawlinson, Michael Gough, Bernard Horsfall, Michael Hordern, Patrick Troughton, Jeremy Brett, Patrick Wymark, Bernard Cribbins, Betty Marsden, Edward De Souza, Patsy Rowlands, Gerald Flood, Donald Wolfit, Philip Madoc, Geoffrey Bayldon, Frank Finlay, Henry McGee,  Jane Asher and Graham Crowden.

Also on the list are classic comedy shows starring Benny Hill, Dick Emery, Frankie Howerd, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, the Monty Python team, The Goodies, Marty Feldman, Bob Monkhouse, Denis Goodwin, Ronnie Barker, Willie Rushton, Frank Muir, Denis Norden, Alan Bennett and Hattie Jacques; serial dramas such as No Hiding Place and The Troubleshooters; light entertainment including The Rolf Harris Show; music from The Hollies, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Showaddywaddy, The Arrows and Guys n Dolls; and children’s programmes by animator Oliver Postgate and the Smallfilms studio, including Ivor the Engine.

Last but not least, the list reveals some good progress in the BSB recoveries campaign of Ian Greaves, including episodes of The Happening, I Love Keith Allen and Up Yer News.

Speaking about the impressive list, Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry said: “It’s been a great year for recoveries all round and goes to show there’s still more out there to find.”

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