Monthly Archives: February 2009

Forgotten Betjeman Film Aired For First Time

Former Poet Laureate John Betjeman (1906 – 84) made a number of BBC documentaries surveying the urban landscapes of Britain, but one remained unseen – until now.

The half-hour programme, A Poet Goes North, was made in 1968 and followed the poet and architectural critic as he explored the Victorian heritage of Leeds.

However, the film never got an airing by the BBC – for reasons that still remain unclear.

Incredibly A Poet Goes North was then forgotten about until 20 years ago, when a copy of the film was found by Dr Kevin Grady on top of a cupboard in the offices of Leeds Civic Trust, of which he is director.

The Trust had been handed a copy because it contributed 200 guineas towards the cost of the film and co-operated with the BBC during its production.

A copy also survived in the BBC’s film archive, but would most likely have remained unknown gathering dust if Dr Grady, director of the Trust, hadn’t stumbled upon it.

He mentioned the programme to Richard Taylor, a Leeds-based BBC producer who has been instrumental in finally getting the production the attention it rightly deserves.

According to Martin Wainwright of the Guardian, it ‘shows Betjeman on classic form, denouncing newly built tower blocks and suggesting – with foresight since borne out – that Leeds’s back-to-back redbrick terraces would outlive them.’

Binny Baker, of the Yorkshire Film Archive, who restored the film told the Guardian: ‘It’s just so exciting to find a treasure like this. We’ve got a star – Sir John Betjeman – and nobody’s seen it. That is a real find.’

The story of the film’s re-discovery, along with clips, received a limited broadcast in the Yorkshire area on Wednesday, February 18th on BBC1’s Inside Out.

A national broadcast is expected to follow.


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Kaleidoscope Event Announced – March 7

Kaleidoscope – The Classic Television Organisation – has announced details of its next event, scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 7 in Stourbridge, West Midlands.

The organisation makes a first-class contribution to finding missing TV material and promoting rarely-seen classics, so the event should be marked on every TV enthusiast’s calendar.


Saturday 7th March 2009, 12 – 7pm, Amblecote Room, Stourbridge Town Hall, Crown Centre, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1YE.

Free Admission

THE MAIN ROOM sponsored by H. H. Carrots Ltd: ‘The best carrots from my Uncle’s own farm’.

12:00 pm Good Morning Calendar – This programme was part of Yorkshire’s Good Morning Television which was described as ‘the first breakfast TV service in the UK’.  This original recording comes complete with adverts and test transmission (tx: 28/03/1977).

12:25 pm Comedy PlayhouseThe Siege of Sydney’s Street. A recently re-discovered episode of the classic BBC anthology series, starring Roy Kinnear and written by Richard Harris and Dennis Spooner.

1:00 pm Come Back Lucy – A rare chance to see the first episode of this chilling and well remembered ghost story, adapted by Gail Renard and Colin Shindler from Pamela Sykes’ novel.

1:30 pm A Royal Gala – extract from an ATV show featuring Mr. Rose interviewing the residents of Coronation Street about rowdy events, followed by the brief surviving footage from The Simon Dee Show.

1:45 pm Break

2:00 pm Guest Panel – Gail Renard and Nigel Plaskitt – Gail Renard has had a long and successful career as a writer of children’s television and sitcoms with credits including Echoes of Louisa, The Kids from 47a, Pipkins and The Famous Five. She is joined on stage by Kaleidoscope’s old friend Nigel Plaskitt, puppeteer and actor extraordinaire, who has worked with Gail on many productions. We will be catching up with Nigel’s career since his last appearance with us in 2001 and finding out just what he’s been doing whenever Hartley Hare gives him some time off…

3:30 pm Afternoon Tea – Mark Ward will be signing copies of his new book A Family At War, the definitive guide to Till Death Us Do Part.

4:00 pm Guest Panel – Hooray For Hartley Hare! – the star of Pipkins in conversation with someone incredibly unknown and inconsequential. Visitors to previous Kaleidoscope events will know Hartley Hare is always good entertainment value (just as well really, his demands for appearing are a nightmare) and we are delighted he will be updating us on his busy showbiz life since the closure of Pipkins.

5:00 pm A Family At War – an audio-visual presentation of very rare footage from the tales of Till Death Us Do Part‘s Garnett family.

5:30 pm Guest Panel – Mark Ward – Mark talks about writing his new book A Family At War and shows us more of the incredibly rare footage he found whilst researching Till Death Us Do Part. It is also hoped that Kaleidoscope will show 3 minutes of Till Death Us Do PartThe Puppy, digitally restored from an old CV2000 reel by SVS Resources especially for this event.

6:00 pm Das Diadem – A short dramatic film made in Germany starring Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel from The Avengers in all but name) that was distributed on the 8mm cine film market. It was also shown in German petrol stations – customers could watch the film being projected while their vehicle was filled up or cleaned – and this is believed to be the reason that the film features music and sound effects but no clear dialogue. This edition has been digitally restored from film by Jonathan Wood and features alternate colour footage separate from the main programme. This colour footage is unseen since the 1960s.

6:25 pm The Saga of Ivor and the Pingwings – an affectionate tribute to the late Oliver Postgate, a legendary figure to generations of British children. The presentation features extensive rare footage.

6:35 pm The Newcomers – Episode 59. A unique chance to see an edition of the BBC’s late sixties soap opera.

7:00 pm Closedown on BBC2

THE BAR sponsored by H. H. Speedy Pizza Deliveries: ‘We hare around so you get it warm on your plate’.

12:00 pm Scorpion TalesThe Ghost in the Pale Blue Dress. This ATV anthology series always had a sting in the tail. Tony Britton and Geoffrey Palmer star in an episode written by Jeremy Burnham.

1:00 pm If There Weren’t Any Blacks You’d Have to Invent Them – A controversial 1968 play by Johnny Speight, featuring Frank Thornton, Ronald Radd, Jimmy Hanley and Nerys Hughes.

2:00 pm Play of the WeekThe Liberty Man. A vintage production dating from 1958. The master tape of this recording contains original advertisements during the first commercial break.

3:30 pm Saturday Night TheatreThe Salesman – Another play from the pen of Johnny Speight, starring Ian Holm.

4:00 pm The Bass Player and the Blonde – Edward Woodward heads the cast in this 1977 pilot play for ATV, written by Last of the Summer Wine‘s Roy Clarke.

5:30 pm Kipling – The Sending of Dana Da. Warren Mitchell and Joss Ackland star in this production, directed by Waris Hussein.

6:30 pm The Wednesday PlayThe Compartment – Another entry from the celebrated anthology series, starring Marty Feldman and written by Johnny Speight.

7:00 pm Closedown

All material at Kaleidoscope events is screened with the permission of the copyright holders. Programmes and timings may be subject to change. Guests appear subject to professional and personal commitments. Due to contractual obligations Octavia, Mrs Muddle, Pig, Topov and Tortoise will not be mentioned during the day.

In 2009 Kaleidoscope is supporting the Royal National Lifeboat Institution once again. Full details of this event and Kaleidoscope’s other activities can always be found the Kaledioscope web site.

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