A missing episode of 1960s spy drama The Rat Catchers is making its way back to the archives after being discovered on a P2P file-sharing website.
The Associated Rediffusion show, which ran for two seasons between 1966 and ’67, concerned a top secret British Intelligence Unit (the ‘rat catchers’ of the title) which battled enemy spies and criminals in order to protect the security of Great Britain and the Western Alliance.
In total 25 60-minute colour episodes were produced, but until the find only the first episode, Ticket To Madrid, was known to exist, along with an incomplete print of season two’s The Heel of Achilles.
Now season one’s The Unwitting Courier can be added to that list, after being located by a classic television enthusiast on a popular torrent site.
The finder, ‘Marcus’, broke the news on the Mausoleum Club forum, which you can read here.
The uploaded episode doesn’t originate from a 16mm film print but a VHS copy obtained at a film convention. Nevertheless it is said to be of good quality and classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope has downloaded a copy with the intention of handing it over to Dick Fiddy at the British Film Institute.
Wiped hopes to bring you a follow-up to this exciting story soon.
3 responses to “Rat Catcher Caught: Missing Episode of 60s Spy Show Discovered”
Excellent news! Let’s hope it’s possible to see this soon. This was a classic and intelligent series, I remember it as being anantidote to some of the junk that was around in this genre at the time.
One thing I don’t understand: Surely the period for wiping or ditching archive was the late 60s and early 70s. VHS wasn’t invented until 1976, and wasn’t available at viable consumer prices until at least 1980. So, how come this episode was found on a VHS tape?
My guess is that a collector has a 16mm telerecording, and made a telecine of it onto VHS that ended up being shared with friends, and then copied within the collector circuit, ultimately ending up online.