The Rat Catchers – The Unwitting Courier Update

The recently rediscovered episode of 60s spy drama The Rat CatchersThe Unwitting Courier (see the original Wiped story about the find here) – is a classic slice of prime-time television at its best. Dark and gritty but with some great moments of comic relief to lighten the tension, The Unwitting Courier boasts strong performances from all the regulars – Derek Flood, Glyn Owen and Philip Stone – who make the most of a literate, intelligent script by writer Raymond Bowers. From the opening notes of the memorable theme tune right through to the end credits, The Unwitting Courier demands the viewer’s full attention.

Below you can watch the first few minutes and see for yourself.


Filed under Television

5 responses to “The Rat Catchers – The Unwitting Courier Update

  1. Victor


    How exciting to have recovered even a snippet of this gem! I remember this series so well. e.g., the scene where Smith executes a double agent with a poisoned cigarette; and the hilarious moment when they’re listening to a tapped conversation. Smith thought he’d charmed the girl but they hear him say that “Smith’s just a bag on wind. It’s Hurst we need to be wary of” and Hurst smirks.

    The Rat Catchers was so good I stayed home for six consecutive Saturday nights when the series was aired in Rhodesia in early 1967. A pity they never made more episodes – and a crime that BBC wiped the episodes.

  2. Kelly

    Hi, Yes THANKS for this post and lovely to watch on UTube. As a long-term Glyn Owen fan I’d love to have a copy of this episode. Is there any chance it will be for sale some time? Thanks.

  3. Chris J Brady

    This is indeed the great value of such p2p torrent sites. Even uses torrents to share uploaded material – its a well proven technology. There must be thousands of home-recorded VHS tapes (video) and reel-reel tapes (audio) out in the pubic domain – likely many containing such rare or lost recordings as The Rat Catchers. What is required is 1/ an amnesty on copyright infringement of such private recordings, 2/ a ‘Treasure Hunt’ for these ‘lost’ recordings without fear of prosecution, and 3/ a system for sharing such recordings so that they can be returned to the archives. Maybe Wiped could set up its own p2p torrent site? However due to the draconian and aggressive attitudes towards such torrent sites and those who use them – TheBox was closed down by its owners. So any more of The Rat Catchers episodes will now remain in private hands and will likely be junked / wiped or likely thrown away. So if you are opinionated against torrenting or p2p file sharing then think on that – your aggressive attitude might will have caused the loss of many such gems which might otherwise have been saved.

  4. Chris J Brady

    I must add that TheBox was closed down. as indeed was and RadioDownloader, due to the BBC’s increasingly threatening stance against the sharing of what was regarded as copyright material – even though many torrents were for episodes that the Beeb itself had deliberately junked,

    There is opinion elsewhere on this board [] that it is:

    “Incredible! Unbelievable! Crass! Stupid! If the BBC are only interested in recovering material they can sell, then surely they are effectively relinquishing copyright, and possessors of “lost” material should have the right to market it themselves – or donate it to an archive where it can be easily accessed!”

    BTW it appears that pure commercial interests is very much the stance of Kaleidoscope – and IMHO it is a tragedy that the Bob Monkhouse collection ended up with them.

    The above opinion of “Crass! Stupid!” etc. is exactly my attitude towards my own activities. I have recovered many ‘lost’ video documentaries and audio programmes from friends and contacts – mainly folk music and song or industrial heritage – from the 60 / 70 / 80s. All were home-taped. The BBC doesn’t want them – they told me so!! Yet Kaleidoscope has also shown an aggressive stance towards me in that I have been banned from their Facebook page, and also the ‘Missing Believed Wiped’ board. Indeed I was accused by one well-known member of Kaleidoscope staff of being a ‘hoarder.’ It is this total disinterest and aggression which will ensure that my recordings will eventually be junked – I have too many to view to know what I do have or have been given. Some are on YouTube but I haven’t the time left in life to sort them all out.

  5. Chris J Brady

    The above should be read as: “The above opinion of “Crass! Stupid!” etc. is what drives me in my own activities to recover, process and maybe share episodes of junked or deliberately destroyed programmes.

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