Monthly Archives: March 2009

Rat Catcher Caught: Missing Episode of 60s Spy Show Discovered

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.

The Rat Catchers

The Rat Catchers


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Missing Hancock’s Half Hour Discovered

Hancock Discovery

Hancock Discovery

Chris Perry of classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope has announced that the group has discovered a previously lost mini-episode of radio sitcom Hancock’s Half Hour.

The important find was made while sorting through reel-to-reel recordings that comprise part of the Bob Monkhouse collection. Monkhouse, who died in 2003, was an avid collector of film, TV and radio, and Kaleidoscope has been entrusted with cataloguing the vast collection.

The untitled episode, written by Hancock creators Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, runs to around seven and a half minutes and features all the regular cast: Tony Hancock, Sid James and Bill Kerr.

It was originally broadcast as part of Welcome to London, tx. 3rd August 1958 (BBC Light Programme), described by Alan Hayes, who has restored the programme, as a a ‘gala performance to celebrate the successful conclusion of the 1958 Commonwealth Games’. The Hancock mini-episode is on this subject.

What’s even more exciting is that the whole Welcome to London programme has been recovered and, as Alan explains on the Mausoleum Club forum, features other gems like a Take It From Here mini-episode, Frankie Howerd, the Much Binding in the Marsh cast and a sketch featuring Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques.

The Hancock episode has now been added to the next Kaleidoscope event, scheduled for Saturday, March 7, 2009, from 12pm-7pm at Stourbridge Town Hall, Stourbridge, West Midlands. Entry is free and for a full schedule of the rare gems being shown, click here.

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