He might have been just 4ft 3ins tall, but Lancashire entertainer Jimmy Clitheroe was a big star of the airways with his hugely popular BBC radio show: The Clitheroe Kid.
Clitheroe took advantage of his diminutive stature to play a cheeky schoolboy who lived with his family at 33 Lilac Avenue in an unnamed northern town.
The Kid was always getting into trouble for his schemes and sharp tongue, or for listening at the keyhole and getting the wrong end of the stick. Often his only reward was the right end of Grandad’s slipper.
The Clitheroe Kid ran for 17 series (a pilot series and 16 subsequent series) between 1957 and 1972, totalling 290 30-minute episodes. But of those, only 15 unedited shows (on open reel magnetic tape) and a further 28 edited editions, from BBC transcription discs, still reside in the archives, according to Missing-Episodes.com.
But there are many more episodes floating around in the ether and since January 2006 Derek Boyes of clitheroekid.org.uk has been hot on their trail.
To date he has managed to round up over 100 officially missing episodes from various sources. You can see a list of his finds here.
Speaking to Wiped about his amazingly impressive haul, Derek said:
“I was first introduced to The Clitheroe Kid on the radio when I was eight years old. My father was a keen radio comedy listener and said ‘I think you might enjoy this ‘ and brought me from elsewhere in the house to listen to the radio.
“I was captivated by Jimmy’s cheeky comedy and for a few weeks listened to the show religiously. It was extremely popular in it’s heyday – attracting 10 Million listeners at its peak
“Then being a boy, football or something else took it’s place. But deep down a love of the character (and the memories) remained and I re-discovered him on MP3s in this computer age.
“That’s when, impressed by what an OTR (Old Time Radio) enthusiast had already achieved in preserving the show, I decided to do my part.
“I believe the BBC only have around 13 complete (as in un-edited shows) and they regularly air about 31 shows on BBC Radio 7. Lots of shows are missing.
‘When I started my search in 2006, 132 shows from poor to good quality were then doing the MP3 circuit. I was impressed by what another collector had achieved with the show so I joined an OTR forum and contacted him.
“We became a partnership on this project and spurred each other on. I set up a website (www.theclitheroekid.org.uk); started writing to letter columns in local and regional newspapers informing readers of the search; trawled the net and contacted anyone and everyone that may have had tapes of the show.
“Those episodes available on the net had been accumulated by the time I joined the search. My finds came via reel-to-reel recordings, cassettes and BBC transcription discs.
“Some missing shows turned up on home-recordings given to the North West Sound Archive and others were sent to me by people who had read of the search in their local paper.”
Derek says the sound quality of the recordings varies from ‘good’ to ‘poor’. “We simply do the best we can with what we have,” he continued, “but we have released all finds from abysmal quality to good.
“People want to hear the shows whatever they are like but the search is endless. We are always looking for better quality on those we have, and to find more missing shows.
“I have got a share in 14 transcription discs. These are not yet all released. They are not new shows to MP3 collectors but will provide good quality recordings.”
Considering his favourite discoveries, Derek said: “I really enjoyed ‘The Loving Neighbour’, a 1966 episode with Molly Sugden. It’s very funny and would have been a shame if it had never surfaced.
“We also completed the run of 1970s episodes when we found an episode called, ironically, ‘The Not-So-Artful Dodger’.”
For more information on the hunt for lost episodes of The Clitheroe Kid, click here.
- If you help Derek with his search to find more missing episodes of The Clitheroe Kid, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
12 responses to “Massive Haul Of Clitheroe Kid Episodes Rounded Up”
Anyone looking in from Australia or indeed other countries where The Clitheroe Kid was aired, I ould use some help. many shows were aired abroad using BBC Transcription Discs (LP Records). Some have already turned up with Australian collectors. If you have any of these I’d be most grateful of a quality copy for our archives.
A lot of shows are still missing fro the mid 60’s & I am certain some survive in this form overseas. Please help.
I don’t know where you got your information from, but there are far more than 28 shows in TS archives. I’ve got a batch of discs, far from a complete set, but the highest number I have is 82. These are original issues, not the late 70s ‘best of’ releases, so I’m assuming that the BBC will have copies or masters of these on a hard drive somewhere, and we can assume that they have way more than the 28 you list. I hazard a guess that you got that from the ‘best of’ discs.
Further to my earlier post, I’ve since found out that BBC Transcription holdings amount to 154 shows. The 28 shows you quote are re-issues, so don’t add to the total. I’ve got a fair few – 46 of the original issues, and all 28 of the re-issues, as perfect disc copies. I’m attempting a restoration of the available shows, so if you can help…
found 72 shows in OGG format, cant see 154
I run the Jimmy Clitheroe website at http://www.JimmyClitheroe.co.uk
I’d like to publish the details of the BBC’s Transcription Disk holdings on my site, as I don’t believe those details have ever before been available.
Derek’s information, which is actually about the BBC Sound Archive’s holdings, came from me; and is drawn from what I was told by the Archives about their holdings for this show when I first set up my website, in 2001.
Derek did a magnificent job in tracking down off-air home recordings. No one I spoke to at the BBC, including the show’s producer, had any idea that more than 150 transcription recordings have survived, Derek’s lists of recovered episodes are all amateur home recordings, not professional recordings, and it would be helpful to have a definitive list available of all the surviving TS material currently held at the BBC.
I posted the details of the recordings held in the BBC Sound Archives here: http://www.btinternet.com/~m.brown1/radio.htm
These include open reel magnetic masters and Transcription Services disc recordings.
Perhaps you can help me? I am the daughter of Shirley King who played Susan in the original pilot episodes of the Clitheroe Kid. It would mean a great deal to me and my family if anyone knows of recordings of her episodes? She was a lead actress with the BBC Radio Theatre Company in the North from 1944 for 20 years.
please get in touch,
I have been collecting clothe toe kid episodes….I can send an excel sheet of what I have and where available the source….
I run the Jimmy Clitheroe website, which is currently hosted at http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/bridip/clitheroe/
If you are enquiring about the original pilot show aired 24 April 1956 on Home Service National, I can tell you that Shirley King was not in it. Nor is she identified as being a regular in the Pilot series, aired on Home Service North from 1 July 1957.
According to all the BBC sources available to me. I can only find her once, in the 1957 Pilot Series, episode 6, aired 5 August 1957. The episode was written by Ronnie Taylor, so you might try contacting his daughter through his website, who might have details.
There are no known surviving recordings of any Clitheroe Kid edition aired prior to 1959.
Producer Jim Casey, who I talked to at length about Jimmy, and who I knew for many years, normally used comedians, not drama rep actors. For example, he cast Irene Handl, Robert Moreton and Anthea Askey (Arthur’s daughter) in the 1956 pilot, because of their comedy experience. For reasons too complicated to go into, Jim Casey was not involved in casting during the 1957 Pilot Series. But as he did not normally use straight actors in comedy shows, I would not expect to find your mother cast in the 1958 series or thereafter. And all BBC sources bear this out.
i can vaguely remember the b/w tv series i can only recall the opening credits of jimmy in a cartie going down the road other than that i dont remember anything of the tv series
as we(my parents) didnt buy a colour set until 1972 it would have been a b/w set we were watching tv on and reckon it was probably the mid 60’s or thereabouts
do any of the tv series still exist or were they wiped or lost?
Some tv episodes starring Jimmy Clitheroe, all made for ITV, have been released on DVD. Details are on my website at –
I believe the opening credits sequence for ‘Just Jimmy’, the ITV series he starred in which ran from 1964 to 1968 in b/w, does include Jimmy in some type of soapbox go-cart on some episodes (but most of the episodes from that series have not survived, so I can’t be exact about the details). The series was made by ABC, who had an ITV franchise until 1968, but were then absorbed into Thames TV. Most of ABC’s archive didn’t survive, because ABC itself didn’t survive.
My information is that only 1 episode of ‘Just Jimmy’ now survives on film, and it is included on the DVD now available, along with half a dozen episodes from Jimmy’s 1963 ITV series called ‘Thats My Boy’.
BTW avoid the ‘Clitheroe Kid’ on Facebook – its a scam site – promoting something American using Kid recordings as the bait.