Category Archives: Radio

Pick of the Pops appeal – can you help?

THE MAKERS of a new TV documentary on the UK singles chart are asking for help in locating lost episodes of Pick of the Pops.

David Maguire, a researcher working on BBC Four television documentary ’60 Years of the UK Singles Chart’, which is due to be broadcast in November to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the chart, says he is very keen to hear from anyone who might have recordings of the BBC Radio chart show.

He said: “I am a researcher working on a BBC Four television documentary ’60 Years of the UK Singles Chart’, which is due to be broadcast in November to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the chart.

“A major focus of our programme is on how the charts were disseminated, and BBC radio programmes such as ‘Pick of the Pops’ played a very significant role in this.

“I am trying to locate a copy of the first ever ‘Pick of the Pops’ programme broadcast by Alan Freeman in September 1961. I am also trying to locate a copy of Alan Freeman’s ‘Pick of the Pops’ broadcast in the first week of March 1967 when Englebert Humperdink’s ‘Release Me’ beat The Beatles ‘Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields’  to the number 1 spot.

“Neither of these episodes remain in the BBC archive. Has anyone heard these recordings before, or  know where I might be able to obtain a copy? I would be very interested to talk to anyone who could help with this, or anyone who could potentially supply other early recordings of Pick of the Pops from 1961 / 1962.”

If you can assist David, contact him at david.maguire@bbc.co.uk

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RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARCHIVE 2011 & LOST SHOWS APPEAL FINDS

CLASSIC TV organisation Kaleidoscope has unveiled its latest list of finds made as part of its annual Raiders of the Lost Archives campaign, detailing all the missing British TV and radio material located in the last 12 months by the group along with the BBC, ITV, BFI and determined enthusiasts.

In addition, there are the fruits of the “Lost Shows Appeal” to reveal. Launched by missing episode hunter Charles Norton back in June of this year to tie in Kaleidoscope’s http://www.lostshows.com website, the appeal has proved a big success in tracking down recordings of otherwise lost TV and radio shows that until recently only resided in the lofts, sheds and cupboards of the general public.

Thanks to the two initiatives a wealth of long-lost shows, interviews and excerpts have been located both as audio and visual recordings.

Highlights of the Kaleidoscope Raiders’ list (spanning October 2010 to November 2011) include the Frankie Howerd Audio Archive, finds held by the Tim Disney Archive (including Sir Ian McKellen’s first TV appearance in BBC series Kipling), the latest BSB recoveries made by Ian Greaves, and comedy gems from the Graham Webb Audio Archive including the soundtracks to wiped editions of World of Beachcomber; Peter Cook’s ill-fated chat show, Where Do I Sit?; sitcom No, That’s Me Over Here, starring Ronnie Corbett; Broaden Your Mind; Monty Python precursor At last the 1948 Show; The Frost Report and many, many others.

Mention should also go to Wiped News’s columnist Ray Langstone, who, incredibly, has been responsible for over 100 finds during the last 12 months. Well done, Ray!

Meanwhile, the Lost Shows Appeal has also delivered a bumper crop of archive material to get excited about, including a massive haul of material that has been donated courtesy of the estate of late radio producer John Fawcett Wilson, and a  large quantity of unedited
(audio-only) television studio recordings and production tapes including editions of The Old Grey Whistle Test, Lulu, The Rolf Harris Show, International Cabaret, and The Morcambe and Wise Show.

Other finds include rare episodes of Radio Luxembourg’s 1950s’ Dan Dare serial and interviews with figures such as Benny Hill, Peter Sellers, film director Lindsay Anderson and Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee.

Already some more of this year’s rediscovered material is on its way to find new audiences. Episodes from the BBC’s 1967 Sexton Blake radio series are due to be released by BBC Audiobooks early next year.

So without further ado, here are the full lists for the Raiders of the Lost Archives 2010 – 11 and the Lost Shows Appeal 2011.

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Kaleidoscope launch Treasure Hunt appeal to track down domestic recordings of TV and radio shows

TV RESEARCH organisation Kaleidoscope has announced the launch of its appeal to recover long-lost television and radio programmes.

The purpose of the appeal is to get members of the general public searching through their attics, cellars, garages and sheds looking for home-recordings of otherwise lost shows.

Until the early 1980s, broadcasters such as the BBC regularly disposed of archive programmes to re-use expensive tape and free up space. As a result, there are massive and significant holes in Britain’s television and radio archive. Countless hours of comedy shows, dramas, documentaries and other broadcasts have been lost, destroyed, or were never recorded in the first place.

Though there have been campaigns to look for lost material before, such as Kaleidoscope’s The Raiders of the Lost Archives Appeal, these have always been very general searches. This time, the appeal is specifically targeting domestic home-recordings. We are looking for people who may have made domestic recordings of a TV or radio programme in their own home at the time of broadcast.

Up until the 1980s, it was very common for people to make ‘off-air audio recordings’ of their favourite television or radio programmes. More often than not, a microphone would simply be propped up against a television speaker. There are even cases of programmes being taped on home video recorders as early as the 1960s and 1970s. These are the kind of things that we are looking for.

The appeal, which is backed by the BBC and British Library Sound Archive will launch officially at Kaleidoscope’s “DJ Heaven” event in Stourbridge, on Saturday, June 4.

Encouragingly, a number of exciting finds have already been made following a call to former broadcast engineers via BBC in-house magazine Ariel. Discoveries include audio recordings of seminal comedy shows such as Monty Python precursors At Last the 1948 Show and Twice a Fortnight, Broaden Your Mind, The Frost Report, The Ken Dodd Experience, The Morecambe and Wise Show, The Frankie Howerd Show, Not Only… But Also, World of Beachcomber, Till Death Us Do Part and many more.

A specialist group of volunteers has been given the Herculean task of sifting through and preserving in digital format the huge amount of missing material that is expected to be uncovered over the course of the year-long appeal.

Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope said: “We know for a fact that many people recorded their favourite shows off the TV and radio as far back as the early 1950s.

“The purpose of the Treasure Hunt appeal is to uncover those domestic recordings and we ask people to search their homes for old reel-to-reels, cassettes and early video tapes that might just be sitting in the attic or cellar gathering dust.

“You never know, they could represent the only copies of classic shows still in existence.”

Anyone who can offer any recordings should contact Kaleidoscope via www.losthshows.com.

READ ON: Plea put out for ‘lost’ TV shows (BBC News, June 3, 2011)

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AudioGo releases long-lost Dick Barton adventures

DICK BARTON – Special Agent rides again, with the release of two classic 1940s radio adventures recently unearthed in Australia.

The complete serials, dating from 1949, were among 338 episodes of the hugely-popular show discovered in the vaults of the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.

The recordings, found in 2009 by freelance researcher Charles Norton but not announced until earlier this year, are accurate copies of the original broadcasts, made by the BBC for international distribution between 1948 and 1950.

AudioGo has now released two of the recovered stories, Dick Barton and the Cabatolin Diamonds, and Dick Barton and the Paris Adventure, on CD and as downloads.

Co-created and written by Edward J. Mason and Geoffrey Webb,Dick Barton – Special Agent was the BBC’s first daily serial, running between 1946 and 1951 on the Light Programme.

Heralded by the instantly memorable signature tune, Devil’s Galop by Charles Williams, the adventures of special agent Dick Barton and his friends Jock Anderson and Snowy White were essential listening for an entire generation.

At its peak, 15 million listeners tuned in for their 15-minute fix of criminal masterminds, espionage and adventure.

Sadly, very few original BBC recordings (starring Noel Johnson, Duncan Carse and then Gordon Davies as Barton) still survive. Out of 711 episodes broadcast on the Light Programme between 1946 and 1951, only 3 episodes were preserved – 100, 442 and 711 – along with two short clips.

However, a number of early Barton tales were re-recorded for transmission overseas, recycling the original scripts and music cues.

These re-stagings, starring Douglas Kelly, Moira Carleton, Clifford Cowley, Richard Davies, William Lloyd and Patricia Kennedy, found new audiences in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

In Dick Barton and the Paris Adventure (tx 14 March – 14 April 1949), Barton and his friends join forces with the French police on the trail of an international smuggling operation. Can Dick defeat the villainous Spider Kennedy? Will he escape from Paris alive?

Dick Barton and the Cabatolin Diamonds (tx 18 April – 19 May 1949) sees Dick’s plans for a Mediterranean cruise cancelled when the Home Office ask him to help them crack a gang of international diamond smugglers. Can Dick thwart the evil Henri De Flambeau before it’s too late?

Though over 60 years old, both serials are said to have “excellent” sound quality.

READ ON:

LONG-LOST RADIO HERO DICK BARTON RETURNS (Daily Express, February 16, 2011).

WHEN CHARLES MET DICK – Wiped News interview with Charles Norton.

Audiobook Review: Dick Barton and The Paris Adventure

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BBC Radio 4 Extra to air long-lost episodes of Life with The Lyons

Life with The Lyons cast

Life with The Lyons: Ben Lyon and his wife Bebe Daniels with children Richard and Barbara Lyon.

A MASSIVE collection of Life with The Lyons episodes has come to light, with select shows set to be broadcast as a tribute to late series writer Bob Block.

A Scottish collector and fan recently contacted the BBC after hearing an episode of the popular ’50s radio sitcom aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Only three editions of the show, starring real-life man and wife Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels, survive in the BBC Archives, but the fan had over 200 recordings in his collection

Radio 4 Extra has now announced that a season of lost episodes from the “Scottish collection” will be broadcast in the “near future” on the digital station, as a tribute to Lyons scriptwriter Bob Block, who died last month.

The recordings are taken from star Ben Lyon’s original reels and are said to be in “very good condition”.

Life with The Lyons was one of the BBC’s earliest domestic sit-coms.

Ditching the typical musical interludes in BBC radio comedies of the time, the show, which also starred Lyon and Daniels’ children, Barbara and Richard, ran for ten series between 1950 and 1961.

It proved so successful that it later switched to TV.

In addition to writing for Life with The Lyons, Bob Block was also the creator and writer of Robert’s Robots, Pardon My Genie, Galloping Galaxies, and fondly-remembered BBC children’s series Rentaghost.

He died on April 17, 2011, aged 90.

READ ON: BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra Blog (May 7, 2011)

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Some of Our Archives Were Missing repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra

Stuart Maconie

Stuart Maconie presents a selection of recovered BBC radio shows.

A SELECTION of previously-missing radio shows including the untransmitted pilot of It Sticks Out Half a Mileare currently on the BBC iPlayer.

Some of Our Archives Were Missing, presented by Stuart Maconie, offers a selection of shows previously thought lost, but since returned to the BBC Archive.

The three-hour show – repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Saturday, April 30,  and available to listen to again until Friday, May 6, 2011 – features:

  • Comedy Parade: Hush, Hush, Here Comes the Bolshie Man (1971)
  • Thirty Minute Theatre: The Green Machine (1975)
  • Story Time: Eyewitness Accounts – The Great Fire of London (1970)
  • Things Could Be Worse (1976)
  • The Worst Show on the Wireless (1975)

First broadcast in 2004 on BBC7, Some of Our Archives Were Missing features programmes returned to the BBC through its now-defunct BBC Archive Treasure Hunt campaign.

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Kaleidoscope Raiders of the Lost Archives list 2009 – 2010

CLASSIC TV organisation Kaleidoscope has revealed its annual Raiders of the Lost Archives list for 2009 – 2010, detailing all the missing material located in the last 12 months by the group along with the BBC, ITV, BFI and missing episode hunters.

Particularly notable on this year’s list is the Library of Congress finds, where over 60 long-lost British dramas dating beween the late fifties and early seventies were discovered sitting in an American archive. The assortment of plays and adaptations boast a who’s who of acting talent including Sean Connery, David McCallum, Charles Gray, Susannah York, Patrick Macnee, William Gaunt, Norman Rossington, Ron Moody, Derek Jacobi, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, Nerys Hughes, Patricia Routledge, David Hemmings, Kevin Stoney, Hywel Bennett, Thora Hird, John Gielgud, Michael Gambon, Hugh Paddick, Robert Hardy, Peggy Ashcroft, Leonard Rossiter, John Le Mesurier, Patrick Stewart, Brian Rawlinson, Michael Gough, Bernard Horsfall, Michael Hordern, Patrick Troughton, Jeremy Brett, Patrick Wymark, Bernard Cribbins, Betty Marsden, Edward De Souza, Patsy Rowlands, Gerald Flood, Donald Wolfit, Philip Madoc, Geoffrey Bayldon, Frank Finlay, Henry McGee,  Jane Asher and Graham Crowden.

Also on the list are classic comedy shows starring Benny Hill, Dick Emery, Frankie Howerd, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, the Monty Python team, The Goodies, Marty Feldman, Bob Monkhouse, Denis Goodwin, Ronnie Barker, Willie Rushton, Frank Muir, Denis Norden, Alan Bennett and Hattie Jacques; serial dramas such as No Hiding Place and The Troubleshooters; light entertainment including The Rolf Harris Show; music from The Hollies, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Showaddywaddy, The Arrows and Guys n Dolls; and children’s programmes by animator Oliver Postgate and the Smallfilms studio, including Ivor the Engine.

Last but not least, the list reveals some good progress in the BSB recoveries campaign of Ian Greaves, including episodes of The Happening, I Love Keith Allen and Up Yer News.

Speaking about the impressive list, Kaleidoscope’s Chris Perry said: “It’s been a great year for recoveries all round and goes to show there’s still more out there to find.”

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Morecambe and Wise: The Garage Tapes

PREVIOUSLY lost recordings featuring celebrated comedy duo Morcambe and Wise are to be aired for the first time in over 50 years.

Morcambe and Wise: The Garage Tapes documents the rediscovery of 45 hours’ worth of material – including episodes of their first radio show – found last year during a clear-out.

The BBC Radio 4 programme, presented by impressionist Jon Culshaw has been made by Whistledown. The independent radio company was contacted by Doreen Wise, widow of Ernie, after she came across two boxes of reel-to-reel tapes and a leather suitcase packed with 78rpm acetates.

These were passed on to Whistledown radio producer David Prest, who says that “three-quarters” of the old recordings were missing from the archives.

He said: “There were 45 hours of tape and we worked out that three-quarters of this stuff was thought lost. The BBC hadn’t kept much of it, but Ernie had.

RESTORED: Producer David Prest cleaning one of the 78rmp acetates.

“After six months of restoration, we had a little piece of history – the missing link between their stage and TV careers.”

The most important find is a near-complete run of Morcambe and Wise’s first radio show, You’re Only Young Once, made for the BBC BBC Northern Home Service between November 1953 and June 1954.

Also found were the fledgling duo’s appearances on BBC radio programmes Variety Bandbox and Variety Fanfare going back to 1949, sound copies of their Sixties’ Great Yarmouth and Blackpool stage-shows, song demos and audio doodles, and the speeches from a 1974 Variety Club lunch held in their honour.

You’re Only Young Once featured skits, songs and cameos from fellow comics such as Bob Monkhouse and Harry Secombe, and, according to William Cook, author of Morecambe & Wise Untold, are important for illustrating the evolution of their comedy.

He said: “They were never Northern comics in the vein of George Formby. They looked across the Pond to that Abbott & Costello style of quick-fire repartee.

Jon Culshaw, a Morcambe and Wise fan, narrates The Garage Tapes.

“It’s recognisably Morecambe & Wise. But it’s like The Beatles’ Hamburg tapes. They’re almost playing cover versions, haven’t yet discovered the thing that makes them special.”

The garage tapes are believed to be ‘run off’ copies recorded at 33/4 ips by studio engineers immediately after the recordings, and acetate copies for which Doreen Wise paid the studio engineer a few shillings.

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Garage Find Brings Us Sunshine

Morecambe and Wise

Bring Me Sunshine: Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

LOST recordings from the early career of legendary comedy due Morecambe and Wise have been unearthed in a garage.

Around 45 hours’ worth of material was discovered by Ernie’s widow Doreen while preparing to move home six months ago. The double act had paid the sound engineer a few shillings at a time to make copies of their recordings.

The material – on acetate discs and reel-to-reel tapes – dates from the Fifties. The treasure trove of lost comedy includes the pairs’ long-lost first radio show You’re Only Young Once, aired on the BBC Northern Home Service between November 1953 and June 1954 and featuring guests including Bob Monkhouse and Harry Secombe.

Audio from the pilot for their early 1960s ATV series was also found as well as master copies of songs, after-dinner speeches and tapes of end-of-the pier shows.

Following Doreen’s discovery, Morecambe and Wise’s former agents contacted independent radio firm Whistledown to investigate what could be done with the material.

BBC experts were able to restore some, but not all, of the old recordings, and highlights will be aired later this year on Radio 4.

Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said: ‘’The lost tapes are both a bit of comedy history and BBC history as well as entertaining in themselves. It is good stuff that’s never been heard before and raw stuff from the early Fifties.

‘Some of the sketches were remade for the Seventies. There was a famous Dick Turpin sketch with double entendres which started out in ’53 or ’54 and ended up on TV in around 1975.”

The hour-long collection of highlights – Morecambe and Wise: The Garage Tapes – will air 9am, May 4, presented by Jon Culshaw. It is also reported that BBC Radio 4 or 7 is in negotiations to broadcast all the unheard material – around 25 shows’ worth.

Morecambe and Wise began their partnership in 1941. They reached the peak of the career with their 1977 Christmas Show, which attracted 28 million viewers. Morecambe died in 1984, and Wise in 1999.

The story of the garage tapes has been reported widely.  You can read more on Chortle and the Daily Mail.

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‘Lost’ Kenneth Williams Script Gets Radio Airing

A NEW BBC production based on a ‘lost’ Kenneth Williams radio script gets its first broadcast this September.

Twice Ken Is Plenty was written in 1966 by Kenneth Horne and his ghost writer, Mollie Millest, and was intended to be performed by Horne and Williams (who starred together in hugely popular radio comedies Beyond Our Ken and Round The Horne).

Twice Ken Is Plenty: Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Horne

Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Horne.

The script, however, was never produced and was forgotten about until it was rediscovered by writer and broadcaster Wes Butters, who bought it as part of a collection of Williams memorabilia being sold on eBay by the late star’s godson, Robert Chiddell.

Butters introduces the show, recorded back in June, which according to the BBC “finds the two Kenneths working together in advance of their own radio programme and follows them as they journey around Broadcasting House meeting a weird and wonderful assortment of characters.”

It stars Round The Horne… Revisited soundalikes Robin Sebastian and Jonathan Rigby, reprising their respective roles as Williams and Horne, and Charles Armstrong as the Announcer.

  • Twice Ken Is Plenty will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tueday, September 1st, at 11.30am. For more information visit the BBC site here or The British Comedy Guide, here.

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