Tag Archives: Leslie Phillips

Hallelujah! Lost episode of Our Man at St. Mark’s recovered

A LOST episode of Our Man at St. Mark’s — the ’60s ecclesiastical comedy starring Leslie Philips — has been recovered after being bought on internet auction site eBay.

Our Man at St. Mark's

PRAISE BE: Leslie Philips starred in A-R comedy show Our Man at St. Mark's.

The 16mm film print of “A Previous Conviction” was bought with the assistance of classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope and The Tim Disney Archive.

It’s recovery brings the total number of surviving episodes to four and doubles the number of surviving episodes to feature Carry On . . . star Philips in the lead role.

It will now be transferred to digital format before being offered for loan to the British Film Institute. A public screening is also expected at some point “in the not too distant future”.

Broadcast by A-R between 1963 and 1965, Our Man at St. Mark’s was a “light-hearted but superior” comedy that revolved around the day-to-day exploits of a parish vicar.

“A Previous Conviction” (Tx 23/10/63) hails from the first series of the show and stars regular cast members Philips, as the slightly eccentric Reverend Andrew Parker, Anne Lawson as his girlfriend Anne Gibson and Joan Hickson as his housekeeper, Mrs Pace.

In the episode — guest-starring Warren Mitchell, Frank Tregear and Freddie Jones — Revd Parker’s attempt to give an ex-convict a fresh start in life becomes more than complicated when Anne decides to take a hand.

With the recovery of the print, four out of the 35 broadcast episodes are now known to exist. The others are the very first episode, “The Facts of Life” (Tx 25/09/63), “We Do It on Saturday” (Tx 18/06/64) and “A Funny Thing Happened to Amanda” (Tx 26/04/65).

Philips only appeared in series one of the show. For the remaining two series (1964–5), Donald Sinden took over the charge of St Mark’s as vicar Stephen Young.

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Filed under BBC, Comedy, Finds, Kaleidoscope, Television

Classic Episode Of Radio Comedy No Longer Lost At Sea

An early episode of classic BBC radio comedy The Navy Lark has been discovered along with better copies of a number of other episodes.

The long-running show, about the exploits of the hopeless crew of HMS Troutbridge, ran to over 200 episodes between 1959 and 1977. Well-remembered for its catch-phrases and innuendo, The Navy Lark featured the likes of Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee, Ronnie Barker, and Stephen Murray among its crew.

Oh lumme! A previously missing episode of radio sit-com The Navy Lark has surfaced.

Oh lumme! A previously missing episode of radio sit-com The Navy Lark has surfaced.

According to The Navy Lark Appreciation Society, 40 episodes are officially missing from the archives, either completely or in broadcast quality, but that number is now set to be reduced following the discovery of a number of early shows recorded off-air on reel-to-reel.

The website, part of The British Comedy & Drama Website,  has published the following statement about the find:

“It is always gratifying to hear from fans of the show, but even more so when the email contains the line – ‘I have these reels of tape that may have missing shows on.’

“Arrangements were quickly made for the tapes to be sent to our tape engineer and restorer, who spent a profitable weekend working on the four reels and the results were quite amazing. Not only is there a previously lost show, Series 3, Episode 20, but many of the other shows are improvements on those recordings that are known to exist and have been issued on CD.

“It is all the more satisfying because they cover the third and fourth series, so are relatively early in terms of home recording.”

Posting on The Mausoleum Club, The Navy Lark Appreciation Society’s Steve Arnold gave some more details about the quality of the new recording compared to the currently held copies, most of which have been issued on CD as part of the BBC Radio Collection:

Series 3/ episode 7 – BBC CD perfect, so no improvement.

3/12 – Improvement on BBC CD, which was an off air. 3/14 – ditto

3/17 – BBC CD was the archive copy, so no improvement.

3/19 – Slightly better than CD, but hardly any difference.

3/20 – This was missing from the CDs, so a genuine find.

4/3 – Much better than the CD copy

4/5 – Bit better than the CD

4/12 – Much better than the CD

4/19 – Huge improvement. Poor AM copy used with all sorts of problems, this new one is FM and only slightly hissy

4/23 – Both copies off air, and about the same really, prefer the new one though.

4/24 – About the same as CD copy

The previously missing episode – “The Surprise Wedding” (tx 15/03/60) – means that all episodes of series three are now accounted for in one form or other.

All the episodes found on the reels have been offered to the BBC.

  • If you have any recordings of The Navy Lark APART from mp3 files downloaded off the Internet, the The Navy Lark Appreciation Society would like to hear from you. You can get in touch via its website.

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Filed under Discoveries, Radio