A LOST TV showcase for the talents of American musician Peter Nero has been recovered after being bought off eBay.
Presenting Peter Nero (tx 20/9/66) was one of only three BBC shows made by the celebrated pianist and composer.
The 16mm film, believed to be a duplicate one generation down from the original reduction print, was bought for nearly £400 off online auction site eBay.
Arrangements are now being made for the 30-minute show to be loaned to the BBC so the corporation can make a digital transfer for its own archives.
Tim Disney of website findaclip.co.uk described the recovery as a “sweet experience”.
“This is the first time this programme has been seen in public in 44 years!” he added.
Tim, who earlier this year returned a lengthy clip from a lost episode of ’60s police drama No Hiding Place, was able to purchase the print with the financial backing of Steve Birt.
Birt donated the recording to the Tim Disney Archive (TDA) for safekeeping and telecine transfer, which was when the rarity of the show was confirmed.
“Not every film recording of sixties television is rare and at the TDA we have the resources to check the existing holdings of the BBC and ITV,” said Tim.
“On this occasion we knew that Peter Nero had made three appearances on BBC television. One programme was called ‘Peter Nero – In Person’ that was first screened in 1954 and repeated in 1965 and we knew that this already existed in the BBC archives.
“But he had also made two further programmes for the BBC called ‘Presenting Peter Nero’ that were screened in 1966 and 1967. The only way to identify this particular print was to buy it and take a closer look.”
The BBC Enterprises TR turned out to be one of the two missing editions of Presenting Peter Nero. The 30-minute show was broadcast only once, on Tuesday, September 20, 1966.
Tim said: “The print appears to be a dupe. It doesn’t look or sound like it’s any further away than one generation down from the original film recording in terms of picture quality or sound.”
According to Tim, Steve Birt has made “substantial contributions to the cause of recovering lost television” but has until now wished to remain anonymous.
He added: “He is a very modest man who has made substantial financial contributions to the cause of recovering lost television titles in the past.
“He would have been quite happy to remain anonymous, but I thought it was about time his contributions were recorded.”
READ ON: You can read Tim Disney’s original blog post about the find on his website. To see other rare clips in the TDA, visit www.youtube.com/user/findaclip. Peter Nero’s website is at www.peternero.com