Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes Page 2

Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes. Image shows from L to R: Captain Mainwaring (Kevin McNally), Sergeant Wilson (Robert Bathurst), Lance Corporal Jones (Kevin Eldon), Private Frazer (David Hayman), Private Godfrey (Timothy West), Private Pike (Tom Rosenthal), Private Frazer (David Hayman). Copyright: UKTV.

Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes

Remakes of three original, now lost, Dad's Army episodes

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italophile

  • Thursday 17th January 2019, 4:12pm
  • Italy
  • 213 posts

Just, like, why? It didn't work with the re-recordings of the missing radio "Hancock's Half Hour" episodes. Actors doing passable impressions of the originals - or, in the case of Simon Greenall, a travesty of an impression of Sid James - which only remind you how good the originals were.

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Kenneth

  • Thursday 17th January 2019, 5:00pm
  • Australia
  • 5,210 posts

One thing that worked (for me) was recreations of the Marx brothers' radio show Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel. Mixed feelings over Dad's Army lost episodes being filmed by a new cast. Many years ago, I had the Dad's Army script book and no videos, so I could just read the scripts and imagine the original cast and their voices. Now, a big effort is being made to do the imagining for me., but it won't look as genuine as I can imagine it. Then again, perhaps it will look and sound better. Perhaps. The recent-ish movie was not enjoyable.

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italophile

  • Thursday 17th January 2019, 5:16pm [Edited]
  • Italy
  • 213 posts
Quote: Kenneth @ 17th January 2019, 5:00 PM

One thing that worked (for me) was recreations of the Marx brothers' radio show Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel.

I thought it worked well. They captured the characters and style. Easier for them to get away with, too, because the source material is from long, long ago, and probably never played outside the States. We're mainly familiar with Groucho, etc, from the films of eons ago. The problem with the re-recorded "Hancock's Half Hour" eps is that play alongside the originals on R4 Extra. The originals' subtleties, the tempos at which they worked, Hancock's exquisite sense of timing, even the obvious fun they had during recording, are all missing from the re-recordings. I would rather have read the scripts and hear the original cast in my mind.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Friday 18th January 2019, 5:27am
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5,852 posts

I take exception to the title as with all these BBC 'Lost' projects. The word is DESTROYED. Dad's Army - The Destroyed Episodes. Time they owned up to it instead of using a word suggesting no culpability and then wanting praise for resurrecting them. The Italian Mafia/Catholic Church tried a similar scam with 'lost' masterpiece paintings. They hid them in vaults for 50 years then miraculously found them, inflating the value by millions for each one.

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Kenneth

  • Saturday 19th January 2019, 4:19am
  • Australia
  • 5,210 posts
Quote: Alfred J Kipper @ 18th January 2019, 5:27 AM

I take exception to the title as with all these BBC 'Lost' projects. The word is DESTROYED. Dad's Army - The Destroyed Episodes. Time they owned up to it instead of using a word suggesting no culpability and then wanting praise for resurrecting them.

Yes, "lost" is something of a misnomer. A weaselly euphemism. We put these tapes into a skip to be disposed of, and now we can't find them. Quite extraordinary. As for the the "new" shows, I wonder why the original claim of Hugh Laurie being approached to play Wilson didn't pan out? Whether Hugh Laurie had objections or ?

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italophile

  • Saturday 19th January 2019, 8:19am
  • Italy
  • 213 posts
Quote: Kenneth @ 19th January 2019, 4:19 AM

I wonder why the original claim of Hugh Laurie being approached to play Wilson didn't pan out? Whether Hugh Laurie had objections or ?

He probably would have been top of the producers' wish-list for Wilson. Who knows? Unavailable, not interested, too expensive. He might not even have been approached.

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Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Saturday 19th January 2019, 9:49am
  • England
  • 16,083 posts
Quote: Kenneth @ 19th January 2019, 4:19 AM

We put these tapes into a skip to be disposed of

No they weren't - much to everyone's regret they were reused as tape was very expensive then.**

What happened to the more accurate description of "missing presumed wiped"?

** I had one of the first Phillips N1500 VCRs in the UK back in the early 70s (My God that was a heavy monster!) and a HALF HOUR cassette then was an eye watering £25 - that's over £300 in today's money!!

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italophile

  • Saturday 19th January 2019, 10:45am
  • Italy
  • 213 posts

Yes, they were wiped and reused for that very reason. Expense. At various points after transmission, shows were reviewed with someone deciding their intrinsic value. There was a dreaded stamp: "No further interest". Once applied, the tapes were wiped.

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Billy Bunter

  • Saturday 19th January 2019, 12:56pm
  • The Sussex Coast, England
  • 888 posts

In his introduction to the book "Dad's Army The Lost Episodes", published by Virgin in 1998, David Croft explains the policy behind the wiping of tapes. Firstly they were expensive and therefore a department was set up at the BBC to service and repair tapes for re-use. Secondly an agreement with Equity did not allow the repeating of programmes more than two years after their first transmission (in order to keep actors in employment by working on new shows rather than allowing air time to be crowded with repeats). Therefore there was no point in keeping tapes longer than two years.

He then goes on to say: "One of the factors that helped save my programmes from destruction was the fact that I was on the staff and therefore always present when a piece of paper came round requiring a producer's agreement for a show to be wiped. I always contrived to withhold consent. I can only conclude that when the necessary form appeared for these programmes, I must have been on holiday".

The series was recorded on 16mm film for transmission in NZ & Australia. Over the years, he says, he has sent letters & telegrams and even paid personal visits to search for copies but none turned up.

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Kenneth

  • Saturday 19th January 2019, 2:57pm [Edited]
  • Australia
  • 5,210 posts

If all of the "missing" Dad's Army episodes were taped over, then why the reports of "found" episodes turning up in sheds years after someone took them from a skip?
EDIT: Ah, Wikipedia can answer that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dad%27s_Army_missing_episodes#Recovery

"Operation Kilt" and "The Battle of Godfrey's Cottage" were also believed lost until they were returned to the BBC as 16 mm film recordings in 2001. It has since been established that the two episodes were film recorded to show to executives at Columbia Pictures during discussions on the structure of the Dad's Army feature film. The film copies were then junked and retrieved from a skip by an opportunistic collector and stored in a garden shed for 30 years until returned to the BBC.

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Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Saturday 19th January 2019, 3:14pm
  • England
  • 16,083 posts

I was typing this out in Word, but will still post...............................

I think you will find that they were copies for third party use and not the original BBC tapes, besides which I think that has only happened once - the recent M&W finds in Africa for example were found on 16 mm. film, which really is the only way that these "lost" programmes will ever surface, AND this is the reason that so many early American TV progs. survive is because they were filmed to be used over the many time zones in that country and it seems didn't have the short-sighted attitude of bolshie UK unions.

Likewise, before this TV debacle, a lot of the recovered radio classics were from the shellac discs that were distributed around the world at that time.

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Kenneth

  • Saturday 19th January 2019, 5:01pm
  • Australia
  • 5,210 posts
Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ 19th January 2019, 3:14 PM

the short-sighted attitude of bolshie UK unions.

Aye. I wonder, did Perry and Croft have the sort of proprietary power over Dad's Army that Terry Nation (and now his estate) exercises over the Daleks? That is, did they give their consent to the "missing" scripts being remade with a new cast before they died? Or was it just a decision for the BBC to make?

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Sunday 20th January 2019, 10:50am [Edited]
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5,852 posts
Quote: italophile @ 19th January 2019, 10:45 AM

Yes, they were wiped and reused for that very reason. Expense. At various points after transmission, shows were reviewed with someone deciding their intrinsic value. There was a dreaded stamp: "No further interest". Once applied, the tapes were wiped.

Wiped or thrown out it still equates to destroyed. Even if they had to wipe and reuse tapes for monetary reasons the persons they entrusted to do this were clearly clueless twats. The same twats who decided worthless and obscure forgotten progs would exist over many a comedy classic.

Comedy got targeted because of the Beeb's pompous history and class riddled hierarchy meaning anything in the arts was revered and comedy treated as throwaway light entertainment. So they still have three hour recordings of The Royal Ballet no one ever watches even on youtube while many episodes of some of the greatest TV comedies ever made are having to be reimagined by B list actors 50 years later.

And have they EVER answered Peter Cook's claim that he offered to buy enough new tapes to keep all Pete&Dud's classic shows but they refused and then wiped half of them? The BBC were and still are unfit for the huge role they have or once had, because their end is nigh.

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italophile

  • Sunday 20th January 2019, 3:24pm
  • Italy
  • 213 posts

I couldn't agree more, Alfred.

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Aaron

  • Monday 21st January 2019, 6:58pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,345 posts
Quote: Kenneth @ 19th January 2019, 5:01 PM

Aye. I wonder, did Perry and Croft have the sort of proprietary power over Dad's Army that Terry Nation (and now his estate) exercises over the Daleks? That is, did they give their consent to the "missing" scripts being remade with a new cast before they died? Or was it just a decision for the BBC to make?

Yes.

Their estates have okayed the production.

Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ 19th January 2019, 3:14 PM

I think you will find that they were copies for third party use and not the original BBC tapes

Just to follow up on this, I am not aware of any recoveries ever having been made on the original tapes. Many have come from film prints and other copies made by the BBC for one reason or another, but not the original masters.