Two missing Till Death Us Do Part episodes found

ExclusiveThursday 12th October 2023, 4:21pm

  • Missing episodes of BBC 1's Till Death Us Do Part have been found by researchers
  • The one entirely lost and one previously partly-found programme both come from 1968's third series
  • Starring iconic comedy character Alf Garnett, the comedy ran for seven series, two films and various sequels
Till Death Us Do Part. Image shows from L to R: Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell), Else Garnett (Dandy Nichols), Rita Rawlins (Una Stubbs), Mike Rawlins (Anthony Booth). Copyright: BBC

Copies of two wiped episodes of the iconic BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part have been recovered, British Comedy Guide can exclusively announce.

Both come from the sitcom's third series, written by Johnny Speight and broadcast from 5th January to 16th February 1968. The off-air recordings are complete with the original BBC 1 continuity, as they originally aired across Britain.

The programmes are Monopoly (Episode 3), and Aunt Maud (Episode 7). The former was entirely missing from the BBC's archive, whilst the latter was previously recovered incomplete. A third, already existent episode - The Phone (Episode 1) - was also identified, with its full as-broadcast continuity version now returned to the BBC.

All were recorded on domestic 405-line reel-to-reel tape for a member of the cast to view, and brought to the attention of specialist TV archival, research and recovery organisation Kaleidoscope in 2018, who have electronically transferred the three programmes.

Chris Perry, CEO of the company, said: "Sometimes it takes years to recover episodes of missing television, but it is worth the wait."

A scene from Monopoly. Image shows left to right: Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell), Mike Rawlins (Anthony Booth), Rita Rawlins (Una Stubbs). Credit: BBC
A scene from Monopoly. Image shows left to right: Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell), Mike Rawlins (Anthony Booth), Rita Rawlins (Una Stubbs). Credit: BBC

Till Death Us Do Part famously starred Warren Mitchell as the irascible, bigoted working class East Londoner Alf Garnett; with Dandy Nichols as his long-suffering wife Else; Una Stubbs as their daughter, Rita; and Anthony Booth as her husband, Mike Rawlins. Beginning as a Comedy Playhouse pilot in 1965, it became a ratings sensation as it charted Alf's bloody-minded dislike of cultural and societal changes sweeping through Britain, satirising family life, politics, industrial relations, and other cultural and social issues along the way.

As well as two feature film spin-offs, the comedy elicited two direct television sequels and Mitchell continued playing the Alf Garnett character in other entertainment formats right up until writer Johnny Speight's death in 1998. The original sitcom ran for 54 episodes and a number of further short specials across seven series, concluding in 1975.

The finds mean there are now only four episodes surviving incomplete, with a further eleven completely missing believed wiped. An additional short special is also lost. However, soundtrack recordings to all sixteen affected editions have been found in recent decades and were released on a then-complete DVD box set in 2016.

Kaleidoscope hope to present a screening of Monopoly at a later date.

Till Death Us Do Part

Highly popular - and more than a little controversial - Johnny Speight's classic sitcom satirised the less acceptable aspects of conservative working-class culture and the yawning generation gap, creating a sea change in television comedy that influenced just about every sitcom that followed. As relevant today as when first transmitted, Speight's liberal attitude to comedy shone a light on some of the more unsavoury aspects of the national character to great effect.

Starring Warren Mitchell as highly opinionated, true-blue bigot Alf Garnett, Till Death Us Do Part sees him mouthing off on race, immigration, party politics and any other issues that take his fancy. His rantings meet fierce opposition in the form of his left-wing, Liverpudlian layabout son-in-law Mike, while liberal daughter Rita despairs and long-suffering wife Else occasionally wields a sharp put-down of her own.

Though all colour episodes exist, many early black and white episodes were wiped decades ago. The recent recovery of the episode Intolerance, alongside off-air audio recordings, allow this box set to include a complete run of the series from beginning to end.

First released: Monday 12th December 2016

  • Distributor: Network
  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 8
  • Minutes: 1,166
  • Subtitles: English
  • Catalogue: 7954597

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Not in the UK?

Fear not! Many items can still be ordered. Amazon in the UK delivers to many international territories, whilst their Australia, USA and Canada stores also supply many equivalent or imported items.

If you are in the North America, look out for US/Canadian flag icons on popular product listings for direct links.

If you order from a UK store, please note that the UK is in Region 2 and B, respectively, for DVDs and Blu-rays - check your player's compatibility, or look for multi-region products if you are located in another region.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand (DVD Region 4), note that almost all DVDs distributed in the UK by the BBC and 2entertain are encoded for both Region 2 and Region 4. The UK and Australasia are in the same Blu-ray region (B).

Till Death Us Do Part

One of the most controversial - and popular - comedies ever made, Johnny Speight's classic sitcom caustically satirised the less acceptable aspects of entrenched working-class culture in the form of highly opinionated, true-blue bigot Alf Garnett - as played by Warren Mitchell. Making the jump to feature films in 1968, Till Death Us Do Part sees the return of all four series regulars and is featured here as a brand-new high definition transfer from original film elements.

1939. War is declared. But Alf Garnett's got bigger problems on his plate - he's only been married to Else for a few weeks and they're already sick of the sight of each other!

First released: Monday 28th January 2019

  • Distributor: Network
  • Region: B
  • Discs: 1
  • Minutes: 100
  • Subtitles: English
  • Catalogue: 7958177

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  • Distributor: Network
  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Minutes: 96
  • Subtitles: English
  • Catalogue: 7954982

Buy and sell old and new items
Search for this product on eBay

Not in the UK?

Fear not! Many items can still be ordered. Amazon in the UK delivers to many international territories, whilst their Australia, USA and Canada stores also supply many equivalent or imported items.

If you are in the North America, look out for US/Canadian flag icons on popular product listings for direct links.

If you order from a UK store, please note that the UK is in Region 2 and B, respectively, for DVDs and Blu-rays - check your player's compatibility, or look for multi-region products if you are located in another region.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand (DVD Region 4), note that almost all DVDs distributed in the UK by the BBC and 2entertain are encoded for both Region 2 and Region 4. The UK and Australasia are in the same Blu-ray region (B).

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