Two missing 1960s BBC sitcom episodes found

Thursday 26th October 2023, 12:07pm

  • Missing episodes of Hugh And I and Sykes And A... have been found
  • The shows were wiped by the BBC, but survived as film prints in private collections
  • Dating from 1961 and 1964, one episode from the third series of each has been recovered
Sykes And A.... Image shows left to right: Eric (Eric Sykes), Hat (Hattie Jacques). Credit: BBC

Two missing sitcom episodes from the early 1960s have been recovered by film archivists.

Organisers of this weekend's Film is Fabulous! convention, working in conjunction with specialist researchers and Leicester's De Montfort University's Cinema and Television History Institute, found film prints amongst the archives of recently deceased film collectors.

The rediscovered programmes are Sykes And A Marriage, originally broadcast on 1st February 1961 as the fifth episode of Sykes And A...'s third series; and the first episode of Hugh And I Series 3, New Year Resolutions, from 4th January 1964.

Film is Fabulous! curator and principal organiser John Franklin explained today: "We really have been so lucky to have found these original films. We are fairly sure they were likely to have been thrown out by the BBC in a clear-out and been saved from the skip before ending up in these private collections.

"We found them in the collections of people who have sadly passed away and recovered them before they were lost again in house clearances."

Running for nine series from 1960 - 65, Sykes And A... was principally written by Eric Sykes, who also starred alongside Hattie Jacques. It was later revived and reworked - rebooted - as Sykes (1972 - 79). The discovery means that of the 59 episodes produced, 32 remain missing, alongside one additional short special.

Hugh And I. Image shows left to right: Hugh Lloyd (Hugh Lloyd), Terry Scott (Terry Scott). Credit: BBC

Hugh And I starred Hugh Lloyd and Terry Scott in the title roles and ran for seven series and two short specials between 1962 and 1968. 45 of its 74 episodes - as well as both additional specials - are absent from the BBC's archives.

Alongside a further discovery, a missing edition of a 1966 drama titled Mogul, the two film prints will be returned to the BBC for digitisation shortly.

There are currently no known plans to release, screen or broadcast any of the three episodes more widely.

Surviving episodes from the first two series of Hugh And I have previously been released on DVD, as well as the complete collection of Sykes, which reworked substantial numbers of previous Sykes And A... episodes.

Hugh And I - Seasons 1 & 2 Remaining Episodes

Terry Scott is a youngish bachelor who wants to achieve wealth without putting in any hard work. The scheming Terry lives with his mother at 33, Lobelia Avenue in Tooting, London.

They have a simple and easily led lodger, Hugh Lloyd, who works at a local aircraft factory. The two often try and make money through one of Scott's schemes. Their next door neighbours, the Crispins and the Wormolds, also make frequent appearances.

Mr Crispin is a loud mouth who thinks violence will solve a problem, Mrs Crispin is a snob and their daughter Norma is constantly chased after by men. On the other side, the Wormolds are an old couple with Harold being very doddery.

In the last episode of the fifth series, Hugh won £5,000 on the Premium Bonds (the highest prize at the time) and the following series showed the two of them undertaking a world cruise. The neighbours and mother had left the show.

Of almost 80 episodes produced over 7 series, only 24 remain in the BBC's archives. 20 of these are included: all but the sixth episode of Series 1, and the complete Series 2.

First released: Monday 7th September 2015

  • Distributor: Simply Media
  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 3
  • Catalogue: 163494

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Sykes - The Complete Series

Comedy genius Eric Sykes stars alongside Hattie Jacques, Richard Wattis and Deryck Guyler in the complete run of this classic comedy series.

Showcasing Eric's whimsical, slightly anarchic sense of humour, Sykes saw Eric basically playing himself just one step removed from normality! Sharing a house with his twin sister, Hat, Eric has to suffer the slings and arrows of everyday life something he invariably does with bad grace and obstinacy. With snobbish next door neighbour Mr Brown and nosey local PC "Corky" Turnbull always on hand to help turn a drama into a crisis, it's no wonder Eric spends half his time fantasising and the other half coping with catastrophe!

This set contains all seven series: 68 episodes of this classic BBC comedy.

First released: Monday 26th June 2017

  • Distributor: Network
  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 12
  • Minutes: 1,970
  • Subtitles: English
  • Catalogue: 7954602

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

BCG may earn commission on sales generated through the links above.

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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