Southbank 20th October 2001
This was a wonderful culmination to the BBC’s archive Treasure Hunt. The BBC worked with BFI staff in the organisation and presentation of this event.
It was a great opportunity to show some of the BBC television programmes which have been recovered alongside programmes from the ITV companies.
The event was opened by Don McLean, who talked about the years of restoration work that he has put into the original Baird discs and demonstrated the pictures that he was now able to be taken from the discs.
This was followed by Sue Malden of the BBC, introducing a Benny Hill episode - "Portrait of a Bridgegroom", recovered earlier this year.
Perhaps the high spot of the event was the appearance of Jimmy Perry and David Croft to introduce one of the recently recovered Dad’s Army’s, "The Battle for Godfrey’s Cottage". Jimmy Perry was able to throw some extra light on the story of the two recovered episodes. He had in fact taken them to a film producer in Wardour Street in the 1970’s with the view to convince them of the value of making a feature film of Dad’s Army. His proposal was not received with enthusiasm and he left the two film recordings for the producer to look at his leisure. Jimmy heard no more of either episode until they were recovered by BBC Information and Archives.
The high spot of the second part of the event was the showing of All Gas and Gaiters, introduced by Pauline Devaney, one of the writers. The other half of this partnership, Edwin Apps, came over form France especially for the occasion.
The audience was also treated to a recently recovered episode from the World of Tim Frazer, a Francis Durbridge thriller from the 1960’s.
Martin Loach and Terry Martini quite independently had been working on the restoration of some Till Death Us Do Part episodes. Martin on a really funny episode called "The Phone" and Terry on a very controversial episode called "Up the Polls". Both of these enthusiasts have more domestic video reels of televsion programmes first broadcast in the 1970’s. We are looking forward to BBC technical department working with both Martin and Terry to continue this restoration work.
The audience of about 200 thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon looking at these recovered television programmes. They were able to take away from the event Dick Fiddy’s book, Missing Believed Wiped, which accompanied the event.
People were queuing to buy signed copies from the author!!! And they now had a great check list to work from for future treasure hunting!!!!.
Sue Malden Oct 2001