Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lost & Found

Before everything spirals too far into the bullshit and outright madness of Christmas, the British Film Institute is serving up their annual helping of gems and oddities discovered through the Missing, Believed Wiped initiative.

Set in motion to rectify the ‘cultural hooliganism‘ of the UK’s television broadcasters who wiped shows due to lack of storage space, to save on the then relatively high cost of videotape, or even due to the mistaken belief that, with the advent of colour television, black and white programmes had absolutely no commercial value, since its inception in 1993, Missing, Believed Wiped has doggedly unearthed and restored numerous programmes once thought lost to the ether.

In the last few years, the annual event has screened rediscovered episodes of cult dramas The Avengers and Adam Adamant Lives!, sketches from At Last, the 1948 Show, The Complete and Utter History of Britain, as well as Morecambe and Wise’s first series for the BBC and even lost animation from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. At its tenth anniversary event in 2003, it screened recently unearthed footage from the abortive launch of BBC2 in 1964. After a power failure affected Central London, the planned schedule was replaced by a news bulletin from the studios at Alexandra Palace. Even then it was dogged by technical difficulties.

Presented by reporter Gerald Priestland, reading from cards and interrupted by telephone calls from the production gallery, the first two minutes of the report were broadcast without audio. The sound finally arrived just as Priestland announced: “Back home again, that Yorkshire bus-conductress who was sacked last week for calling Pakistani passengers ‘stinking wogs’ has got her job back. Union representatives went to see the management and the conductress made an apology.” Which made for a less than auspicious start to the channel.

Offerings this year, in the two programmes entitled Nuclear Threats and Comedy Plus, include:

Level Seven (BBC, 1966) Directed by Rudolph Cartier and adapted by JB Priestley, from a story by Mordecai Roshwald, for the science-fiction anthology series Out of the Unknown. Level Seven is set in an underground nuclear command bunker where an operative receives his final training at the missile launch controls, ready to retaliate in the event of an enemy attack.

The Crunch (ATV, 1964) Directed by Michael Elliot and written by Nigel Kneale for the Studio 64 series. Starring Harry Andrews and Peter Bowles, in The Crunch a disaffected former-British colony holds London to ransom with a suitcase atomic bomb.

Out of the Trees (BBC, 1976) Written by Graham Chapman and Douglas Adams, after the demise of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and before The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this one-off comedy sketch show features Maria Aitken, Simon Jones and Mark Wing-Davey.

The Executioner (Associated-Rediffusion, 1961) Directed by Pat Jackson for the drama anthology series Rendezvous. Starring Patrick McGoohan and Charles Drake, The Executioner is a tense story of betrayal within the French Resistance.

The screenings take place at the National Film Theatre on Saturday 2 December from 3.50 pm. Further details can be found here.

This announcement was brought to you by a whore who will do just about anything for a free ticket. Normal service will resume tomorrow.


Post a Comment

<< Home