Monday, December 10, 2007

Lucky Dips And Drama

Before the great gaping maw of insanity that is Christmas swallows us whole, the British Film Institute have set aside a day to showcase the latest finds recovered through their long running Missing, Believed Wiped initiative. Since its inception in 1993, Missing, Believed Wiped has set about doggedly unearthing and restoring numerous television programmes whose masters were wiped by UK television broadcasters back in the 1950s and 60s in their effort to save on the then relatively high cost of videotape.

Once again the event is divided into two categories. Screening 1: Lucky Dip features a typically eclectic mix of newly recovered sketches from At Last, the 1948 Show, along with clips from The Saturday Crowd with Leslie Crowther; Morecambe and Wise performing on Sunday Night at the London Palladium; Cliff Richard in the 1968 crime drama A Matter of Diamonds, first broadcast as part of ITV Playhouse; Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett on Frost on Sunday; ballet sequences from The World of Beachcomber; studio shots from the missing BBC coverage of the moon landing; and those perennial puppet favourites Pinky and Perky. Lucky Dip also features complete screenings of The Adventures of Rupert the Bear from 1969 together with an episode of It’s Lulu from the early 1970s, featuring guest artist Aretha Franklin.

Screening 2: Drama, consists of the half-hour, hard-boiled thriller, Bulldog Drummond and ‘The Ludlow Affair’, starring Robert Beatty and originally broadcast in early 1957 as part of the Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents series of dramas, plus the surviving material from The Other Man, transmitted as part of the ITV Play of the Week in 1964.

Directed by Gordon Flemyng, and starring Michael Caine, Sian Phillips and John Thaw, the drama speculates what the world would have been like if Britain had capitulated to Germany in 1940 and The Third Reich had won the Second World War. Written by Giles Cooper who had served in Burma with the West Yorkshire Regiment, at the time of broadcast the Granada-produced drama was the longest single drama shown on the channel with a running time of 115 minutes.

Both Missing Believed Wiped screenings take place at the National Film Theatre on Saturday 15 December with Lucky Dip kicking off the proceedings at 4:00pm in NFT1 and Drama following afterwards at 6:20pm. Further details can be found here.

We now return to our regular spluttering cauldron of bile....


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