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 Posted:   Mar 1, 2014 - 11:12 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

The BFI is to mark the 50th anniversary of BBC2 with two special screenings.

Set up to offer alternative programming to the two other mainstream channels then on offer (namely, BBC1, which was renamed from BBC tv, and ITV), BBC2 was originally meant to open on Monday 20th April 1964, but a fire at Battersea Power Station caused a major power failure in the area that meant the schedule had to be postponed to the next day. Since then, says the BFI:

The channel has carved out a special place in the cultural TV landscape – from in-depth science and documentary to groundbreaking comedy and drama. Across these two screenings we take a look at the first fascinating week of BBC2 via surviving archive programmes that show an astonishing range of subjects and ambition, and which laid the foundations for the channel we all know and love today.
Both screenings take place on Wednesday 23rd April, and they start at 6.10pm with The Opening Week + Sir David Attenborough In Conversation With Alan Yentob.

This selection of archive clips aims to capture the flavour of the opening week (including the first night's power cut, and the hilarious newsreader forced to stay on air with nothing to cut to!). Clips include light entertainment shows such as Jazz 625: Duke Ellington in Concert, comedy from The Alberts' Channel Too and Arkady Raikin (the Soviet Union's leading comedian), and drama with Julius Caesar (the National Youth Theatre production with original jazz score).

BBC executive Alan Yentob will be discussing BBC2 past, present and future with Sir David Attenborough, who was the channel's controller from 1965 to 1969.

This will be followed at 8.45pm by the production of Kiss Me Kate - featuring Howard Keel, Patricia Morison, Millicent Martin and Eric Barker - that formed part of the opening schedule.
This lavish production of the famous Cole Porter Broadway musical was commissioned to kick the channel off with a bang, and to showcase the better picture offered by BBC2's brand-new 625-line system (until then, all UK television had only been 405 lines). Add to this a superb cast (Howard Keel and Millicent Martin), some spirited dance routines and numbers - including, appropriately enough to open a new national TV channel, "Another Op'nin', Another Show" – and we guarantee you a toe-tapping televisual extravaganza!

A fanfare for the channel based on the Morse code translation of "BBC2" was composed by Freddie Phillips. He later composed the theme music for the "Trumptonshire trilogy" of children's TV programmes comprising Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley, for whose characters he also wrote songs.

And earlier in the month, the BFI will be holding a Missing Believed Wiped special entitled Maximum Access: The Complete and Utter History of Britain, with Michael Palin as a special guest.

This event takes place on Wednesday 2nd April at 8.50pm.

The BFI's Missing Believed Wiped initiative exists not only to highlight recovered TV material but to provide a showcase for the public. These screenings serve multiple purposes: to allow enthusiasts to see the titles; to inform cataloguers and archivists of the survival status of the material; and - perhaps most importantly - to alert schedulers, programme-makers and commercial distributors to the finds, leading to greater exposure.

To that end, this Missing Believed Wiped special will focus on the zany, pre-Python comedy series The Complete and Utter History of Britain - Michael Palin and Terry Jones' 1960s precursor to the much-loved TV show Horrible Histories. Here, we find sketches such as Richard the Lionheart relating his exploits in the Crusades in the manner of a laddish holidaymaker, and William the Conquerer engaging in post-match analysis.

Fans will be delighted that all the surviving material from this seminal series, along with new complementary material from Palin and Jones, will now be made available on DVD (thanks to Network Releasing).
Palin is to introduce the event.

Tickets to all the above will go on sale in due course.

 Posted:   Aug 15, 2016 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

A "missing believed wiped" episode of Till Death Us Do Part has been rediscovered, it has been revealed.

The episode - Series 1, Episode 4 - Intolerance - was identified and returned to the BBC earlier this month.

Written by Johnny Speight, the series starred the late Warren Mitchell as the short-tempered, bigoted working-class Londoner Alf Garnett, with Dandy Nichols playing his long-suffering wife, Else. Una Stubbs and Anthony Booth completed the regular cast as daughter Rita and son-in-law Mike.

The find means that of 56 episodes originally broadcast, now fewer than 20 remain unaccounted for, including two short sketch specials originally broadcast during Christmas Night With The Stars festive programming.

Thousands of hours of programming across all genres were recorded over during the 1960s and 1970s as they were not deemed to have any value. Comedies ranging from Not Only... But Also... to Dad's Army, and Steptoe And Son to The Gnomes Of Dulwich all suffered from the practice, enacted due to the high cost of video tape on which to record new programmes, and no knowledge of the home entertainment revolution that would begin in the 1980s. Whilst many ITV programmes also suffered, the BBC was the hardest hit.

Since the early 1990s, broadcasters have been working in conjunction with the BFI and various television organisations to raise awareness of the missing episodes and initiate searches to recover as much material as possible. Some programmes were recorded by enthusiasts on early and highly expensive home equipment, whilst directors, actors and writers have also proved to have held copies of other productions. Further programmes still have been discovered internationally, after being sold to overseas television channels.

News of the discovery was revealed by the BFI's television curator, Dick Fiddy. It is understood that the BFI hope to screen the programme as part of their annual Missing Believed Wiped event in early December. Meanwhile, Network are planning a DVD of every surviving episode of the series, possibly for release later this Autumn or Winter.

Another missing episode of Till Death Us Do Part has recently been remade by the BBC with an all-new cast. The new version of Series 2, Episode 6 - A Woman's Place Is In The Home stars Simon Day as Alf, with Lizzie Roper as Else and Sydney Rae White and Carl Au as Rita and Mike. It will be broadcast as one of three episodes of The Lost Sitcoms in September, alongside remade episodes of Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe And Son, as part of the corporation's Sitcom Season.

Sequel series Till Death.... (ITV, 1981) exists in its entirety, whilst the later BBC sequel In Sickness & In Health is already available to buy on DVD in its entirety.

 Posted:   Aug 16, 2016 - 1:18 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

in the 90s, I met johnny speight at his house in herts, spent a nice afternoon interviewing him in his study. Funny man. Very observant.

 Posted:   Aug 16, 2016 - 2:46 AM   
 By:   RoryR   (Member)

in the 90s, I met johnny speight at his house in herts, spent a nice afternoon interviewing him in his study. Funny man. Very observant.

What were some of the funny things he had to say?

 Posted:   Aug 16, 2016 - 3:27 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

We got onto how Alf garnett came about, - speight had written for the Arthur Haines show who had played a stroppy workman, and one year as a salesman speight had been in a road in custom house, a run down east london area - and every window had a Vote Labour poster up - and smack in the middle of these houses was a house with a vote conservative poster - and the window was broken ! And it struck him that it would be funny to do a character like that., but with elements of the haines stroppiness. That was the initial moment that put him on the path of the garnett character.
He told some othr stuff about Tommy cooper and a few football stories.
Suffice to say he was a big character and very entertaining.

 Posted:   Aug 16, 2016 - 5:58 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

And BBC 2 used to be the flagship of the Open University. Indeed, the overall split in programme transmission led to both BBC 1 and BBC 2 receiving an almost equal share of the honor.

There was a classier and more cultured time when the OU graced TV screens. The balance between the less formal and the disciplined was, in retrospect, a golden period. Now it doesn't exist at all. Before the OU was watered down to nothing, for a period the shambolic non-entity, "Open Learning" series of static and non-interactive screens with audio appeared - I mean, WTF was that all about, anyway? Harold Wilson would turn in his grave to see the "university of the air" disappearing altogether despite the incredible advent of more and more drivel appearing on an endless succession of TV channels.

The OU has pulled up it's undercarriage and made itself less accessible to the general public, apparently on the basis it has moved on to a plateau of less scruffy surroundings, where it wants to appear more professional and leading-edge with no association to the plebs. Yes, you can apply to study with the OU, but at greatly inflated course fees, and no more front end on the platform for which it was originally intended to inspire the people of this country. It is a disgrace.

It's just one of the many symptoms of how the UK has been going to Hell in a handcart. I lived through those better times and things are very threadbare today, by comparison.

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