Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Monday, September 14, 1998 Published at 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK


Are the Beatles hiding in your attic?

The Beatles: Rare appearances on Juke Box Jury may be lost forever

Fans of classic TV are being asked to search through their attics and cupboards - in case they have rare copies of some of Britain's most famous shows.

The British Film Institute is appealing for help to complete its collection of 1960s favourites such as The Likely Lads and Juke Box Jury.

Programmes feared forever lost include five 1969 episodes of Dad's Army, written by David Croft and Jim Perry. They were repeated in the 1970s, but are thought to have been lost later on.

The other 75 programmes still survive, but only two recordings of Juke Box Jury remain from the early 1960s.

Fronted by David Jacobs, the show invited celebrities to judge new singles a "hit" or "miss". But most of the show's run is now missing, including episodes featuring the Beatles and Rolling Stones as jurors.

The BFI blames poor archiving and a failure to realise how important television recordings could be for the loss of much of the early output of both BBC and ITV.

[ image: Arthur Lowe in Dad's Army: Missing in action]
Arthur Lowe in Dad's Army: Missing in action
"The are three main reasons why TV programmes were not kept. The first is economical: nobody realised the potential market for popular TV.

"The second reason was the equipment, and thirdly the authorities were unaware of the significance of popular entertainment," said BFI television archivist Steve Bryant.

Much 1950s broadcasting was live, and only events like the Queen's coronation were kept for posterity. Video recording became available in the 1960s, but tapes were frequently wiped and re-used as broadcasters struggled to find storage space for their growing collections.

Now the BBC is compelled to offer anything it no longer wants to the BFI.

Old tapes have turned up before, with a whole series of Steptoe and Son and episodes of police drama Z-Cars being found and reformatted.

Foreign TV stations often have stocks of 'lost' shows they once bought, and series writers sometimes have copies of their shows gathering dust.

But the BFI is concentrating on TV collectors - who would have used early video recorders in the 1960s to make copies of their favourite shows.

Veronica Taylor, television officer for the BFI, said: "While collectors have responded to previous appeals, many are secretive. But everybody should have the chance to see these old programmes."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Entertainment Contents

TV and Radio
New Media
Relevant Stories

31 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Dad's Army hits 30

22 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Super-body may control film funding

Internet Links

British Film Institute

TV Cream: Classic TV memories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.