Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 15:52 UK

Outing for restored comedy films

Penny Points to Paradise. Copyright: Adelphi Films Ltd
Penny Points to Paradise was an early effort from The Goons

Rare films featuring early performances from comedians like Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan are being restored by the British Film Institute (BFI).

The 30 reels of film donated to the BFI National Archive had lain in a north London garage for more than 50 years.

They were donated by the granddaughter of the man who set up London-based company Adelphi Films in 1939.

Two of the films, Let's Go Crazy and Penny Points to Paradise, will be shown at the BFI, in London, next month.

Slapstick comedy

The low-budget films, virtually unseen since their original release, feature cast members from The Goon Show and will also be released on DVD in August.

Penny Points to Paradise stars Harry Secombe as gormless Pools winner Harry Flakers who, accompanied by his best friend (Spike Milligan in his film debut), goes on a holiday to celebrate his new-found riches.

Adelphi Films was a small, family-run company, which specialised in the production and distribution of films between 1940 and 1956.

Their crime dramas, musicals, melodramas and slapstick comedies featured stars like Sid James, Ted Ray, Petula Clark, Rolf Harris and Prunella Scales early in their careers.

The BFI hopes to restore and release the rest of the films over the next 15 years if it can find funding.

Other films include The Great Game, a comedy about football starring Thora Hird and Diana Dors, and Fun At St Fanny's, a male equivalent of the St Trinian's farces starring Ronnie Corbett.


Meanwhile, CD audio versions of Hancock's Half Hour, which were previously thought to have been lost, are being released by the BBC.

Bootleg recordings of the TV show had circulated amongst collectors for several years, and were returned to the BBC with help from the Hancock Appreciation Society last year.

Amongst the "lost" episodes are The Flight of the Red Shadow, in which Hancock tries to pass himself off as the Maharaja of Renjipur to flee an amateur theatrical troupe.

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