gervase_fen: (ermine)
A few weeks ago I was thrilled to accompany [ profile] parrot_knight to the my first Kaleidoscope event since 2009.  2016 has turned out to be grim in plenty of aspects, but in terms of recoveries of lost television it’s been a proverbial annus mirabilis.
A 6 a.m. start on a cold, blustery morning... )

gervase_fen: (Default)
When I saw that I had the relevant weekend off, I couldn't pass up the chance to make my first visit to this event for eight years.  Fortunately  [ profile] parrot_knight was also available to join me, so we could reminisce and catch up on news and gossip.

What miserable weather though.  The faux Germanic Christmas market on the South Bank looked particularly grim in the grey and the rain, and the amount of standing water on the concrete pavement slabs reminded me very much of similar afternoons in the now missing, confirmed wiped out Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth.

Session One consisted of Kaleidoscope's own anniversary documentary, a showcase for recovered clips (colour recovered Steptoe, quad tape from 1960, Alan Bennett's (K)NORWICH sketch, Kenneth Williams having a ball being interviewed by Russell Harty, Lord Clark pontificating about culture from what looked like Hilda Ogden's living room.)  There were some judicious editing choices (I particularly liked the use of the Doctor's description of Salamander to apply to,  I think, obsessed uber-film collectors) and some vintage hardware to marvel at.

The big story to emerge from the documentary was the enthusiastic, optimistic comments of Dick Fiddy about the *potential* of the amount of recoveries by Philip Morris and TIEA. In a ideal world Kaleidoscope would have issued a press release at 5 pm, with a transcript of Dick's remarks, and the caveats that Dick does not work for the BBC or for TIEA.

Some elements in the documentary I, personally,  would have downplayed a bit ; recovered TV is yet to really get an airing outside of clips in documentaries (although Network DVD's eclectic release policy was rightly praised.)  I would have loved to have seen some of the Library of Congress recoveries from 2010 playing on BBC 4 - the clip of Leonard Rossiter in Doctor Knock just left one desperate to see more.

Session Two opened with a panel discussion with some of heroes of television recovery ; I was particularly struck by Dick Fiddy's comment that this year's London Film Festival only showed six actual films (ie. prints), and four of those were in the Experimenta shorts programme (i.e. film chosen as a medium to ponce about on.)   We learned a bit more about Bob Monkhouse's astonishing VHS collection (tens of thousands of tapes) and his final joke, a box left in a hot attic labelled "Nitrate".   I could listen to experts discuss the merits of Digibeta over D3, and film over both, for quite some time.

Given the fevered atmosphere of various Doctor Who fora, the subsequent Q & A could have been incendiary.  Instead, Samira Ahmed tried to find out if Terry Jones could remember why the Royal Bank of Scotland wiped the rushes of "Life of Brian" (he couldn't) and cameraman John Henshall queried Kaleidoscope being taken for granted by the BBC / ITV / BFI.

And then on to the recoveries.  It wouldn't be Christmas without Wizzard, so we saw their TOTP appearance from December 1974,
doing a Glam / Glenn Miller mash-up ; and from the same show, Elton John, just a week or so after duetting with John Lennon at Madison Square Gardens, performing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

The BBC-3 film sketches intrigued me more than amused me (I found the surviving film inserts of The Complete and Utter History of Britain more to my taste.) The "Look at Life" parody of Peter Watkins' The War Game, would, had it turned up in 2012, no doubt have featured in Dominic Sandbrook's recent Cold War series.

[ profile] parrot_knight, when he writes up the day, may remember more of the fascinating Westward TV commercial department presentation from 1964 than I can (featuring vintage Gus Honeybun, Pop's gardening tips, and a marketing director straight from a Ronnie Barker "I'm here to talk to you tonight..." sketch.)  It must be slightly frustrating for archivists that two extensive clips featured in the film come from respectively Coronation Street and The Beverly Hillbillies, which are not especially missing belived wiped at all.

Smallfilms' Muskit and Dido was utterly charming, and reminded me of how much I enjoyed the Pingwings episode at the Oliver Postgate / Peter Firmin NFT event I was lucky enough to attend many years ago.  Finally, we saw the last ten minutes or so of It's Lulu (tx. 18.1.69), which included Jack Jones' has-to-be-heard-to-be-believed Love Story,  potential Eurovision entry March (from the writing team responsible for Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich's Hold Tight, and much later, the theme music to the Joan Hickson Miss Marple series).  One of the last onscreen credits in BFI screen one was for Gary Downie, which seemed appropriate in Doctor Who's anniversary year. 
gervase_fen: (ermine)
Just to wrap up Saturday to say how much I enjoyed the Masterspy, a series I remember watching on Sunday afternoons probably because I liked the animated credits, the sense of a story behind the quizzes, and the suave assurance of William Franklyn. (Chance in a Million I would happily pay money to own, and would love to see a 'Comedy Connections' style programme on it.)

The edition of Out of Town gave me a chance to identify items that were in my wardrobe nearly 30 years ago, as modelled by contemporary Hampshire children.

Finally, words really fail to adequately describe "The Losers", except perhaps to quote Mrs Alan Coren:

"When I was writing my piece last night, my wife Anne came and looked over my shoulder as I typed away, and she suddenly said, halfway through reading it: 'When you are 60 years old, are you still going to be writing little pieces about men called Norman Foskett?', and my blood ran cold."
gervase_fen: (owls)
Can't sleep because a)I have to get up promptly tomorrow to visit my parents and b) I had quite a bit of red wine earlier this evening. So time to blog about the time spent so far en vacances.

Stourbridge Memories II )
To be continued...
gervase_fen: (Default)
It's been a while since I've been to an archive television event, so I was very happy to get an invitation from [ profile] parrot_knight to join him in a trip into the West Midlands for Kaleidoscope's 20th anniversary get-together.

The guests. )
gervase_fen: (ermine)
...and I'm back. I spent last week Christmas shopping, finalising January's microsite content, and working a very late shift in the shop on Thursday.

Shopping )

Typing )

Socialising )
Re-Viewing - Session One )

Re-Viewing - Session Two )

Icon growing ).
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