PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

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Mr_Wolf
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PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Mr_Wolf »

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Out of the Unknown – a 6-DVD box set compiling all surviving episodes, along with some fragments, from the legendary BBC2 anthology series, with episodes written by such luminaries of the genre as John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury and J G Ballard – first broadcast between 1965 and 1971 (September)
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videoking
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by videoking »

At last! Outstanding!

videoking
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by videoking »

What is the release date for this?

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bent_halo
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by bent_halo »

videoking wrote:What is the release date for this?
September. It's at the end of the OP.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

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Juswuh
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Juswuh »

Yep, that's a must-buy.

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Bernie
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Bernie »

Is there an episode list?

B

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Richard A
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Richard A »

The fact that the BFI sees a viable market for a complete release is very heartening for archive TV fans. Good news indeed.

Richard Martin
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Richard Martin »

Wow. A holy grail release for me. Well done BFI!

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by ctraynor »

Now that's more like it. I first read about this show in the 1970s in skimpy accounts in encyclopaedias of SF. Seen a few episodes but this'll be good to have.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Private Frazer »

This is great news. I have a few memories of seeing this on TV and was at the book launch in 2004. Have seen only a few of the, about twenty, surviving episodes. Particularly interested to see the existing series 1+2 ones.
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Bernie »

I worked on Immortality Inc, Satisfaction Guaranteed and The Naked Sun. I'd quite like to see them again.

B

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Private Frazer »

It must have been interesting working on the dramatisation of these stories; they're all missing I'm afraid (click on missing episodes list on 'missing episodes' website). I distinctly remember Something In The Cellar really scaring me when Monty (Milo O'Shea) goes down the stairs to confront the computer in the cellar. It was the going down the stairs that frightened me and that I can still picture. Also a scene on a 'planet' with smoke on the ground - maybe Get Of My Cloud, Beach Head or another. All are, unfortunately, also missing - but there's a chance I'll recognise something else thanks to this release. I just had an idea that I might find the scene from the telesnaps in the book; will see!
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Juswuh »

At least one episode, "The Yellow Pill", exists as sound only. It's quite a good listen so would be worth including.

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spflog1
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by spflog1 »

Bernie wrote:Is there an episode list?

B
Wikipedia has a list of all the episodes and whether they're extant.

I'm gutted that 'The Prophet' is missing; this being an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's 'Reason' (as published in 'I Robot'). This featured the same robot costumes that where shortly afterwards reused in the Dr Who story 'The Mind Robber', although the original suits were black. I'm sure I heard an audio clip from this missing episode in a TV programme a few years back about the Radiophonic Workshop. The robots were singing some sort of spiritual chant. It sounded very cool.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Stephen James Walker »

This is absolutely astonishing news. I thought we might possibly get a "Selected Episodes from ..." type release, but for the BFI to have managed to clear *all* of them is a major achievement.

Wonderful! But is it really going to be a PG release ....? With the "controversial" content of "To Lay a Ghost", and the nudity in "Deathday". I don't care about the certification, really, but it seems a bit surprising.

Re "The Yellow Pill", I'm not sure the surviving soundtrack is good enough quality for commercial release, is it ...?

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Michael »

It's a bit odd that they're publicising that Ray Bradbury is one of the writers when the only episode based on his work that I can see, THE FOX AND AND THE FOREST, is one of those missing.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Simon36 »

I'm very fond of a lot of the surviving colour episodes: in fact it's those I tend to return to more often, as I'm not the world's biggest fan of science-fiction. As much as To Lay A Ghost gets a rough time, the two "staircase" sequences are very effective, Deathday is worth it for Robert Lang, and Welcome Home certainly keeps you guessing. Wonderful that these are being released!

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by ctraynor »

Some sad losses. I've still got my 1997 British TV drama guide by Chris Perry and co, listing the existing and missing episodes, although they've at least recovered Level Seven since then. Being a fan of the original stories of The Fox and the Forest, and The Yellow Pill, those losses are tantalising, as is The Naked Sun which I remember liking the most of Asimov's novel-length robot stories.

What do you remember of making The Naked Sun, Bernie? I know Paul Maxwell was Lije Bailey, the detective (Peter Cushing played the role in the one-off The Caves of Steel in 1964 and snippets of that exist).

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Bernie »

I remember very little, except that we all went "Oh no, not Rudi", and overran a lot. I've just found the diary entry, which says -

26/11/68 TC8 Out of the Unknown 1230-2215
27/11/68 1030 - 2215
28/11/68 1030 - 2100

Those are slightly odd times for that type of drama, they'd normally go 1130-2215, 1030 - 2215, 1030 - 2230. Don't know why.

TC8 was pretty new at that point, but I think it already had EMI 2001 cameras. I seem to remember the set had lots of small areas, don't know why, and I have no memory of the actors. Peter Cushing wouldn't have been able to be the detective at that point because he was working on Sherlock Holmes. I ped tracked/cable bashed on one in TC6 a couple of weeks later.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by ctraynor »

Yes, I remember now I'd read that Rudolph Cartier directed that one. He also did Level Seven, the one I mentioned having been recovered. Here's hoping for more recoveries.

Apparently Terry Nation updated the backdrop in Bradbury's Fox and the Forest from the late 1930s to the early 1960s around the time of President Kennedy's assassination, which I think would have given it an interesting near-contemporary edge, but Nation was over-ruled and the broadcast version reverted to the original period. Academic now, I suppose, as the episode's lost.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by longtimelurker »

It's great news but I think of all those early colour episodes which are missing (the third series has been decimated the worst). I only hope some of these do turn up one day, even in b&w.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Michael wrote:It's a bit odd that they're publicising that Ray Bradbury is one of the writers when the only episode based on his work that I can see, THE FOX AND AND THE FOREST, is one of those missing.
On top of that, no Philip K Dick stories were adapted in OOTU, let alone surviving ones, although cosideration was made to adapting The Imposter (which had already been done in Out of This World), and Second Variety! It's been noted elsewhere that this release has come as a complete surprise in many quarters, even those whose contributions could have improved/increased the contents of proposed set. Great though it will be to get all the surviving episodes - I'm still amazed they've managed to clear all of them! - this looks like another case where the BFI haven't sought help and advice from the right quarters.
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Wakey »

Let's hope the series is given all the restoration work it needs, including vidFIRE if the telerecordings can be polished up enough to make it worthwhile. I don't think I'd buy it without at least a reasonable amount of restoration work and I suspect I'm not alone in that.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Stephen James Walker »

Wakey wrote:I don't think I'd buy it without at least a reasonable amount of restoration work and I suspect I'm not alone in that.
I suspect you might be! I've already got bootleg copies of all the surviving material from the show, but I'll be pre-ordering this set as soon as the listing appears. There's little doubt that, even with no restoration work (which I strongly suspect is what we'll get), these officially-released episodes will still be a lot better quality than the copies I've got. People have been crying out for this release for years, and I can't see any lack of restoration putting them off buying it.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by ctraynor »

They've spotted the errors re Ray Bradbury and Philip Dick and removed their names, but now there's a mixture of adapters and writers of the original stories.

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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Private Frazer »

Juswuh wrote:At least one episode, "The Yellow Pill", exists as sound only. It's quite a good listen so would be worth including.
I think there may be a few, but in private hands; I agree it would be good to have any audios too.
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by doubleM »

Private Frazer wrote:
Juswuh wrote:At least one episode, "The Yellow Pill", exists as sound only. It's quite a good listen so would be worth including.
I think there may be a few, but in private hands; I agree it would be good to have any audios too.
Apart from The Yellow Pill, there is one other complete episode audio that exists of episodes otherwise lost. The Uninvited from S4, which was later remade for Hammer as In Posession.

Both would be very welcome on the DVD release as would the 28 min reconstruct of The Little Black Bag.
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Re: PR: Out of the Unknown [bfi]

Post by Colin Cutler »

This kind of news makes irregular posters like me come out of the woodwork :-)

To echo what's been said, quite astonishing news....I recall writing a couple of articles for this very site (12+ years ago? Are they still up?) and I would have considered the possibility of a complete box-set sheer fantasy at best

To add to the list of possibilities, we have a couple of fragments which have never really seen the light of day (The Last Witness and Random Quest) and possibly two complete soundtracks (The Naked Sun and Beach Head) which are formally listed as "CD of off-air soundtrack ex-private collector".

Looking forward to hearing of further developments
Colin

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