PR: The Squirrels [Network]

What's not currently on the box
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Mr_Wolf
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PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by Mr_Wolf »

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Rising Damp creator Eric Chappell’s 22 years as a travelling auditor gave him an unequalled opportunity to observe offices and their inhabitants at close quarters, and this hit sitcom – created and written by Chappell with additional scripts by Phil Redmond and Kenneth Cope, among others – wryly explores the perils of the mid-seventies office environment.

A tyrannical boss, unchecked chauvinism and sexual harassment, pranks and in-fighting are among the workplace hazards for the staff of the accounts department of International Rentals, with Bernard Hepton, Ken Jones and Patsy Rowlands featuring in the line-up of a frustrated and occasionally rebellious team; guest stars include Philip Madoc, Aubrey Morris, Leslie Schofield and Alun Armstrong.

This set contains all 22 existing episodes (out of 28). Scripts for some of the missing episodes are included in PDF format on disc one.

http://networkonair.com/shop/1703-squirrels-the.html
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doubleM
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by doubleM »

Nice to see this one get a release.

Is the episode "The Yes Man" an NTSC to PAL conversion as indicated by Kal's Lost Shows?

They also have 10 episodes listed as 'missing'

http://www.lostshows.com/default.aspx?p ... 19ecba4f93

.. good news indeed if potentially three further episodes have been turned up while preparing the release.

No b/w t/rs it seems too. Good news for an ATV show of this vintage!
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Mr_Wolf
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by Mr_Wolf »

The Yes Man doesn't exist beyond being a label on a tape, unfortunately - what's on the tape is a dupe of another existing episode. All of series two and three have now been unearthed.
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doubleM
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by doubleM »

Mr_Wolf wrote:The Yes Man doesn't exist beyond being a label on a tape, unfortunately - what's on the tape is a dupe of another existing episode. All of series two and three have now been unearthed.
Thanks for clarifying that!
A pity regarding that particular episode (investigating the paperwork cf the reality of playing a catalogued item doesn't always bring good news) but nevertheless a good story overall re missing installments.
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Chris Orton
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by Chris Orton »

Very welcome release, but... it's Eric Chappell.

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Simon36
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by Simon36 »

Never heard of this one, but always a pleasure to see something with Bernard Hepton in.

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penfold
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by penfold »

I remember loving it at the time, but I was younger then.......

tiswas2
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by tiswas2 »

Also remember this well , I'd be about 13/14 at the time it started - not seen it since will be interesting to see
How it has aged, but I can watch Ken Jones in manic mode anytime and allways puts a smile on my face

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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by Mark »

I remember this very well, too, and loved it at the time.

A great cast, Ken Jones is always a delight with his busy nervous style performance, and Bernard Hepton shows how good he is when he gets a chance at Comedy.

The sexy secretary, Carol, is high up in my memory, too.

Really looking forward to this one.
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by Controller 2957 »

YES!! Been waiting an eternity for this one! Love Eric Chappell (or more accurately, his work!) and I have fond memories of Ken Jones' character, the weasley Rex.
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VintageFan
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by VintageFan »

Great to see this one on the schedule. Seem to recall it having afternoon repeats circa Summer 1977. I always love to see an entire series-or,in this case,all the existing series- being released rather than individual series sets,particularly when a show only has two or three series.

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jubbely
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by jubbely »

Excellent. I remember having this on a wishlist in the old forum :) Go go Patsy!

tiswas2
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by tiswas2 »

Glad to see this made it to release

Awaiting my copy...

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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by JWG »

Mr_Wolf wrote:The Yes Man doesn't exist beyond being a label on a tape, unfortunately - what's on the tape is a dupe of another existing episode. All of series two and three have now been unearthed.
Interestingly,Jeff Leach at Missing Episodes has had a reply from ITN source in which they say that they "appear to have a screener DVD copy only of 'The Yes Man' ".

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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by tiswas2 »

HI Jeff here

I enquired to ITN because they listed all of the missing episodes bar the pilot on their data base ( I was also enquiring about a 1960 comedy series "Mess mates" which they had an episode listed but that one does not exist with them)

They as you mentioned confirmed the existence of the Yes man episode as a screener - not sure what that is ? A Vhs copy or U-matic perhaps

But it's good to see another episode exists.

A pity about the Mess mates series being completely wiped by Granada, they usually recorded them on telefilm in that era (Army game, Bootsy and Snudge)

http://www.phill.co.uk/comedy/mess/cast.html

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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by DMatthews »

Just going slightly off-topic, I've been watching Chappell's 1990s sit-com "Fiddler's Three", which very obviously recycles the plots and characters (albeit the names are different) from The Squirrels. So I wondered if anybody had any insight as to why this came about? Why would a broadcaster commission such an idea when it would obviously have been cheaper to simply repeat the original show? Could it be that the master tapes for Squirrels were lost at the time? Or might Yorkshire TV have thought that while Squirrels was a great show at heart, its 70s look needed a modern make-over?

Ideas on a postcard, please!

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stearn
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by stearn »

Would it have been cheaper to repeat the original show?

Archive repeats are notoriously expensive so it may well have been cheaper to make a new show which could be sold to the network. There is no hangover from any disappointment or otherwise from the original show, talent of the moment can be used, and reusing plots/scripts isn't a big deal if they are good.

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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by Juswuh »

But why do it at all? Was there any known demand for a Squirrels revival c. 1990? And are there any other examples of a show being remade in all but name? Could it have been done to fulfil some kind of contractual obligation between Eric Chappell and YTV?

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stearn
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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by stearn »

Could it just have been a sitcom was required, an established writer was approached, a fee agreed, and they got what was paid for - rehash instead of something new?

Today it would be difficult to get away with, but in the 90s very little archive stuff was available and what was inevitably was the big hitters that had been repeated as no-one minded or actually craved. Who in the 90s would remember the Squirrels let alone have a chance to rewatch it?

The Goon Show reused whole scripts, and large chunks of Round The Horne were recycled by Feldman in his TV series Marty and in each case there were only a few years between the uses.

As to why do it? Why remake films, why remake period drama, why revive a play, why do anything? Someone obviously thought it would be a good idea at the time.

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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by DMatthews »

Thanks for the ideas, folks!

Interesting to hear that it might have been more expensive to show repeats! As The Squirrels had been made by ATV, which of course was effectively dissolved in January 1982 - and a lot of its programme assets sold off - perhaps this made it more difficult and/or expensive to clear at the time?...

Furthermore I wonder if Juswuh's idea might be on the right lines, too. Perhaps Chappell had been commissioned to write a new sit-com for Yorkshire which fell through partway through (pre-)production for some reason, so he suggested "reviving" Squirrels as a "quick fix"?


> Who in the 90s would remember the Squirrels

I certainly did (admittedly mainly on the basis of the ep where Rex gets obsessed by Carol's "kinky boots"! ) - and was frustrated by the lack of repeats! Having now been able to see all surviving eps, courtesy of Network, I am surprised it doesn't seem better remembered, especially given Ken Jones' wonderful nervous-wreck performance - far better than Peter Davison's attempt in "Fiddlers Three". Perhaps Squirrels was never (fully) networked?

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Re: PR: The Squirrels [Network]

Post by Mark »

I think it was simply a reworking of, what was a very good idea, also the original featured scripts from other writers, as Chappell was too busy to write them all.

I certainly knew it was a reworking, at the time, as I remembered "The Squirrels" very well," Fiddlers Three" had a good cast, Charles Kay, as Morley was particularly good.

Interestingly enough, as "Room At The Bottom", has just been announced, on DVD, that is a reworking of an ABC series (of the same name) from 1964, which featured Lionel Jeffries as Nesbitt Gunn, and Dick Emery as Hughes.

The original was written by John Antrobus, who together with Ray Galton, used the two characters and the basic idea, for the Yorkshire series, only four programmes were made, and all gone, sadly.
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