'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

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Nick Cooper 625
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'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Rather than continue this in the "Coming soon on Freeview Channels" thread, I thought it best to start a new one to flag up that - unless I'm mistaken - a couple of episodes of Armchair Theatre that have not yet been released on DVD are upcoming on Talking Pictures:

14/04/2019 - Verite [ 23/10/1973]
21/04/2019 - Mrs Davenport [20/10/1970]
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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

Apparently TPtv will try to get earlier eps depending on the audience reactions to the colour Thames ones.

The only surviving one from the first Thames series appears to be Edward the Confessor which looked promising
as a tour de force between Ian Holm and Alfred Burke, also from that season The Story-Teller looked interesting but I think is no more?
From the seasons being shown on TP I hope they show The Others etc and weed out a few of the clunkers to keep the audience interest up.
IMHO I found Hot Summer totally tedious and represented the very worst aspects of a VT filmed play and Beryl Reid's Shorthouse play was disappointing and did not live up to expectations as poor old Beryl was not given the right script to let rip.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

UPDATE. Looks like TP will stop showing AT next Month (May) ..they reckon they have shown all the Thames survivors..but we know different eh?, probably due to ratings maybe?

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Billy Smart »

fatcat wrote:The only surviving one from the first Thames series appears to be Edward the Confessor which looked promising as a tour de force between Ian Holm and Alfred Burke
and Beryl Reid. It is available on the Network Armchair Theatre Archive Volume I DVD (including exhaustive Viewing Notes by myself).

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

Billy Smart wrote:
fatcat wrote:The only surviving one from the first Thames series appears to be Edward the Confessor which looked promising as a tour de force between Ian Holm and Alfred Burke
and Beryl Reid. It is available on the Network Armchair Theatre Archive Volume I DVD (including exhaustive Viewing Notes by myself).
Thanks Billy... a few more ATs have started appearing on YT recently ..
... I don't mind a teaser or small sequences.. but putting up complete episodes IMHO is killing the goose that laid the golden egg, Network and the like is a business that employs people..how can they bother to continue to keep bringing all this stuff unseen for years to us, when someone impedes their sales by then slapping it on YT ?

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Andy Marriott »

Whoever did the transfers of AT for TPTV needs a stern talking to.
For a start what kind of idiot de-interlaces (i.e. filmises) a VT production?
And the sound, my God I have never heard so much compression and expansion. The optical soundtrack noise is deafening on the Thames ident and there's lots of hiss whenever the dialogue pauses.

Having experienced UK Gold, Bravo and Granada Plus in the past and now TPTV, it is clear that there will never be an archive channel that treats the material with respect.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

Andy Marriott wrote:Whoever did the transfers of AT for TPTV needs a stern talking to.
For a start what kind of idiot de-interlaces (i.e. filmises) a VT production?
And the sound, my God I have never heard so much compression and expansion. The optical soundtrack noise is deafening on the Thames ident and there's lots of hiss whenever the dialogue pauses.

Having experienced UK Gold, Bravo and Granada Plus in the past and now TPTV, it is clear that there will never be an archive channel that treats the material with respect.
I thought it looked quite natural (ie not filmised) on my TV set, In fact I thought most of it now looks better than when it was first transmitted, however on a couple it looks like the HF has faded a bit and lost a bit of definition on the picture ..obviously to be expected over all that time passing.

However the sound ( as you say and I reckon too) has been put through some sort of compressor which raises everything to the same level and that includes all the original foibles ...the noise on the optical track and the traditional VT play hum and hiss.

If we have to put up with these modern quirks I would say it is a far better sound experience to tolerate, than in the first days of
' restoring' (sic) archive material, where they use to put a 'noise gate' which would let say a voice through but would then close leaving a very unnatural sounding noiseless silence between each word said.

.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Roll ACR »

Yes, TPTV do seem to be unaware when they’re delivered video files for TX that have been wrongly processed. Numerous eps of “The Gentle Touch” at least one “Callan” and various other videotape productions they’ve shown have been horribly de-interlaced. 25fps and ghastly line structure evident. I’ve taken issue with them regarding this directly via Facebook messenger. To be fair to them they have replied and engaged in the conversation. However, they don’t seem to understand and deny there’s an issue saying they can’t see anything wrong. We must be grateful that the channel exists and that the material they are showing is there for people to enjoy. I love the channel. Nevertheless it’s clearly run by relatively amateur people with no understanding of the issues regarding processing 50i video for TX. They’re either being supplied with wrongly processed TX files from the rights holders or they’re messing up their own TX operation. Shame. Maybe someone from TPTV will read this and realise there’s an issue.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Mark »

Noticed a few sound holes in episodes of "Callan" and "Van Der Valk" as well ( at first I thought they were just censoring words, but it's not that).

Still, it's great they are showing them, and the "AT" plays.

"Verite" was hugely enjoyable, Shuman's writing is very energetic and amusing, not on DVD sadly, presumably because of Mik's taste in music...it would have to be The Stones!

Also "Mrs Davenport" had some nicely written and played scenes, strange seeing Angela Baddley not being the larger than life Mrs Bridges, and Harriet Harper, before putting on a wacky wig as Polandi in "AOW", also the smooth voiced Noel Johnson.
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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

Well once again on my TV set they all looked as they did in 197* and some look outstanding now in comparison to 197*, but that always seems to be a troublesome aspect of ancient tape recorded programmes -everybody seems to have a different viewing experience of them.
Armchair Theatre does exactly what is says on the tin ie a theatrical troupe perform in your living room, and as a theatrical experience I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs Davenport,The left Overs and Verite and when you see Joan Kemp Welch come up on the credits you know your in for something a bit er..different as with Little Red Riding Hood

Also through TPtv we are seeing there was whole lot more to Angela Baddley than Mrs Bridges.

TP appear to be stop showing Armchair Theatre in May, hopefully it's just a hiatus as there are so many surviving gems(and a few duds) still be seen.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Andy Marriott »

fatcat wrote:Well once again on my TV set they all looked as they did in 197*
Do you perhaps have the interpolating function active on your tv, that doubles the framerate? If so you won't notice the fact that AT was de-interlaced as your tv is regenerating the missing picture information.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

Andy Marriott wrote:
fatcat wrote:Well once again on my TV set they all looked as they did in 197*
Do you perhaps have the interpolating function active on your tv, that doubles the framerate? If so you won't notice the fact that AT was de-interlaced as your tv is regenerating the missing picture information.
AFAIK my telly (and separate hard disc video recorder) are pretty basic and have no twiddler's menu....unless I haven't found it LOL.

I would have thought that doubling the frame rate would produce a more unnatural picture? certainly a modern high frame rate production when you see things like aircraft propellers they appear to be spinning at about 10rpm

With the standard rate of analogue video being 25fps and I presume the digital signal arriving down your aerial is also 25fps Mpeg 2 ?.
Obviously the two low line fields that make up an interlaced anologue frame use to be combined at the old TV set, but presumably it's software now in the conversion to digital that combines the two fields into a progressive frame and so 'in theory' it should not look any different to playing from an old vtr on an old monitor.

But it is a subject that produces many different viewing experiences eh?

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

On the subject of Armchair Theatre, a recent addition to my website is a four-page article on the series from the Star T.V. & Film Annual 1966, which can be read here.
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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Mark »

Nice read, although there are so many identical articles running through the whole production process.

There's a good one on Transdiffusion on the "Mystery And Imagination" episode, "Curse Of The Mummy" to name but one.
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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by brigham »

There must be some confusion here.
If you are getting optical sound artifacts, then you must surely be watching film, not video, and therefore 25fps is to be expected.
The 'refresh rate' for video is 50 per second, which gives a more realistic look to movement, but if you are watching on something other than a 'television set', then perhaps this may be lost due to some property of the viewing device.
I've never met video tape recording with a separate optical sound reel.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Andy Marriott »

I did say: optical soundtrack noise is deafening on the Thames ident

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

Andy Marriott wrote:I did say: optical soundtrack noise is deafening on the Thames ident
Perhaps for some reason the sound was low on the master and a quick solution was to use a compressor? However you have to know what your doing with a compressor otherwise it will pick out every single sound on the track and try and bring to an equal level with the sound track proper this will include 'magnifying' the optical ident, tape hums/hiss and studio noises.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Mark »

There is still the same strange sound gaps on "Van Der Valk", and on some occasions, in the gaps, there is a split second of dialogue from another section of the scene, very odd effect.
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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by brigham »

Mark wrote:There is still the same strange sound gaps on "Van Der Valk", and on some occasions, in the gaps, there is a split second of dialogue from another section of the scene, very odd effect.
That sounds like 'print-through'.
If there's a gap in the sound, the equalizer will increase the amplification in the gap, which could very well contain 'print-through'.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

TP announced last night (after AT) that they had now shown the entire surviving eps of Armchair Theatre

I would have thought there would have been lots more survivors of the Thames era?

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fatcat wrote:TP announced last night (after AT) that they had now shown the entire surviving eps of Armchair Theatre

I would have thought there would have been lots more survivors of the Thames era?
Well, that's either a lie or ignorance, given that they've only shown 14, leaving another forty Thames episodes, along with 120 ABC survivors.

Obviously it's great that they've included four that Network haven't released, but it would have been great to go back to the ABC episodes, and perhaps get a chance of Prisoner and Escort and I Am Osango>
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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by ian b »

It’s only three not on dvd so far, isn’t it? Or have I missed a fourth?

15-09-70 A ROOM IN TOWN
20-10-70 MRS.DAVENPORT
23-10-73 VERITE

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

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ian b wrote:It’s only three not on dvd so far, isn’t it? Or have I missed a fourth?

15-09-70 A ROOM IN TOWN
20-10-70 MRS.DAVENPORT
23-10-73 VERITE
Yes, Still Life on Sunday.
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Post by ian b »

Of course!

Ta!

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Post by brigham »

Where does TPTV obtain the 'Non-DVD' ones?
It's fairly clear, from the Edgar Wallace series of second features, that they have no problems broadcasting from commercially-released DVDs.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by fatcat »

brigham wrote:Where does TPTV obtain the 'Non-DVD' ones?
It's fairly clear, from the Edgar Wallace series of second features, that they have no problems broadcasting from commercially-released DVDs.
I reckon it may be a matter of using those that have already been checked and transferred to a modern format? So while there maybe a lot more eps around they maybe still on their 2' format (having not been used for years) ? Thames (Freemantle) appear to be gradually transferring all their archive. but I suppose somethings have a priority over the use of the now precious 2' VTRs?

TPtv did show a rather good orphan episode from the Rediffusion series Blackmail a while back, but I would assume that was from a 16mm film which is much easier to deal with.

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by ian b »

fatcat wrote:TP announced last night (after AT) that they had now shown the entire surviving eps of Armchair Theatre

I would have thought there would have been lots more survivors of the Thames era?
For the record, over the words "Final Episode. Thank you for watching Armchair Theatre", what was said was "And this episode concludes the entire series I'm afraid to say. We hope you've enjoyed being reunited with this wonderful series."

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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

fatcat wrote:
brigham wrote:Where does TPTV obtain the 'Non-DVD' ones?
It's fairly clear, from the Edgar Wallace series of second features, that they have no problems broadcasting from commercially-released DVDs.
I reckon it may be a matter of using those that have already been checked and transferred to a modern format? So while there maybe a lot more eps around they maybe still on their 2' format (having not been used for years) ? Thames (Freemantle) appear to be gradually transferring all their archive. but I suppose somethings have a priority over the use of the now precious 2' VTRs?
Kaleidoscope's 2010 Independent Television Drama Research Guide has all the Thames episodes from their second and subsequent series transferred to D3 even back then. The sole exception was Edward the Confessor, from their first series, as a 16mm film recording. Obviously the DVD-released episodes will all have been rights cleared, but there's no apparent rhyme or reason to the four exceptions that haven't been previously released.
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ian b wrote:
fatcat wrote:TP announced last night (after AT) that they had now shown the entire surviving eps of Armchair Theatre

I would have thought there would have been lots more survivors of the Thames era?
For the record, over the words "Final Episode. Thank you for watching Armchair Theatre", what was said was "And this episode concludes the entire series I'm afraid to say. We hope you've enjoyed being reunited with this wonderful series."
Lie! Lies! Lies!
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Re: 'Armchair Theatre' on Talking Pictures

Post by Mark »

brigham wrote:
Mark wrote:There is still the same strange sound gaps on "Van Der Valk", and on some occasions, in the gaps, there is a split second of dialogue from another section of the scene, very odd effect.
That sounds like 'print-through'.
If there's a gap in the sound, the equalizer will increase the amplification in the gap, which could very well contain 'print-through'.
Ah no, that's when you can hear a line just before it's spoken isn't it?

An example would be the last episode of "Callan", when he's in the warehouse and shouts out, and you can just hear it before he shouts.

When I mentioned sound gaps, these are actually during speech (not censor mutes) a moments gap, and sometimes during the gap a split second of different dialogue from another section or perhaps even another scene, very odd!
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