Early Armchair theatre on videotape

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ArchiveTvfan43
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Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ArchiveTvfan43 »

Recently bought the volume 4 dvd and was surprised to see the play "lord arthur savile's crime" 3 January 1960 survives on videotape. It appears to be the earliest armchair theatre to survive on tape. The second earliest play on videotape seems to be "after the funeral" 3 April 1960 as the BFI hold the original 2 inch videotape of it. Sadly it hasn't been released yet.

ArchiveTvfan43
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ArchiveTvfan43 »

I haven't bought the armchair theatre archive releases yet but it would appear judging by the clips on youtu.be that network accessed the original telerecording negatives for much of the plays as they are very good quality

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by fatcat »

In the IMDB 'unknown season' section it contains a few of the plays that were never transmitted in the first place, obviously not the mid 50s ones but a few of the later ones rather curiously still survive on tape apparently including The Blood Knot which may have strayed too far into S.African politics?..or one-time producer Leonard White did imply once that such was the production rate of AT that the schedule sometimes didn't have the slots to show all of them.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0161126/episodes?season=-1

ATV's rival the very neglected 'Drama 61-66' looks just that little bit more exciting and glamorous compared to AT.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0969924/episodes?season=2


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ArchiveTvfan43
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ArchiveTvfan43 »

I may be wrong but old man's fancy I think is the only unbroadcast play to be released on dvd? It's included as a extra on the volume 3 dvd set

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ArchiveTvfan43 »

I'm glad we have the Magnum for schneider "Callan" pilot but a shame the pilot of "never mind the quality feel the width" is missing. Thames kept all plays from 1970-74 but wiped all of their 1969 plays. Only the play "Edward the confessor" has been recovered on a 16mm telerecording.

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by fatcat »

The 1969 season had a few plays I would have liked to have seen,
but the 1970 on, ones that were shown on TPTV I found a mixed bag of not bad - to creaky and dull.

They did not show 1970's The Others which I reckon would have been a good un.

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ian b »

ArchiveTvfan43 wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:37 am
I'm glad we have the Magnum for schneider "Callan" pilot but a shame the pilot of "never mind the quality feel the width" is missing. Thames kept all plays from 1970-74 but wiped all of their 1969 plays. Only the play "Edward the confessor" has been recovered on a 16mm telerecording.
Which Studio Canal seems to own - there's no credit to Fremantle on Network's Archive release. Was EDWARD a re-branded ABC production?

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ian b »

ArchiveTvfan43 wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:14 pm
I haven't bought the armchair theatre archive releases yet but it would appear judging by the clips on youtu.be that network accessed the original telerecording negatives for much of the plays as they are very good quality
Not all are great quality, being returned sales prints - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is one that is ident-less, ad-break hacked, scratchy, tramlined and dirty. And AFTERNOON OF A NYMPH is, alas, a camera copy of the original 405-line tape which has long-since been junked. Better than nowt, mind.

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ian b »

fatcat wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:20 pm
In the IMDB 'unknown season' section it contains a few of the plays that were never transmitted in the first place, obviously not the mid 50s ones but a few of the later ones rather curiously still survive on tape apparently including The Blood Knot which may have strayed too far into S.African politics?..or one-time producer Leonard White did imply once that such was the production rate of AT that the schedule sometimes didn't have the slots to show all of them.
I make it seven finished productions that never made it to air, all of which survive:

A) 1959 - Three On A Gas Ring (writer: David Osborn/director: Philip Saville)
B) recorded May 1963 - The Blood Knot (Athol Fugard/ Charles Jarrott)
C) recorded April 1964 - The Bandstand (Guy Compton/Philip Saville)
D) recorded December 1964 - Unexpected Summer (Gwendolyn Gazeley/?)
E) recorded December 1964 - Old Man’s Fancy (Evan Jones/Toby Robertson)
F) 1965 - And There It Stops - (Alan Seymour/Raymond Menmuir)
G) 1967/8 (?) - Two On A Tightrope

UNEXPECTED SUMMER was included on the third volume of Network's releases, and TWO ON A TIGHTROPE is available to view at a BFI Mediatheque.

THREE ON A GAS RING deals with abortion, and seems to have been pulled on the advice of the ITA, Leonard White says in his ARMCHAIR THEATRE THE LOST YEARS book that THE BLOOD KNOT kept being pencilled in to the schedules before slipping out again and eventually the rights to the script ran out. But he gives no clues as to why the later plays were never shown, other than the "too many plays, not enough slots" one.

TWO ON A TIGHTROPE appears to be the production that White forgets the name of, but thinks never completed recording. Which doesn't seem to be the case!

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by fatcat »

Deleted double post

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by fatcat »

fatcat wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 7:03 pm
ian b wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 4:48 pm


I make it seven finished productions that never made it to air, all of which survive:

A) 1959 - Three On A Gas Ring (writer: David Osborn/director: Philip Saville)
B) recorded May 1963 - The Blood Knot (Athol Fugard/ Charles Jarrott)
C) recorded April 1964 - The Bandstand (Guy Compton/Philip Saville)
D) recorded December 1964 - Unexpected Summer (Gwendolyn Gazeley/?)
E) recorded December 1964 - Old Man’s Fancy (Evan Jones/Toby Robertson)
F) 1965 - And There It Stops - (Alan Seymour/Raymond Menmuir)
G) 1967/8 (?) - Two On A Tightrope

UNEXPECTED SUMMER was included on the third volume of Network's releases, and TWO ON A TIGHTROPE is available to view at a BFI Mediatheque.

THREE ON A GAS RING deals with abortion, and seems to have been pulled on the advice of the ITA, Leonard White says in his ARMCHAIR THEATRE THE LOST YEARS book that THE BLOOD KNOT kept being pencilled in to the schedules before slipping out again and eventually the rights to the script ran out. But he gives no clues as to why the later plays were never shown, other than the "too many plays, not enough slots" one.

TWO ON A TIGHTROPE appears to be the production that White forgets the name of, but thinks never completed recording. Which doesn't seem to be the case!


Thanks for that Ian.
I am pleasantly surprised that GAS RING and UNEXPECTED SUMMER survive.

I had this sad image of an old dear (Gwen Gazeley) writing one play in her life, getting disappointed over Christmas, then spent the rest of her life waiting for it to appear.



.

ArchiveTvfan43
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ArchiveTvfan43 »

I thought "Three on a gas ring" is missing? It is listed as such on Kaleidoscopes TVBrain

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ian b »

I was going by the last printed ITV drama guide from Kaleidoscope - which has it as existing as 2”|n.


Whatever that means! 2” tape, but the “n” suggests a negative - some sort of mistake? As you say, TVBrain says it’s missing.

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Simon Coward
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by Simon Coward »

"|n" meant held in the National Film [and Television] Archive rather than in the broadcaster's own archive. Surely there was a list of codes and their meanings in there somewhere.

The BFI currently claim that they don't anything for this production, but we must have got that information from somewhere. I enquired about this curiosity back in February but still haven't got the bottom of it.
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Ian Wegg
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by Ian Wegg »

Simon Coward wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 12:50 am
Surely there was a list of codes and their meanings in there somewhere.
Yep. Right at the top, pages x and xi on my copy.

Image

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ian b »

Simon Coward wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 12:50 am
"|n" meant held in the National Film [and Television] Archive rather than in the broadcaster's own archive. Surely there was a list of codes and their meanings in there somewhere.
There is - and I did look, but didn’t really scrutinise it that closely for physical reasons: I had to move a pile of stuff to reach the Guides, which left me with little room to manoeuvre in, and I was more-or-less one-handily trying to flick through the relevant volume too! Consequently I overlooked the meaning of |n.

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ArchiveTvfan43 »

Hope we can get to the bottom of this as I thought lord Arthur saviles crime was the earliest surviving VT

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ArchiveTvfan43 »

I'll post a enquiry on the kaleidoscope Facebook page and see if Chris Perry can answer the question

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Ian Wegg
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by Ian Wegg »

I imagine that KAL's ITV Drama guide was compiled a few years ago when the NFTA catalogue contained entries for any holding, without always specifying exactly what was held. I seem to remember it caused quite a few false alarms.

The BFI catalogue now shows that what they have is two rehearsal scripts.

http://collections-search.bfi.org.uk/we ... /150308431

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

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You might be right about that, Ian. Earlier in the year I checked and it wasn't listed among the BFI's holdings in A for Andromeda to Zoo Time: Television Holdings of the National Film and Television Archive, 1936-1979 (1994).
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

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"...A for Andromeda to Zoo Time: Television Holdings of the National Film and Television Archive, 1936-1979"

Ordered. Thanks.

Don't know how I missed that one.

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

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Wasn't the play recommended to be destroyed due to its controversial theme about abortion?

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

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ArchiveTvfan43 wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 8:10 am
Wasn't the play recommended to be destroyed due to its controversial theme about abortion?
I don't think I've heard that but then, back in the 60s, TV companies didn't really need a reason / excuse to wipe a play, or any other kind of TV programme. Wiping seems to have been the default operation in most companies.
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

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ian b wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 4:24 pm
ArchiveTvfan43 wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:14 pm
I haven't bought the armchair theatre archive releases yet but it would appear judging by the clips on youtu.be that network accessed the original telerecording negatives for much of the plays as they are very good quality
Not all are great quality, being returned sales prints - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is one that is ident-less, ad-break hacked, scratchy, tramlined and dirty. And AFTERNOON OF A NYMPH is, alas, a camera copy of the original 405-line tape which has long-since been junked. Better than nowt, mind.
Actually I read on the kaleidoscope Facebook page that a electronic 405 to 625 line conversion was done of "afternoon of a nymph" and the BFI still have the original 405 line videotape, the New conversion just hasn't been released. 🙂 And the BFI seem to have a telerecording negative of "the importance of being earnest" which may or may not be better quality than what's on the DVD

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

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ArchiveTvfan43 wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 8:10 am
Wasn't the play recommended to be destroyed due to its controversial theme about abortion?
The ITA board of watchers had influential church members on it then, so they may have indeed been not amused by what they saw.
So it's a possibility they had the power to say "no,no chuck it in the bin".

Another play/opera around the same era The Turn of the Screw IIRC Rediffusion was told they to bin the TR after transmission, this was because Boosey and Hawkes owned the music and the contract only agreed to one showing. However a copy survived because the first TR made was deemed to have quality issues and got chucked aside(while the new one got binned) but was found years later.

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by ArchiveTvfan43 »

There is quite a few plays surviving on original videotape from 1967, would like to see a release of them. As well as a release of "after the funeral" (1960) and "the bandstand" (1964) which both Also survive on original VT the bandstand never being transmitted

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

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brigham wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 7:25 am
"...A for Andromeda to Zoo Time: Television Holdings of the National Film and Television Archive, 1936-1979"

Ordered. Thanks.

Don't know how I missed that one.
Brown cover hard back, well worth getting!
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by Mark »

Isn't there some early VT inserts surviving ?, not sure what of, but heard about it somewhere.
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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by fatcat »

ArchiveTvfan43 wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 11:24 am
There is quite a few plays surviving on original videotape from 1967, would like to see a release of them. As well as a release of "after the funeral" (1960) and "the bandstand" (1964) which both Also survive on original VT the bandstand never being transmitted
Not AT
but Granada's Mary Broome play from 1958 survives on videotape I believe. (Harry H Corbett)
ATV's The Tormentors from 1966 apparently has an early VT PAL colour version (Stanley Baker/James Mason)

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Re: Early Armchair theatre on videotape

Post by Simon Coward »

fatcat wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 4:09 pm
Not AT
but Granada's Mary Broome play from 1958 survives on videotape I believe. (Harry H Corbett)
It does indeed, and the tape even has some interviews beforehand - Bill Grundy interviewing Dame Sybil Thorndike (who had played the role of Mary Broome many years earlier) and both Olive McFarland and Robert Stephens (who were in the Granada production of the play). I've only seen it via a VHS viewing copy but it looks great, amazing to think that it's more than sixty years old, though I suppose the tape was 'only' thirty-something when it was transferred to a more modern format.
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