|Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes
The following five episodes are missing
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker
Episode Nine (Broadcast 15th of March 1969) B&W
Private Joe Walker is called up to join the regular Army, but is reluctant to join and the platoon rallies around him in an attempt to persuade authorities not to take him. He is far too important to the platoon - not just because he's about the only fit and able-bodied man in the unit, but he also supplies their essential supplies like whisky, cigarettes and sugar under the table.
Mainwaring and Wilson travel to London to see a Brigadier at the War Office about having Joe's call up stopped, but it's no good. Jones and the others try to help him to fail the medical but again it's to no avail. Walker joins the Army and is undergoing training. He spends a few days in the army before it is discovered he is allergic to corned beef and is discharged, back to the platoon.
A Stripe For Frazer
Episode Eleven (Broadcast 29th of March 1969) B&W
When a provision is made for the platoon to have a full Corporal added to its ranks, as well as the Lance Corporal position, Captain Mainwaring decides to trial both his old campaigners, L/Cpl Jones and Private Frazer, to see who best suits the role. So Frazer is given a L/Cpl Stripe and he and Jones are now the same rank. In order to impress the Captain, they have to compete to show who has the best merit for the higher position. What they do not realise is that GHQ has different ideas for filling the position.
News - The audio soundtrack of this episode has been found and recovered by the BBC, as of November 2008. We'd still love to find the visual content however
Episode Twelve (Broadcast 5th of April 1969) B&W
As the town of Walmington is coming under attack from the Luftwaffe who are dropping numerous incendiary bombs, designed to start raging fires, Mainwaring and his men have to also deal with a suspected German spy who is seen signalling with a light to the Nazi bombers above.
Christmas Night With The Stars mini-episode
(Broadcast 25th of December 1968) B&W
Not part of the mainstream series but instead a mini-episode that was made by the cast and crew as an insert into the annual BBC 'Christmas Night With The Stars' programme, this was just a short ten minute sketch.
This episode was simply called Dad’s Army. Only very short, the setting was the Church Hall on Christmas Day, 1940. The men parade in civvies, and five of the platoon, i.e. the stars in the front row, all turn up dressed as Father Christmas. The platoon carry out fitness exercises using a telegraph pole.
Starring Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, James Beck, Arnold Ridley, Ian Lavender and Edward Sinclair, with ten platoon members
News - The audio soundtrack of this episode has been found and recovered by the BBC, as of November 2008. We'd still love to find the visual content however
The Cornish Floral Dance
A Christmas Night With The Stars special
(Broadcast 25th of December 1970) Colour
The platoon, aided by some ARP Wardens and other members of the community, form a choir to raise money for wounded servicemen at a Christmas concert. They dress up as Cornish yokels and we see them rehearsing their big number, the Cornish Floral Dance.
This episode was wiped along with the rest of that year's Christmas Night With The Stars episode. However when it was broadcast on television, an astute fan set up a tape recorder next to the television and recorded a very good version of the soundtrack as it aired. Some years back in about 1996 when I ran the Dad's Army Appreciation Society New Zealand Branch, I was sent a copy of this soundtrack by a chap called Tony Carville of Newcastle, UK. I don't know if it was he who recorded the audio or if he'd gotten it from someone else. However it was an amazing find. i passed on a copy to the UK DAAS, and in turn they returned a copy to the BBC. It is now an extra on the Dad's Army Christmas Specials DVD.
We would of course like the visual element to go with it too however, so if anybody has a copy of this show, or the three full episodes above, we'd like to hear from you please. Contact me by clicking here.
A History of the Lost Dad's Army Episodes...
I began a campaign to try to find the lost episodes of Dad's Army way back in June 1995 by launching an appeal in Issue Two of the DAAS NZ Branch magazine"Platoon Attention!"
Back then seven of the eighty episodes of the TV series were lost, along with two smaller mini-episodes made for Christmas Night With The Stars.
The episodes missing from the BBC vaults then were Operation Kilt, The Battle Of Godfrey’s Cottage, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Walker, Sgt Wilson’s Little Secret, A Stripe For Frazer and Under Fire all from Series Two, and Room At The Bottom from Series Three. The lost “Christmas Night With The Stars” mini-episodes were the 1968 and the 1970 shows, thus bringing the total number of lost episodes to nine at that time..
This is less than it could have been, apparently a further eight had also been wiped form the original master tapes, but it was by shear luck the were rediscovered and returned. It was the master himself, David Croft (the series co-writer, director and producer) who happened to be in Australia working on a series when he was in his hotel room and switched on the television. On the screen was Mum's Army, an episode he knew the BBC had somehow lost.
David immediately got on the phone to a friend at the network who were broadcasting the episode, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC, and arranged to meet him there at the archives. There they discovered eight lost episodes on film prints, somehow stored rather than returned to the BBC. Of the eight, which David had copied and returned to Britain were Mum's Army, The Big Parade, Sgt Wilson's Little Secret and Room at the Bottom. The latter two were on black and white film, though Room at the Bottom had been originally made in colour.
The coloured prints of the returned episodes went back into broadcast circulation but for some reason the black and white ones did not. They became forgotten, and practically lost in their own archive. None of the black and white episodes were being rescreened anywhere at that time and many fans and also BBC staff seem to have thought that Sgt Wilson's Little Secret and Room at the Bottom were
On behalf of the society I wrote several letters to Australian and New Zealand television broadcasters in an attempt to track down the lost shows, alas to no avail. Most of them didn’t even bother to have the courtesy to reply!
However word got around from the inside of the BBC that they were there. Thanks to the efforts of the DAAS staff such as Tadge Muldoon and Jack Wheeler, with the help of Jimmy Perry, and BBC insiders, they were re-rediscovered in late 1995 and fans now enjoy both again through the BBC Video and DVD collection releases. The only down-side is that Room At The Bottom only remains in black and white.
The next big find was when an appeal by the BBC through their Treasure Hunt appeal for copies of lost TV and radio, copies of The Battle Of Godfrey’s Cottage and Operation Kilt were found in garden shed where they'd been hiding for a quarter century. that story is well known, and the episodes were restored and replayed with much fanfare. For more on that, click here
And of the Christmas Night With The Stars mini episodes, I can say part of the 1970 episode has resurfaced, this being the complete soundtrack of the episode which was recorded off-air by a keen fan straight from his TV set during the 1970 screening.This was sent to me after my original appeal for lost items by a member in the UK. I passed it on to the UK DAAS and now I believe the soundtrack has been released by the BBC on their Dad's Army Christmas Special DVD.
This episode, known as The Cornish Floral Dance, was later replayed by the cast many times. The 1975 Radio version of The Godiva Affair included its script in place of the Morris Dance of the original, with Larry Martyn as Walker. The Stage Show included The Choir Practice, (same sketch, different name), but with John Bardon as Walker and Hamish Roughead as Frazer. A soundtrack of that version appears on the Stage Show album, and this same cast also appeared in the 1975 Royal Variety Performance doing the choir sketch, which thankfully does still exist on video. But the 1970 soundtrack includes the original cast of James Beck as Walker and John Laurie as Frazer, therefore making it special. If we ever track down the original tape with the visual performance too, that would be even more special.
The same goes for the original tapes of the 1968 Christmas Night episode, which was never re-recorded for radio, and the three remaining lost episodes from Series Two, now only available in Radio form.
See below for another article on The Cornish Floral Dance, from an old issue of "Platoon Attention!"
Following that first appeal I had made in 1995, I had run surveys that brought in lots of sightings of the lost shows, and I had written screeds of letters to broadcast networks in new Zealand, Australia and beyond - most of which were ignored. I had a Lost Episodes page on the old website too which was successful in helping me to find the lost It Ain't Half Hot Mum episodes (see below). And of course I also rediscovered the lost Rear Guard adaptation. But I never did find any of the Dad's Army television episodes. maybe one day.
If you know any information which may lead to the recovery of these lost episodes please contact me. Any small piece of information may be the vital word that leads us to finding these episodes and returning them to the BBC for eventual re-release on TV and DVD.
Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes
The book by Jimmy Perry and David Croft
Much more information on the lost episodes can be found about the Series Two episodes in the book Dad’s Army – The Lost Episodes by Jimmy Perry and David Croft.
It was published by Virgin Books in 1998 and was written when five of the six episodes in that series were lost. Now only three are lost, but the book is still valuable in giving the background of how and why episodes were lost. There's also a lot of insights into the making of that series, and the book contains the complete Series Two scripts and photos taken of all six episodes during the rehearsals. I highly recommend this collectable book.
Other Items on the Lost Episode Wish List…
Room At The Bottom (episode 18)
Series Three Originally Broadcast 16 October 1969 on BBC TV
This episode sees Mainwaring reduced to the rank of Private when GHQ discovers he had simply made himself a Captain from the start, without any official approval. This hilarious episode is one which was wiped by the BBC, and thought to have been lost forever till it was rediscovered in the BBC vaults on film (e.g. – a film copy which had once been made to send to overseas broadcasters, and then luckily returned). Sadly the rediscovered copy was found to only have been in black and white. This is because many broadcasters outside of Britain in 1970 were still only broadcasting in black and white, and there was no need to send a more expensive coloured copy to them. However this episode was indeed originally made in colour, and a colour copy may just exist somewhere in the world. Can you help? If you have a coloured copy of Room At The Bottom, please get in touch with us.
This Is Your Life Clive Dunn
Broadcast Wednesday 24th March 1971, ITV Colour (Lost by Thames TV)
Clive Dunn was surprised by Eamonn Andrews with the Red Book on Barnes Common, London. He was under the impression that he was there to help Jimmy Perry record a documentary about Jimmy's real Home Guard days, on the Common. Eamonn was dressed as a Home Guard. Later at the studio Clive met his wife Priscilla (who's voice he did not recognise on the voice-over!!), Arthur Lowe (dressed as Mainwaring) and John Le Mesurier, among other people. A cassette tape audio recording of a small portion of this show exists. However, we would like to trace an actual video recording or the full audio soundtrack. Can you help? We would also like to discover who else appeared as guests on the show. Any ideas?
An Hour With Clive Dunn
Broadcast Wednesday 18 August 1971, BBC 1, 9:20pm (LOST by BBC)
This was a 60 minute show which included an extensive interview with Clive Dunn. It also included the episode The Armoured Might Of Lance Corporal Jones. We would like a video or audio soundtrack of the interview section please.
Broadcast Thursday 19 October 1972, BBC Radio 1 and 2 (LOST by BBC)
This radio game show episode featured Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, John Laurie and Bill Pertwee, and was chaired by Jack Watson. Did you happen to record it on audio cassette? If so, we'd love a copy please...
Broadcast Sunday 22 October 1972, BBC 1 Colour (LOST by BBC)
Michael Aspel interviewed Arthur Lowe in this episode of the chat show. Did you record the episode on video or audio tape?
Give Me Your Word
Broadcast 16 April 1969, BBC TV (LOST by BBC)
Episode 'Dad's Army vs The Roy Hudd Show'
A special celebrity episode of this game show, we would like to track down a copy of it, or at least discover which members of the Dad's Army cast were on the team? Do you know?
On Camera: The Sergeant From Sandhurst
Broadcast 26 July 1973, BBC TV (LOST by BBC)
John le Mesurier returns to the East Anglia and in particular Bury St Edmunds of his youth, taking William Raynor and a camera crew to rediscover his childhood and look at how much or how little things had changed
IT AIN'T HALF HOT MUM – THE LOST EPISODES
The BBC lost two episodes of It Ain't Half Hot Mum. After a long search on behalf of David Croft, Dave Homewood was very fortunate in tracking down copies of the two episodes on video. They had been recorded by a fan in Australia from TV's Channel 7, in 1988. Although we now have copies of the episodes, and they've been returned by David Croft to the BBC who have subsequently released them as extras on the Series One DVD, sadly Channel 7 had cut several scenes out in their own editing rooms, to incorporate extra advertisements into the time slot. This means that the episodes are not in a complete enough state to be restored to broadcast standard. Therefore, we still seek complete copies of the two episodes, or perhaps copies recorded in the 1980's that had different bits edited out as lost scenes may exist even on a cut down episode. The two episodes are as follows.
A Star Is Born
Series One Broadcast 24th January 1974 on BBC TV BBC Colour
When Sergeant-Major Williams persuades Colonel Reynolds to go on leave, nothing stands between the Concert Party and jungle training – except Solly's ingenuity.
It's A Wise Child
Series One Broadcast 7th February 1974 on BBC TV BBC Colour
Bearer Rangi Ram and Bombardier Solomons decide to try and determine whether Sgt-Major Williams is really Gunner Parkins' father. Guest starring Renu Setna as the clerk.
The 1970 Dad’s Army Christmas Special
Review By Dave Homewood (From Issue Twenty of Platoon Attention!)
Four special short episodes of Dad’s Army were made for the annual Christmas Night With The Stars programme. The third in the series was made in 1970, and entitled “The Choir Practise”. Unfortunately the BBC has lost the 1970 Christmas Night With The Stars programme. This is a huge shame, because it wasn’t just a very funny episode but also historic in that it featured several of the cast member’s wives as Hodges’ ladies in the choir. Fortunately someone in England had the wonderful forethought to record the soundtrack onto audio tape, and from this tape I can give you the story of the original Choir Practise sketch.
In this hilarious sketch, the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard have joined forces with Warden Hodges and some of his ladies to form a choir. They are practising for an upcoming Christmas concert that they intend to give to wounded troops from the Duke Of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Due to the origin of their audience, they are all dressed in the costume of Cornish smocks. Mainwaring has naturally assumed the role of conductor, much to the annoyance of Hodges who also wants to conduct. After a shouting match which Frazer notes must have been heard by all of Walmington, they toss a coin, and Mainwaring wins. The Captain proclaims that they will begin with the Cornish Floral Dance. Mainwaring then tells Hodges that he doesn’t feel it is strictly necessary to sing in his steel helmet. Pike notes that he’s never seen Mr Hodges without a hat before, “I always thought he hadn’t got a top to his head.”
Mainwaring la-la’s the note to start on. Sergeant Wilson is accompanying on the piano, although he finds this somewhat difficult to hit the note because the key is not working. Mainwaring tells him to play the one next to it. Wilson says it’s not the right one, so Mainwaring says “Play one like it.” But the sergeant insists there isn’t one like it on that part of the keyboard. Now aggravated, Mainwaring says “Wilson, don’t try to blind me with science please, just get on with it!” Wilson decides to play it an octave lower. They begin, and when the choir all sing in very deep voices, it sounds awful. Mainwaring stops them and Jones adds “Sir, that’s too low. Some of the ladies are having difficulty.” Wilson decides to put it up then, and he begins on a very high note. The choir are almost shrieking to match the high notes. Mainwaring again stops it. Jones then says “Sir that’s too high! Some of the gentlemen are having difficulty.” Wilson then investigates inside the piano, and discovers that Walker has hidden a bottle of black market whisky in there. Mainwaring is furious, and he tells Walker to get rid of it, adding “I never want to see it again.” Walker laughs “Please yourself, it was your Christmas present!”
Now that the whisky is removed, they can use the piano properly. Mainwaring then dishes out the solo part “Born from afar on the gentle breeze” to Jones. It goes well from the top until Jones’ part. He comes in far too early. They try again from the top, and again he comes in too soon. Jones apologises “Sorry Sir I was born from afar too soon”, and Walker quips “It must have been a premature birth!” Mainwaring then makes the choir count for Jones, so they sing “Into the sweet and scented air, in a quaint old English town, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, in!!!” Jones finally comes in on time, although sounding very panicked by the whole affair. Mainwaring is satisfied now, and goes onto the next part.
This he decides to split up. The line is “I thought I could hear the curious tone, of cornet, clarinet and big trombone...” He gives Godfrey the line “Cornet and clarinet.” Frazer gets “Big trombone.” He gives Pike “Fiddle and cello.” Hearing this, Wilson laughs heartily, and asks “Wouldn’t it be better really, if Walker was on the fiddle?” Mainwaring ignores his pun. He gives Walker “Big base drum.” and Jones “Flute and bassoon.” He then finds they are one short for “Euphonium.” Walker suggests “Why don’t we split that up? I mean Jonesie here can be the ‘U’, I’ll be the ‘Pho’, and Pikey can be the ‘Bum’!” Mainwaring is furious and threatens to send Joe home. Hodges volunteers to take the “Euphonium” line, and Mainwaring agrees to his suggestion.
Wilson begins playing before his cue, and Mainwaring stops him with a casual reprimand “Wilson, don’t anticipate, watch the stick.” Wilson apologises, saying he’s over-excited. They begin and it goes well till Frazer’s line of “Big trombone” where he adds a “Whoop!”. Mainwaring stops them, and points out to Frazer that there is no “Whoop!” after big trombone. Frazer says “I ken that fine, I was just trying to buck up a kind of pillywally English tune.” Mainwaring says “Yes all right, we can do very well without it thank you very much.” and Frazer adds “It’ll no be as good!”
The Captain then says “Now then, after two.” Before he can get “One” out, Wilson begins to play. Mainwaring stops him again with a more pointed “Watch the stick, please!” Wilson again apologises. They begin again, and it goes fine to the end of the verse (then something visual happened which we are not made aware of on the soundtrack, but probably involved the Captain falling over with cap askew). He says “Right, that was very good.” and says they’ll go onto the end. Pike is to do the final solo, and Mainwaring tells him to do it slowly and dreamily.
Again Wilson begins playing without command to do so, and Mainwaring is furious, “Wilson! Wilson! Do not anticipate!! Watch the blo....watch the stick!!” He nearly swore. Finally they begin. Pike sings, reading exactly from his song sheet “I felt so lonely standing there, and I could only stand and stare. For I have no boy/girl with me. Lonely...” Mainwaring stops him and asks “Why are you singing ‘I have no boy/girl with me’?”, to which Pike replies “That’s what it says here.” He shows the Captain, who, now hot under the collar, tries to explain that “If you’re a boy, you have a girl! If you’re a girl you have a boy! Do you understand?” Pike replies “Yes.” Mainwaring adds “You stupid boy!” and if that wasn’t enough of a clue, Pike asks the plaintiff question “Well what am I then?” Walker chips in with “We’re all beginning to wonder!”
Mainwaring starts the proceedings again. Pike sings his lines “I felt so lonely standing there, and I could only stand and stare, for I had no boy with me...” Despite this, Mainwaring lets him continue. Now all the problems are sorted out and they go right through the song without a hitch. The choir actually sounds really good together, and the grand finale to this episode is simply them all singing the song properly.
This is an excellent episode, well written and very well performed. It is then not too surprising that the script was later to be reprised several times by the cast. The first remake was for the Radio episode “The Godiva Affair”, where the choir practise sketch was substituted in place of the Morris Dance of the original TV version, which would be impossible to do on radio due to the visual nature. The major change was Larry Martyn played Walker. Then it was adapted for the Stage Show, with John Bardon as Walker and Hamish Roughead as Frazer along with the regulars. Also in the stage version was the Vicar, the Verger, Mrs Pike and Mrs Fox. The final variation of this script was an abridged version for the Royal Variety Performance in 1975. This is the only version still existent on video, but the radio version still exists, as does a performance of the Stage version on the record from the show. But none seem quite as good as the original 1970 version which now only exists in audio form.
If you can help with any of these shows, please contact me by clicking here
If anything is returned to me, it will be passed to both the DAAS in the UK, and to the maker of the episode. I am not a lost episode hoarder.