Dad's Army (partially lost episodes and sketches of BBC sitcom; 1968-1970)

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Dads Army title.JPG

The show's title card.

Status: Partially Lost

Dad's Army was a BBC television sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War and was broadcast on the BBC from 1968 to 1977. The sitcom ran for nine series and 80 episodes in total, plus a radio version based on the television scripts, a feature film, and a stage show. The series regularly gained audiences of 18 million viewers and is still repeated worldwide. Although, like lots of BBC shows from the time, it has lost episodes due to the BBC's wiping policy. Because they didn't have a central archive, old audiotapes, videotapes, and telerecordings were destroyed. Most of these tapes were reused for other shows due to the cost of recording tapes at the time.

Series 2 (1968/69)

Dad's Army series 2 remains incomplete, with three out of six episodes missing from BBC archives (as of March 2017). However, the situation was previously much worse - five of the six episodes were missing when the BBC archives were set up in 1978. The episode "Sgt. Wilson's Little Secret", survived as it was recorded onto 35 mm film instead of videotape, either because it required additional editing or because no videotape recording facilities were available in the recording period.

In 2001, the episodes "Operation Kilt" and "The Battle of Godfrey's Cottage" were returned to the BBC as 16 mm film recordings. These two episodes were used to pitch a feature film to Columbia Pictures (Which became the 1971 Dad's Army movie). The film copies were then thrown away after the pitch, but were retrieved shortly afterwards by a collector and stored in his garden shed for 30 years until returning them to the BBC[1]. The 3 Series 2 episodes that remain missing are the Episodes "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker", "A Stripe for Frazer" and "Under Fire"[2]. The only hope for recovery is that the lost episodes may have been recorded during their original UK broadcasts by a person wealthy enough to afford an early videotape recorder such as a Shibaden or Sony CV-2000 machine. However, these three episodes were adapted for BBC Radio in the 1970s, and recordings of the radio episodes still exist.

On September 9th, 1998, David Croft, a writer on Dad's Army made an appeal to the public called "Dad's Army: Where Are You?" where he asked if anyone had a recording of the missing episodes from an early videotape recorder and if so they should send the recordings to the BBC. It was uploaded to YouTube by user "Colonel Buchan" on January 27th, 2016.

In 2008 the soundtrack of the episode "A Stripe for Frazer" was rediscovered[3] and in 2015 the recording was then digitally remastered for a 2015 BBC Audio CD release. In January 2016, it was announced that the BBC was creating an animated version of the episode, to be combined with the newly discovered copy of the audio, which was released via the BBC Store Online Service on 4th February 2016.

Series 3 (1969)

From Series 3, all episodes were recorded and broadcast in color. But, one episode, "Room at the Bottom" from the third series, survived only as a 16mm black-and-white film recording. But, because of the way that original black & white telerecordings were made, color information was sometimes inadvertently preserved in them even though it could not be displayed. In 2008 a computer technique of color recovery was developed to recover the information from telerecordings to create a usable color signal. "Room at the Bottom" was broadcast in color for the first time in almost forty years on 13 December 2008.

Christmas Sketches (1968/1970)

Christmas Night with the Stars was a television show broadcast each Christmas night by the BBC from 1958 to 1972. Dad's Army had created four sketches over its lifetime for Christmas Night with the Stars. The sketches "Santa On Patrol" (1968) and "Cornish Floral Dance" (1970) are missing, although audio recordings exist.

The Black & White Minstrel Show (1975)

On the 7th of June 1975 The Black & White Minstrel Show had Arthur Lowe appear as a guest star where he turned up in costume as Captain Mainwaring and took part in a special crossover with World War 2 songs and dance routines, aside from a brief mention in a 1989 Dad's Army book footage from this episode has been featured in the 2018 series "Saluting Dad's Army" but otherwise has never been fully rebroadcast or made available to the public.[4]


An appeal by David Croft to let the remaining episodes of Dad's Army be aired.

Scribbles to Screen's video about Dad's Army episodes from 19:37 to 22:11

See Also (Other programs that may/not may wiped by BBC)

External Link