Dad's Army is 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 9 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. But, like lots of BBC shows from the time, it has missing 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 still missing from BBC archives (as of September 2016). However, the situation was previously much worse - five of the six episodes were no longer held by the BBC in 1978. The episode "Sgt. Wilson's Little Secret", survived the junking 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. The film copies were then junked and retrieved from a skip by an collector and stored in a garden shed for 30 years until returned to the BBC. The three Series 2 episodes that remain missing are the Episodes "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker", "A Stripe for Frazer" and "Under Fire". The only currently remaining 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 among the 67 adapted for BBC Radio in the 1970s, and recordings of the radio episodes still exist.
In 2008 the soundtrack of the episode "A Stripe for Frazer" was rediscovered, and in 2015, a better copy was restored to the BBC archive. In January 2016, it was announced that the BBC were 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.
From Series 3, all episodes were recorded and broadcast in colour. 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, colour information was sometimes inadvertently preserved in them even though it could not be displayed. In 2008 a computer technique of colour recovery was developed to recover the information from telerecordings to create a usable colour signal. "Room at the Bottom" was broadcast in colour for the first time in almost forty years on 13 December 2008.
"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 it's lifetime for Christmas Night with the Stars. The sketches "Santa On Patrol" (1968) and "Cornish Floral Dance" (1970) are missing, although audio recordings exist.