Out of the Unknown (partially found BBC sci-fi series; 1967-1971)

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Out of the unknown title.png

The series title card from 1967.

Status: Partially Found

Out of the Unknown was a British sci-fi anthology series that aired from 1965-1971 that was produced by BBC and aired on BBC2 in four series. The stories were dramatizations of sci-fi short stories, and while most were of already published stories, some were written for the show. In the show's final year, it transitioned to almost exclusively original horror/fantasy stories, with only one episode ("Deathday") being an adaptation of a pre-existing literary work.


Like many other BBC shows of the time, during the early 1970s, a number of episodes were wiped so the tapes could be re-used. A total of 49 episodes were produced and aired on BBC2, however, only 20 of these episodes still exist in their entirety, mostly from series 1. There are a few episodes that have small video clips existing, complete audio recordings of episodes, and small audio clips without video of some lost episodes. Off-screen photographs, known as tele-snaps, were taken of many first and second series stories including some of the missing episodes.[1]


All of the surviving episodes were released on DVD in November of 2014 by the BFI.[2][3] Series 1 is the most complete series of the show, with only a scattered handful of episodes from the other three series remaining (four from Series 2, one and a half from Series 3, and five from Series 4).

The only surviving material from the missing episodes are audio extracts, short video clips and productions stills. For example, the end credits exist for "Andover and the Android" and "The Fox and the Forest", sourced from a BBC Graphics Department showreel. Four episodes ("Beach Head", "The Naked Sun", "The Yellow Pill" and "The Uninvited") exist as complete (or almost complete in the case of "The Naked Sun") audio recordings, with the surviving photographs used to reconstruct the episodes for the DVD release. As "The Uninvited" has so few surviving images, the original camera script was instead presented with the surviving audio, an unconventional reconstruction to make the episode somewhat more viewable for the DVD.

Of 49 episodes produced, only 20 and a half remain, with "The Little Black Bag" only existing partially, missing twenty minutes of footage, mainly from the first act.

Episode List

Series 1

Episode Title Airdate Status
101 “No Place Like Earth” 4 October 1965 Found
102 “The Counterfeit Man” 11 October 1965 Found
103 “Stranger in the Family” 18 October 1965 Found
104 “The Dead Past” 25 October 1965 Found
105 “Time in Advance” 1 November 1965 Found
106 “Come Buttercup, Come Daisy, Come...?” 8 November 1965 Found
107 “Sucker Bait” 15 November 1965 Found
108 “The Fox and the Forest” 22 November 1965 Lost
109 “Andover and the Android” 29 November 1965 Lost
110 “Some Lapse of Time” 6 December 1965 Found
111 “Thirteen to Centaurus” 13 December 1965 Found
112 “The Midas Plague” 20 December 1965 Found

Series 2

Episode Title Airdate Status
201 “The Machine Stops” 6 October 1966 Found
202 “Frankenstein Mark 2” 13 October 1966 Lost
203 “Lambda 1” 20 October 1966 Found
204 “Level Seven” 27 October 1966 Found
205 “Second Childhood” 10 November 1966 Lost
206 “The World in Silence” 17 November 1966 Lost
207 “The Eye” 24 November 1966 Lost
208 “Tunnel Under the World” 1 December 1966 Found
209 “The Fastest Draw” 8 December 1966 Lost
210 “Too Many Cooks” 15 December 1966 Lost
211 “Walk's End” 22 December 1966 Lost
212 “Satisfaction Guaranteed” 29 December 1966 Lost
213 “The Prophet” 1 January 1967 Lost

Series 3

Episode Title Airdate Status
301 “Immortality, Inc.” 7 January 1969 Lost
302 “Liar!” 14 January 1969 Lost
303 “The Last Lonely Man” 21 January 1969 Found
304 “Beach Head” 28 January 1969 Lost (reconstruction exists)
305 “Something in the Cellar” 4 February 1969 Lost
306 “Random Quest” 11 February 1969 Lost
307 “The Naked Sun” 18 February 1969 Lost (reconstruction exists)
308 “The Little Black Bag” 25 February 1969 Partially Found
309 “1+1=1.5” 4 March 1969 Lost
310 “The Fosters” 11 March 1969 Lost
311 “Target Generation” 18 March 1969 Lost
312 “The Yellow Pill” 25 March 1969 Lost (reconstruction exists)
313 “Get Off My Cloud” 1 April 1969 Lost

Series 4

Episode Title Airdate Status
401 “Taste of Evil” 21 April 1971 Lost
402 “To Lay a Ghost” 28 April 1971 Found
403 “This Body Is Mine” 5 May 1971 Found
404 “Deathday” 12 May 1971 Found
405 “The Sons and Daughters of Tomorrow” 19 May 1971 Lost
406 “Welcome Home” 26 May 1971 Found
407 “The Last Witness” 2 June 1971 Lost
408 “The Man in My Head” 9 June 1971 Found
409 “The Chopper” 16 June 1971 Lost
410 “The Uninvited” 23 June 1971 Lost (reconstruction exists)
411 “The Shattered Eye” 30 June 1971 Lost


The original colorized version of the title sequence.

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


External Links