TV series still without a DVD release

These titles are still missing in action, surviving but with no video release. They are also, with one or two exceptions, completely absent from the bootleg circuit.

Is any company out there interested in securing the rights to get these out in the world for archive TV lovers to enjoy?  Would lovers of comedy, drama, or period adaptations buy?

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Phyllis Calvert and Penelope Keith in Kate.  Photo via Nostalgia Central.

Kate – starring Phyllis Calvert.  38 episodes across three series, 1970-1972.  Made for Yorkshire Television.  Kate is an agony aunt who has a knack for getting into trouble.  Also features Penelope Keith and Jack Hedley.

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Helen: a Woman of Today – starring Alison Fiske and Martin Shaw.  13 episodes in a single series, 1973.  Made for London Weekend Television.  Helen is approaching middle-age and decides to end her marriage.  Also features Sharon Duce and Sheila Gish.

Bel Ami – starring Robin Ellis.  5 episodes, 1971.  Made for the BBC.  Adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s novel about the amoral Georges Duroy.  Also features Elvi Hale, Garfield Morgan, Arthur Pentelow and Peter Sallis.

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Stanley Baker and Daphne Slater in Jane Eyre.  Photo via Bronte Blog.

Jane Eyre – starring Daphne Slater and Stanley Baker.  6 episodes, 1956.  Made for the BBC – my thoughts on seeing it at a BFI screening here.  Rich adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë novel, in fact one of the best I have seen.

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Liza Goddard and Dinsdale Landen in Pig in the Middle.

Pig in the Middle – starring Liza Goddard, Joanna Van Gyseghem, Dinsdale Landen (and later Terence Brady).  20 episodes across three series, 1980-1983.  Made for London Weekend Television.  Comedy about the middle-aged Barty who is torn between two glamorous women.

Foxy Lady – starring Diane Keen and Geoffrey Burridge.  12 episodes across two series, 1982-1984.  Made for Granada Television.  Daisy joins a Northern newspaper in this breezy comedy.  Also features Gregor Fisher, Milton Johns and Patrick Troughton.

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The Informer – starring Ian Hendry.  21 episodes made across two series, but only 2 survive, 1966-1967.  Made for Associated-Rediffusion.  Alex is a former lawyer now released from prison, making a living on both sides of the law.  Also features Jean Marsh.

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Neil Innes as the Wizard with Toby Spelldragon in Puddle Lane.

Puddle Lane – children’s series with Neil Innes.  75 episodes, 1985-1989.  Made for Yorkshire Television.  A magician tells stories with the help of his cauldron and dragon. Also features Kate Lee.

Great Expectations – starring Dinsdale Landen.  13 episodes, of which 12 survive, 1959.  Made for the BBC.  The first television adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel.  Also features Colin Jeavons, Michael Gwynn, and Helen Lindsay.   The atmospheric opening episode is accessible at the BFI Mediatheque.

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Article from the Radio Times.  Janet Munro in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.  Scan via Britmovie.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – starring Janet Munro and Corin Redgrave.  4 episodes, of which 3 survive, 1968.  Made for the BBC.  Adaptation of the Anne Brontë novel, clips were shown on ‘The Brontës at the BBC’.  Also features Bryan Marshall, Megs Jenkins, and Felicity Kendal.

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Nicol Williamson, George Segal and Will Geer in Of Mice and Men.  Photo via eBay.

Of Mice and Men – starring George Segal and Nicol Williamson.  A two-hour drama, 1968.  Made for the American Broadcasting Company.  Adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel.  Also features Will Geer, Don Gordon and Joey Heatherton.

The Coral Island – with Nicholas Bond-Owen and Richard Gibson (I know of the German release without English soundtrack).  9 episodes, 1983.  Made for Thames Television.  Ralph, Jack and Peterkin find themselves shipwrecked.

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Ian Hendry and Nyree Dawn Porter in For Maddie With Love.

For Maddie With Love – starring Ian Hendry and Nyree Dawn Porter.  48 episodes over 2 series, 1980-1981.  Made for ATV.  Maddie is terminally ill and her husband and children have to come to terms with change.  An excellent and overlooked series, only one episode has been officially released on Network’s Soap Box set. Also features Colin Baker, Robert Lang and Bruce Montague.

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Dinsdale Landen in Devenish. Photo via Memorable TV.

Devenish – starring Dinsdale Landen.  14 episodes across 2 series, 1977-1978.  Made for Granada Television.  Prufrock Devenish is an amoral social climber in this nutty comedy.  Also features Doran Godwin, Terence Alexander, Geoffrey Bayldon and Michael Robbins.

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Clive Dunn and Michael Bentine in It’s a Square World.  

It’s a Square World – with Michael Bentine.  56 episodes, of which 45 survive, 1960-1964.  Made for the BBC.  Zany and influential sketch show .  Also features Frank Thornton and Clive Dunn.

Thirty Minute Theatre – just under 50 episodes survive from 285 (many never filmed), but only a handful have been released.  Includes key work from a variety of writers and directors.  Made for the BBC.

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Benedict Taylor and Paul Rogers in Barriers.

Barriers – starring Benedict Taylor.  20 episodes, 1981.  Billy seeks his adopted parents.  Made for Tyne Tees Television.  This has turned up on YouTube so I rewatched it in a poor quality copy, but it has stood up well.

Hamlet – starring Ian McKellen.  One-off film, 1970.  A co-production between the BBC and Prospect Theatre Company.  Also features John Woodvine, Faith Brook, and Susan Fleetwood.  One of the few colour Shakespeares that remains resolutely in the archives.

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David Swift and Richard Beckinsale in Bloomers.  Photo via Nostalgia Central.

Bloomers – starring Richard Beckinsale and Anna Calder Marshall.  5 episodes recorded of the planned six, 1979, this series was curtailed with Beckinsale’s death.  Made for the BBC.  A comedy in which a resting actor starts work in a flower shop.  I have seen the episodes in poor-quality copies, with thoughts here.

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William Windom in My World and Welcome to It.

My World and Welcome to It – starring William Windom.  26 episodes, 1969-1970.  Made for Sheldon Leonard Productions.  John Monroe observes and comments on his wife and family in this comedy based on artist/writer James Thurber.  I first saw this in the 1980s on Channel 4, and have seen the whole series on poor quality copies.

That’s my twenty most wanted at the moment – what’s yours?

About Louise Penn

Writer, reviewer, fan. View all posts by Louise Penn

8 responses to “TV series still without a DVD release

  • Mark C

    My number one at the moment is City Central. I do not know why that has never had a release

    • Louise Penn

      I think I can remember that one. Once you start thinking there’s a lot which hasn’t come out but most in my post have been on my wishlist for at least 15 years.

  • My 2018 DVD wishes | Archive Television Musings

    […] by a post over at LouReviews, I’ve been having a ponder about which unreleased television series I’d like to see pop […]

  • billysmart

    I’d imagine that all serials with missing episodes would prove too problematic for commercial release, alas, much as the likes of us wouldn’t mind. I think that the only ones to have ever come out on DVD are assorted Doctor Who stories and The Quatermass Experiment.

    We sent off a revised proposed list of 50 possible ‘Forgotten Television Drama’ ITV series and serials to Network this week, hoping to spur them into action again a bit. ‘Helen – A Woman Of Today’ was one of them.

    I think that my own greatest wish on our list would be of a similar ilk: the 1979 LWT series ‘Kids’, a Roger Marshall-devised attempt to make a popular series about social workers in child protection.

    Surprisingly, an episode surfaced online last year – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhwALnvVzD4 An unnerving story, empathetic, unsettling, subtle at times. It looks like the series as a whole might have been of the same sensitivity and depth as the early series of Angels, say.

    • Louise Penn

      I would like to see Kids as well – and will watch this one episode with interest. On serials with missing bits perhaps the BFI or similiar could plug the gap by making episodes available on the Mediatheque. Another I could have put on my list is The Silver Sword.

      • billysmart

        I think that the mostly-complete serial that I’d most want to see released would be the 8-part 1968 BBC ‘Middlemarch’. Frustratingly, its episode one that’s missing…

  • Westengland

    Novel dramatisations, in chronological order, disregarding whether they are extant in whole, in part or unextant, as far as is known, putting to one side most of the well-known (and not so well-known) series from The Isles, Europe and The Americas (had to extend list to 11):

    1. Lorna Doone (1963)
    2. The Woman In White (1966)
    3. Père Goirot (1968)
    4. Nana (1968)
    5. The Woodlanders (1970)
    6. Germinal (1970)
    7. Roads To Freedom (1970)
    8. Man Of Straw (1972)
    9. Song Of Songs (1973)
    10. Two Women (1973)
    11. Vienna 1900 (1974)

    “I am given to understand” that 1, 2, and 5 are unextant, 4 is incomplete, 7 is rights-locked, with 3, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11 being available for release.
    See BBC Genome and IMDb for quickest programme information.

    Saw most of these, wholly or partly, can’t remember that much but around half-a-century later the *effect* of watching them (and others) remains and resonates.

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