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PLEASE RELEASE ME …
Lost "Engelbert" video recovered
(the audio is another matter...)
(by Lisa Manekofsky)
(from C&G 132 November 2006)
As many of you know, The Goodies fared better than many of their contemporaries when, decades ago, the BBC decided to discard materials thought of no future value for its archives (in the days before the home video market). Other than the original version of "Kitten Kong" and color versions of several episodes the Goodies catalog is fairly complete. However, until very recently it appeared one piece of Goodies history was missing - the segments they'd done for "Engelbert with the Young Generation".
For those unfamiliar with the story, in 1972 then-popular entertainer Engelbert Humperdinck starred in a variety show which was co-produced by the BBC and German broadcaster ZDF. The Goodies were asked for provide a short piece for each of the 13 episodes. About half consisting of filmed sequences recycled from Goodies episodes (such as the walking the pets scene from "Kitten Kong"). The other seven were specially filmed for the "Engelbert" series - five of these subsequently were edited together (with newly-written linking material) into the special "A Collection of Goodies". Eventually the BBC decided to discard the Engelbert series and the two Goodies segments unique to that series (along with specially recorded introductions to the recycled material) were thought lost. Which brings us to 2006...
A short time ago, a set of "Engelbert with the Young Generation" DVDs turned up online. Hoping it was a release of materials which finally had been unearthed a group of us pitched in to purchase a set. Upon receiving and reviewing the material it became obvious that it is not an official release but footage from the ZDF's archive. The good news is that the Goodies segments are present; the bad news is that the dialog has been dubbed into German. This basically affects the short introductions to the films (in which Engelbert visits the Goodies in their office and gives them an assignment for the week), though it's still clear what's going on (and luckily the BBC retained the camera scripts for these scenes). As in "The Goodies" episodes themselves, all but one of the short films that follow have no dialogue (and therefore retain their original audio tracks). Even with this small hitch, this is an exciting find!
Andrew Pixley knew exactly what to do next. He contacted the appropriate people at the BBC, BFI, and elsewhere to alert them that the footage still existed and to try to raise interest in official copies being obtained. I am delighted to pass along some fruits of his efforts.
* BFI Screening
The BFI National Film Theatre is planning another "Missing Believed Wiped" event on 2 December. Current plans are to screen one of the two "lost" Engelbert segments, "The Bodyguards" at that event (the second MBW screening at 6:10pm on 2nd December in NFT1).
When booking details are generally available they will appear at:
There are already some items of news about the event at:
(look for "Missing Believed Wiped")
* TV Zone Issue 209
Andrew contributed a more extensive article about the Engelbert footage to TV Zone issue #209, which was published on Wednesday, 8 November. The five page article includes images from the other missing segment "The Country Code". The magazine can be found in shops or ordered from the publisher, Visual Imagination (http://www.visimag.com/tvzone/ )
* Raiders of the Lost Archive
Granada are working on a new series, "Raiders of the Lost Archive", which is set to air in 2007. The premise of the series is to find footage thought lost and then show it to some of the participants, which should produce an entertaining reaction. The producers have been interested in doing a segment about Bill and, therefore, were extremely interested to investigate the lost Engelbert clips. With any luck some of the material will find its way into the special.
You can find more information about "Raiders of the Lost Archive" and their appeal to help find missing TV material at