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Bob Monkhouse & the Lost Steptoes ?

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Bob Monkhouse & the Lost Steptoes ?

Postby bob » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:22 pm

This subject may have been covered before but it's too important not to explore further.

I recorded on the SKY+ box an excellent programme on BBC4 called “The Secret Life of Bob Monkhouse”. It sat on the box for a few weeks and I only watched it for the first time last night.

This was an excellent programme which served to give a comprehensive review of Bob’s life. Whatever your opinion of Bob, only the very self deceiving would dispute that the man was a comedy and television genius, who knew his craft inside out. He was also very funny and I regret not seeing him live.

Bob was a meticulous recorder (no pun intended) of comedy and its artists. He got into trouble with the law when they prosecuted him for lending Terry Wogan’s son a video recording he made of a TV show. (W**K**S)

Although acquitted, the trial left a big emotional scar on him and although he continued his hobby, he didn’t publicise it very much. Bob didn’t share his wonderful library again.

Nevertheless the programme went on to demonstrate that Bob had maintained a library of personally made video and audio recordings going back years. There were episodes of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s “Not Only But Also” of course “The Golden Shot” and shows that had been completely forgotten. It was thanks to Bob that Lenny Henry was able to watch again his very first appearance on “New Faces”. The copyright owners scrubbed their copy. (W**K**S)

What was established was the Bob didn’t just record the occasional programme but would record several hours of TV every day. He bought a Reel to Reel Video recorder (Much like Ray Galton had) at the time when one cost more than a new car !!!!!

Bob’s shed is full of recordings going back decades, I’m sure all of us would love to spend time in there, but apparently it would take decades, if not an entire lifetime, to watch it all.

Watching the programme I was left with the overwhelming feeling that it was inconceivable that he didn’t record Steptoe and Son. It was the number one comedy show on the telly, written by people who would have been his contemporaries. In particular the “lost” colour episodes were broadcast at a time when most of us didn’t have domestic video recorders, Bob had several. The collector gene would have compelled him to record it. Trust me, it takes one to know one !

I have no doubt that, were access permitted to his archive, there would undoubtedly be one or more of the lost colour Steptoe episodes just waiting for someone to find it. Many people who are not fans of the show may have already come across Steptoe episodes in the collection but maybe don’t realise that the BBC managed to erase these recordings. (W**K**S)

Therefore they may not have realised how important some of these recordings are. I hope and pray that some kind of trustee has been appointed to ensure that the library is maintained and preserved. I have contacted Tessa and will try to find a link into the Monkhouse estate to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

It would be a wonderful tribute if in years to come, every time a colour episode of a previously lost Steptoe ( and other rare and lost TV material) was broadcast is was preceded by a announcement thanking the effort and love of the late Bob Monkhouse for preserving the recording for future generations.
Last edited by bob on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Graham_S nli » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:14 pm

Bob,

Yes he was very funny live.... I was fortunate enough to see him perform at what was then Butlins Pwllheli, Wales in 1980.....

The one joke I remember was about Lady Di and Di having wedding night nerves because Charles kept falling off horses at the time (and breaking his arm).... "Well he's mounted them and keeps falling off!"....

He then started saying "there's my knighthood gone!"

I laughed and laughed.... happy days...
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Postby PhilGlass » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:29 pm

Bob Monkhouse was a very talented comic. (Who nicked his joke books?!!) and although I thought at the time the documentary would hvae mentioned the missing Steptoes if he had them, it is inconceivable for him not to have some kind of Steptoe content - perhaps they don't know - it's amazing what's been found from people leaving tapes running. But it's also hard to imagine he didn't record them deliberately.

Even the likes of Xmas Night with The Stars and such other missing sketches. I would literally give up the use of my right arm to go and have a look in his collection (which is now I think with a museum).

It's interesting that the Beeb have never looked in there...

Somewhere out there is everything... nothing is lost forever...
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Postby Graham_S nli » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:03 pm

Phil,

According to that sometimes notoriously incorrect source of knowledge called Wikipedia in his bio...

It would appear his daughter in 2008 had asked various "experts" in to look at preserving and restoring the collection....

See below...

The entire Monkhouse film and television archive is now held by Kaleidoscope, including all material previously held by the NFTVA. It is being catalogued and restored to digital formats in readiness for a major event at BAFTA on 24 October 2009. The full list of the archive will be published during that event, which is being organised by Kaleidoscope and filmed by the BBC. Chris Perry, part of Kaleidoscope and its partner company Kaleidoscope Publishing, said, "We are painstakingly transferring the important contents of the video tapes and restoring radio shows. There are many incredible finds, and the event in October will be an exciting time for all concerned."


Now noticeably this "major event" was in 2009.... Did it happen?

Are they still working away on the untold hours of tapes he recorded even now?
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Postby taylorslade » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:46 am

I've just had a look around and saw what I would think is confirmation that Steptoe is indeed to be found in that massive archive, although it may be wishful thinking, so I'll let you guys have a look and see what you can get from it ;

http://www.radiolistings.co.uk/programm ... __the.html
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Postby Archie » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:46 pm

It was on BBC 2 on Saturday night after Dad's Army. He had Several VCR's set up to record multiple programmes at once.

The collection is Over 50,000 tapes :o there Must be a good few Steptoes in the collection !.

It was strange seeing The Golden Shot again, I used to watch it at my grandparents house on Sunday afternoons they were huge fans.
Eeh I wanna see the Nudes of 1964
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Postby bob » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:36 am

I must admit the show did take me back to my childhood. I also watched it with my Grandparents, Sunday afternoon seemed to go something like this :

The Big Match : still remember Millwall 3 Chelsea 0
The Persuaders
The Golden Shot

And then a long sleep after a big lunch
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Postby PhilGlass » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:07 pm

Bob

This website is basically the search engine for 'Kaliedoscope' - who archived Bob's collection - http://www.lostshows.com/ Although it doesnt seem to have his collection online, it does bring up some interesting results (like a Steptoe episode being Incomplete???)

Harry and Willy's names bring up interesting results too!!
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